At this point, the benefits of account-based marketing are clear. Focusing your resources on a target set of accounts and utilizing specific, personalized approaches to engage decision-makers in target companies is the best way for your marketing and sales teams to spend their time and hit revenue goals.
While organizations see value in moving towards an account-based approach, many still aren’t sure how to operationalize an ABM program. One big challenge many organizations are facing is that they don’t have adequate data on their prospects’ interests and intentions.
“For ABM practitioners, being able to go beyond the account to the contact level is critically important to drive deeper relevance and specificity,” said Matt Senatore, research director, SiriusDecisions.
To implement a successful ABM program, you need to have a lot of insights on your target accounts and the people within them. But getting intelligence on your buyers at scale is tough.
Today, many vendors in the B2B data space are calling themselves Account Based Marketing solution providers. Many companies, including DemandBase, LeadSpace, Lattice Engines, EverString, Infer, 6Sense, and Mintigo, can help you identify the set of companies or accounts you should go after and provide valuable account-level data points such as technologies installed on your target accounts’ websites.
But once you’ve identified which accounts to go after, you still need to figure out the right contacts to reach out to, have relevant content to offer them and figure out when it makes sense for either your Marketing or Sales team to reach out.
Third party intent data can help you on all these fronts.
What is third party intent data?
Third party intent data is information on what professionals are reading, searching for, and talking about on the broader web outside of your owned digital properties.
Broadly speaking, there are two types of intent data providers: company level intent data providers and individual contact level intent data providers. These two types of providers take very different approaches when it comes to data collection.
Company or account level intent data providers
Companies like Bombora, The Big Willow, TechTarget and IDG and 6Sense can provide B2B publication and content consumption data.
Certain publishers in the B2B marketing space like TechTarget.com, CIO.com and Forbes have opened up their terms of service and are selling visitor data to data providers.
In some cases, the data provider maintains their own taxonomy and standardizes the articles they process into a set of topics (i.e. Business Analytics, Business Enablement, Demand Generation, etc.). In other cases, the customer can ask the data provider to track specific keywords and topics.
Knowing which companies or accounts are reading a lot of content on a topic in your space can help you identify the best accounts to engage with right now. You can take this list of companies and target them with specific advertising, or build email segments or nurture tracks based on who is showing interest in a certain topic. By honing in on a focused group of accounts, you can increase conversion rates on your ads and emails as well as the ROI on your media spend.
Contact Level Intent Data Provider
While other intent data providers track user activities through web-based cookies, Socedo uses public social media activity as the basis for our intent data.
At this point, many professionals go on Twitter and LinkedIn to read and share articles and content on business issues. They are following brands and influencers in their business space. These types of social media activities help us understand people’s interests and buying intentions.
Here at Socedo, we’ve developed technology to track all types of Twitter activities and match these activities to the leads in your database. For example, we can tell you who in your database just used the hashtag of an upcoming industry conference in a Tweet, who just mentioned a topic you care about, or who just followed one of your competitors on Twitter.
You can use this type of data to identify the right individuals to contact, group accounts into different campaign tracks, and figure out what content to create based on people’s interests. Last but not least, you can use this data to revive dormant prospects and reach out to them at the right time.
Below, we’ll demonstrate these use cases with Socedo’s own data.
Understanding the individuals in your target accounts
Our marketing team tracks activities including Twitter follows, mentions and retweets around hot topics, events, conferences, key technologies and competitors in our space. On a weekly basis, we’re seeing close to 3,000 leads generating over 10,000 activities on our tracked keywords.
At this point, we’re tracking just over 40 signals including follows of branded Twitter handles and influencers, keywords and hashtags. Here is a snapshot of our data from a seven-day time period.
Figuring out the influencers in your target accounts
We can see which handles our leads are following the most. If you have contact to account mapping already implemented, you can also see which handles your target accounts are engaging with the most.
In our case, we found some surprises. Prior to this analysis, we did not know that people in our database care about predictive analytics because we don’t have any blog posts, e-books, or webinars on the topic. It’s interesting to see that people are following some of the hot players in the predictive analytics space like @Leadspace, @6Sense, and @EverString.
