Remember “predictive analytics” — now more commonly referred to in B2B marketing and sales circles as “intent?” Well, that space has matured, and today there are more than a handful of companies touting intent capabilities. But not all intent is actually intentional when it comes to real interest in your solution.
True Influence, an intent monitoring and demand generation solutions provider, launched InsightBase 4.0 at the SiriusDecisions Summit 2019 in Austin, Texas this week. The enhanced solution is designed to help marketers define buying groups or demand units by customer persona. It is positioned to then automatically identify individuals who match the criteria across any account list or audience segment in a comprehensive B2B contact database.
Buyer intent data is quickly becoming a must-have dataset for sorting likely-to-convert prospects from those who are less likely, and for influencing marketing budget decisions. Yet as the adoption of this intent data has grown, many senior marketers still talk about intent signals as if they are all the same. They are not. All forms of intent data are useful in moving prospects down the funnel, but there are multiple varieties of intent data. Getting the most out of the data, and the most efficient results, requires understanding the nuances in the data sources, how the data is collected and how multiple signals can be combined.
An effective account-based marketing strategy requires targeting and engaging the right accounts. However, identifying these accounts has been a challenge for many organizations. Demand Gen Report’s 2018 Account-Based Marketing Benchmark Survey revealed that 28% of practitioners struggle with identifying/predicting accounts that are in market and ready to purchase, while 31% are challenged with developing target content for specific accounts or personas.
The 2019 B2B Marketing Exchange wrapped up with a closing panel wherein marketing practitioners from Pendo, Outreach and GE Digital shared their go-to-market strategies for measuring and accelerating revenue growth, and discussed new trends shaking up the industry.
B2B markers are increasingly expected to report on their performance and tie marketing dollars directly to revenue. According to Demand Gen Report research, 87% say marketing measurement and attribution is a growing priority for their organization. But it is often easier said than done.
“If you’re on a desert island and just need to see a few things for your business, what do you look at?” asked Binch, who said Pendo’s key metrics are gross pipeline created and killed each week, as well as customer engagement scores and conversion rates. “At the end of the quarter, our board comes to us and they don’t ask about MQLs created. They ask how much pipeline did you create? And what are your conversion rates?”
Binch said that in addition to proving marketing’s value, measuring conversions rates has also helped align Pendo’s sales and marketing teams to accelerate growth.
Using intent data positions marketers to better identify target accounts, which is increasingly important in an ABM world.
Pat Oldenburg, Senior Director of Digital Marketing and Operations at GE Digital, said the company has shifted to focus almost exclusively on target accounts.
“We don’t sell to white space,” said Oldenburg. “We’ve named a certain number of accounts and those are the account that sales reps are allowed to sell into.”
To improve its account-based marketing and sales efforts, GE Digital also reevaluated its ideal customer profile. By blending firmographic data with intent data, its sales reps are able to sort through the list of 4,500 target accounts and prioritize their outreach accordingly.
“Our CEO said ‘[intent data] is not a long-term play; it’s the most important play you can ever make. We should be betting our company on getting intent data and making sure the account selection is flawless,’” said Oldenburg. “We’re seeing more account-based sales and marketing activities, and the very foundation of that and maybe the most important part is account selection and the identification of not only your target market but within that, your ICP target accounts.”
Sixty-five percent of B2B buyers rate review sites as “very important” during their evaluation process. According to the panelists, review sites mark the latest trend of consumer-like experiences transforming the B2B marketplace, and they expect the value of peer input to rise over the coming years.
“What we’re seeing in B2B with these review sites is the development of peers as trusted advisors,” said Max Altschuler, VP of Marketing at Outreach. “People are going to these sites, seeing these reviews and they’re making their decision based off of them. They’re not as focused on the analyst anymore, as they are on what their peers have to say.”
Binch agreed and suggested marketers take advantage of the insights into customer pain points that review sites such as G2 Crowd and TrustRadius can provide. When armed with this information, marketing and sales teams are better positioned to tailor their messaging to address a specific customer’s needs and pain points.
“Go on these websites and look at the two-, three- and four-star reviews and pick up some themes about what their users are saying. Then, give them a call and say, ‘I saw the reviews on a third-party site about your product and these are the areas we can help,’” said Binch. “You need to go from talking about yourself and your technology to talking about the customer and why it’s relevant for them.”