Understanding Intent Data: The Marketing Keyword Funnel

Intent data is different to most other martech right now. It’s newer, and people don’t understand it fully. That is why thinking about the keywords you track in the same way you Marketing funnel works is a helpful exercise.

Something we’re seeing all the time, is people using intent data and treating all of the leads very similarly. This usually emanates from needing a better understanding or visualization of the keywords if you imagined them in a funnel, instead of bad practice or lacking resources. For example, treating leads who share content on “sales development” the same as leads who engage with content on “SDR training” if you sell Sales Development training.

Equally, you’d engage with leads who are middle of the funnel in a different way to how you would top of the funnel leads. Intent data leads work in a very similar way, and require this similar mindset and approach.

So, let’s build out an example of the Marketing keyword funnel and explain how to categorize your own keywords:

Top of Funnel

Just the same as any Marketing funnel, the keywords that are related to your brand and services sit in this stage of the funnel. But how do you group these keywords?

For LeadSift, an example would be “lead generation”. It’s this higher level of general keyword that doesn’t describe a specific process or routine, tool or practice. You couldn’t justify sending someone who engaged with “lead generation” a case study about how X company used intent data to generate 5x pipeline. It’s the education piece you need to wire into your process with top of funnel leads.

We use our own data, so we’re not looking at these leads and thinking that they’re ready to talk about an intent data strategy. We’re thinking about educating them on how they can do things differently, how we can get that message over to them.

One key thing marketers are doing with this data is to review the common top of funnel keywords and then reviewing their content strategy based on what they’ve seen. If you’re pumping out tons of content on 1 topic but the data is saying there are 3 bigger topics your buyers are engaging with, these top of funnel keywords need to be more prevalent in your content strategy.

Think about:

  • Does the keyword describe the industry, the function that your buyers work in and on
  • Does the keyword describe at a basic level, what you do or what your service helps the buyer do
  • At a basic level, does the keyword have a lot of content and discussion happening around it? (I.E Marketing)

If yes to the above, you’re looking at a top of funnel keyword. These are people who are swimming around your fishing hook, not looking at the bait on the hook.

Middle of Funnel

Middle of funnel intent data leads need a little more education. It’s about passing relevant information and weaving in the ask. Not direct demo booking or anything too serious, like sharing extensive case studies.

For LeadSift, a middle of funnel keyword could be “better leads” or “higher qualified leads”. It’s not as vague as to say “lead generation” but not quite as specific as “intent data”. The question we would have to ask when looking at middle of the funnel leads looking at “better leads”, is what does that term really mean? Does it mean more qualified leads, or more information on the leads? Something else?

We’d then need to educate these leads on how they can get “better leads” and processes that could improve their leads. No case studies or demos would help these leads at this stage.

On the content side of things, middle of funnel keywords can help you work out which topics your downloadable content should be based around. Webinars, eBooks, cheat sheets and white papers – what are you creating content about? Are the topics you talk about resonating with your buyers? The data will tell you this. If you talk about the topics you see grossing in the data, you’re on target. There may be some surprises or experiments you will want to try, content you’ll want to try out.

Think about:

  • Does the keyword describe HOW a service or practice is carried out? (I.E Lead Scoring describes a part of how Marketing Automation works)
  • Does the keyword keyword correlate to a part of your offering and services, without directly describing it? (I.E Google Ads Console is part of PPC advertising)

These keywords require different attention. These leads are looking at the bait on your hook, you just need to make them realize why they want the bait.

Experiment with ads leading to top and middle of funnel resources you have in your Marketing weapon wheel. Ideally, you’ll be Marketing to them using different messaging and referencing pain points or goals you know these buyers are looking at and want to work on. They are not ready to see case studies or testimonials, as they’re looking at the solution to their problem or goal but not directly your solution just yet.

Bottom of Funnel

These leads are showing a direct interest in the solution we offer, they still may not be aware of us as an option so we need to start with some education. But we can assume they are aware of our solution, so we can use more specific language and messaging where-as top of funnel messaging needs to be less specific.  

So for LeadSift, a bottom of funnel keyword could be “intent data”. It directly describes our solution, which means the only information these bottom of the funnel leads now need is around how to apply “intent data”. Best practices, stats and numbers you can back up.

On the content side of things, this data can inform your case study material creation. Largely, the stories your customers have will dictate what case studies you create. But if you’re asking for the chance to do testimonials and case studies in future, look at the data. Bottom of funnel intent data tells you what buyers are thinking about before they pull the trigger.

  • Does the keyword describe an offering or process your services deliver?
  • If you saw a customer engaging with content around this keyword, would you think they’d be interested in using additional services from you?

These are the leads you need to tailor your messaging toward the most. Experiment with different value propositions and pain points, goals and ways to entice the lead into your list. For example, “custom landing page building” describes a part of a Landing Page or Marketing Automation software could offer. But your ad and messaging shouldn’t be “Custom landing page builder”… you already know the lead is looking at content like this.

