As B2B marketers, we’re all looking to move the needle on pipeline and revenue growth. We want to execute captivating campaigns that drive real business results, but that’s easier said than done.
Many modern B2B marketers have adopted account-based marketing (ABM) strategies to align their efforts with sales and scale their impact on pipeline. In order to run a successful program, ABM marketers need to juggle quite a few campaign components. Most programs span multiple channels across multiple account segments. For each segment, decisions need to be made about the channel mix, the messaging angle, next steps for sales follow-up, and the list goes on.
So the question is, how do we make sure we’re reaching target accounts at the right time with the right messaging?
Intent data is a good place to start. “Across all communications, we’ve found that you get much better response rates if you start with intent data,” says Jessica Garrett, a seasoned ABM practitioner (you can learn more about Jessica’s intent-driven strategy here). Intent lets you know when target accounts are in buying mode and gives you the insights to dramatically boost conversions and sales. Here are four ways to combine intent data and ABM like a marketing pro.
1.) Orchestrate Digital Campaigns
Account segmentation can be straightforward for marketers who target by vertical or run one-to-one campaigns for their top ten accounts. But segmentation isn’t always so clear cut. For example, you might know that there are generally two departments that could use your product, and department-specific messaging could really attract prospective buyers. However, you’re not sure which department is driving the buying process in each target account, and you’re not about to parse through thousands of accounts to find out.
Use Case: 3rd party intent lets you monitor topics across various websites to see when your target accounts are researching these topics. In this instance, track topics that would be distinct to each department, and segment your target accounts based on which topics they’re reading about on 3rd party sites. ABM platforms can help you manage intent-based audiences by dynamically adding and removing accounts that meet each intent-based criteria. You can then trigger customized ad campaigns to each type of buyer, alongside personalized web experiences and intent-based sales follow-up.
2.) Embolden Your Sales Team
Believe it or not, prospects don’t always respond to sales reps, and getting ghosted time and time again is demoralizing. Account executives can grow hesitant about continuing their outreach, but ghosting doesn’t always indicate a lack of interest from the account. Perhaps sales are targeting the wrong people, or there’s been a busy spell, and prospects haven’t had time to respond. How can you be sure if your target account is still interested?
Use Case: Luckily, intent data allows AEs to gain visibility into other signs of account interest, even when prospects aren’t responding to emails. By delivering purchase intent insights to your sales team, AEs can see when prospects who have gone silent pop back onto the website or read a recent blog. Knowing that target accounts are still engaging across other channels gives AEs the confidence they need to continue reaching out to unresponsive accounts.
3.) Address Hidden Interests & Concerns
When you’re deeper into the buying cycle, prospects may begin to focus more on specific areas of interest or concerns. However, people aren’t always straightforward about their needs, and sales reps may be blind to important information about what’s going on in their target accounts.
Use Case: This is a great time to leverage 1st party intent data. When marketers push ABM and intent analytics into their CRM, AEs have easy access to the account activity within the deals they’re working. Visibility into late-breaking interests can help AEs anticipate needs, address potential obstacles, and move the conversation forward.
4.) Box-Out the Competition
Despite the awesome conversations your sales reps are having, chances are, your prospects are also talking to competitors. Aggressive competitive tactics work–we’re all familiar with brand wars like Burger King v McDonald’s and Microsoft v Apple. However, if your product doesn’t have that one rival and frequently competes with several other brands, it’d be silly to bring up a competing brand that the prospect hasn’t even considered.
Use Case: With 3rd party intent, you’ll know when your prospects are looking at your competitors. Sales reps can use this information in subsequent meetings to “box-out” the competition, directing prospects towards specific advantages that you might have. We suggest tying these competitive insights to your marketing campaigns and using air cover to reinforce your competitive differentiation. Consider running ads and web campaigns that explain why existing clients picked your solution over your competitors.
Intent data is relatively new to the martech scene. Over the last year, our customers have found success with these four plays, but we expect to see more and more use cases as more marketers incorporate intent into their ABM strategies. Orchestrating the right campaigns at the right time with the right messaging can really make or break a campaign. By using intent to be more proactive, marketing and sales teams are arming themselves with the necessary information to connect with prospects and speak on timely and compelling topics. We all have a better chance of winning over prospects when we’re better equipped to cater to their needs.