Let me talk to you for a moment about relationships. When you’re young, you may not take things too seriously. You can still “play the field” and it could be too early to look for that “special someone.” However, as you get older, things slow down; you start thinking seriously about who your partner might be; you’re more selective; you consider a whole other set of characteristics.
And if you think about it, this is exactly what you’re doing as a b2b marketer.
Some b2b marketers don’t discriminate about their leads. They blast their message to everybody in their ecosystem, hoping something sticks. Others are more serious about their lead generation, choosing accounts and targeting the those with job titles that match their criteria.
Still others are even more selective, seeking out only the accounts that are expressing interest in them. In dating, we’ve all had the experience of pursuing someone who simply had no interest in us. And we know how much time that wastes.
When’s the next date?
One of the key promises of Account Based Marketing is that it keeps you from wasting time and money. It brings the focus and efficiency of targeting only the accounts you want. But it’s more complex than just identifying your ideal accounts. When you’re dating for a serious purpose, you try to find common ground, identify synergies, make connections that can light up an interaction and forge a deeper relationship.
It’s true of Account Based Marketing too. The average size of today’s buying committee is more than five individuals at multiple functional levels. Directors. Managers. The CIO. The CMO. All these folks have a say in the purchasing decision, so you need to connect with them all if you are to build a strong relationship.
But how? Target this group by IP and you will reach them, but you’re wasting the message on the hundreds of others who share that IP. Target them by job title and you’ll risk missing the crucial individual who is the likely entry point for your message.
Do they like me?
That movie star that you say you’re in love with? That model on the cover of the magazine? Forget about it. That person is not interested in you. Neither is every account.
All’s fair in love and marketing. You have the right and obligation to pursue the relationships most appealing to you. But in both love and marketing, there sometimes comes a point when you have to admit that it isn’t working and you have to move on. In love, this wastes time. In marketing, this wastes money.
In pursuit of romance, lovers may consult a psychic to find the perfect match. But what can b2b marketers do?
What are their intentions?
There is no such thing as magic when it comes to b2b marketing. There is only data.
As we have seen, both IP targeting and functional targeting have their liabilities. By contrast, intent data is a powerful way to target exactly who is researching products and services like yours at a given account. That marketing manager who downloaded a white paper and then watched a webinar about CRM is demonstrating intent. If you’re a CRM vendor, you want to reach her, along with her boss and the IT guy who is also doing research on the same topic.
What’s more, intent keeps you from chasing down your ideal accounts when they clearly aren’t exhibiting any interest in you. Instead you can concentrate on only those accounts showing the most propensity to buy. Intent eliminates waste, giving you the ability to sharpen and customize your message. In dating terms, intent data helps you take a casual situation to the next level.
Yes, intent data is a powerful tool for b2b marketers. But for those of us wondering if the latest sex symbol harbors some secret desire…intent data is simply not there yet.
If you want to learn more about intent-driven account based marketing, download our whitepaper: Account Based Marketing: Targeting With Intent.