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Lead Generation Institute – LGi https://leadgenerationinstitute.com Thu, 16 Apr 2020 16:47:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Webp.net-resizeimage-1-48x48.png Lead Generation Institute – LGi https://leadgenerationinstitute.com 32 32 Chatbots Did Not Kill The Video Star https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/chatbots-did-not-kill-the-video-star/ https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/chatbots-did-not-kill-the-video-star/#respond Thu, 16 Apr 2020 16:47:35 +0000 https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/?p=17402 When searching for a forms plugin for my website, so that I could survey customers and prospects, I thought of the majors: Google Forms, Gravity Forms, and of course, Typeform. (Disclaimer: I am not a paying customer or sponsor of any of these apps.) To me, they’re just all the same: you create a question, decide what types of answers you need (text, multiple choice), and a few clicks later, hit publish. Copy and paste the code into your website and voila! You have an embedded form. Something funny happened as I was clicking around the Typeform website: I discovered another product: Video Ask. This product allows you to swap the text questions you would normally deliver in a form with recorded video clips. Users can respond with text, or—you guessed it—video clips. Genius! (Once again, as a disclaimer, I am not a customer of this product.) Then this got...

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When searching for a forms plugin for my website, so that I could survey customers and prospects, I thought of the majors: Google Forms, Gravity Forms, and of course, Typeform. (Disclaimer: I am not a paying customer or sponsor of any of these apps.)

To me, they’re just all the same: you create a question, decide what types of answers you need (text, multiple choice), and a few clicks later, hit publish. Copy and paste the code into your website and voila! You have an embedded form.

Something funny happened as I was clicking around the Typeform website: I discovered another product: Video Ask. This product allows you to swap the text questions you would normally deliver in a form with recorded video clips. Users can respond with text, or—you guessed it—video clips. Genius! (Once again, as a disclaimer, I am not a customer of this product.)

Then this got me thinking: why haven’t I seen more products like these? “Conversational” marketing platform Drift launched Drift Video last year, and it looks like a version of Video Ask. But again, why aren’t there several of these types of vendors? The idea of recording and attaching a video clip to a form doesn’t seem too complicated, so why isn’t this being widely adopted?

Marketing Innovation at the Car Dealership
This got me thinking about other innovative uses of video for sales and lead nurturing. I quickly remembered the time I needed to buy a car, nearly six years ago, in 2014.

A quick Google search on “Toyota” and my town (actually, come to think of it, I didn’t even need to enter my city because the search would be geo-targeted anyway) landed me on the website of Palm Beach Toyota. I quickly found the (text-based) form, filled out what I needed, and within 15 minutes, I received an email.

Thinking that it would be some generic bulk email, I was blown away to learn that it was not. Instead, the salesperson had recorded a video of himself speaking to the camera, addressing me by name, and explaining that he was looking forward to learning more about the cars I’m interested in purchasing.

It was not a private, embedded YouTube video, but something created with a separate platform. In all my years of marketing, never once had I ever received anything quite so personalized.

And to think that this salesperson had to do this at scale, with all of the prospects who leave their details on the website. Wow! I was super-impressed.

When I wanted to replace that 2014 car with a 2019 car, where did I go? You guessed it: the same dealership and the same original salesperson, who incidentally was no longer a salesperson: he was promoted to head of credit (no surprise). When I shared the story about the video clip in the email from several years ago, this former salesperson/current head of credit was floored that I remembered his use of video.

Obviously, platforms that can connect us using simple tools we already use but in a novel way can absolutely make a lasting impression.

And they lead to sales.

Since my interaction with my local Toyota dealer, I have sadly never again received another video introduction. I am often in a position to purchase or recommend products much more expensive than a car but no enterprise SaaS vendor’s salesperson has ever recorded a personalized video for me. Too bad.

Why Video Is Still a Tough Sell
Of course, recalling my experience with the Toyota dealer and my fascination with Video Ask, I got to thinking: why aren’t there more video introductions?

If customers actually prefer a more natural, authentic introduction to a company (and the salesperson or representative), why don’t we receive more personalized video communications?

Here are what I believe to be the challenges with integrating video into a website, landing page, or chat application:

People are still antisocial.
We enjoy watching people on video, but as for ourselves: we shy away. We’d rather type than talk; we’d rather talk than show our faces. There was a fear of deepfakes a few years ago, but those seem to have subsided.

People think that the video needs to be perfect.
That’s just it: it doesn’t. We are all bored with the slick corporate videos of talking heads. We welcome a natural video with bad lighting, a messy office, and a pet walking around in the back.

People aren’t employees.
Companies might be resistant to having their people appear as their true selves because those employees may not really be employees—they might be contractors. Further, what if those employees or contractors are let go: what happens to all of those videos? This is perhaps the other, uglier reason why video isn’t catching on and why companies would rather invest heavily in AI. Chatbots don’t quit and when you fire them, you don’t need to pay them severance.

I also thought: is it difficult to scale? Perhaps not. A short, 30-second clip taken with a smartphone or laptop camera can do the trick. If a salesperson has to create 10 of these, it shouldn’t take more than one hour.

“Perfect is the enemy of done,” as a client once told me. And it’s true: the video clips do not need to be perfect.

Customers in all industries are growing tired of mass-produced messaging with zero personality and zero personalization. I suspect that they will choose to do business with those companies who take a little bit of time to personalize communications. Short video messaging could be just what we need.

About Jake Wengroff
Jake Wengroff is the owner of copywriting and content marketing agency JXB1. A former journalist and industry analyst, he often writes on such topics as security, mobility, e-commerce, product management, and IoT.

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Shock, Plan, and Action! Where are you? https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/shock-plan-and-action-where-are-you/ https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/shock-plan-and-action-where-are-you/#respond Tue, 31 Mar 2020 17:01:41 +0000 https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/?p=17385 These last two weeks have been interesting! I work very closely with the brains and psychology of business owners, leaders, and any kind of human you can imagine! That being said I have the opportunity to talk with a lot of people every day! These last two weeks, the consistent cadence I’ve been seeing is: -Shock (Oh Sh*t) -Plan (What’s My Strategy?) -Action (Strategy Execution Time!) This is common to everyone I talk with, no matter what they do, or who they are. We are all humans; all of our brains work the same way (mostly). How can understanding this help you communicate better with others right now? And what are some strategies for each of these areas? First, understanding this process can help you navigate any conversation that you are in. By putting someone or even a business into these 3 categories, you can start to figure out where...

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These last two weeks have been interesting! I work very closely with the brains and psychology of business owners, leaders, and any kind of human you can imagine! That being said I have the opportunity to talk with a lot of people every day!

These last two weeks, the consistent cadence I’ve been seeing is:

-Shock (Oh Sh*t)
-Plan (What’s My Strategy?)
-Action (Strategy Execution Time!)

This is common to everyone I talk with, no matter what they do, or who they are.

We are all humans; all of our brains work the same way (mostly).

How can understanding this help you communicate better with others right now? And what are some strategies for each of these areas?

First, understanding this process can help you navigate any conversation that you are in.

By putting someone or even a business into these 3 categories, you can start to figure out where they fit in the progression, and then how to meet them where they are so that you can effectively support them!

In these challenging times, figuring out a way to organize the chaos is important and what you’ve been doing to train and prepare for these times is about to be tested, how will you do?

As the Managing Partner of Sandler-ESD here in KC, I saw this happen with my team.

Monday two weeks ago, we all sat down for our 8:15 AM Monday meeting.

3 days ago, on Friday, we had a 23 in-person Communications Bootcamp, and today, only 3 days later, the world had completely changed.

As I looked around the table, I could see the team was in Shock. They were wearing worry, fear, anxiety, doubt, uncertainty, etc. all over their faces, it was in their body language, and their voices.

Sound familiar to any of your meetings or interactions?

Shock is the most psychological of all three of these stages.

Things like Maslow’s hierarchy or the Stages of Greif are all at play, and Shock summarizes all of these complicated descriptions.

People are in their heads; at Sandler, we call it “head trash” and it’s the ultimate killer of success in anything.

What does it look like, feel like, sound like?

It looks like slumped over posture, shoulders low, eyebrows furrowed, it looks glum and dull, it’s hard to find beauty or anything positive!

It sounds like “We’re not going to make it!” “I don’t know what we’re going to do.” “I can’t believe this is happening.”

It feels like there is some impending dread awaiting us as we move about our days.

All of this head trash fills our head, and we get lost in the fog! How do we clear this away?

