Bolstering Buyer Intent Data Could Lead To Stronger Sales
Covid-19 has triggered permanent paradigm and behavioral shifts in the way business is done. Research by McKinsey confirms that today’s decision-makers:
• Believe that the new digital or remote-first way of working is here to stay.
• Will, in their ideal post-pandemic world, prefer to interact with reps virtually as opposed to in-person meetings. (Only 20% to 30% reported wanting to ever physically interact with reps again.)
• Are confident making large digital purchases (roughly 70% said they were “comfortable” spending over $50,000 or more online).
The research paints a clear picture: The entire decision-making process and sales journey for buyers across most industries are going digital. Companies now have more buyers online and more competitors. To adapt, sales and marketing teams need strong signals of interest and intent from buyers moving forward.
In this post, I’ll share three ways buyer intent can prove critical for both sales and marketing teams competing in a hypercompetitive, digital-first environment.
Improving Account-Based Lead Generation
Single Grain noted that software company Bizible was falling behind on its revenue targets and, after brainstorming multiple campaign ideas that would generate leads, agreed on and executed an account-based sales campaign that included physical care packages sent to targeted accounts. The company generated $33,000 in revenue and beat its goal by more than 15%.
Intent-driven account-based marketing can be powerful and effective because it targets a focused group of buyers with personalized campaigns rather than targeting a generic audience.
As research by Gartner, Inc. shows, it’s becoming increasingly effective when supported with buyer intent data. Gartner notes that “by the end of 2022, more than 70% of B2B marketers will utilize third-party intent data to target prospects or engage groups of buyers in selected accounts.”
Account-based marketing can be highly effective, but how do you implement it? Start by gathering data about the customers you want to target. Directories like AngelList and Google searches can provide a list of prospective customers in your industry. Visitor identification tools can provide a list of companies visiting your site.
Once you’ve compiled a list of possible targets, gather information about their size, industry and location. Remove any companies that aren’t your ideal customer, then research each company to find what types of challenges they face and come up with a targeted solution.
For example, a marketing attribution software that helps companies better understand marketing channel performance might choose to target companies struggling to reach sales goals and then reach out to each company with targeted content.
“Hacking” The Buyer Journey With Automation
Selling B2B is tougher because you have to appeal to multiple personas involved in the buying cycle — who then need to unanimously agree on purchasing a single product/service.
Research by Showpad (via B2B News Network) found that, when weighing specific options, these buyers will “spend the equivalent of a full-time workweek” comparing alternatives, talking to multiple reps and consuming a ton of content from third-party sources.
Unfortunately, most campaigns lose potential leads during this early research stage because they fail to follow up in a timely manner. Combining automation with intent-based data can allow your sales development team to spend more time talking to prospects further in the funnel without sacrificing early lead development.
For example, one way to do this could be to create an event that triggers an email campaign when a prospect visits your pricing page or adds a new lead to your CRM (and assigns it to a salesperson) after a demo request.
Personalizing Outreach To Buyers
Outreach and outbound lead generation is playing a larger role in our new normal. However, with fake empathy, opportunistic marketing and more salespeople selling behind a screen than ever before, standing out within a bloated email or social inbox has never been harder. The right buyer intent data can make things easier.
Marketing is better equipped to identify and attract qualified leads, and sales gets the specific insights needed to tailor messaging to different decision-makers with different priorities.
For example, you might consider creating a personalized sales video that mentions specifically how your business can help them grow, or you might host a demo that addresses specific challenges the prospect faces.
Succeeding In A Digital-First Sales Landscape
Covid-19 has transformed the sales and marketing landscape as we know it. Buyers are becoming increasingly comfortable making purchases online, and most of them intend to continue with virtual interactions even in a post-Covid-19 world.
Many companies are investing heavily in digital channels to generate, nurture and close leads. This means that in the near future, a vague understanding of your buyers and mediocre account-based campaigns won’t cut it.
Leads need to be proactively met earlier in the buyer journey and have an accurate idea of specific needs, wants, and objections. Buyer intent data must be prioritized moving forward.