Qualtrics Eliminates Guesswork & Scales with Confidence Using 6sense

Over 20 years ago, Ryan Smith and his father, Scott, saw the need for an easy-to-use online survey tool for businesses and universities. The duo began building Qualtrics in their...

Qualtrics

Over 20 years ago, Ryan Smith and his father, Scott, saw the need for an easy-to-use online survey tool for businesses and universities. The duo began building Qualtrics in their basement. Today, with 5,000 employees and 16,000 customers, Qualtrics’ signature Experience Management (XM) platform is the No. 1 solution to enhance customer, employee, product, and brand experiences.

Between 2018 and 2021, Qualtrics was acquired by multinational software corporation SAP, became a publicly traded company, and exceeded $1 billion in revenue.

Qualtrics has experienced exponential growth, and continuous scaling and finding efficiencies are part of their team’s DNA.

To continue growing their customer base with high-impact accounts, Qualtrics needed to use targeted and reproducible approaches. In 2019, they turned to 6sense to scale up.
 

We’re challenged with meeting the rapid growth demands of a scaling, publicly-traded company. We knew 6sense had the tools to help us apply an ABM philosophy to our strategy.

Peter MacArthurABM and Digital Marketing Manager, Qualtrics

Here’s a quick rundown of what Qualtrics implemented with 6sense:  

  • Keyword intent data to hone in on specific concerns of target accounts
  • Predictive models to identify ideal customer profiles for multiple product lines
  • The 6sense API on their website to tie anonymous research to specific accounts and for website personalization
  • Contact enrichment to quickly identify key decision-makers within high-intent accounts
  • Personalized LinkedIn ads based on 6sense keyword research and buying stage data
  • Targeted sales outreach to 6sense Qualified Accounts (6QAs), considered in-market and an ideal fit
  • Weak fit suppression models to improve efficiency on the most profitable channels
  • 6sense-led Sales team training to empower the team to get the most out of the new tools

Optimized LinkedIn advertising was one of Qualtrics’ biggest wins with 6sense. Adding 6sense to their strategy allowed team members to eliminate guesswork and confidently engage the right accounts at precisely the right time.

Driving Revenue with Ad Optimization

In early 2021, Qualtrics analyzed their database to optimize growth using 6sense’s Account Profile Fit. From this, Qualtrics learned that 55% of the accounts in their database scored as “weak fit.”

(For context, 6sense’s Account Profile Fit assesses the proportion of CRM accounts that match the characteristics of opportunities that have previously been closed/won.)

Further 6sense data revealed that those 55% of accounts constituted less than 10% of Qualtrics’ deal opportunities. Using this insight, Qualtrics acted quickly to activate a suppression strategy that refocused resources on accounts with the highest likelihood of opening opportunities.

“Once we had the idea and the data, the implementation took minimal effort,” Peter said. “But it had a huge effect on our LinkedIn strategy.”

Using 6sense’s filtering and segmentation features, Qualtrics focused their U.S. LinkedIn ad spending strictly on “moderate” and “strong” accounts. Then they strategically targeted the accounts with LinkedIn feed ads containing lead forms, LinkedIn InMails, and LinkedIn display ads.

Measuring Business Impact

On the quantitative side, optimized LinkedIn advertising resulted in a game-changing:

  • 4.4x improvement in conversion of campaign members to opportunities
  • 2.6x improvement in average opportunity value
  • 66% reduction in cost per opportunity
  • $1.7M value in incremental pipeline growth across two quarters

This success came on top of another big win Qualtrics achieved using 6sense. They tested 6sense’s sales team enablement capabilities and found that account executives (AEs) who received access to 6sense generated 26% more pipeline than those who didn’t.

Anecdotal comments received from AEs included:

  • “It’s like an early warning indicator of where I should be focusing my time.”
  • “I opened pipeline for accounts that I didn’t even know I owned!”
  • “Please never turn off my account!”

What’s Next: Scaling Up

Qualtrics knows their path from startup to $1 billion in revenue won’t be the same one they take to get to their next global growth target. So how will the Qualtrics team use what they learned from 6sense to continue scaling?

The improved LinkedIn advertising strategy — suppressing weak accounts and incubating stronger ones — is precisely the kind of repeatable model the company is always looking for.

Qualtrics will continue growing by building on the LinkedIn advertising strategy to expand to other channels, increasing sales adoption, and using 6sense to generate omnichannel personalization for target accounts.

Qualtrics initial success includes:

  • 440% increase in campaign member to opportunity rate
  • 260% increase in average opportunity value
  • 66% reduction in cost per opportunity
  • Extensions to additional regions and specific verticals
  • 26% increase in sales representatives’ self-generated pipeline

With strong results in the U.S., Qualtrics now applies 6sense modeling to their always-on LinkedIn advertising in Europe, Japan, Australia, and more.