Here’s the secret, “If”, it’s the most powerful word in Neuroscience and Psychology.

The word “if” to your brain is like a vehicle to explore other regions.

New regions in your brain are made of neurons, and lots of them firing together produces different feelings, thoughts, and emotions!

By using “if” you can ask yourself and others “What if you could…?” “What if it was possible?” “Can you imagine if…?” “If it could happen…?” by switching people into these different paths, we can shift them out of the negative headspace they’re in and help them explore positive alternatives!

Watch the change in their bodies, eyes, rate of speech, all of their physiology changes, you can even tell over the phone.

During our Monday meeting, I had to quickly shift my team with these kinds of questions, and focus them on our plan for what is happening around us, “What if we could effectively use this, add value to others and come out of this stronger?”

This effectively shifted us into the Planning phase! Almost instantly the conversation exploded into creativity! Idea after idea flowed out of the whole team.

We were fully within the Planning stage.

What goals, plans, and actions can we all take advantage of right now?
The most effective thing you can do is sit-down, establish your current state, define your ideal state, and then figure out what tiny pieces can you drill it down into?

This means you as a leader will have a long-term vision you and your team are aimed at, define some short-term goals to hit as milestones, and then parse out the daily behaviors you and all members of your team will be held accountable for.

Where else could this be applied? Anywhere there are human beings.

1 or 1000 or a million, it doesn’t matter.

It could be with your family, best friends, pets, team, your grade in school, church, anyone, anything and anywhere!

What a relief, right? It’s not just for businesses, and CEO’s.

Every human being has the ability.

Taking these goals off the paper, and into the real world is where Action comes in.
Let’s dissect Action into 3 parts, we have a triangle we use for this at Sandler, and it’s 3 corners are Discipline, Guts, and Vitality.

That huge plan you just built is nice and shiny right now, huh?

Moving it into Action means that no matter what role you play, you will need to consistently perform in new ways quickly.

While doing this, having the Discipline to get your part done daily, no matter what or how small it may be, it’s important!

If you don’t understand this, ask your leader to help you understand how your piece connects with the vision!

If you’re a leader, connect your vision and values with those of your people, and help them see your vision more clearly!

Where do Guts come in? Making a call to a client or friend right now could be challenging, finding the time and knowing what to talk about is hard sometimes!

It takes a lot of Guts to reach out in this way, reaching into uncertainty and being the bright spot they see today!

This powerful action will pay off long-term, however, because our brains tie emotions up in our heads with memories.

If you are the one who is willing to reach out and have the conversation during this emotional time, who do you think they will remember best in the future?

YOU! That’s right, lock yourself in neurologically right now.

Finally, Vitality, the ENERGY, the strength to continue, the power to progress right now!

Where is that energy inside of you? What brings you those feelings? Is it something you see, or a certain sound you hear? Maybe it’s how a place or thing “feels” to you?

Pay attention to what you are taking in, and figure out where that Vitality lies within you, once you find it, you will have an unlimited battery of energy to execute on anything you set your mind to!

The power we all have to take control of our minds and conceive of innovative and creative ideas, take action on those ideas, truly believe those ideas are possible, and then produce the outcome we were striving to achieve, is uncanny.

Stay the course, my friends!

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Why Intent Data Is The Future Of B2B Marketing https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/why-intent-data-is-the-future-of-b2b-marketing/ https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/why-intent-data-is-the-future-of-b2b-marketing/#respond Thu, 19 Mar 2020 09:25:13 +0000 https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/?p=17370 In today’s highly digitized business environment, B2B marketing is highly reliant on data. However, customer information collected by traditional means is no longer sufficient to remain competitive. This is where intent data comes into play. By making use of a combination of customer signals and intent data, B2B companies get a competitive edge and are able to form a bird’s eye view of marketing trends.  Despite this, only about a quarter of all B2Bs say that they currently use intent data or an intent monitoring marketing stack. Yet, over a third have said that they plan to leverage customer insights in the near future. However, this apparent lack of widespread implementation is not surprising as the concept of search intent has only been around since around 2007. It wasn’t until 2015, when Google made several changes to its algorithm, that search intent became prominent.  Many B2B companies still feel that...

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In today’s highly digitized business environment, B2B marketing is highly reliant on data. However, customer information collected by traditional means is no longer sufficient to remain competitive. This is where intent data comes into play. By making use of a combination of customer signals and intent data, B2B companies get a competitive edge and are able to form a bird’s eye view of marketing trends. 

Despite this, only about a quarter of all B2Bs say that they currently use intent data or an intent monitoring marketing stack. Yet, over a third have said that they plan to leverage customer insights in the near future. However, this apparent lack of widespread implementation is not surprising as the concept of search intent has only been around since around 2007. It wasn’t until 2015, when Google made several changes to its algorithm, that search intent became prominent. 

Many B2B companies still feel that leveraging intent data is something out of their reach, while others that are using it fail to take full advantage of what this data can provide. Put simply, targeting the right audience with the right personalized content during the ideal time in their buyer journey is more effective than direct mail, email, or banner advertising, which rely solely on demographic and firmographic data. It is thanks to its efficacy that intent marketing can be a much-needed addition to your B2B marketing and sales initiatives. 

Regardless of the rise in prominence of intent data, many marketers are still unaware of the benefits that it has to bring to the table. This is due, in large part, to the complexity that surrounds it. Below, we will be taking a look at why intent data is the future of B2B marketing. 

What is Intent Data?

Before we can go into any meaningful details about what intent data provides to the B2B marketing world, we need to look at what intent data is. In short, this is information collected about a prospect or a company’s online activities. Capturing this customer information can be done internally (first-party intent data) or externally (third-party intent data).   

First-party data is provided willingly by the customer by filling out forms and through your CRM or marketing automation platform (MAP). The main benefit of this data is that it indicates a potential buyer’s intent signal. Some examples include things like website visits, web pages accessed, content consumed, emails opened, and clicks. 

The other type of intent data is generally collected by third-party data providers, such as publisher networks, and is sold to B2B companies. This information is used to better understand the online activities and external content consumption of prospects and target accounts, further adding to ABM benchmarks. Third-party intent data is usually used for building account lists, running targeted ads, and developing relevant content.

These insights, regardless of their source, allow you to track the customer’s intent regarding your products and/or services. In turn, this will help with your B2B lead generation, lead scoring initiatives, demand generation, and lead nurturing, while increasing the overall quality of the leads that make it through your sales funnel. 

Time considerations and the possibility of incomplete data can sometimes lead to unintentional intent signal mistakes. After all, roughly 70% of CRM-generated data becomes obsolete annually. But when applied correctly and verified for accuracy, a user’s intent information can benefit your overall marketing and messaging efforts by improving relevancy. No matter how high-quality your content is, if your content isn’t relevant, it will not convert. Intent data can also help marketers discover and propose timely solutions for prospects’ needs and pain points.

The Future of B2B Marketing

With marketing teams always on the lookout for a competitive edge, anticipating their B2B buyers’ purchase intent can really help with marketing planning and increasing sales. Marketers can personalize their content marketing strategies, helping prospects to make more informed purchase decisions. In turn, this will lead to more potential customers finding out about your products and services. 

The more data is being aggregated into your marketing automation platform and CRM system via AI-driven algorithms, the more precise your ideal customer profile and buyer personas will become. Future prospecting will forewarn of customers’ purchase decisions in the buyer’s journey and better equipping your team with what they need to personalize content for targeted audience segments.

Yet, even if 74% of marketing and sales teams say they want to be more data-driven, only about a third are able to put its analytics into action.


The sheer volume of information in circulation makes it hard to distinguish genuine intent signals from the 'noise.'
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To make matters worse, many marketers hoard all of this data in closed systems without ever using it. 

Luckily, today’s artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are able to leverage customer insights and generate valuable information that gives a much clearer picture of customer behavior and intent. Below are several examples of how to best use customer insights. 

The First Sign of Intent

Historically, large portions of the buyer’s journey were invisible to marketers. Not much was known about customer behavior outside of their activities on the company website. Keep in mind that over half of the buyer’s journey is completed before a prospect comes into contact with a sales rep for the first time. To get a competitive edge, marketers can now leverage AI-powered data to identify and guide B2B buyers towards their organization during the early stages of the buying cycle. 

A Clear View of the Target Audience

For a long time much of B2B marketing was reactive to the customer’s direct requests. Successful marketers today need to become proactive and reach buyers in the early stages while also having access to plenty of customer information to build highly personalized marketing campaigns. Intent data helps you identify which accounts and prospects are in the market and in some cases, where they are in the buyer journey.

