The internet has redefined B2B marketing, and nearly everything a prospective buyer does online leaves clues that let you know exactly what they are interested in. Failing to harness the power of this data results in low conversion rates, reduced customer retention, and makes lead generation difficult. This is why 62% of B2B companies already use intent data and monitoring tools.
Your company needs to be ready to use this data, by having the necessary processes in place. Intent data can be leveraged to prioritize the company’s leads based on their engagement level, personalize user experience on the website, nurture leads in the sales funnel, and to identify potential customers.
But how do you know that you’re ready to start using intent data as part of your sales and marketing strategy? Here are the top 5 things to make sure of before getting started.
1. Sales and Marketing Departments are Aligned
How can you be certain that your leads are sales qualified and are in the market for your products or services? Buyer intent data simplifies lead management by allowing you to look into the lead’s research activity to ascertain that they are a potential client. This data helps you segment leads based on their interest in your solutions and their purchasing behavior.
Did you know that marketing and sales teams that are aligned are 67% more efficient? For the best results, your sales and marketing team must work together to activate intent data from a multi-channel perspective. This means both teams have to be aligned and onboard to create the perfect lead generation strategy that will enable them to target prospects that have high chances of conversion.
There are instances, however, when leads don’t fit into your ideal buyer persona. When this happens, you need to have automation tools to instantly segment them from your leads pool.
You should also have a nurturing system to complement the lead scoring process.
2. You Have a Specific Objective in Mind
About 73% of successful companies have a formal way of communicating their strategies. You need to have specific goals for why you need buyer intent data and what you want to achieve from using it. Do you need a higher volume of leads? Are you looking for custom ad audiences? What exactly is your end goal?
The most common uses for intent data are:
ABM (account-based marketing) based on a leads research level and intent
Building targeted accounts lists by filtering outreach lists for those that show active interest.
Targeted advertising to all prospects
Personalization before making initial outreach
Working without a specific objective in mind is unwise; you will move from point A to point B, but it won’t yield any results.
3. You Have Defined Processes in Place
A study revealed that 96% of the companies have documented processes in place. Intent data isn’t a silver bullet, and for it to work, it has to integrate with strong processes. For example, if you are hoping to sequence intent data leads through outbound emails, you should make sure the processes are fully developed and ready for intent leads before you make the decision to invest.
Some of the tools you should have include:
Email marketing tools
Customer relationship management software
Data analytics tools
Onsite tracking tools
Marketing automation tools
These processes streamline the usage of intent data and if they aren’t in place, work on them first then circle back to intent.
4. Required Technology and Resources are Available
How do you plan on using intent data? Do you have the technology in place, or are you just winging it? It’s important that you collect intent data from reliable sources with high-quality traffic to increase your chances of lead generation success.
Intent data integrates really well into existing systems, so having a CRM and/or marketing automation tool in place helps make using and measuring the data easier and more effective.
Using this data also takes time, so ensuring that someone on your team is ready and willing to own it is crucial. For you to continue to leverage buyer intent, you need to constantly monitor buyer signals to identify those that are researching alternative solutions. This information will let you know the leads that are ready to convert and those that need additional support, so make sure you have trigger notifications in place.
If no one has the time to oversee it, take a step back, and re-evaluate when you have the resources.
5. You Have the Bandwidth for Growth
There’s a good chance that intent data will bring you a lot of new contacts, but are you ready for them? Can you imagine following a prospect all through the buyer journey only to lose them at the conversion stage because you don’t have the capabilities to handle their orders? You need to be prepared for all new contacts by having the bandwidth for growth.
For example, if you’re targeting leads through emails, ads, content, etc. you should have the relevant human resource to receive calls or schedule demos. Conduct an analysis of the expected growth rate and put measures in place to make sure all leads are attended to.
Master the Buyer Journey with Intent Data
More than 60% of B2B buyers prefer to research on their own, which is why data-driven marketing and sales strategies are the most effective ways of streamlining lead generation. Which group of prospects contribute most to your revenue? What type of behavior drives the most conversions? Which marketing channels are giving you more sales-qualified leads? Intent data is the only way to make smart marketing decisions!
There’s, however, a catch; you need to be ready to start using the intent data. In a nutshell, you’re ready if;
Your sales and marketing are aligned.
You already have a specific objective in mind for the intent data.
