What are your prospect executives up to?

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Using Data Strategies for Identifying Buyer Intent

We conclude this three-part series on successful, data-driven ABM with key pointers for CMOs looking to digitize their sales and marketing processes.

In our previous article on ABM message personalization (“When B2B Sellers Have Conversations with Their Key Accounts”),1 we had seen how each persona in the customer team needs influencing, depending on their participation level, their information needs, the activities that claimed their time and the barriers they anticipated as they considered your offering.

Piecing these together helps you understand buyer intent and gauge the chances of your prospect becoming a customer.

Interest vs Intent

The big deal about buyer intent is that it isn’t necessarily equal to interest. Interest is about being curious. Intent is being committed to spending on your product or service.

So the sooner you know, the better, because the difference it makes is considerable, especially in high-stake prospecting scenarios that typify ABM cycles.2 Harvest Strat3 quotes a Forrester finding which reports that the first seller to engage an interested prospect bags the order more than 85% of the time.

Like we said in the message personalization article, to make an intelligent assessment of your prospect’s purchasing intent, you’ll need to look at the intent data your prospect executives have left behind online – the digital tracks on their customer journeys. This might be behavioral data, not just point data, which you’ll need an analytics platform to understand.4

So begin collating the data points from your website’s contact forms, your company’s social platforms and the lead scoring/profiling data with which your teams populate your CRM, sales, sales enablement and marketing automation applications.

Interpreting the Data

Julia McCoy, posting on the CMI website, 5 suggests looking through the propect’s lens for this. “Take a walk in the user’s shoes,” she says.

And, because the data you’ll unearth is likely to be voluminous, PureB2B EVP Johanna Rivard6 shares an astute tip on how to pick up the thread. Ask “Why?” she advises; don’t start with the “What?” Ask questions such as: Why is the prospect team visiting these web pages? How did they get to those websites? What are they learning from those websites?

McCoy breaks those questions down one level further. Figure out, she says, if your prospect executive is looking specifically to buy right away, to gather information, to have some questions answered or to zero in on a page they’d seen earlier.

What to track

A three-year-old post by Hubsell CEO Karan Sharma7 still holds up today. Sharma identifies common keywords and key phrases that can help point you to prospects moving from initial consideration to active evaluation and purchase readiness, or transitioning from research to purchasing decision. Since Sharma’s list (as he himself implies) is hardly exhaustive, brainstorming with your ABM team should harvest a host of other search words and phrases.

Most senior executives on your customer team are well-networked on social media with their peers in other organizations. So you should also expect to do some social listening on their queries as they reach out to their connections. Social media marketing pro Robert Caruso, in his readable and enlightening Fondalo post, 8 suggests artificial intelligence-powered semantic search solutions – IBM Watson for large enterprises, and nmodes for SMBs. (Click the nmodes link in Caruso’s post and check out their blog sometime.)

The Tracking Technology

Analytics tools to deploy on the web, mobile and social properties you own could be a reasonable starting point. But, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, you’ll need to track metadata from device identifiers, not cookies, in today’s world of rapidly-proliferating mobile devices.9 And, says Futurum Research Principal Analyst Daniel Newman, 10 you’ll also need to clean up your data act.

What’s more, a truly effective data strategy to address your organization’s ABM needs requires thinking along the lines of a customer data platform (CDP).11

Give us a shout at http://www.regalix.com/contactus/ if you’d like to chat us up on your options.

References:

1 . http://www.regalix.com/by_regalix/insights/articles/focused-conversations-key-accounts/
2 . The Oxford-based Oxford College of Marketing makes a fine but useful distinction between behavior and intent: see http://blog.oxfordcollegeofmarketing.com/2014/03/27/why-marketers-should-be-focusing-on-intent-not-behaviour/
3 . http://www.harveststrat.com/buyer-intent-data/
4 . To give you a flavor, Kapost’s Jean Spencer runs through four she’s chosen (see https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/241534) although a number of alternatives exist, based on your company’s specific needs, size, and budget
5. http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2017/03/user-intent-seo/
6 . https://pureb2b.com/blog/using-buyer-intent-drive-marketing-efforts/
7 . https://www.quora.com/How-do-you-identify-keywords-with-purchase-intent
8 . http://fondalo.com/how-to-use-social-media-listening-for-buyer-intent/
9 . https://www.iab.com/insights/cookies-on-mobile-101/ has a primer but www.iab.com has loads more stuff
10. https://www.forbes.com/sites/danielnewman/2015/08/11/can-we-really-use-big-data-to-measure-buyer-intent/#797775103e72
11. The CDP Institute website is worth bookmarking; and don’t miss RedPoint Global VP of Strategy & Market Development John Nash’s easy-to-read overview at https://blog.cdpinstitute.org/Blog.html/Why_is_a_Customer_Data_Platform_Important/Blog216

 

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