Automating Tasks

Even though intent data has been around for a while now, it was pretty hard for marketing professionals to act on it effectively. Marketing automation platforms and other AI-powered software can quickly turn huge volumes of customer insights into actions. Equally as important, many of these actions can be automated. 

For instance, if a target account is searching for a particular keyword on the internet, you can automatically trigger a personalized ad campaign on that specific topic targeting that account. This will help you get your brand in front of that account and stay one step ahead of your competitors and ideally, taking control of the conversation early.

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Is Predictive Data the Same as Intent Data? https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/is-predictive-data-the-same-as-intent-data/ https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/is-predictive-data-the-same-as-intent-data/#respond Thu, 19 Mar 2020 09:18:22 +0000 https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/?p=17367 B2B marketing teams are faced with an increasing number of challenges entering the 2020s. At the most basic level, they need to be developing buyer personas, creating relevant and insightful content, doing market analysis, monitoring online activities, creating and optimizing conversion pipelines, and more. And even after doing all of this work, there is no real guarantee that their marketing campaign will be successful.  Today’s ever-evolving technological innovations can easily make any marketing strategy obsolete halfway through its execution. Staying ahead, however, will require B2B marketing and sales teams to anticipate and capitalize on future trends before they become a reality. This is where intent data comes into play. It allows B2B companies to get a deeper insight into the wants and needs of prospective buyers and target accounts, helping them create more effective marketing and sales campaigns.  What Is B2B Intent Data? In its most basic form, intent data for...

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B2B marketing teams are faced with an increasing number of challenges entering the 2020s. At the most basic level, they need to be developing buyer personas, creating relevant and insightful content, doing market analysis, monitoring online activities, creating and optimizing conversion pipelines, and more. And even after doing all of this work, there is no real guarantee that their marketing campaign will be successful. 

Today’s ever-evolving technological innovations can easily make any marketing strategy obsolete halfway through its execution. Staying ahead, however, will require B2B marketing and sales teams to anticipate and capitalize on future trends before they become a reality. This is where intent data comes into play. It allows B2B companies to get a deeper insight into the wants and needs of prospective buyers and target accounts, helping them create more effective marketing and sales campaigns. 

What Is B2B Intent Data?

In its most basic form, intent data for B2B companies refers to a collection of information about the content consumption and behavior of a prospect or company. There are also two types of data collection that fall into this category. 

First-party data is mostly internal and is derived from the activities your organization captures directly from your website, CRM software, or marketing automation platform (MAP). The main benefit of first-party data is that it collects data every time a lead is exhibiting a buying signal or interacts with your brand. Some examples of first-party intent data include things like tracking website visits, the time spent on your site, content downloads or form fills, links they clicked on in an email, and more. Marketers use these behaviors to generate a customer or prospect profile to identify B2B buyers’ intent to make a purchase. 

Another type of intent data is external, more commonly known as third-party data. This information is collected by different publishers and ad networks to be sold to B2B companies. Third-party intent data is collected by tracking IP addresses, website cookies, or by monitoring user online behavior and the ads that are being served to them. It’s great for marketers to understand the target audiences’ external content consumption, as well as their online behavior. Third-party data is generally used for identifying possible buyers, running targeted ads, account-based marketing, and creating personalized content. 

Keep in mind that third-party intent data, can be less accurate when it comes to predictive insights on a prospect because of VPN use, proxy servers, and cookie blocking, but will still add a certain degree of value to the overall intent data model. 

Regardless, when using intent data to refine their target audiences and execute their demand generation campaigns, B2Bs can see an increase in their deal velocity, lead conversion, and pipeline creation. As previously stated,


the value of intent data is that it allows companies to predict their prospects' buying behavior.
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Intent monitoring platforms, such as DemandBase, Bombora, or 6sense, among others, will track activities surrounding topics related to your company’s products and services, uncovering prospects that can be added to your target account list. These monitoring platforms will also analyze the online activities of individual contacts within target accounts.

If they start searching specific keywords, downloading certain resources, reading certain articles and/or publications, participating in topic-specific forums, and other relevant actions, there’s a strong possibility that there may be an impending buying decision. When these types of activities begin to spike, monitoring platforms will alert marketers, allowing them to respond even before the intent to buy is expressed. 

First and Third-Party B2B Intent Data Uses

Both types of data have their own specific use cases where they shine the most. For example, first-party intent data allows B2B organizations to rank their leads into different tiers based on how well they match the firmographics and demographics of their current customers. You can further break that firmographic and demographic information down into specific products or services. Marketing and sales teams can also better distinguish between low and high-quality leads, which are most likely to make a purchase. 

This information can be used in combination with the CRM or MAP to trigger preset events, such as sending out emails, scheduling outbound calls, sending snail mail, and more.. Likewise, first-party data can also help marketers determine which campaigns drive revenue and engagements and which are a waste of resources. 

Third-party intent data, on the other hand, can be used to discover which accounts and/or individual prospects are researching industry-specific topics across the internet. This information can later be used to design improved, personalized marketing campaigns based on that content consumption. In addition, third-party data can also be used to improve the accuracy and relevancy of targeted ad campaigns

The combination of these two data sources is where the magic really happens.

B2B Intent Scoring

If we are to look at a traditional lead scoring model, much of the work is done using marketing automation platforms that track page views on our website, clicks, email opens and form fills. In such a system, a given lead’s score points are based on certain predefined criteria. As an example you might give a prospect 2 points for visiting a web page and 10 points for downloading a whitepaper or filling out a form on your website. 

However, such a traditional model doesn’t account for that prospect’s entire online activity. So sales and marketing teams that are using this system need to base their lead scores on significant guesswork, which can oftentimes be misleading or even deceptive. 

To get a more accurate picture of our prospects and our target account list you should combine both intent data and predictive analytics. Intent data can give you a picture of a company or prospect’s content consumption while predictive analytics can tell you which companies match your best customers’ ideal profile (usually the most profitable customers). At Eloqua, we called this co-dynamic, lead scoring, where you score prospects based on their implicit behavior and their explicit data (demographics). Think of predictive analytics as a way to help you collect explicit data on the accounts you should be going after.

Predictive Analytics and Intent Monitoring

Predictive analytics augments explicit data by going beyond a company’s firmographic profile. It does this by analyzing a company’s behavior both online and offline. Predictive analytics looks at things like business performance. It answers important questions like, is this company growing or reducing in size and revenue? Are they buying or merging with other companies? Are they hiring more staff or laying off staff? What kind of open job requisitions do they have? What types of resources is this company consuming? What do the latest press releases say about this company? These insights provide a predictive picture into their future behavior. Used in combination with your lead-scoring model it can provide greater accuracy in determining if and when a prospect or company will start showing purchase intent. It can also show when prospects will be ready to buy and the context in which this will occur. 

Predictive analytics makes predictions about possible future events. It utilizes statistics, modeling, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data mining to anticipate which companies are more likely to buy what and when. The biggest challenge with predictive analytics is that it relies heavily on past events to “foretell” the future. The idea is that by collecting and identifying past actions and behaviors of your best customers, it will help improve your chances of finding similar companies in the near future.

Unlike predictive analytics, intent data does not rely on complex models and custom algorithms. Intent data can also alert B2B marketing and sales teams of potential customers that didn’t yet make it on their radar. 

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How to Best Leverage B2B Intent Data https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/how-to-best-leverage-b2b-intent-data/ https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/how-to-best-leverage-b2b-intent-data/#respond Wed, 11 Mar 2020 09:51:22 +0000 https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/?p=17333 In a world where B2B lead generation, demand generation, and marketing, in general, are more data-driven than ever before, intent data is essential. B2B intent data will help you identify higher quality leads by helping you better understand your target audience. This information goes beyond simple demographics and firmographics data, and aids you in targeting B2B customers that are searching for relatable products or services. In the 2018 ABM Benchmark Survey Report by Demand Gen, it was shown that only about a quarter of B2B businesses use intent data and monitoring tools. However, 35% said that they are looking to implement it within the next year. The rise in interest in using B2B intent data is due, in large part, to its successful use by other sales and marketing teams in delivering personalized ads and campaigns to leads that are most likely to be responsive. Intent data has helped many B2B...