There are defined processes in place for utilizing the data.
You have the required resources and technology to take action on the intent data.
Marketing budgets in 2020 took a hit. Looking ahead, many CMOs are reporting their budgets will remain the same or decrease. In a world that is turning more digital, effective CMOs are implementing more digital channels and fortifying their efforts with strong analytics. This move keeps your brand relevant and connected with prospects and clients.
Sixty-eight percent of CMOs expect to increase their marketing budgets for technology in 2021. Sixty-two percent expect to increase their digital media budgets, according to Gartner.
If you’ve been relying on the same marketing approaches for years or resisting building your technology stack, now is a great time to implement new digital channels to meet your goals. Put in place clear objectives, metrics, and benchmarks to allocate your resources for the greatest returns.
Reaching customers at the right time and in the right place will shorten the customer journey and save you money usually spent on top-of-the-funnel advertising campaigns. Integrate Intent Data into your multi-channel marketing strategy to reach prospects who are already in-market for your solution. This up-front investment will save you money by identifying prospects most likely to purchase and giving your marketing and sales teams the tools they need to reach out with customized messaging and solutions.
The Prep Work
As of November 2020, 54% of CMOs and marketing VPs reported to Gartner that they’re disappointed in the returns on their marketing analytics investments. They cite being unable to leverage their data because of “poor data, inactionable results, or nebulous recommendations.”
To set your team up for success, map your customer journey, develop a clear set of metrics and benchmarks per marketing channel, and diligently evaluate and adapt your strategy to put resources where they’re most effective.
When you look at the broader picture, you should see how each marketing channel interacts with the others to create a cohesive customer journey from Awareness to Loyalty.
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Understanding the Customer Journey
Awareness, Consideration, Decision, Loyalty
The traditional customer journey begins with awareness. How do you grab the attention of your prospects in a way that they’ll remember you? It ends with establishing a relationship of loyalty. What happens between those two points can be a long journey. With Intent Data, you can shorten that journey by reaching directly out to prospects looking for your solution before they even know who you are.
CMOs pay close attention to the following metrics to ensure they’re getting the most out of their investments. Each of these major metrics tied to the customer journey are broken out into finer details as we look at each marketing channel individually, but these are the overarching goals. Being specific and realistic about your metrics and benchmarks will help you implement and evaluate an effective marketing strategy.
Brand Awareness & Brand Equity
Brand awareness comes before the first stage of customer acquisition. Your prospects need to know you exist and they need to be able to remember you when a pain point does arise. Your logo, tagline, and personality be consistent across all channels and should help give your prospects a clear feeling of what it would be like to work with you. Position yourself as a trusted resource for content, blogs, and webinars and develop a relationship with potential clients. That way, they’ll know they can turn to you to help them uncover solutions to their challenges.
Measure your brand equity through:
Web traffic: Are people consistently going to your website and spending time there exploring your content?
High-quality social shares: When you promote content on social media, do people share it with their networks or engage in dialogue?
Conversions: When someone comes upon your content and brand, do they convert from social media follower to newsletter sign up? Do they exchange their contact information to download your lead magnets?
Return on Investment (ROI)
How is each channel living up to the price tag of its investment? As a CMO, you have to prove to the rest of your team that your budget is paying dividends. This metric applies to individual channels, technology investments, and the overall marketing strategy. Careful record keeping and data analysis are key here.
Setting time-constrained goals for each channel helps determine your ROI. Since the customer journey can be long, include steps along the way in your goals to track more precisely. For example, how many MQLs/SQLs/Meetings/Customers do you want to gain through each channel?
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
How much does it cost to close the sale? Measure CAC based on individual marketing channels and monitor each channel often.
CAC= Money spent on Sales and Marketing/Number of Customers
Increase online conversion rates
Improve customer experience
Implement a CRM system
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
This is the Loyalty Stage. CLV is the total revenue you can expect from a single client account over the lifetime of that account. The longer you retain a client, the larger the CLV. Use this metric to identify which customer segments provide the most ROI and that you should be spending most of your focus on.
Three-hundred thirteen million people use the internet every day. Digital marketing channels reach more people than any traditional marketing techniques of the past. Allocating your budget to increasing the quality and quantity of your presence will help you position your brand as a reliable thought leader, connect with prospects on a human level, and convert audiences to clients. Each channel is broken out individually, but consider how they can all strategically create a full user experience.
