7 Ways to Use ABM and Intent Data Together
It’s no secret that winning brands are leveraging intent data throughout the buyer’s journey. From gaining access to rich signals of in-market buyers to incorporating such data in marketing and sales platforms, organizations can quickly identify and reach prospects and build stronger relationships.
Downstream intent data can be particularly powerful when combined with account-based marketing (ABM), a strategy that emphasizes focusing on a limited number of high-value prospects and customers in lieu of more general campaigns.
Buying behavior has evolved dramatically, and the ability of ABM marketers to find and target buyers using intent data has also evolved. In the past, third-party intent data was used mostly. The intent signals are topical or driven by keyword searches and often aggregated and probabilistic, which is great for scaling top-of-funnel activity. Now we have second-party data, which is more accurate in terms of surfacing in-market buyers but some second–data providers still model in topical data meaning buyer’s might not be ready to make a purchase.
Now, with downstream intent data, a form of second-party data, brands can identify accounts showing signs that they are much closer to a purchase. You can now see which accounts are researching detailed information, such as specific products, pricing, and competitors, to build a healthy pipeline of qualified buyers much more likely to convert.
Let’s take a look at how you can use intent data to gain a comprehensive understanding of your customer and their journey as part of your overall ABM strategy.
1. Offering a personalized, efficient approach to outreach
At its core, ABM is based on marketing and sales teams working together to identify high-value accounts and then acting strategically to convert those accounts to customers. An approach based on downstream intent data can ensure that some of the most valuable prospects are included in outreach efforts and that those efforts address the needs of potential customers.
Broad awareness campaigns can be an excellent way for brands to introduce a product or service, but they often involve a lot of wasted ad spend. By applying insights from downstream intent data, your sales teams and business development representatives (BDRs) can target users who are showing signs of being in-market—and do so with the knowledge of what those users are already researching. This gives brands the ability to connect with users in a more personal and meaningful way, creating a better experience for all parties.
Downstream intent data can be one of the strongest indications that a user is in-market for a product or a service, but it’s even more useful when combined with additional data sets and tools. To take full advantage of downstream intent data, brands must incorporate the insights gained throughout all stages of the buyer’s journey to help develop new business while maintaining existing customer relationships.
For example, pairing TrustRadius downstream intent data with third-party intent data gives brands the ability to run campaigns more efficiently. TrustRadius data is excellent for identifying accounts that are already solution and product aware. At the same time, third-party intent data can help you reach and nurture a broader audience of potential buyers who haven’t yet reached that stage.
By leveraging multiple data sets, brands can reach a wider audience while meeting customers where they are in their journey and provide personalized information at the right time.
2. Improving sales and deal intelligence
Downstream intent data helps brands better understand their customers and their sales lifecycles. Of course, recognizing user intention is essential, but intent data can also help companies understand which actions users take before, during, and after their purchase.
For example, sales teams can utilize TrustRadius downstream intent data to uncover insights into how best to position themselves. Suppose a salesperson is already engaged in a deal cycle with a company. In that case, TrustRadius’ data can validate the purchase intent of the opportunity and give the salesperson insight into how to best position themselves against the competition.
3. Letting customers sell to potential customers
Consumers are exposed to countless marketing and advertising efforts daily, and they can easily become jaded or skeptical about a company’s claims about its products or services.
Our 2022 B2B Buying Disconnect: The Age of the Self-Serve Buyer report found that 41% of Gen Z and 29% of millennials named “check review sites” as their first step in the buying journey. Buyers trust their peers ahead of other sources, especially a salesperson. So it stands to reason that a salesperson who effectively uses the voice of the customer to support their claims is more likely to be trusted.
Using customer reviews in a scalable, authentic fashion can be more valuable for sales teams than case studies or anecdotal evidence. This approach lets prospects hear directly from real customers about their unique experiences and what sold them or didn’t. For example, brands on TrustRadius can launch ad campaigns leveraging social proof, such as customer quotes from reviews and awards, as validation for their potential customers.
4. Leveraging insights against the competition
Not only can downstream intent data give brands insight into potential customers and how they interact with the brand, it can also provide a better understanding of how those prospects engage with competitors and their products.
Savvy organizations can build proactive strategies for engaging with those users early in the buyer’s journey, creating more time to inform, build relationships with, and influence those prospects. For instance, if a brand notices a buyer is heavily researching its category on TrustRadius, it can include that buyer in a targeted ad campaign boasting positive customer reviews. Since this buyer was already visiting TrustRadius, they’re likely confident in TrustRadius-hosted reviews, so amplifying the voices of real customers contributes to that sense of authenticity and validation.
5. Speeding up the buying cycle
Downstream intent data can help brands score, segment, and prioritize accounts based on recent behavior. This helps sales teams focus on the lowest-hanging fruit for quick closes, while marketing can identify accounts earlier in the journey for additional nurturing. Having a better understanding of where a buyer is in their journey and their exposure to a brand, product, or service allows companies to create timely messaging to meet prospective buyers where they are and deliver messaging based on their needs.
6. Combining multiple intent data sources
Leveraging multiple intent data sources, like TrustRadius and 6sense, allows brands to create more advanced segmentation and more relevant and engaging customer experiences. Valuable downstream intent signals can complement third-party intent data for topic-level research or be incorporated into advertising campaigns targeting in-market buyers and buyers considering competitors.
Marketing and sales teams can also access deal intelligence from TrustRadius in their 6sense timeline and Salesforce iframe to see how often an existing account researches its brand and what information they’re reviewing including what competitors the buyer is considering. All of these options help brands empower sales and BDR teams to prospect based on the in-market actions buyers are taking on review sites like TrustRadius.
7. Pairing downstream intent data with CRM
Pairing downstream intent data with your customer relationship management (CRM) software helps you better recognize and understand buyer behavior throughout the stages of the buyer’s journey. Lead management and customer segmentation can be improved when sales and marketing teams use downstream intent data to identify in-market buyers to target.
Once these buyers are converted, brands can use their CRM and intent data to continue interacting and further strengthen the relationship. This creates ongoing sales opportunities for retention and expansion and gives the brand a competitive edge.
Not all intent data is created equal
When paired with quality downstream intent data, ABM can be more effective and deliver personalized messaging to the right audience at the right time. However, it’s important to remember that not all intent data is created equal. Some users may appear interested in a product or service but are not in-market—at least not yet. Rich downstream intent signals from sources such as TrustRadius can help paint a more accurate picture for brands looking for the buyers closest to purchase. When combined with additional data and resources, brands have the tools they need to fill their pipeline with qualified buyers ready to convert.