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In a world where B2B lead generation, demand generation, and marketing, in general, are more data-driven than ever before, intent data is essential. B2B intent data will help you identify higher quality leads by helping you better understand your target audience. This information goes beyond simple demographics and firmographics data, and aids you in targeting B2B customers that are searching for relatable products or services.

In the 2018 ABM Benchmark Survey Report by Demand Gen, it was shown that only about a quarter of B2B businesses use intent data and monitoring tools. However, 35% said that they are looking to implement it within the next year. The rise in interest in using B2B intent data is due, in large part, to its successful use by other sales and marketing teams in delivering personalized ads and campaigns to leads that are most likely to be responsive. Intent data has helped many B2B companies connect with the right stakeholders and decision-makers within target accounts by providing them with valuable, useful content that attracts and converts.

In the end, all sales reps want to interact with prospects that are actively searching topics related to your products and services, instead of simply hoping that they are. So, what exactly is intent data, and what is the best way to leverage it?

What Is B2B Intent Data?

In its simplest form, intent data shows when a prospect or account/company exhibits all the telltale signs of their intention to buy in the near future. Most B2B buyers will do their research and due diligence in researching products and potential suppliers beforehand. Statistically, 67% of the buyer’s journey today is done digitally and 57% of the purchase decision is complete even before the customer makes contact with a supplier for the first time.

 Intent data tends to come in two forms:

  • Internal Intent Data: Also known as first-party data, internal intent data is generated based on the activities and engagements prospects have with your own digital content. The “contact form” is one such example. But everything else, from website visits, opened emails, downloaded ebooks, and white papers, to the social media links they click on, is considered to be part of first-party data. All of this information will let your marketing and sales teams know that prospects are interested in what you have to offer.
  • External Intent Data: This type of information is available mostly through third-party providers and is generated by your prospects’ engagement with content on the internet. Like first-party intent data, third-party data is collected with tracking cookies but focuses on customer actions, like reading industry-specific articles and publications, watching webinars, discussing industry-specific topics on social media, following specific brands and influencers, other actions.

    A special mention should be given to bidstream data (non cookie-based, third-party information). In simple terms, bidstream data is a network of advertising requests that deliver ads to smartphones and other mobile devices. A bid request is when a publisher auctions off an ad slot to an advertiser. When the ad is delivered to a device, some information is also passed back. In most cases, this additional information contains location data. The benefit of bidstream data is that it can provide a large amount of scale very quickly. The downside is in regards to the data quality. Moreover, transparency around this data and how it is created is a big issue. Unfortunately, bidstream data is often inaccurate, inconclusive, or, in some cases, even fraudulent. 

How to Use B2B Intent Data

Using intent data to understand what the buyer really wants or where they are in the sales cycle will have a tremendous impact on your sales and marketing efforts. However, the data gathered needs to be diverse and sufficiently correlated to each phase, from the market research phase to purchase.

Here are several techniques to best leverage intent data to its full potential.

Account-Based Tracking and Scoring

Marketing automation platforms (MAPs) not only help B2B marketers automate communications with prospects and customers, they can also track and score the accounts you are trying to attract to determine if they are interacting with your brand and consuming your content. These behaviors can be scored automatically determining the account’s level of interest in your products and services.

However, just because someone at a target account has consumed a certain amount of your content, doesn’t automatically mean that they are interested in what you have to offer. There’s a chance that the person at those target accounts is doing some initial research or simply looking to educate themselves. What sales and marketing teams are most interested in is knowing whether there’s intent to purchase. This is where intent data shines, particularly if it’s used in combination with account-based marketing (ABM).

This information can be collected from multiple signals within an account and from across all channels and touchpoints. Some intent data companies can collect social media or unstructured data and layer that information on top of other data. Layering this with cookie-based data that collects content consumption and bidsteam data captured by demand platforms or ad networks, gives you a more holistic look at the intent of a targeted account. This approach can determine how many people are consuming content related to your products and services while also tracking contacts at those accounts who are active on social media, visiting web pages where relevant banner ads are being served, and search engine queries. This triangulated approach to using multiple data feeds will help you further determine where (or if) your target account is in the market.

As an example: Let’s say bombora’s data pool that tracks content consumption on over 6000 websites says your target account is consuming 40% more content than the industry average related to your product and services. Next, you overlay that data from leadsift that tracks social or unstructured data that has identified 5 people at your target account asking for advice on topics related to your products and services. Then, you overlay all of that data with bidstream data that captures search terms, web page visits and banner ads displayed at that same account. If you see a lot of terms or educational content being consumed but you don’t see any behavior related to competitive solutions or brands then can assume the company is early in the journey and not at the buying stage. That same scenario where you do see traffic on G2 crowd and competitor terms being used would tell you that that account is in the buying phase of the sales cycle.

This type of multipronged approach provides better evidence of whether a company (account) intends to make a purchase in the near future, rather than just basing that assumption on the behaviors of a single individual or one data feed. All of these signals can be scored and rolled up to the account level helping you prioritize your sales and marketing efforts.

Sales Intelligence

All professional sales reps know the value of doing their research before reaching out to their target prospects and accounts. By having access to contextualized insights from internal and external intent data about their target accounts, sales teams can have more relevant conversations and better engagement. This drives increasing conversion rates and improves the overall customer experience, increasing revenue. If this information is integrated with your CRM, it can also help your sales team engage in social selling. For instance, before a sales rep reaches out to a lead, they can quickly access this information to craft a more personalized and relevant message.

Content Personalization

Most B2B companies have a tough time figuring out what content will best resonate with their prospects and customers. Prospective customers are, nevertheless, influenced by the digital content they come in contact with, way before they come across your website or hear about your organization. Intent data can help you get a better picture of an account or prospect’s digital body language and the content they are most interested in.

As many B2B marketers know, navigating third-party buyer intent data can be quite overwhelming; particularly in terms of its volume and complexity. This is also one of the main reasons why so many marketing and sales teams are slow to adopt intent data as part of their digital marketing and sales strategy.

However, intent data can provide you with the topics and keywords being consumed allowing you to identify and fill content gaps in your content marketing efforts.

By identifying the content and online behavior of your target accounts, you can now create original content in the form of blog posts, articles, case studies, white papers, and briefs that move your prospects through the sale funnel. Intent data enables your company to take prospects smoothly through the learn, solve, compare and purchase stages. This content should tackle key issues in your industry, as well as work on solving the issues and pain points that your target audience may have.


Writing your content based on intent data will give you a competitive advantage as a credible authority and industry expert.
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Personalize Your Prospects’ Online Experience

Account-Based Orchestration Platforms, such as DemandBase and 6sense can uncover all sorts of information about visitors so you can further optimize and personalize the content they see across numerous touch points or marketing channels. By identifying the IP address belonging to a website visitor, these tools can help you track this visit and personalize the experience using the firmographics of that company. So a tech company might have a unique need relevant to the tech industry and a healthcare company would have a completely different or more relevant experience for the healthcare industry.

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How Bad Data Hurts B2B Companies https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/how-bad-data-hurts-b2b-companies/ https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/how-bad-data-hurts-b2b-companies/#respond Fri, 06 Mar 2020 08:35:46 +0000 https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/?p=17325 It’s been said many times but there is no harm mentioning it again: Data is now a commodity at the center of all business operations. Whether you plan to expand to new markets or looking to discover and engage new prospects, you need data to make informed and effective decisions. The question is- which data?  It keeps changing and while good data enables businesses to make informed decisions, bad data can mislead them into making blunders.  33% of marketers believe they can rely on CRM data to make business decisions but at the same time, 27% of business leaders aren’t sure how much of their data is inaccurate. What this reflects is the utter state of confusion where companies simply can’t run at their potential because they don’t have the required data.  The next obvious question is, what exactly is bad data and where does it come from? Simply put,...

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It’s been said many times but there is no harm mentioning it again: Data is now a commodity at the center of all business operations. Whether you plan to expand to new markets or looking to discover and engage new prospects, you need data to make informed and effective decisions. The question is- which data? 


Data, after all, isn’t a monolith.
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It keeps changing and while good data enables businesses to make informed decisions, bad data can mislead them into making blunders. 

33% of marketers believe they can rely on CRM data to make business decisions but at the same time, 27% of business leaders aren’t sure how much of their data is inaccurate. What this reflects is the utter state of confusion where companies simply can’t run at their potential because they don’t have the required data. 

The next obvious question is, what exactly is bad data and where does it come from? Simply put, any incorrect, inconsistent, incomplete or misleading entries your database can be referred to as bad data. 