Increasing the number of people seeing and visiting your website organically should be one of your top priorities. Your website is where your high-quality content lives and where you have the best opportunity to connect with prospects and evaluate their user behavior.
Being within the very first results of a search engine results page (SERP) grows your organic reach. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) gets you there. Organic search engine results are driven by optimizing your website content with the keywords, backlinks, on-site topics, local SEO, or even international SEO.
Success will always be defined as your ROI. The many steps to closing sales and maintaining high CLV can be broken out and measured.
Metrics & Benchmarks
Engagement Metrics: User behavior on your site
Conversion Rate: Develop a set of distinct goals (downloading a lead magnet, signing up for your newsletter, requesting a consultation) and divide those goals by the number of unique visits
Pages per visit: how many pages are your visitors going to
Bounce Rate: How many users visited your page and immediately left
Average Session Duration: How long are people staying?
ROI is measured by the number of Leads Generated or Sales Made
Search Engine Ranking: Where you appear in a prospect’s search engine results page (SERP) when they research something relevant to your solution
Nowadays, SEO goes beyond simple search engine ranking. Google makes it easier every day for users to find the information they need through:
Google My Business Listings
“Near Me” Map Listings
Google’s featured snippets and answer boxes
Keyword Rankings: How often is your domain shown in search results for keywords?
Track both unbranded keyword searches and branded traffic. Branded traffic comes from users who searched terms that contain your company name
For example, “Intent Data analytics companies” vs. “LeadSift analytics solutions.”
Organic Click to Ratio: Of all the people who viewed your link appear in search results, how many of them clicked it?
Number of linking domains: How many reputable external websites link back to yours?
Build Link Authority by positioning yourself as an industry thought-leader, contributing to high-quality websites, and sponsoring events.
When your website, content, and link authority are fine-tuned to every step of the customer journey from awareness through loyalty, the ROI will be huge. But the nature of digital is that it is competitive and ever-changing. That requires that you pay close attention to every metric. When you aren’t hitting your goals or when you notice your competition is pulling ahead, it’s time to reassess what your ideal audience is engaging with.
Incorporating Intent Data
Keeping tabs on how your Ideal Customer is behaving online can seem daunting. By incorporating Intent Data into your tech stack, you receive up-to-date information on what topics, blog posts, and forums your ideal audience is engaging with. Use this information to power new content, create high-value offers (HVOs) that high-level decision-makers can’t resist, know which online sources you should contribute back-links, and learn more about what your audience cares about.
While organic SEO can take time to build, paid search results guarantee your business appears above the organic results right away- but only for as long as you pay for the ad. The ranked Pay Per Click (PPC) ads are still evaluated by search engines to ensure the user is seeing relevant pages so users trust them.
Sixty-three percent of CMOs use Intent Data in paid ad campaigns, TOPO. Intent Data gives you greater visibility in the minds of prospects by sending you their behavior on competitor sites- even when they’re not interacting with your content yet. Leverage those insights for better topic targeting and content creation to stay ahead of the competition. Create custom ad audiences and target prospects with messaging specific to their needs.
Email marketing is the most popular digital activity among internet users in the U.S., according to Statista. Put yourself in prospects’ and existing clients’ workdays with targeted messaging and special high-value offers. Email is so specific that you can experiment with subject lines, delivery times and days, and messaging. Email marketing also lets you segment your audience into multiple personas in different stages of the user journey.
Email platforms like MailChimp provide companies with benchmarks across industries. It’s easy to track success and see how you’re comparing to others. With an effective email strategy, you can move people through the customer journey by providing them with content and resources they need.
Metrics & Benchmarks
Open Rate: 21.33% across industries.
Click-Through Rate (CTR): Across industries 2.62%.
Conversion Rate: How often are subscribers moving down the funnel to explore your solutions and products, download lead magnets, and ultimately become loyal customers?
Bounce Rate: % of total emails that weren’t successfully delivered to your prospects’ inboxes due to invalid email addresses. If you don’t manage the number of hard bounces you’re getting, email providers will send you straight to spam.
Shared/Forwarded Rate: How often are subscribers sharing your content? This is a great indicator of whether your content is valuable to them or not.
ROI: All of this should bring your prospects through every stage of the buyer journey until they schedule meetings.
