The key to success in modern marketing and sales is having insight into your prospects’ behavior first AND acting on it first. To accomplish this goal, B2B marketing and sales professionals must adapt to the new way B2B buyers make purchasing decisions. But how do you make sense of a highly fragmented process that takes months and moves across devices, website properties and many different types of content?
B2B companies have responded to the modern buying journey by investing in inbound marketing strategies mixed with various forms of data enrichment. On the content side, marketing teams focus on creating engaging stories and collateral to drive prospects to their online properties. On the data side, marketers work with partners to append, enrich and qualify the data prospects share with them when they’ve entered their marketing automation platform through these gated properties.
The reality is that this approach isn’t working. If the only intelligence your marketing and sales team sees is that of data captured by your marketing automation system, you’re missing a whole world of data and buying behavior.
The key to success in modern marketing and sales is having insight into your prospects’ behavior first AND acting on it first.
Here are the 3 reasons B2B marketers simply can’t afford to ignore the importance of data and buying signals in today’s digital landscape.
The Rise of Intent Data
Many marketing and sales leaders still focus on demographic data to fuel their strategy, decision-making and campaigns. Companies invest large portions of their marketing budgets to enrich and append static firmographic data like company revenue, employee count, industry and tech stack, to determine which accounts they should pursue. In more advanced cases, companies track trigger events like product releases, HR announcements and rounds of investment.
Inevitably these initiatives deliver lackluster results, because they miss the importance of timing. Intent data refers to behavioral signals left on the internet by prospects researching topics relevant to the business challenges they’re seeking a solution for. Intent data, paired with demographics, can help marketing teams identify accounts that not only have a profile fit, but have entered a buying cycle for their products and services.
If the only intelligence your marketing and sales team sees is that of data captured by your marketing automation system, you’re missing a whole world of data and buying behavior.
B2B Data Networks
Intent data has gained traction and proved its importance in large part because it has reached a critical mass. B2B publisher networks, product review sites, industry blogs and search logs now account for over 70% of B2B decision-makers’ buying journey. Ignoring this source of data is no longer an option for companies in competitive and highly considered markets.
The sites that make up B2B data networks are creating a tapestry of traceable behavior across the internet. If before intent data was too few and too disparate to be utilized for marketing and sales, today it can be connected and analyzed to discover patterns of buying intent. Those companies that are ready to incorporate behavioral buying signals into their marketing and sales are on the edge of the next big competitive advantage in B2B.
Time-Based Predictive Intelligence
The rise of intent data and the B2B data networks that allow its aggregation have been met with an important technological innovation. Machine learning and predictive modeling are allowing companies to make sense of complex and diverse data sets of buyer activity. Finding patterns in behavioral data aggregated to an account level allows marketing and sales teams to find target companies that are in an active buying cycle for their products and services.
It is the key addition of timing, to marketing and sales strategy and execution, that is changing the way B2B businesses think about pursuing and winning business. Marketing and sales can now speak directly to existing business challenges and address the expressed concerns of your target prospects. This opens a new world of relevance and customer focus that helps companies enter buying cycles early, accelerate time to close and increase average deal sizes.
To learn more, download our guide, Buying Signals in the Era of Predictive Intelligence.