There’s no doubt that the marketing world is an ever-changing landscape, with new flashy technology at every turn, a trendy methodology released every other day and “magic bullets” left and right. But at the end of the day, all of those things mean nothing if they’re not accomplishing every marketers number one goal: driving demand.
While that may sound simple enough, what does it truly mean in practice? We sat down with SiriusDecisions’ senior research director Kerry Cunningham, who has more than 20 years of experience as a B2B marketing thought leader, to discuss demand and share where predictive fits in. From Kerry’s perspective, there are six tangible ways to truly achieve scalable and repeatable demand:
- Aligning on Demand Units
- Engineering a Target Demand Stage
- Seeing Group Behavior, Not Just Individuals
- Identifying the Buyer’s Journey with Intent
- Engaging Your Units of Demand
- Prioritizing Demand for Effective Outreach
At first glance, getting the whole organization on the same page about who their buyers are seems like a simple enough initial step. But according to Kerry, most marketing and sales team are typically aligned around target accounts, not target demand units – which is the real selling opportunity. SiriusDecisions urges teams to become focused on defining their targets as “buying centers with a need and the people assigned to address that need.” Determining these demand units is a cross-functional, collaborative exercise that may require initial heavy lifting, but answering the following questions is a manageable starting point:
- What does a good-fit need look like?
- What causes buying cycles to start and what influences their prioritization?
- Who engages with sellers and influences purchases?
- What resources must the group command to acquire the solution?
Once there’s consensus on what an ideal customer may look like in theory, it’s time for organizations to move onto what SiriusDecisions calls the Target Demand stage. Target demand helps teams understand which demand units are a good fit and have a need for their solutions. This is what most of you know as Total Addressable Market or TAM. While we agree that understanding TAM is important, at 6sense we take it a step further and uncover organizations’ TAMnow, to better understand the Active Demand stage and double down on the aspect of time.
At this stage, teams are focused on which demand units are not only a good fit, but have a need now and are demonstrating behavior indicative of being in an active buying cycle. SiriusDecisions defines this practice as “deriving signals from the behavioral noise to identify when your prospects are in market.” What do we mean by behavioral noise? While most people only think of third-party intent data, all forms of prospect data can be regarded as potential signs of buying intent. These include a combination of the following: first party (information generated by owned and operated systems), third party (information provided by an external source), identified (known, but not invited) and opt-in (given explicit permission to contact). SiriusDecisions dives even further into intent data here if you’re interested in learning more.
Signal v. Noise
At 6sense, our Intent Graph does the heavy lifting within the Target Stage to stitch together every internal system, from CRM to MAP to website, then marries it to third-party research data to deliver meaningful insight from across the full funnel, both known and anonymous. Once these dots are connected, teams can move into Kerry’s next stage and leverage past behavioral patterns to reveal the nature of their buyer’s journeys and better understand how engaged they are.
By reconstructing the journeys that led up to prior purchases, marketers have insight like never before into the patterns that are indicative of buying stages. With this, marketing can increase conversion rates for ABM campaigns with highly targeted, personalized messaging and even the sales team benefits! AEs and BDRs can reach out at the precise moment a buyer is ready to engage – never too early or too late.
Now that you know who to target and when, we move to Kerry’s fifth step and focus on what SiriusDecisions calls “engaged demand.” Since these prospects or demand units are already engaged, it’s time to accelerate them through the funnel and work to convert. For 6sense customer Vyze, having insight into its buyers throughout the funnel has been critical. “With 6sense, I can finally align my digital campaigns with actual account behavior and engagement. It’s a game changer for how we think about account-based marketing,” said Vyze marketing director Leila Nazari.
Turning Insight Into Action
From deploying digital ads based on buying stage to account-based engagement analytics, personalizing within “engaged demand” generates more pipeline and drives up ROI. SiriusDecisions even found that “audience-centric campaigns can increase conversion rates by 50 percent.” But with increased pipeline comes another task – of the companies that are engaged, which ones should be prioritized for human interaction and how should sales target? For many sales organizations, the Fortune 500 has historically been their target account list. But now with statistical modeling and behavioral insight, teams can prioritize their selling time to reach out at exactly the right time and ultimately optimize conversions and increase efficiency.
Additionally, sales teams now have insight into every interaction a prospective account has taken, across every channel, both known and anonymous. For sales organizations like PGi, this has been a huge differentiator and they’ve witnessed 68 percent faster time-to-close, 9x lift in average deal sizes and 77 percent increases in win rates. PGi’s Vice President of Marketing Kerry Trivers said, “thanks to the unprecedented intelligence we’ve gained about our buyers and their behaviors, our sales efforts are focused, effective and smarter.” You can hear more about how PGi became hyper-targeted in their ABM efforts here.
If your team is ready to tackle the above stages and truly achieve scalable and repeatable demand, check out our on-demand webinar here for Kerry’s first-hand advice to working through every stage. If you’re already somewhere along your journey and looking to uncover buyers or hoping to accelerate them more quickly through the funnel, check out how full-funnel demand intelligence can help here.