If you see many people unsubscribing, opening your emails, or engaging less, it’s time to adapt. Experiment with:
Clearer Calls to Action (CTA) (and limit to one CTA per email)
Creative and Compelling Links
Visuals, infographics, and photography
A/B testing campaigns: Email platforms will let you create two different versions of an email and send each one to separate sets of subscribers to track engagement
Incorporating Intent Data
Intent Data helps you refine email nurture and reach users on other platforms through targeted ads and social media. Based on the intent signals of users, you can personalize emails and reach out to prospects to address their pain points right away and provide content that is actually valuable to them rather than generic. This builds relationship trust and helps close deals.
Recipients are 75% more likely to click on emails from segmented campaigns than non-segmented campaigns, (MailChimp, 2017).
CloudHealth Technologies implemented an account-based marketing approach. To kick-start their program, they turned to LeadSift to identify and add new accounts with in-depth contact and intent information. When high-level leads come in through LeadSift, the sales team uses additional tools to identify other individuals at the company who fit their buyer personas. This gives them new avenues for setting up meetings and closing deals with the right decision-makers. Looking ahead, CloudHealth Technology predicts a 150% ROI in the next 12 months of using LeadSift.
Seventy-five percent of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level and VP-level buyers turn to social media when making a purchase, according to a LinkedIn white paper. B2B buyers probably won’t click to purchase the first time they encounter your brand through a post or ad. But if you use it correctly, social media will build your brand equity and prospects will remember you when they are in search of a solution you provide.
Social media is your opportunity to humanize your brand and create an online presence that is personable and memorable. This is also where you can share your content marketing pieces that lead social media users to your website or to sign up for your email newsletter. Measuring success will follow two lines: how much people value your social media contributions and how often they’re converting.
Metrics & Benchmarks
Engagement Rate per Post: Overall, how many people are liking, sharing, commenting, and retweeting your posts.
Page/Follower Growth: How many new users are following and/or liking your page?
Reach Rate per Post: The potential unique viewers a post is reaching. This is your followers plus accounts that shared the post’s follower accounts.
Total Impressions: How many times a post shows up in someone’s timeline
ROI: Referrals and conversions.
Referrals: How many users are going to your website from social?
Conversions: Someone visits your website, moves down the buyer journey, and eventually becomes a customer.
Keep close records of your social media data so that if you plateau in engagement, you can look back to see what was and wasn’t working. Measure success in specific campaigns, on certain days and at various times, and with specific pieces of content. Whatever is working, send more resources into. Whatever isn’t, lose. Experiment with:
Introduce the humans behind your brand: You can do behind-the-scenes, employee advocacy, or even start an employee account.
Native Video: Social platforms prefer content that is shared directly to their site.
Social video generates 12 times more shares than text and images combined.
Native videos on Facebook have 10 times higher reach compared to YouTube links.
Incorporating Intent Data
When you leverage Intent Data with your social media channel, you take your marketing channel from passive to proactive. Intent data lets you find potential customers who may not know you exist yet. It shows you who is interacting with your competitors’ accounts and who is engaging with content on a topic related to pain points you solve for or solutions you provide. Then you can reach out to them with the information they’re seeking from your competitors.
LeadSift monitors your competitors’ social activity and reports high-quality intent signals back to your sales and marketing teams. LeadSift ran a campaign for a client monitoring who was engaging with competitors. When one competitor hosted a webinar, LeadSift mined the contact information of attendees, shares, and responses. We then sent them a personalized LinkedIn+ message and a follow-up email. The ROI? 12% of contacts booked meetings.
Utilize paid social to strengthen your social media presence. You can pay to display advertisements (PPC) or sponsored messages to target specific audiences. Paid social lets you segment audiences based on microtargeting and reach people beyond your followers and their friends.
The metrics are the same as organic social media, but just like with paid search you expect a faster ROI. With microtargeting, you can reach prospects with higher intent to purchase and can expect to close deals faster. Use your paid ads to:
Reinforce messages that you’ve shared organically
Microtarget based on self-identified interests, locations, and demographic information
Remarketing- promoting relevant content to people who have already visited your website
Incorporating Intent Data
Use Intent Data to create custom audiences of contacts already searching for a solution like yours – these leads are warmer, meaning they’re more likely to convert, so you aren’t wasting ad budget, and you are providing leads with ads that are actually valuable to them.
