“Where’s my demand?”, said the VP of Marketing of a HR management software company at a prospect meeting last week. “And while you’re at it, can you tell me:
Which accounts are out there researching my competitors but not me?
How many accounts are engaging with my product and service pages anonymously?
Of the accounts engaging with my content this week, has sales reached out to them recently?
Looking at all the account’s activity, are they predicted to open an opportunity soon?
What are the firmographic and technographic profiles of these companies?”
That list could go on and on with different questions that account-based marketers generally want to ask. But at the heart of every one of these questions is another – the ‘why?’ For this prospect, and for most marketers, the ‘why’ for most of these questions to understand demand is typically:
- To determine how to optimize a campaign, message, or tactic that is being used to drive account engagement or deal progression among a group of companies,
- To measure effectiveness of a given campaign, message or tactic, or
- To create a list of relevant accounts to target and engage in a new campaign.
When putting on the B2B marketing lens, all three of these become extremely important to align strategy and marketing effectiveness in a way which helps sales teams. As the ultimate beneficiaries of all the hard work put in by marketing to drive account engagement, sales teams want their marketing counterparts focused on the ‘why’ to ultimately help them create pipeline and grow revenue. The challenge, of course, is trying to get all the data required to answer such questions.
Ok, so where’s my data?
The simple answer is: not in one place.
When trying to connect data to understand demand, it’s a puzzle that involves behavioral data signals spread across multiple internal and external systems typically in the form of known or anonymous intent activities. Such data sets cannot be easily connected due to lack of compatible data structures and reliable data pipelines that are required to keep dynamically changing data sets up-to-date. Often, the data that is most difficult to obtain is from the dark funnel and is only available from third parties willing to share data. Unfortunately, those that do, normally don’t supply the granular data required to provide meaningful and specific signal.
We’ve met many companies that start internal projects to take a DIY approach for data collection and visualization for account-based marketing (ABM) purposes. Unfortunately, creating an IT project to centralize and connect data often doesn’t end up providing marketing with the desired outcome. Complexities in integration of systems, multiple project sponsors changing during a long implementation, lack of pristine data in various systems, etc. tend to set companies back a fair bit of investment and time.
Companies that manage to cobble together an ABM solution either through DIY, or by using multiple different point solutions to connect data, find that keeping their integrations updated and driving continuous use of analytical dashboards remains a constant challenge for IT and marketing due to lack of immediate and easy actionability.
But even if that were not the issue and a company managed to put together an extremely intuitive, constantly updating, and highly maintained system to understand demand using all available data resources, there is still a big issue with the three ‘whys’ to understand demand that we discussed above. Can you guess what it is?
Not really, where do you stop the build-up and tell me where’s my demand?!
Well, the big issue with the ‘why’ is that it’s naturally followed with the ‘now what?’
From our work with numerous customers and prospects, we’ve observed and heard that the biggest issue with analytics – predictive, behavioral, or even simple profile fit – is the lack of being able to take rapid action. Going to other systems for optimization of campaigns and tactics or creating manual, Excel-heavy account lists for targeting puts friction between the ability to have a central location to understand demand, analyze demand over time, and utilize the insights to make real-time campaign decisions in an ABM world. This journey digging into the ‘now what’ along with the ‘why’ is what we think will define the future of programmatic or automated ABM-at-scale. We expect many marketers that believe ABM is a synonym for B2B marketing will explore how to piece together the right solution and marketing technology stack in 2018.
Aligning ourselves to help marketers answer their key questions around demand intelligence, help marketers grapple with the ‘why’, and also expand our capabilities to solve the ‘now what’, we made a big product announcement earlier this week.
We’re extremely excited to unveil the 6sense Demand Platform for account-based marketers to the broader market! This new platform was created in collaboration with our customers to help uncover and analyze prospects expressing demand signals, accelerate ABM campaigns right from within the product as an integrated flow, and capture revenue from marketing-driven pipeline through sales enablement. You can read all about it in our press release here.
In short, this offering is designed to answer, “Where’s my demand?”, and all the other questions a marketer desires, and then provide the ability to use that insight to take immediate action. Some of the new features that went live on the platform with this launch announcement included:
- Segment Analytics: Predictive, Behavioral, and Profile Analytics to analyze an account segment and create sub-segments
- Technographic data: Used for segment creation, lookalike modeling, and Profile Analytics
- Profile-based targeting: Reach people at targeted companies in a specific job level and job function within digital advertising campaigns
- Single Sign-On: Integrations supported and tested with Okta, OneLogin, and Centrify
- User Experience: New account-focused user interface for the 6sense web application
So, you do know where my demand is! Now can you answer my other questions?
This is the shameless plug section for our Segment Analytics feature that does more than just help understand where there is demand within an account segment. As you can see in the demo videos below, it provides an interactive and graphical segment analyzer and list builder that aims to answer as many different questions as a marketer could have around an account segment to achieve the three ‘whys’ we covered earlier. To drive that point home, the videos answer the 5 example questions asked by our prospect at the start of this post.
- Which accounts are out there researching my competitors but not me?
- How many accounts are engaging with my product and service pages anonymously?
- Of the accounts engaging with my content this week, has sales reached out to them recently?
- Looking at all the account’s activity, are they predicted to open an opportunity soon?
- What are the firmographic and technographic profiles of these companies?
Once satisfied with the result of the analytics and the resultant account list… ‘now what?’ Great question, you are catching on!
Well, the newly created sub-segment can be easily saved and activated in a digital advertising campaign in a matter of clicks, right within the same interface. We’ll cover this in a future post in more detail and talk about the many more activation features available and that are coming soon…
We hope this post gets you thinking about your own approach to demand intelligence in your ABM strategy and daily workflow. Tell us in the comments below what kind of interesting questions you want to answer with data, and how would you action the results.