So, what should you do to take them 1 level deeper into the topic? Show them something new, something to strive for. Tell the story of “How We 4x’d Our Landing Page Conversion with 1 Design Tweak”.

Show them how your custom builder allowed you to move the CTA on your landing page up to a new section of the page, and show the results before and after the change. Prove why the custom builder worked, without talking directly about it in the title of the content. People are going to be more receptive to how you did something related to the keyword. That’s opposed to using the keyword as the main pull to your content, in something like “How Our Custom Builder Gave Us 4x Landing Page Conversion” – good but it tells the lead nothing new!

7 Ways To Use Intent Data To Crush Your Targets In 2020

Intent data can be used for a lot of different practices in B2B. The beauty is that it unlocks new campaigns and practices that you couldn’t do without it, or at least anywhere near as easily. In truth, there are way more than 7 use cases and “hot spots” that intent data should be used for, but if we’re focusing on the most impactful areas we’ve narrowed the list down to the top 7 use cases. Here’s something to think about…

Let’s get into it…

Targeted Prospecting

This is the biggest, most popular use. If you review your intent data and see your perfect buyer engaging with a competitor, you want a salesperson to reach out immediately. The timing is right, the right buyer and the right type of company. All hands on deck to try and talk to them.

It’s not always about being this selective. Generally, intent data leads are showing intent towards a solution. So they’re going to be further along the buying journey than super cold prospects. With that, it makes sense that reaching out to these prospects based on what the data tells you will get better results than relying on instinct and guessing who would be a good buyer.

If you can nail the process from identifying a perfect buyer who is looking at a competitor, crafting the messaging and reaching out – you’ll become a machine. Organizing the right content you need to leverage, the cutting messaging that earns you the appointment and the timing that the intent data provides you with is a winning combination.

Targeted Ad Campaign

After thinking about targeting leads who engage their competitors, customers swiftly think about “what to do with the other leads” who are engaging with industry buzzwords and influencers.

Often, a sales team cannot handle the volume of prospects that intent data provides by themselves. Cherry picking the best leads from the top is common, so Marketing gets to have fun with the leads too. But what should they do?

The best route in a lot of cases is to run targeted ad campaigns,  usually on Facebook. And what do we mean by targeted ads?

To answer this, you have to strip things back and look at what data you have collected. You can get pretty complicated campaigns out and running, but the most practical campaigns are often the following:

  • Target leads who engaged with competitors with an ad campaign
  • Target leads who engaged with industry buzzwords with an ad campaign
  • Target leads who engaged with industry influencers with an ad campaign

But what’s different about this type of campaign, why would it convert better than any other campaign?

The difference is made in how you can offer these leads super tailored content to people engaging with relevant content.

If we take one step back, standard campaigns are ran to cold audiences who have shown no intent. Sometimes retargeting campaigns are ran based on people who visited your website, the thought is that these people will be more familiar with you and click through at a higher rate.

So targeting people with content you know they’ve interacted with before, will help you get that higher click through than a cold audience. You just need the right content, because you’ve got the list of people to target at the right time.

ABM planning

The main issue with ABM is that you’ve got to get very good at picking your accounts. If you’re going all in on a group of accounts and you get nowhere with them, you get nothing.

So using intelligence to pick out the accounts you’re going big on, is smart. But what kind of intelligence signals a good account?

For starters, a big account in your target market who is showing a lot of intent to buy. Lots of their people and their decision makers showing interest and intent around vendors and events, keywords related to you and your money making service.

It makes a human to review your intent data and identify this, your mind begins to remember which accounts crop up more often than not in the data and you can begin to draw a list of ABM accounts. This is an on-going process.

Luckily, our free tool Buzz can help you do that. Log your target accounts in Buzz and we’ll let you know when they’re attending events, getting funding, opening new offices, hiring decision makers and more. For free!

Maximize Event Marketing

Events are expensive so it’s vital to make the absolute most of them. Especially the big events. But you’ve got to work slightly differently, quicker and better than everyone else to do that.

Here’s a rinse and repeat action plan we suggest and roll out with clients all the time to master events:

  1. Track industry events you’re attending months before the date you’re attending
  2. Monitor who is starting to engage with the event over time
  3. Depending on the size of the event, begin reaching out a few months in advance to people you want to meet with at the event
  4. At the same time, analyze who your intent data has spotted engaging with the event. Confirm that they’re going and book appointments (on the calendar) to meet in person

The earlier you can do this, the better. It’s almost too late by the time you’ve thought about it if you didn’t have a robust plan. There are so many vendors firing so many emails and wanting meetings with the same group of people (who are there for keynotes and networking, not purchasing or discovery meetings).

Event Marketing (Even If You Don’t Attend)

This is one of our favorites! If you don’t want to go to DreamForce, that’s ok. You can track the event and begin to market to people who are going anyway, without the cost of tickets and going there. The same goes for any event!