“LeadSift has helped us generate a high quantity of net new leads that fit our key personas and ideal customer profile. These leads are added to our database automatically and have quality contact information. With LeadSift, we’re able to consistently grow our database with exactly the people we want to market to. It has been key for us hitting our monthly net new lead goal on a regular basis.”
IMPLEMENTING INTENT AS A CHANNEL
Forty-seven percent of Intent Data users report a high or very high impact; 90% report at least a moderate impact, TOPO Intent Data Market Guide. Intent Data reinforces your existing marketing strategy to make every effort more effective. Connect with prospective clients who are already “in-market” for your solution and personalize your messaging to speak directly to individuals and specific ICPs.
Set Up for Success
Define your Ideal Customer Profile. Who provides the greatest CLV over time? Define who will give you the greatest ROI and how they behave at different stages of the customer journey. Prioritize those accounts first. This is the leading use of Intent Data according to TOPO, with 90% of CMOs prioritizing accounts in both marketing and sales.
Define keywords and topics that you want to focus on. These will be the challenges and pain points you address as well as the specific solutions that you provide. What solutions and challenges do your ICP most commonly search for at different points along the journey? At the Awareness Stage, your prospects are still trying to zero in on what it is they’re trying to solve for. Further down along the journey, they’ll have a very refined knowledge of what they need.
Identify your competitors and keep a close eye on how who’s engaging with them across channels. Intent Data gives you insight into how users are interacting with your competitors. If you define them, you can reach out to users who are already engaging with their platforms and solutions. Think about both the competitors who over similar solutions as well as whatever less-advanced solutions people are currently using.
Keep an eye on relevant events in your industry, around your topics, and by your competitors. Leverage intent singles to identify which virtual events your ICP is likely to attend. Double down your marketing efforts on them.
Example: LeadSift discovered that for one of our clients, a Sales Productivity Vendor, niche events like MidWest Dreaming have high concentrations of prospects with low competitor presence. This is how Intent Data separates you from your competitors.
Intent Data reinforces existing marketing channels by giving CMOs a clearer picture of where prospects are in the customer journey. Used correctly, intent signals will help you curate messaging to target audiences and move them from awareness to loyalty. We’ll recap the points we covered earlier.
Social Media: Engage with prospects in a meaningful way. Build brand awareness.
Paid Search/Social: Target custom ad audiences with solutions they’re already searching for and put yourself into their consideration.
Organic Traffic: Guide content strategy to build strong brand equity, guide user behavior, and help customers through the decision stage.
Email: Segment Audiences and offer personalized messaging and solutions to move them through the customer journey.
USE INTENT DATA TO SECURE SALES MEETINGS
Intent Data turns event attendees into clients. Find out which companies are likely to be represented at industry events, who their decision makers are, and the best way to contact them to schedule sales meetings with the prospects who fit your ICP.
More than 170,000 people attended the Dreamforce 2016 conference. NSBI and Branham Group set a goal to help Nova Scotian clients book six meetings each with prospects. The challenge was that Peter Wolchak, Chief Analyst at Branham Group, wasn’t provided with the complete guest list. He was only provided with a list of exhibiting companies.
Branham Group teamed up with LeadSift to help identify attending executives who could be in-market for their individual clients’ solutions. Using Intent Data, LeadSift filtered data based on Job Title, Seniority, and Industry parameters. It also provided direct contact information with social profiles so that Peter could reach out directly to contacts without manually searching databases for contact info- saving him hours to focus on outreach. Furthermore, LeadSift harnessed Account-Based Intelligence and provided contact information for different decision-makers for each account Peter was working on.
By the end of the meeting, Branham Group had surpassed their goals of securing 6 sales meetings per client. They had booked 10-12 meetings for their Nova Scotian clients with prospects fitting their ICP!
DRIVING OUTBOUND STRATEGY WITH INTENT DATA
When your company’s marketing techniques plateau, implement new marketing channels. Reinforce those channels with Intent Data to secure meetings and provide a quick ROI.
Digital agency Abacus generates over 70% of their sales from Inbound/Paid Marketing. When they reached a growth ceiling, they decided to explore a targeted outbound marketing strategy.
