As a longtime provider of multi-channel marketing data, with a focus on B2B data, I recognize the value of connecting with the right decision-makers at the right time in their buying journey. Many marketers today agree and are turning their attention to account-based marketing (ABM). Instead of casting a wide net, they are concentrating their efforts on a defined set of targets and treating them as individual markets — “markets of one” — to create personalized campaigns that address their specific needs.
ABM has become a new mainstay for B2B marketing, and rightly so. According to a recent SiriusDecisions report, 89% of organizations said ABM-targeted accounts achieved a higher ROI and 91% say deal size is larger. While ABM started as a strategy for targeting enterprise-level businesses, it is now increasingly used for reaching small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) whose contacts can be more challenging to identify. That’s where data comes into play.
A new approach to account targeting is making ABM more accessible for businesses of all sizes and driving even greater ROI. By combining intent monitoring with high-quality “living” business contact data, B2B marketers can identify decision-makers who are ready to buy now and net-new prospects through audience mirroring. Here’s how:
Use Intent Data To Find Prospects Ready To Buy
An experienced salesperson can recognize buying signals when meeting with a customer in person — from nodding their head to asking certain questions. But in the digital arena, marketers have to look to online behavior such as search engine queries, repeat website visits and content downloads.
This intent data, captured through IP addresses and third-party cookies, is used to identify prospects ready to buy. With an ABM approach, marketers can then deliver personalized campaigns at scale, including email, content marketing and programmatic advertising to prospects who have demonstrated the defined purchase intent signals.
Zero In On Targets With IP Address Matching And Contact Data
Intent data typically uses IP addresses to identify company information rather than individual decision-makers. Third-party cookies have similar limitations, plus there are increasing regulations and restrictions by web browsers against cookies. For even more personalized ABM campaigns, marketers can zero in on specific individuals at a company by connecting intent data to quality business contact data through company IP address matching. This allows you to identify the correct prospects to target within the company and avoid wasteful spending of your marketing dollars on irrelevant decision-makers.
To work most effectively, company-to-contact IP address matching requires a third-party data resource that offers both a high degree of accuracy as well as high volume. That’s why it’s important to choose a data provider carefully. A data quality guarantee of 95% email contact validity is a good benchmark to aspire to as you do your due diligence. And while the larger data compiler firms typically offer in the neighborhood of 15 million company records, to better support your ABM targeting efforts, you’ll want to focus on those that specialize in offering a high volume of email contacts. You’ll find that some providers have as many as 40 million validated B2B email records available, with a large percentage of this number made up of SMB email addresses.
Identify Net-New Prospects Through Audience Mirroring
In addition to discovering prospects that are actively looking to buy, the combination of intent monitoring and business contact data can be used to identify net-new prospects. As you uncover prospects and build campaigns targeted to their needs, similarities between those accounts will emerge. You can then flip that information to search for similar companies and decision-makers. The process is called audience mirroring and, in my experience, is an extremely effective strategy for acquiring qualified leads and driving growth.
Keep Your Data Clean
An important point to note: Data underpins all of these approaches, so it is essential to use accurate, high-quality data. All contact data decays or goes bad over time as people move, change jobs, get promoted or move laterally — B2B data especially. Using stale, outdated data is a waste of time and money, and even more so when you’re creating targeted outreach for ABM.
Start with quality data and keep it clean through data cleansing, a process that removes, corrects and, when possible, replaces inaccurate data to increase deliverability and ensure the quality of the full record.
As you navigate the data landscape, my recommendation is to make sure that your third-party data providers keep their data healthy through regular database cleansing. Find out how often they perform cleansing and what their approach is. When engaging with a provider, consider looking for one that can perform the service on your internal data as well to ensure all of your campaigns are firing smoothly.
In closing, it’s an exciting time for B2B marketing. ABM is driving powerful results with targeted audience campaigns across social, email, programmatic display ads and more. And it can be even more effective when you combine intent monitoring with quality business contact data to identify targets looking for what you provide and other similar businesses that would benefit. The result is the ability to scale campaigns, reach valuable SMBs and drive business growth.