The reason it is really tough for companies to keep their CRM insulated from bad data is that they can creep in from many different sources. Still, of all the causes, manual error and redundancy remain the root cause of most bad data instances. 

So, is bad data that bad for businesses? More than you might think. By some estimates, an average company loses 12% of its revenue due to bad data. So, even if you are a small-sized firm with annual revenue of $10 million and think data doesn’t have much impact on your business, think again because you might be losing a million dollars every year!! 

If you add to it reputational damage, the overall impact is even bigger in the long run. 

Finally, what can businesses do to mitigate the risks of bad data? Well, a lot. But keep in mind that cleaning data isn’t an event but a constant process. B2B data on average decays at around 70% every year. So even if you do all you can and clean your data to achieve 70% accuracy, a significant portion of it would go stale in a matter of months.

So while it is always good to take concrete measures to clean your data, the best strategy is to just follow the best practices or simply outsource the data needs to skip all the trouble. 

Jason Hubbard, VP of Growth at SalesIntel

Jason has literally grown-up in startups, including helping to grow three top 100 Inc. Fastest Growing Private Companies. Most recently, Cirrus Insight was number 41. He now serves as the VP of Growth for SalesIntel.io. SalesIntel is the most comprehensive contact and company data provider that helps you target your ideal prospects and accelerate revenue growth.SalesIntel is the top provider of accurate and affordable sales and marketing contact data.

With 95% accurate, human-verified contacts, 60+ Million machine processed data, and the most direct-dial contacts in the industry, SalesIntel is your resource for contact data. SalesIntel’s new method is to have every direct dial number and email tested and re-verified every 90 days. Our combination of automation and researchers allows us to reach 95% data accuracy for all our published contact data while continuing to scale up our number of contacts. With the most comprehensive contact & company data and our excellent customer service, SalesIntel is your partner in growth!

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The Guide To Using Intent Based Data For B2B Companies https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/the-guide-to-using-intent-based-data-for-b2b-companies/ https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/the-guide-to-using-intent-based-data-for-b2b-companies/#respond Tue, 25 Feb 2020 07:59:10 +0000 https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/?p=17318 B2B lead generation, demand generation, content marketing, and digital marketing, in general, are all reliant on customer data to be successful. Intent data helps your marketing and sales teams identify companies and prospects interested in your products and services. Unlike traditional customer information, intent data goes beyond simple firmographic and demographic information. It looks for signals that indicate a potential buyer’s intent to make a purchasing decision. Yet, despite its usefulness, Demand Gen Report’s ABM Benchmark Survey showed that only about a quarter of B2B companies are actually using intent data and monitoring tools, and only 35% of respondents to the survey said that they are planning to do so in the future. Even if most B2B companies realize the potential benefits of identifying a prospect’s intent, many feel that applying it is something out of their reach. It is also true that some firms that do use intent data...

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B2B lead generation, demand generation, content marketing, and digital marketing, in general, are all reliant on customer data to be successful. Intent data helps your marketing and sales teams identify companies and prospects interested in your products and services. Unlike traditional customer information, intent data goes beyond simple firmographic and demographic information. It looks for signals that indicate a potential buyer’s intent to make a purchasing decision.

Yet, despite its usefulness, Demand Gen Report’s ABM Benchmark Survey showed that only about a quarter of B2B companies are actually using intent data and monitoring tools, and only 35% of respondents to the survey said that they are planning to do so in the future. Even if most B2B companies realize the potential benefits of identifying a prospect’s intent, many feel that applying it is something out of their reach. It is also true that some firms that do use intent data may fail in leveraging this data and thus, not realize its full potential.

This guide to intent-based marketing will tell you all that you need to know about how to leverage intent data for the overall success of your organization.

Defining B2B Intent Data

As its name would suggest, intent data shows when a lead or a target account exhibits signs of intention to make a purchase. It’s important to know that most B2B buyers will do significant research on products and companies before buying. In fact, roughly 67% of their buyer journey is done digitally, and 57% of it will be completed before they come into contact with a sales rep for the first time.

Put simply, intent data represents all of the customer research being done either on your website, social media, or elsewhere on the internet. When used correctly and efficiently in combination with other customer data, this information will help boost conversion rates, customer retention, and sales.

Depending on how and where it’s collected, intent data can be divided into two types:

  • First-Party Intent Data – Also known as engagement data or internal data, first-party intent data is information that’s generally available by tracking the activities on your website. When customers and prospects visit your pages, consume content, or download ebooks and white papers, you can collect this data by using a Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) and a CRM software. You can even use lead tracking software, such as Leadfeeder, Visitor track, or Kickfire. Unfortunately, first-party intent data is sometimes anonymous, making it difficult to get a clearer picture. Marketing automation services can, however, generate this data more effectively.

 

  • Third-Party Intent Data – Also known as external data, third-party data is information gathered about prospects when they visit and interact with third party websites or apps. Third-party data can help boost conversion rates by as much as 300% and can accelerate the sales cycle. As an example, Sales Lead Automation (SLA) uses Bombora’s third party cookie data to track content consumption on over 6000 websites. By identifying the topic of the content and mapping that consumption down to the IP address, SLA can identify the company consuming that content, then target the likely individuals who might be consuming that content. Beyond Bombora’s cookie based data, you have bidstream data which comes from advertisements served within apps and websites. When you visit a website or use an app and see an advertisement (i.e. banner ad), bidstream data passes along basic facts about the ad unit including the url the ad was served to, your ip address, and device information like screen size and location. Depending on the platform, some bidstream providers claim to capture up to 50 attributes about a user. This collection process is called Fingerprinting. 

By combining these two types of data, sales and marketing teams will know who to target and how to better personalize content and messaging. B2B companies will also be in a better position to build targeted account lists, and implement an account-based marketing strategy. B2B intent data can also be used for highly-targeted ad strategies and all sorts of other marketing campaigns.

How to Leverage Intent Data for B2B Marketing Success

B2B intent marketing is all about capturing as much data on companies and prospects as possible to understand their intent.


Doesn't it make sense to focus on companies consuming content related to your products and services first?
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Intent data makes targeting random prospects and companies who happen to match your ideal customer profile seem inefficient.

Selecting Terms and Phrases

Let’s say you own a marketing agency that offers lead generation services. By identifying companies who are consuming content related to lead generation (i.e. lead generation services, business growth, sales enablement), you are able to assume that these companies have at least some interest in and possibly intent, to hire a marketing firm to help them with their lead generation efforts.

By identifying the topics and terms related to your products and services you can find companies and individuals more likely to convert. This improvement in marketing effectiveness is related to relevancy. Most people don’t mind you sending them an unsolicited message as long as it is relevant. Similar to the way advertisers use data to serve ads about products related to previous searches, intent data works in the same fashion.

When selecting terms you want to track put yourself in the prospect’s mindset and determine which phrases or keywords you would use to find a solution to the problems you need help with.  The example above we used included Lead Generation Services, Business Growth and Sales Enablement. However, you may also want to include other terms like Sales Strategy, Sales Acceleration, Sales Performance, Online Lead Generation, and Outbound Marketing. All of these keywords indicate intent around generating sales, leads, and revenue.

Also consider industry events like Adobe Summit, Inbound, Oracle World or Sirius Decisions, which for this type of business, might indicate an interest in advanced marketing and sales strategies designed to help a business grow.

Depending on your industry Intent data providers might also be tracking content consumption related to brands. As an example, Sales Lead Automation has a client who provides third party logistics to companies in the U.S. In addition to the keywords directly related to logistics, they also looked for companies consuming content related to their client’s competitors (i.e. Cardinal logistics, C.H. Robinson, Con Way Freight, DHL, Geodis, FedEx). The idea is that if someone is consuming content related to those competing brands along with other more specific keywords or topics like Reverse Logistics, Outsourced Logistics or Cloud Logistics, those companies are more likely to convert. In fact, this very strategy proved highly effective for their client. So think outside of the box when it comes to selecting keywords in your intent data strategies.

Search Data

This type of intent data refers mostly to the keywords and questions prospects use while on the internet. Every time they use a long-tail keyword or phrase, you get a strong indicator of their intent. You can use this information to understand their interests, motivations, and behaviors. Your focus should be to track content consumption on topics that you write about, then segment customers, and target them with relevant content at every stage of their buyer journey

Informational search queries can be incredibly useful, since they tell you precisely what prospects are looking for in their own words. You can create content that directly addresses these search queries, helping you build credibility, trust, and long-term relationships. Content for these strategies should be based on informational search queries and should include things like how-to guides and videos, FAQ pages, analysis and survey reports, insight-driven infographics, and thought-leadership podcasts.