Abacus reached out to LeadSift to identify and connect with the right people at the right companies at the right time. They created three intent triggers:
Competitive Engagement: identify companies that were engaging with other agencies in their space
Topic Engagement: identify companies that were consuming/engaging with content about relevant industry topics
Event Attendance: identify companies that were attending/sponsoring a few key digital marketing conferences
Abacus’ team focused on developing highly personalized Nurture streams for each trigger. Each one had distinct CTAs and between 4 and 7 touchpoints over Email and Social Media.
Average industry rate response from cold emails is less than 1%. Within one month, Abacus was booking meetings at 5% and 6% for two different nurture streams. For the third nurture stream, they earned a 17% reply rate on social shares.
Using LeadSift Intent triggers along with a smartly created Outbound Nurture stream – Abacus was able to rapidly scale their outbound efforts and generate MQL’s. LeadSift added a firepower that not only made a significant contribution to growth but also gave an almost instant ROI. Intent Signals drove MQLs at 5X the industry rate for Abacus.
Evaluating and measuring your B2B marketing channels is crucial to facilitate a successful and efficient sales funnel. Intent Data is a powerful channel that supports almost every other channel. At the end of the day, everything measures back to its Return on Investment.
CMOs are redirecting marketing budgets to focus on technology and digital marketing
The customer journey is long, be present for all of it
Intent Data helps you speak directly to users
Set clear benchmarks and time-bound goals to track success
Experiment with targeted messaging to develop more engagement
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CHANNEL EVALUATION CHECKLIST
Before getting started
Benchmark where you were before implementing the new channel
Define the target persona you’re trying to capture from the channel. Who is your Ideal Client Persona (ICP) for each channel? Because each channel serves multiple parts of the customer journey and you can segment your audiences, this can get complex.
Set clear, measurable goals before
What are your short and long-term goals?
How many MQLs/SQLs/Meetings/Customers do you want to gain?
Is this for brand awareness, increase in MQLs, more customers, etc?
Create your channel strategy
What messaging will be across this channel?
Will it be separate or integrated throughout other channels?
Once these leads come in, what happens to them?
Evaluate long term channel opportunities
Is it scalable?
How difficult is it to set up and maintain? Does it need constant attention or can you turn it on and let it run for a while?
Is this a traditional, reliable channel or something new and potentially risky?
Who primarily uses this channel and what are they using it for?
Track all spending
Optimize for what’s working
Track progress to goal
Talk to your sales team for their opinion on lead quality
Continuing our series diving into the secrets of Sendoso’s successful lockdown B2B Direct Mail campaign, during our interview, Daniel walked us through how Sendoso ran their Fortune Cookie campaign.
Sendoso’s account selection criteria
With a universe of accounts that they knew were frozen (either because they were unresponsive or because the Account Executive had received confirmation from the prospect) the first step was to narrow those accounts down for targeting. Through a tiering structure, Sendoso identified 107 tier one and tier two accounts to run their fortune cookie campaign with. These accounts represented their best ICP from a successful customer standpoint and therefore those that Sendoso were most likely to close on.
Daniel’s team asked the Account Executives to nominate the best quality accounts that they could. Those were the accounts that would be most likely to represent the best success for Sendoso both in terms of traditional close rates and as actual customers. Anything that was outside of a tier-one and two became a secondary priority.
This particular campaign was a marketing, rather than sales, led initiative and what Daniel describes as ‘prescriptive sending’ meaning that:
Marketing had a campaign in mind;
They had a set budget; and
There was a nomination process.
The Stakeholders that Sendoso was engaging with:
The Sendoso sales team were engaging with at least one of the following key contacts at their prospect companies:
The decision-maker – the person that was waiting to sign the deal
The champion – the person that the AEs might’ve been regularly talking to and who was selling the deal to the decision-maker;
The exec sponsor – the person who may have been sponsoring the deal on the prospect side.
Sendoso’s creative direct mail campaign
In this particular instance, Daniel’s team really wanted to both surprise and delight their prospects. They wanted swag that communicated the value of Sendoso’s offering and something that would make the prospect respond. It also needed to fit the COVID prompted shift to technology and tactics based decision making aimed at generating revenue whilst helping companies to stand out from the crowd. Sendoso branded fortune cookies did exactly that.
