abm strategy

Imprivata Shows How Intent Powers a Comprehensive ABM Strategy

Featuring Craig Weiss, COO of True Influence.

Marketing success must be measured, and last month I discussed a few key metrics that dramatically improve after you implement third-party Intent Data monitoring services, like our own InsightBASE account acceleration platform.

But none of these metrics, in isolation, translate into the ultimate payoff of higher Return on Investment (ROI) for marketing and sales budgets. As I said, that requires a “long haul” commitment to Intent as part of a disciplined Account-Based Marketing (ABM) strategy to identify, nurture and win new B2B business.

It’s good to be proven right.

Imprivata’s Intent Program Comes of Age

Our customer Imprivata, a healthcare IT security firm, was recognized with the 2018 Return on Integration (ROI) Award in the category of demand creation and lead management at last month’s SiriusDecisions 2018 Summit.

It was a big win for us at True Influence, as well – as our CRO Ken Stout reports, our booth at the show was overrun with visitors following Imprivata’s presentation on how third-party Intent monitoring helped fuel a successful overhaul of its Marketing and Sales operations.

Note that Imprivata wasn’t recognized specifically for a huge jump in e-mail response rates or higher MQL to SQL conversion – although there’s absolutely nothing wrong with growing either of those metrics. It was recognized for overall return on a 12-18 month project that encompassed all its ABM strategies, an overhaul of its martech stack, and optimization of nearly every process involved in identifying and converting business.

Intent played a key role at several steps along the way. But it’s the integrated, holistic approach that Intent enables that ultimately results in higher revenues and better ROI.

How Imprivata Did It

Lynne Powers, Imprivata’s Director of Demand Generation, and Naomi Marr, Imprivata’s Director of Marketing Operations, presented a detailed look at the last 12 to 16 months of optimizing their overall Marketing and Sales operations, including implementation of third-party Intent monitoring with InsightBASE.

A critical point to note here is that Imprivata builds out its revenue strategy based on insights from Sales, under the assumption that Sales knows more than Marketing about what is going on in named accounts in its fairly well-defined, health-care based market. “They (Sales) are the ones hearing the whispers inside the doors,” as Powers put it.

Sales sets the product strategy and customer challenge, and Marketing creates flows in various systems that build out the journey. This includes scoring mechanisms and executables such as email campaigns, banner advertising, and demo and geo targeting.

At the highest level, Imprivata was looking for additional data to ensure that the strategies Sales defined were being backed up by behavioral info, in addition to the most obvious benchmark of booked deals. It wanted to create checkpoints to either validate a strategy or help define a new path.

Intent gave them that ability. “It’s not a silver bullet, but it feels a little bit like a crystal ball,” Powers said in the presentation, “because this isn’t information that you had before.”

Answering the Big Questions

Imprivata took on the major challenge to replace its entire tech stack, swapping out nearly every application for a number of business reasons, mostly relating to shoehorned data and a hodge-podge of outdated business process. At the same time, it decided to completely devote itself to a revamped ABM strategy based on SiriusDecisions methodologies. Imprivata wanted big results and was willing to invest in a comprehensive program to get them.

The scope and design of the project alone took about five months and included stakeholders from across the organization, from sales operations, marketing operations, demand gen and the field sales team.

The projects main objectives were to:

• Realize efficiencies and process improvements from the tech stack overhaul
• Get a clearer picture of how to measure success and progress across all functions
• Create improved accountably though these more clearly-defined processes and measurements
• Develop a better end-user experience

A key component of the project was incorporating Intent signal monitoring, which has been identified as a requirement by SiriusDecisions in its Demand Unit Waterfall methodology for ABM. Imprivata integrated InsightBASE signal data with SalesForce, passing identifiers such as name and domain, as well as clout ranking established in strategies set by Sales. Intent drives a process they call “forensic marketing” – the Marketing team sees activity within named accounts and makes recommendations.

As Imprivata designed its project, stakeholders continued to run into these key questions:

1. Does intent data help define ABM strategies?
2. Can Intent data identify trends in need of sales and marketing action?
3. How does Intent data help put the right products in front of the right people at the right time?
4. How can Intent data be used to determine targets, interest areas and levels of interest?
5. Where does Intent data fit into the new SiriusDecisions waterfall and the marketing tech stack?

In each area, Intent quickly proved its value, pushing ahead the award-winning initiative.

Intent at Work

An ABM pilot in October quickly answered how Intent can help define ABM strategies. The marketing team found that third-party Intent signals began to spike at a key targeted account at the same time Imprivata was sending out messaging about a key product offering. Analysis of these third-party spikes lead the Marketing team to conclude that the account was doing due diligence on the purchase decision and had found an alternate solution, a conclusion that was confirmed through other intelligence channels.

The ABM strategy adjusted, and the resulting added opportunity now puts the account at $1.8 million.

Powers added that she believes Imprivata is one of the few businesses currently doing such “trending” analysis on third-party Intent signals over time — other B2B sellers tend to view individual Intent spikes as a real-time trigger for Marketing or Sales activity. Imprivata is a powerful use case – as I mentioned in my post last month, when your team sends out on-target messaging, it’s going to affect the search and content consumption activity at your best accounts, both on your own sites and across the web. Keeping an eye on the trends in third-party Intent signals lets you know how you are impacting the entire conversation.

On the question of how to put the right product in front of right person, Powers and Marr shared the story of an existing Imprivata customer, a 160-hospital network that already contributes a lot of business. However, Imprivata was not currently marketing its solution for electronic prescribing of controlled substances to this customer. Marketing noticed related Intent signal interest within the account; Marketing suggested to Sales that it might want to start chatting up the product; and an opportunity for the deal was added to the pipeline.

Intent acted “as something of a secret weapon,” Powers said, when Marketing saw 700 spikes of Intent on an account that was currently not in the pipeline. Marketing dropped a note to Sales and it engaged – a pretty clear example of how Intent can identify trends and help set targets based on interest level.

In each case, Intent helped Imprivata refine its ABM programs and push toward new business, which is how you realize ROI on what really must be a major investment.

“Just Scratching the Surface”

Imprivata is “just scratching the surface,” Marr said, when it comes to analyzing Intent data to refine its ABM programs. I should stress again that Imprivata is using Intent primarily as a tool for validating and optimizing its Sales-driven strategies – not as triggers for automated marketing or sales activities (although with integration into Salesforce, that’s definitely a possibility). For Imprivata, Intent is key for pushing accounts into its opportunity stage.

This fits nicely into Imprivata’s final question, about where Intent fits into the SiriusDecisions waterfall – the consultancy itself has identified Intent as being essential in the Active Demand phase, where accounts are identified and strategically prioritized.

Intent intelligence has given Marketing a kind of “street cred” with Sales, Marr added, and improved collaboration between the two teams, which is always a plus.

For us at True Influence, it’s obviously great to see one of customers being honored for successfully implementing our product. Personally, I also find it gratifying to see Intent data monitoring and analysis recognized as a long-term, strategic advantage for realizing the highest returns from a comprehensive ABM program.

It’s a lot of work, but it’s proving to be well worth it.

If you’re ready to learn more — and to get some practical advice on adding intent data to your marketing strategy, download a copy of our ebook Quick Start Guide to Intent-Based Marketing.

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