You should also examine the  internal site search queries. These are your website visitors’ search queries. Econsultancy discovered that only 7% of B2B companies are efficiently using and learning from their own site search data, while 47% are not learning anything at all. When you’re analyzing internal site searches, focus on the most searched terms, as these may indicate audience trends. Secondly, look for “next pages visited,” since they will indicate intent behavior flow, meaning, where site visitors go next after having been at a given page initially. Also, you should keep an eye on popular searches that don’t lead anywhere, since these will expose your content gaps and tell you what content is missing from your site. 

Intent Data Segmentation

Buyer intent data helps to empower a B2B company’s advanced segmentation strategies. This marketing tactic is particularly useful, since it will allow you to get an even clearer picture of your prospects. It works by grouping prospects based on their similarities, which, in turn, allows sales and marketing teams to create highly-targeted messages for each segment.

Segmentation can be based on an array of commonalities such as firmographics segmentation, which groups prospects based on company-specific factors, like industry, size, location, technology used, etc. Tiered segmentation focuses on how well a target account matches your own business goals. This type of segmentation can be used equally as well in both account-based marketing (ABM) and demand gen. There is also topic segmentation. If your company offers more than one product or solution then you will want to segment the companies showing intent for each product or service.

Firmographic Intent Data

Firmographic data is a useful B2B marketing segmentation tool that helps you build and assess your target account list. This type of intent data consists of information like industry, company size, number of employees, location, revenue, technology used, etc., which can also be used to segment your target market. 

You can gather this information from individuals when they engage with your content or when they give you their contact information (email address, company name, etc.) on a form. From a target account perspective, you can aggregate all of these individual intent data points and form a bird’s eye view within your CRM software of what each company is up to. You can then react accordingly and optimize your marketing tactics. 

Aside from the individual stakeholders within an account, you may also want to look at account-based data regarding organizational features. Changes in their budget as a result of funding, mergers or acquisitions, or a recent uptick in hiring for certain roles which will contribute to your understanding of an organization’s purchasing intent. 

Browsing Intent Data

This refers to where the data was gathered, be it your website or on sites other than your own. When combined with search queries and keywords, browsing data adds another dimension to your level of understanding of the buyer’s intent. Cookies and browsing history will track usage across different devices and browsers, providing a more comprehensive and less fragmented view of the customer. 

Action Intent Data

Since most B2B buyers will complete over half of their buyer journey before coming in contact with you, it’s a good idea to understand their path before that initial engagement. Action intent data shows you the steps a user takes around your digital channel ecosystem, allowing you to optimize your content strategy and increase the likelihood of making a sale. 

You can look at this action intent data as a prospect’s digital footprint, where each interaction provides additional knowledge about their mindset. This is important, given the fact that a typical B2B buying decision will involve anywhere from 6 to 17 stakeholders.

What’s more, their journeys may not always be linear, repeatable, or predictable. This insight will help you in mapping your digital ecosystem against each user persona segment, keeping track of all user actions across multiple channels and touchpoints. You can use these insights to optimize your intent marketing performance even further. 

Predictive Intent Data

While the aforementioned types of intent data are mostly based on historical and real-time information, predictive intent will leverage this knowledge to identify potential future patterns and similarities. These can predict, with a certain degree of accuracy, future trends, actions, or behaviors, allowing you to be a step ahead at all times. 

If, for instance, you notice that certain pieces of content receive significant attention from a particular user persona you’ve created, you can also use that content to target others in that profile that haven’t consumed it yet. 

As an example, if ABC company: announces a new round of funding, implements a marketing automation solution on their website and has an increase in the number of marketing positions posted on job boards around the world, chances are that ABC company is implementing a global marketing automation strategy. In our previous example of Sales Lead Automation, this would indicate a need by ABC company to gain new products and services related to that initiative, making them a solid lead for SLA to target.

These buying behaviors can help you uncover new prospects to add to your target account lists and will alert your marketing team whenever there is a spike in certain activities that indicate intent. B2B marketing and sales teams will be in a far better position to respond to these changes, even before a buying intention is explicitly expressed. 

Intent-Based Marketing and Content Optimization

Content consumption plays a crucial role in the decision-making process. On average, B2B buyers will do around 12 rounds of research before coming in contact with a sales rep. The key to a successful content strategy hinges on how well your marketing team will deliver quality content at the right time. Intent data can help with your content optimization, as well as how well you implement your strategy. It will inform you about the overall theme of the content, the buyer personas, the buyer journey map, content format, as well as your keyword strategy.

In the State of Inbound Report, it was also found that 61% of marketers consider SEO to be their top inbound marketing priority. Yet, it’s nearly impossible to generate organic traffic without actually focusing on the customers’ intent. Keep in mind that targeting the wrong keyword may help to temporarily boost website traffic. But if it doesn’t match the intention and purpose of web searchers, you’ll probably experience a drop in SERP rankings and conversions. In addition, by focusing on long-tail keywords that are made up of three words or more, you will be looking beyond simple searches and will also get a better understanding of the user’s actual intent.

It should also go without saying that customer information will also help with your other lead generation and marketing strategies, including, but not limited to, your paid search, email marketing, direct mail, lead nurturing campaigns, social media marketing, outbound marketing campaigns, and more. 

How to Operationalize Intent Data

Regardless of the strategies or tools you use to capture intent data, it’s another practice altogether when it comes to leveraging that data. So while tools like Bombora will help you find companies consuming content related to your products and services,  how do you take advantage of that data? You can begin by targeting the contacts most likely consuming that content at the company URLs that Bombora provides you with. In other words, who at this company is most likely the one searching or consuming this content?  

In the examples above for lead generation topics it’s safe to assume the people most likely consuming that content play a role in their company’s growth efforts. Start by identifying C-suite executives responsible for growth then work your way down to more specific job titles that contain the keywords “sales” or “marketing”. Work your way down from most senior to less senior. 

By uploading the lists of URLs Bombora has identified as showing intent, you can download these ideal contacts at those companies and drop them into email or LinkedIn campaigns. Another advantage of intent data is the ability to target your ideal prospects with display ads. This helps reduce your spend on wasted ads being served to contacts with no interest or intent.

Using the previous example of the logistics client, start with senior operational titles like Chief Operations Officer (COO) and Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) and work your way down by pairing job titles that contain the keywords “logistics”, “material handlers”, “transportation” with the job level of manager or above.

How do you buy this data and how much is it?

First you can go directly to various intent monitoring platforms like Bombora, 6sense, or Everstring to buy data like this. However, doing this is costly and it isn’t uncommon to encounter a startup cost of 20-30k and that’s often without contact data, just company URLs.

In order to then purchase the contact data at those companies you are gleaning data from via the intent monitoring platform, you can either purchase this data from providers like Zoominfo or SalesIntel at an additional cost.   

Another option is to hire a firm who provides access to both the intent data and contact data when you hire them to run your lead generation programs. Typically, the total cost of this option  is lower than if you were to pay for the data yourself. Not to mention the savings you will realize as a result of using the hired firm’s marketing technology and staff to manage such programs. It might make sense to hire a company first to test intent data campaigns before investing in all of these resources on your own. 

Data Hygiene and Preparation

Now that you have your intent data and have downloaded all of the ideal contact data at those companies showing intent, it’s time to clean the data. The time and resources required to clean and prep the data depends on your personalization strategy. A typical personalization strategy includes first name, job title, and company. Since most of the data providers get their data or some of their data from LinkedIn, you have to spend time on data hygiene, standardization and normalization. This is mainly due to the fact that users often stuff their job titles and roles with several keywords in an effort to be found easier via search.

You can’t send a message to a prospect that says: 

“Hello Bob, I noticed your job title was Vice President, Marketing – Solutions and Sales Enablement at ABC company.”

 It doesn’t sound natural and screams, “form letter”. 

It’s far better when it reads like this:

Hello Bob, I noticed your job title was Vice President of Marketing at ABC company and I wanted to introduce myself. I hope you don’t mind.

You will want to pick the most senior keyword when cleaning the job title field. We call it giving everyone a raise:) No one will get upset if you call them a VP when they are a manager, but you risk making someone upset if you do the inverse.

You will also need to clean up the company name by removing “Inc.”, ”llc”,”company”, “incorporated”, and any division specific names as well.

