intent signal

Intent Signal Monitoring Proving Its Value in Maturing Programs

Featuring Ken Stout, CRO of True Influence.

When we launched our InsightBASE account acceleration platform back in January 2016, we were a little ahead of the curve in recognizing the impact third-party intent data signal monitoring would have on B2B sales and marketing.

But if attendee interest at the recent SiriusDecisions 2018 Summit is any indication, the industry is catching up, and quickly.

At this year’s show, held last month in Las Vegas, most attendees I spoke with had a solid understanding that intent monitoring systems essentially “listen” across the internet for signals that an account is researching topics relating to your product or services, indicating an intent to purchase. They also knew that leading industry experts, including conference host SiriusDecisions, are all in on the importance of intent monitoring in fueling Account-Based Marketing (ABM) strategies.

They get the big picture.

This year, attendees wanted to learn about the nuts and bolts of how intent can transform their own businesses.

It’s a great sign for us, and a noticeable change from just a couple years ago, when to many folks “intent” was just the latest buzzword. It’s also a validation of our belief that that third-party intent data is essential to B2B sales and marketing.

The interest has always been there – back in 2016, launching InsightBASE gave us the biggest quarter-over-quarter growth in our history at that time – but as with all the latest, greatest martech, there’s been some confusion. My own sales team at True Influence has found itself cutting through a lot of noise surrounding about intent’s real potential.

But now, we can discuss actual results. And they are impressive.

We hate to brag, but…

The True Influence booth was overrun with attendees immediately after our customer Imprivata, a healthcare data security firm, was recognized with the 2018 Return on Integration (ROI) Award in the category of demand creation and lead management.

In its presentation, Imprivata cited InsightBase and intent monitoring as a key factor in its ability to overhaul its ABM programs and implement the SiriusDecisions Demand Unit Waterfall framework.

Everyone wanted more details on how Imprivata did it. Remember, SiriusDecisions has identified intent monitoring as essential in the Active Demand stage of its Demand Unit Waterfall – this a was key step in intent monitoring’s rising profile.

Imprivata was able to realize incredible results by committing to implement intent data across its marketing and sales efforts to put the right products in front of the right people. It took 12 to 18 months and a complete overhaul of the company’s martech stack to fully embrace its new ABM philosophy, but it paid off in happier customers and higher profits.

Imprivata’s success story is impressive, but it’s not unique. Our customer Bulldog Solutions, a tech marketing firm based in Austin, co-presented with our CMO Janet Rubio about how coupling intent data and personalized video lifted its e-mail click-through rates jump between 300 percent to 1000 percent on select campaigns.

As first-generation intent monitoring implementations mature, we are going to see even more success stories like those at Imprivata and Bulldog. Adoption is still in its early stages – only 25 percent of B2B sellers said they were currently using intent data and monitoring tools in Demand Gen Report’s most recent annual ABM Benchmark Survey Report. But 35 percent of respondents said they plan to adopt intent within the next 12 months.

Last fall, Martech Today proclaimed that intent is “ROI’s hottest up-and-coming power source”. And that’s not just noise. As more intent-driven ABM programs mature, we will continue to see remarkable results that map directly to ROI, which as I’ve said before is the only meaningful measurement of sales and marketing success.

A Comprehensive Approach

Moving forward, I think B2B sellers will mirror Imprivata’s integrated strategy of implementing intent as a key component of a comprehensive marketing and sales strategy.

Strategically, it means using the intelligence offered by intent to every aspect of your communication with prospects and customers. As I told attendees at the SiriusDecisions Summit, the key areas where intent is paying big dividends are:

Identifying prospect accounts you may not be aware of. Bulldog Solutions noted that they used intent signal monitoring to find accounts within industries, such as transportation, that they typically would not have considered for their wildly successful marketing campaigns. Bulldog also identified strong interest in larger organizations than they typically sell to.

Intent monitoring gives you a fact-based picture of the entire market, not just accounts that you’ve already prospected or have made your named list based on presumed fit or plain old wishful thinking.

Aligning Marketing and Sales. Recognizing the difference between a basic level of interest and actual purchase intent is the key to ensuring that SQLs are truly sales “qualified.” Broadening your market intelligence to include activity across the entire internet will hone your funnel and ensure prospect stages are correctly identified.

Prioritizing your list of named accounts. You have a limited amount of sales resources and can’t afford to pursue phone or in-person calls if an account is not primed for the contact. Intent is a key factor in prioritizing you call lists. Spikes (and even lulls) in intent activity can signal it’s time to Sales to reach out.

Optimize every piece of content and messaging. Content personalization in marketing campaigns is essential – see to Bulldog’s 1000 percent increase in email response rates, as just one example. And the imperative to get the correct message in from of the right people extends throughout the sales process. Last month I discussed the need for sales team members to be subject matter experts, not only about your product but also the needs of your prospect buyer. Intent signal monitoring helps your craft presentation tailored a buyer’s specific challenges and purchase journey.

Intent is Just Getting Started

After a couple years of talking about the potential of intent data to transform B2B sales and marketing, it’s gratifying to see mature intent-based ABM programs paying off in a big way. And I expect more compelling case studies in the months to come.

I’m looking forward to future SiriusDecision Summits, where I expect to talk with attendees about how to expand their already successful intent-based strategies.

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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