The Sendoso twist was that each send contained 5 fortune cookies in a branded box and, within each cookie, was a customer ROI metric, showcasing how working with Sendoso could improve their ‘fortunes’. Key to the success of this campaign was:
They did surprise and delight their prospects;
They were also showcasing what their prospects could send to surprise and delight their own prospects;
They creatively included ROI metrics which the prospects could verify with Sendoso’s customers if they wished; and
The campaign really resonated with their ICP.
But it wasn’t all about Direct Mail
In addition to the fortune cookies, Sendoso had:
Digital advertising running in the background through one of our partners Terminus targeted and selected accounts and personas.
Audience matches via social media.
One to one via the AE’s by telephone, social and with templates set up in their preferred sales engagement platform, Groove.
What if this had been a net new rather than a re-engagement campaign?
Daniel told us that the approach for a net new campaign would be similar in terms of the fact it’s really about getting the brand out there. However, if an SDR or an AE runs an engagement campaign through a sales engagement platform, they’re going to need to see digital air cover because it usually takes anyone between 12 to 20 impressions before a prospect has the recall and the memory to act on something. This is a broad brush approach based on what they think they know about their ICP.
The difference with the Fortune Cookie campaign was that Sendoso already had a relationship and knowledge of their prospects’ use cases, who the key contacts were as people and who they are as a company. That pre-existing knowledge meant that the AE portion could be much more bespoke and tailored to the prospects enabling meaningful conversation and follow up from the off.
What do you do when a pandemic sweeps the world, your pipeline is frozen and you are the leading Sending Platform for whom sending direct mail to your prospects’ business addresses is a crucial part of your strategy?
Answer: If you’re Sendoso, you innovate and get creative. Enter: Project Thaw.
This is the first in a 3 part series that gets to the nuts and bolts of the culmination of Project Thaw – Sendoso’s hugely successful Fortune Cookie campaign. We met with CMO, Daniel Frohnen for our Show Me the Data podcast and learned how his team turned a $4k investment into $180k+ ARR.
“Project Thaw” – the goal
From March to May 2020, global lockdown saw Companies switch to focusing on the here and now. As was common for those in the ABM market, Sendoso’s pipeline was frozen. “Project Thaw” was born out of the need to create alignment between their marketing and sales teams in order to ‘thaw out’ those frozen pipelines. This innovative response to that situation was aimed at injecting any action into that frozen pipeline, whether as a confirmed customer or, alternatively, receiving confirmation that Sendoso were not even in the running.
In addition to thawing the pipelines, Sendoso’s aims were:
Pipeline acceleration – Sendoso really wanted to see deals moving forward for those prospects who were still engaged with them and to generate net new ARR to pay the bills.
To get the purchase/no purchase decision so that they could have a really clear view of their pipeline and remove any ambiguity.
The Challenge for Sendoso – lockdown and homeworking
Historically, Sendoso had been primarily sending their direct mail to corporate offices which were now closed due to lockdown. In a market in which their key contacts valued keeping separation in their B2B and B2C lives, the new world of work from home had a significant impact on their ability, from a marketing perspective, to engage with their accounts. How could they get their swag into the homes, and hands, of the people that were key to unfreezing those pipelines? That’s where the product team came in.
And, they moved quickly.
Within a week of offices moving their employees to remote working, Sendoso’s product team created the concept of address confirmation as a way to reach customers who are working remotely. This feature allows Sendoso (and now its own customers) to email an offer to an intended recipient. The recipient then confirms the address that they wanted the Gift, Direct Mail or swag sent to and, better than that, the address confirmation captures their data only until the swag has shipped, following which, the address is deleted. Not only that but only the system sees the address. This concept really turned things around for Sendoso and now it’s doing the same for their clients.
We met with CrowdLinker’s Director of Marketing, Ali Abbas to talk all things B2B Facebook ads in our August Webinar. He covered why you should be using Facebook to reach your audience, how to get fully set up for success, and using intent data as a powerful tool for building audiences that are already in-market for your solution.
Table of Contents
Do Facebook Ads work for B2B?
The short answer? Yes.
With over 2.7 billion active users, your buyers are on Facebook. Abbas says even he had hesitations at first, but with the right strategy, it works. You likely won’t sell someone on a $250,000 website with a Facebook ad, but you can pitch them on a meeting or conversation.
Abbas suggests Facebook is the way to go when it comes to social ads with LinkedIn being more expensive and having a worse return than Facebook when it comes to B2B paid social advertising.
What are custom audiences?