Lastly, sort your file by first name and try to update any abbreviations used for first names with like “A. for Alexander”.

“Hello A.” vs. “Hello Alexander” makes a big difference in your response rates. Another thing to keep in mind is that most data companies will have a certain amount of data that’s wrong. As an example, the last name is in the first name field (reversed). This usually happens because people want to personalize their LinkedIn URL and Bob Smith is already taken so they list themselves as B. Smith or Smith Bob on their profiles.

We find it takes about 8 hours to clean and prepare 5000 records for any outbound campaign. You can use an excel extension called KUTools to help speed up the process. We love that plugin!

If you want to learn more about B2B intent data best practices, subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news delivered to your inbox. 

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Stop Answering Your Prospect’s Questions https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/stop-answering-your-prospects-questions/ https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/stop-answering-your-prospects-questions/#respond Wed, 12 Feb 2020 15:19:10 +0000 https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/?p=17293 Does this sound familiar? Prospect: “How large is your company?” Salesperson: (Puffs up chest) “I’m glad you asked Mr. Prospect, we are the largest company in our industry, we’re the best at this, we have thousands of employees and all of these features and benefits…” Prospect says: “Great, that’s so impressive, can you send over some paperwork and do some free consulting for us?” What the Prospect is thinking: “We were hoping for a smaller company that can pay closer attention to our needs, the last company we went with was so large that we felt like just another number to them… Sounds like this will be the same thing, let’s ask for some paperwork, and then never call them back again, they’ll eventually give up.” Never happens, right? If it’s not, “How large is your company?” it’s something else like how much does your service cost, or how fast...

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Does this sound familiar?

Prospect: “How large is your company?”

Salesperson: (Puffs up chest) “I’m glad you asked Mr. Prospect, we are the largest company in our industry, we’re the best at this, we have thousands of employees and all of these features and benefits…”

Prospect says: “Great, that’s so impressive, can you send over some paperwork and do some free consulting for us?”

What the Prospect is thinking: “We were hoping for a smaller company that can pay closer attention to our needs, the last company we went with was so large that we felt like just another number to them… Sounds like this will be the same thing, let’s ask for some paperwork, and then never call them back again, they’ll eventually give up.”

Never happens, right?

If it’s not, “How large is your company?” it’s something else like how much does your service cost, or how fast can you deliver?

The core issue, no matter what question is asked, is that you have no idea what they’re thinking when they ask that question, so why on earth would you answer?

That floating organ, between your ears, is where the answer lies, as usual.


Throughout our lives, our brains are conditioned to reward us for answering questions.
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In school, we are taught that the first person to answer correctly gets the best grades and all the praise from the teachers.

Having all of the answers in your friend group heightens your social status within the group.

We are always seeking this approval from those around us, and now it’s leaking into your selling!

Understanding why this happens is the first step, the next step is finding a way around these types of questions that is genuine and authentic to the prospect.

An amazing tool for this is something called a Reverse.

A reverse is the simple act of asking a question back to a question, to get under the surface level of the initial question and to find it’s true intent.

This easy to use tool can change the entire conversation from earlier. For example:

Prospect: “How large is your company?”

Salesperson: I get asked that a lot, can you help me understand why you ask?

Prospect: “Well, we’ve been pretty turned off by some larger companies we’ve worked with in the past…”

Salesperson: “Tell me more about that, do you have an example of something that turned you off about them or their service?”

Prospect: “We always felt like we were just another number to them, a cog in the wheel, and we are looking for someone who can treat us more like a valued customer.”

Look how quickly that conversation turned around.

By pausing and asking yourself, “Do I truly know why I’m answering this question?” you can change the way these types of conversations go.  

The only time you should ever answer a prospects question is when you know these three things:

  1. Why are they asking?
  2. The importance of your answer.
  3. The impact of your answer.

If you can answer all 3 of those things to yourself, you are more than welcome to answer the question they asked.

Cody Isabel has a degree in Neuroscience and is the Managing Partner of Sandler Training- ESD in Kansas City, MO. Cody uses the 95/5 rule to offer consulting to all kinds of different businesses and industries. This rule states that 95% of what you’re doing is perfect, but there’s that 5% that could be looked at again, improved or revisited. He works with courageous business leaders across the nation that are willing to take a look at that 5%, figure out how they could improve within their businesses, and then have the guts to do something about it! Knowing is the easy part, those willing to take action within their businesses and lives, are who he works with. He brings a high energy personality style, his love of Neuroscience, and an immense desire to help others achieve their goals, to all that he does.

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What Is the Best Social Selling Platform for B2B Sales Teams? https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/what-is-the-best-social-selling-platform-for-b2b-sales-teams/ https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/what-is-the-best-social-selling-platform-for-b2b-sales-teams/#respond Sun, 19 Jan 2020 10:00:09 +0000 https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/?p=17231 With the appearance of social media on the world stage in recent decades, social media marketing and advertising are at an all-time high. Most businesses of all shapes, sizes, and industries have at least one business profile on one of the many social channels out there. Whether it’s just for the sake of an online presence or an attempt at building a comprehensive social media marketing and advertising campaign, companies can’t ignore the importance of social media platforms. The potential benefits, in terms of lead generation, lead nurturing, brand reach and recognition, building trust, or boosting sales, among others, far outweigh the costs. In more recent years, however, a new digital strategy regarding social media has come into play – social selling. What is Social Selling? Social selling is the technique of leveraging social media to connect with prospects and customers by building and maintaining long-term relationships and, ultimately, making...

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With the appearance of social media on the world stage in recent decades, social media marketing and advertising are at an all-time high. Most businesses of all shapes, sizes, and industries have at least one business profile on one of the many social channels out there.

Whether it’s just for the sake of an online presence or an attempt at building a comprehensive social media marketing and advertising campaign, companies can’t ignore the importance of social media platforms. The potential benefits, in terms of lead generation, lead nurturing, brand reach and recognition, building trust, or boosting sales, among others, far outweigh the costs.

In more recent years, however, a new digital strategy regarding social media has come into play – social selling.

What is Social Selling?

Social selling is the technique of leveraging social media to connect with prospects and customers by building and maintaining long-term relationships and, ultimately, making sales. Even though it can be considered a content strategy of sorts, since you are using different types of content to achieve your goals, it shouldn’t be confused with either a digital advertising or a marketing strategy.

Social selling is not conducted by a marketing team, but a sales team that uses its social network as part of the sales process to generate and nurture leads throughout the buyer journey. Since it’s much easier to build trust and maintain meaningful relationships over a social media platform than it is with cold calls, for instance, sales reps using social media will often outperform their peers who aren’t.

In fact, social selling statistics indicate that social sellers see, on average, 18% better pipeline volume and 21% increased pipeline velocity by leveraging this particular sales strategy.

The Best Social Selling Platform for B2B Sales Teams

Today, there are plenty of social channels to choose from. But when it comes to B2B social selling, our attention needs to be focused mainly on LinkedIn. The exact value this social media platform is able to generate will depend largely on each sales team’s needs and objectives.

Social Selling on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the most professional social network, making it ideal for encountering potential B2B buyers.


LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index (SSI) will help users measure their performance, while helping to create 45% more sales opportunities.
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 It will also help double your chances of hitting your quota and outselling your peers who aren’t social selling by up to 78%.

It’s also important to remember that LinkedIn has over 500 million active users, 40% of whom use the platform daily. In addition, around 61 million of these users are senior-level influencers, while around 40 million are in decision-making positions. LinkedIn also makes up over half of all B2B social traffic and is the most widely used social channel among Fortune 500 companies. That’s why it’s easy to see why LinkedIn generates 80% of B2B social leads (Twitter – 13% and Facebook – 7%), as well as three times more conversions than the other two social platforms put together.

That said, the basic steps for B2B sales reps using LinkedIn for social selling include:

A Fully Optimized Profile

Your LinkedIn profile should look nothing like a resume. Since the focus will be mostly on building relationships, almost nobody will care about your past activities. What B2B customers will care about, however, is that you are an expert in your field, someone who knows what they’re talking about. You will want to present yourself as a thought leader and less like a sales professional, which means that this is not the place for anything resembling a sales pitch.

Share Valuable and Relevant Content

As a social media strategy, social selling will rely, in large part, on sharing content that your target audience will find useful. A well-placed blog post at the right time can quickly elevate you to a thought leader in the eyes of a potential client.