This is an early sign that our audience is thinking about lead and account prioritization and how they can get higher quality leads through more targeted marketing efforts. This is a sign that we may want to talk more about predictive analytics ourselves.
Analyzing social media activities around certain keywords also helps us figure out what topics and hashtags our accounts care about the most.
[The chart on the left shows the number of users engaging with each hashtag or keyword. The right-side chart shows how many times each hashtag has been used]
Based on this information, we can start to group companies and contacts into different topical campaign tracks. In this case, we found that there is a significant amount of activities around a competitor handle – InsightPool.
Now, we can create a list that includes just the companies and contacts who have engaged with InsightPool in a time period (i.e. past week), who are in a certain buying stage, and put them into a particular email campaign that highlights our product differences.
For example, we could send this group an email that features a report written by an industry analyst that talks about vendors in our space that includes both Socedo and InsightPool. If we have a case study on a customer who switched to our product after using a competitor’s product, I could send this group the case study.
Understanding Buyer Interests on an Account Level
With this data, we can also start to understand the specific interests of stakeholders in my target accounts.
For example, here at Socedo, we have a number of contacts from Marketo. We can see that our contacts are engaged with Marketo but they’re also interested in ABM, Content Marketing and content from Sirius Decisions.
Use social data to coordinate touchpoints between Marketing and Sales
Knowing what your prospects and target accounts are doing on social media can help you revive prospects who have become dormant. When a good lead shows an interest in your space by tweeting about relevant a brand or topic, it gives your marketing team and Sales Development Representatives (SDR) team a reason to reach out.
Here is a real-life story of how we converted Anna, a cold lead from a target account, into an Opportunity based on her social media actions.
Anna is a Marketing Manager at a tech company. She has the right job title and works at a company we want to sell to. Anna got into our database from a third-party list purchase in June of 2016. We knew that Anna’s company uses Marketo and we put Anna on an email nurture track for Marketo users. Anna started receiving weekly emails from us starting in June 2016. She only opened one email sometime in August but never clicked on any links in those emails. Anna did not visit our website once between June and December of 2016.
Since Anna had not shown any interest in our content, we did not have a reason to reach out to her. However, our marketing automation platform was listening for keywords like Marketo and the Marketing Nation Summit Hashtag #MKTGNation (Marketo’s annual customer conference). Whenever a lead tweets about Marketo, they immediately receive an email that links to a recent article we published on the Marketo blog.
On the morning of December 16th, 2016, Anna tweeted about going to Marketing Nation Summit in 2017 and received this real-time email triggered by her Tweet.
Anna opened this email and clicked on the blog post link ten minutes after it was sent. A bit later that day, she also visited our website for the first time.
Because we are lead scoring actions including email clicks, website visits and social media activities on Twitter, Anna’s lead score increased above our Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) threshold and she was passed as a lead to one of our SDR reps.
This rep – Terah – reached out to Anna on the same day with another email that references Anna’s tweet about Marketo.
Anna responded to this email right away and asked to join a demo call for the following week.
Give SDRs and Sales Reps Easy Access to Lead’s Social Media Activities
Here at Socedo, we give our sales reps insights into their leads’ activities so that they can find the best angle to reach out to their leads. We use Marketo’s “Interesting Moments” to sync certain types of lead actions from Marketo into Salesforce CRM. Sales reps are able to see each lead’s last relevant tweet in a Salesforce field. Because Terah could see Anna’s most recent tweet, Terah was able to craft a personalized email that that references Anna’s tweet about Marketo and catches Anna’s attention.
By tracking your contacts’ actions on Twitter, you will gain a better understanding of who to reach out to, what content is likely to resonate, and what to say to get decision-makers’ attention. By using intent data from social media, you can reach out to prospects when they are showing interest in your space and influence buyers earlier in the buying cycle.
Want to learn more about how to use social media activities to operationalize an ABM program? Check out this on-demand webinar.
Ready to see how you can use intent data from the social web to reach your prospects? Test out our free trial and we’ll get in touch with you.