“Essentially, when you have a curated list of people you want to exactly target on Facebook”
– Ali Abbas
These lists can be made up of customer lists, retargeting lists, or contact-level intent data. You provide Facebook with a list of emails and Facebook matches them with users. The match rate isn’t 100% but the more fields you fill in (phone number, country, multiple email addresses, etc) the more likely Facebook is to be able to find your contact.
For example, if you’re using LeadSift’s contact-level intent data, we can provide you with up to 5 personal email addresses, city, state, country, sometimes even the phone number to be able to get better match rates through intent-based custom audiences.
Based on your custom audiences, you can create lookalike audiences. All you need is at least 20 people in your custom audience, then Facebook will take this information and build new audiences based on similar characteristics to your custom list. This creates a bigger list for you to target while keeping the contacts similar to those you want to target, whether that’s from retargeting or intent data.
Lookalike audiences range from 1% to 10% – with 1% being the most similar to your custom audience and 10% being least similar and also the largest audience size. Using the intent-based targeting list you can create 10 different audiences and start testing them. This makes targeting super easy since they’re all relevant leads.
Building lookalike audiences with your customer list is also a great idea since you’ll be targeting people similar to your most successful users. However, eventually, you’ll run out of people. That’s where intent data comes in with daily dynamic intent signals so you can keep your audience fresh and relevant to who’s searching for your solution. You only need 20 people in your custom list to get started, but the bigger the better.
Setting up your ads
How to build Facebook audiences
When setting up audiences, you have two options – give Facebook a list to target or leverage Facebook’s native targeting option where you can set up audiences based on demographics. Facebook’s targeting can be very specific but it’s hard to pin down your exact ideal customer profile. Using your own custom list allows you to pinpoint exactly who you want to reach. Let’s talk about how to set up custom and lookalike audiences.
In your Facebook Business Manager navigate to audiences and select “Create Custom Audience”.
Select “Customer List” and CSV Format
Make sure you follow the template provided by Facebook. The more fields you can include the better.
Select Lookalike audience and the % similarity you want to build. Keep in mind, the bigger the percentage, the least similar the audience will be to your custom list, but the bigger it will be.
We recommend building a few Lookalike lists at different percentages and testing them.
Building your ads
Now that you know exactly who you’re targeting you can craft ad copy that speaks directly to your audience. Build an ad set for each audience type and customize it to them as much as possible.
Create an ad set for each of the audiences you built
Set a campaign goal that matches what you’re trying to do. Abbas recommends Conversions as an objective.
Name you ad based on the list you’re using
Make sure your pixels are set up properly. If they aren’t, here’s a quick guide on how to set them up.
In this case, Abbas recommends sticking with Newsfeed ad placements. You can also run A/B tests on which placements work best for you and optimize accordingly.
Make sure to optimize your images and ad copy for desktop and mobile so you make the most of your ads.
Run these ads for about $5-10/each daily, and after 3-5 days start optimizing for what’s working. You’ll want to test them all at the same time since intent data is dynamic and you want to stay relevant.
What metrics to track
The metrics you should track all come down to what the goal of your campaign is. If your goal was traffic, make sure you’re measuring traffic. If it’s conversions, make sure you’re tracking and optimizing for those. Other general numbers to keep in mind are Cost per Impression (CPI), Cost per Lead (CPL), and number of clicks.
Some other ways to track metrics on your ads are with the use of UTM links or tools like HotJar to see the behaviour of contacts when they come to your site so you can learn and optimize from there.
Crowdlinker is an end-to-end digital product studio based in Toronto with a relentless focus on our customers. We connect people through technology by being the strongest link between companies, their ideas, and their clients. We do so by excelling at digital strategy, creative design, full-stack development of websites & web/mobile apps, and digital marketing (SEO, SEM, PPC, Marketing Automation). Our clients include large startups like Freshbooks, PostBeyond, League, and TopHat, as well as enterprises like Unilever, Nestlé and DHX Media. We excel at providing marketing and media solutions and other digital products requiring exceptional user experiences.
Preferred by the most innovative and data driven businesses, LeadSift is the most actionable provider of intent combining comprehensive data with meaningful insights. We sift through unstructured public data so companies can easily identify, understand and engage in-market audiences with creatively relevant, personalized outreach. As a result, companies can move their pipeline faster than ever before.