Guesswork to Science: How to Fix B2B Lead Generation With Intent Signals

 In B2B Marketing, Data Science

Wasted marketing budgets fueled by spray-and-pray marketing tactics. Low marketing-to-sales lead conversions. Poor alignment between sales and marketing teams.

Do these scenarios sound familiar to you? I’d bet yes, because what I’ve described is all too familiar. The B2B lead generation process in its current state is broken.

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I’ve worked in the big data analytics space for over fourteen years. During that time I’ve heard from a diverse range of enterprise companies about their lead generation pain points. The three I’ve outlined above are among the most common, but it’s certainly not an exhaustive list. Whether it’s marketing or sales, the core of the issue for B2B lead generation is guesswork.

Consider the number of tactics in enterprise sales and marketing that are born out of a gut feeling: sales representatives often rely on instinct to determine which leads to pursue. Marketing guesses which nurture content will be best suited for a certain type of prospect.

What resources have been wasted on targeting the wrong buyers, who don’t have an immediate need to buy certain products? How many deals have been lost to competitors? And most importantly—how much more money would companies make (and save) if they replaced guesswork with data-fueled predictive intelligence about their next buyers?

b2b lead generation

Say hello to the Predictive Age. Today we have access to a huge amount of data about our businesses and customers–90 percent of which was created only in the last two years, according to ScienceDaily (a fact that was quoted in Marc Benioff’s Dreamforce keynote this year). Most B2B companies are increasingly investing in solutions that can help them interpret that data to make better choices and inform strategies. And increasingly, business leaders are starting to understand that there are subtle (yet critical) differences between the types of data used in predictive sales and marketing models.

Let’s revisit the first three pain points. Here’s how 6sense is providing relief to its customers:

 1.     Wasted budgets fueled by spray-and-pray marketing tactics

Bombarding the masses with un-targeted ads and emails benefits no one—neither the individuals on the receiving end nor the organizations sending them. For corporations, every ad viewed by a non-potential buyer is a wasted dollar (and an annoyed potential future buyer). Tapping into prospects’ intent activity data allows marketers to know exactly where their prospects are in their buyer’s journey and when they will have a need. 6sense’s customers use this data to target the top of the funnel, for example, and deliver relevant ads to accounts that are truly in the awareness stage doing research.

2.     Low marketing-to-sales qualified lead conversions

According to IDG Enterprise, one of the biggest challenges facing B2B marketers is generating and handing over high-quality leads to sales teams. In fact, 79 percent of MQLs never actually convert into actual sales (MarketingSherpa). Our approach goes beyond current lead scoring solutions and taps into activity intent data that indicate which prospects are actively researching solutions in the near term. A Fortune 500 customer of ours increased MQL-to-SQL conversions by 450x by knowing which prospects were close to a sale (and why), and effectively nurturing and closing those leads.

 3.     Inadequate alignment between sales and marketing teams

Sales believes that marketing doesn’t hand over enough high-quality leads. And marketing doesn’t get feedback on the leads that were delivered. The fact is corporations need their marketing and sales teams to be aligned; revenues depend on it. 6sense goes a long way to get marketing and sales on the same page. Both teams benefit from a clear picture of where prospects are in the buying cycle; all net-new accounts; and the reasoning behind an account or contact’s score (which informs the cadence and type of communication).

It’s time we stop the guesswork in B2B lead generation and hold marketers accountable for revenues. The way to achieve this? Let data drive our businesses forward.


This post originally appeared on Online Marketing Institute.

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