The content you choose to share with every LinkedIn connection doesn’t always have to be your own, either. As long as it’s relevant and speaks to your potential customers’ pain points, third-party content will work equally as well. Just remember to add your own thoughts on the topic and how your prospects can use that information for their needs. Crafting the appropriate messaging and important takeaways from content you share that is not your own is time well spent.     

You also don’t want to spam or post content that only speaks about your company or product. The content shared should educate and provide value, which will help you build trust and rapport with your customers and prospects. An account-based marketing strategy (ABM) will help you here. Not only will it help you better identify your ideal prospects, but it will also ensure your sales and marketing teams are on the same page regarding what content should be created and when it should be shared.

Another useful social selling strategy, while on the topic of content, is engaging with what your prospects are sharing. This means commenting, liking, tagging others, resharing, etc. It’s a great way to keep yourself on their radar. The key, however, is not to overdo it and only engage with content that you genuinely find interesting. 

Real-Life Communication

When you get started with social selling, it’s easy to forget that this sales strategy is not about quantity but quality. It’s a long game where you aim to build meaningful relationships and slowly guide your leads down the funnel. It’s a sales process that requires genuine connections achieved only through real-life communication.

Don’t cut corners or start promoting your products too early or too aggressively. In fact, aim not to sell anything on LinkedIn. Use the platform solely for engagement and personal branding and save your sales pitches for your other digital marketing and advertising endeavors. 

A Healthy Dose of Automation

While your communication and engagement should be personal and done by a real person, this doesn’t mean that automation won’t have a role to play. LinkedIn offers B2Bs several social selling tools that will make this process go much more smoothly. Take, for instance, LinkedIn Sales Navigator

For example, you can use its Lead Builder feature to create lead lists using custom criteria. These can, in turn, be used to find or upload new accounts. Search Filters will help you find the right prospects faster based on criteria like company size, seniority, TeamLink connections, and more. Search Alerts will let you know every time there’s a new result to view. The Introduction Requests feature grants you the possibility to ask for introductions to 2nd-degree prospects from your 1st-degree connections. You can then use InMail to message those prospects even if you don’t have their email. 

Though not a tool, per se, LinkedIn Groups offer you an opportunity to get a head start on your social selling process. By joining industry-relevant groups, you can start networking with prospects, customers, and peers much more quickly. You’ll also be able to brand yourself as a thought leader to a wider audience.  

All in all, LinkedIn is a great place to get started with social selling. And once you get a foothold on this social platform, you may want to look to Twitter for its social listening benefits, as well as Facebook for its notoriety. If you want to learn more about social selling best practices, subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest delivered to your inbox

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How to Start Social Selling? https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/how-to-start-social-selling/ https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/how-to-start-social-selling/#respond Thu, 16 Jan 2020 10:00:02 +0000 https://leadgenerationinstitute.com/?p=17228 Selling has seen some drastic changes over the past several years. If in the past, B2B sales reps relied heavily on their phones and emails to reach out to prospective customers, today’s digital media has opened up a new avenue for this exact purpose. Though relatively new, social selling strategies are being adopted by more and more sales professionals around the world. Not to be confused with a social media or content marketing strategy, social selling is about cultivating new relationships and driving revenue, rather than building professional brand awareness. It’s performed by your sales team, and it works by leveraging social platforms to engage with potential customers by sharing valuable and relevant content with them. Within the B2B sales funnel, social media marketing is located at the top, broadening the company’s reach. Social selling, on the other hand, helps convert new leads, moving them down the sales funnel. B2B...

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Selling has seen some drastic changes over the past several years. If in the past, B2B sales reps relied heavily on their phones and emails to reach out to prospective customers, today’s digital media has opened up a new avenue for this exact purpose. Though relatively new, social selling strategies are being adopted by more and more sales professionals around the world.

Not to be confused with a social media or content marketing strategy, social selling is about cultivating new relationships and driving revenue, rather than building professional brand awareness. It’s performed by your sales team, and it works by leveraging social platforms to engage with potential customers by sharing valuable and relevant content with them.

Within the B2B sales funnel, social media marketing is located at the top, broadening the company’s reach. Social selling, on the other hand, helps convert new leads, moving them down the sales funnel. B2B sales reps who are able to add social selling to their repertoire will greatly increase their chances of engaging with high-quality prospects and target audiences, giving them that desired edge over their competition.

Social selling is about nurturing leads. So, instead of just cold-calling or sending out emails, salespeople can also connect with their potential prospects via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and potentially other relevant platforms, sharing various types of content that’s useful to them. Another way of putting it is to say that social selling uses social media as an additional sales touchpoint across the buyer journey.

With the basic explanations out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can get started with social selling. 

Personal Engagement 

In a digital environment that’s beginning to be dominated by artificial intelligence and machine learning, it’s quite tempting to use automated communication tools for customer engagement. But,


while chatbots are great for digital marketing and customer service, they can backfire if used for social selling.
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 The whole point behind this selling technique is to build trust and rapport with potential customers. Using robots, however, will never achieve that. You do it by making yourself as human and approachable as possible. 

Aside from engaging with leads, you will also need to optimize your social media profiles to maximize your impact. You will need to look at this process from your existing customers’ perspective and craft your profiles in a way that will depict someone who is credible, professional, and able to provide valuable and relevant insights.  

Social Listening

Another crucial aspect of social selling is knowing when to approach a lead or join a conversation. Social listening tools, such as Hootsuite, Mention, or Buffer, among others, will allow you to monitor what people are saying about your industry, business, product, or competition. By keeping an eye out for pain points or recommendation requests, you can jump into the discussion and offer a solution to the problem. 

But before you do, it’s recommended that you also check their follower and following lists for possible mutual connections. It never hurts to get an introduction before initiating the first contact. Also, make sure to customize your message by using the information available on their professional social media profiles. Start the conversation by talking about a shared interest or a particularly interesting piece of content they have shared. 

Providing Valuable Insight

Simply showing up at the right time won’t be enough for a successful social selling interaction. When you’re engaging with prospects and customers over social media, it’s important that you don’t come off as too sales-pitchy. Your main goal will be to present yourself as a thought leader and expert in your field by contributing valuable and relevant information. 

You can do this by sharing your own content or relevant blog posts found elsewhere on the internet. Whatever the case, don’t forget to add a short comment on your take or recommendation on how that information can be applied. It is okay to talk about your product in passing, but don’t turn it into a presentation. 

Building Lasting Relationships

Since social selling is all about building and maintaining relationships with customers and potential prospects, you will need to stay in contact with your social contacts over time. This means that you should always pay attention to the content they’re posting and react to their online activities. This way, you’re letting them know you’ve read and appreciated what they had to say. 

Likewise, if your contacts get promoted or change companies, send them a quick note of congratulations. Also, if you notice people asking for advice, provide them with a meaningful answer. This doesn’t have to directly promote your product. Keep your attention on helping your contacts in order to establish yourself as the go-to person in your industry. If you manage this, you will be the most likely candidate they turn to when they are ready to make a purchasing decision. 

Getting Started With Social Selling on Social Media

While the abovementioned best practices can be considered the pillars of social selling, below, we’ll be taking a look at how to get started on each social media platform: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

  • LinkedIn – Being the most professional of all social channels, social selling on LinkedIn should be top of mind. Start by optimizing your LinkedIn profile. Then, use it to build your credibility and extend your network by asking for recommendations and endorsements from connections with whom you already have a good relationship. If you join LinkedIn Groups that are industry-relevant, you will also be able to start networking with prospects, customers, and peers. Another useful social networking and social selling tool is LinkedIn Sales Navigator
  • Twitter – Twitter is excellent for social listening and for creating Twitter Lists, which allow you to monitor content from specific groups. These lists are useful for keeping close tabs on existing customers by listening to their pain points. You can also look out for potential prospects and opportunities to like or comment on their Tweets. Just don’t overdo it. You can create private prospects and competitor lists to keep an eye on their activities. Twitter Chats can also be part of your social sales strategy, as they can allow you to establish yourself as an industry expert. You can either join an existing industry-relevant chat or create your own.  
  • Facebook – Being the most personal of the three social platforms, using a Facebook Business Page is the safest way to tackle social selling on Facebook. By providing valuable content and thoughtful comments, your outreach will likely grow organically over time. The key to Facebook social selling is to respond to your followers’ posts. You can also ask questions to spark conversations where you can interact directly with potential customers. 

Every B2B sales team out there should consider social networking with the purpose of social selling. If you want to learn more about social selling best practices, subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest delivered to your inbox.

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