The process is pretty similar to the one above, except you’re not trying to book meetings for during the conference. Let’s use our favorite example again, Hubspot.

Inbound is their signature event, they announce new features and upcoming news every year. If you’re attending, you’re most likely a customer or thinking about becoming one. Otherwise, these announcements mean very little to you.

So if you compete with Hubspot, you’re going to want to use the huge reach this conference has and generate appointments from it. Provide your Sales team with the data when your perfect buyers signal that they’re going, let them reach out.

On the flip side, you may want to track events that are more neutral and educational. Not all events are strictly for customers of vendors. With this type of event, Marketing owns the process. Have content made that you can send to the people going to the event, provide them with the information they didn’t get at the conference. The missing information, the oversight, the influencer who didn’t go that has something to say. This is good email list growth and a good way to nurture people showing intent, to a sales ready lead.

Customer Success Upsell

We’re super passionate about these last 2 points, because our team uses them too and we believe there is huge power in these processes. If your churn rate for customers is 0 or -5%, you don’t NEED to sell more to grow. What a great situation to be in.

So, upselling. If you see a customer looking at an industry buzzword or event related to your offering, there is potential that they want an extra service or solution.

Everyone knows Hubspot, so let’s use them as an example. If you’re a Hubspot customer like us, and they spot you’re engaging with lead scoring content or chatbot content and vendors – Hubspot should be thinking about how they can help you with this. You’re already a customer, you’re showing intent around an additional service they have, why would they not reach out?

There is an art to this. It’s not just emailing the contact in the account asking if they want to talk about an additional service. You need to take the context your intent data provides you with and bring up new strategies and ideas with your client at the right time. Use your calls with them to present new strategies and stories you have on how other customers like them have been looking at X and taken Y action too with Z results.

Customer Success Churn Prevention

An obvious one, but if you want to keep customers you need to be proactive. Not every customer will tell you that they’re unhappy, you need to use your gut instinct. But that’s not always enough.

If intent data can capture your customers engaging with competing vendors and companies, you’ve got a sign that they may be looking to move. Especially if you know their contract is up in the next few months.

In some cases, customers are just doing their due diligence on the market. But with that, you should be aware that they’re looking. It’s the right time to get back into conversation and review their goals, targets and action plan.

 

What do you think? If you want to try intent data for free, get a free insight into which accounts are looking at you and your competitors from us. You just need to fill out a quick form to tell us which competitors to track and who your ICP is…

Analysis of Hubspot Inbound 2019: An Event Marketing Infographic

Hubspot Inbound 2019. It’s one of the biggest events in Marketing. It attracts thousands of Marketing professionals, hundreds of vendors and some of the biggest names at the biggest companies deliver keynotes and panel discussions at this event every year. If you sell to Marketing teams, this is an event you’ve definitely looked at and want to run event marketing campaigns on.

But events like this are expensive. Every hotel in Boston would have been sold out months in advanced, booths cost big money. We ran a report analyzing who went, what sized companies were most prominent, what the most popular job titles were in the field and where attendees came from. Why?

Events cost too much to get wrong. You shouldn’t have to find out the hard way, if they’re good or not for you to exhibit at. So if you’re looking at a busy events calendar for next year or thinking about attending a couple, use this analysis as food for thought. They may be worth your expense tenfold, or not at all. We’ve done this before by analyzing SHRM, a Human Resources event. But this is the biggest event we’ve analyzed yet…

Hubspot Inbound 2019

So, here’s what we analyzed.

  1. Industries the attendees are from
  2. Company sizes of the attendees
  3. Countries attendees are based in
  4. Attendee job roles

With this data, you can review if the event attracts enough of your target accounts and buyers.

Attendee Industries

Hubspot Inbound 2019 analysis

Usually here, we’d expect to see a lot of people from the Marketing industry. But really, this would mean a lot of agencies in attendance. With the Marketing world being saturated with SaaS products now, we were surprised that there was not heavier footfall from the Internet and Computer Software spaces, or the IT space. It’s quite surprising that Higher Education makes the top few industries in attendance that we’ve found here.

Attendee Company Sizes

Hubspot Inbound 2019 analysis

In most of the events we look at, the Enterprise is usually the smallest part of the field. This isn’t too different to what we see here. Usually, the SMB and start-up companies are the most prevalent in events like Hubspot Inbound 2019, and that was the case this year. Companies with between 1 and 10 employees, along with 11 to 50 and also 50 to 200 made up the majority of the attendee field this year. So if you sell into SMBs, this was a great event for you. Founders and marketers at SMBs were in heavy footfall this year.

Attendee Countries

It turns out that people traveled from all over the world to be at Hubspot Inbound 2019. Given that the event was in Boston, you’d expect a high percentage of the field to be travelling from other places within the US. Maybe some from Canada given the closeness to the Canadian border meaning it could be a short flight. But actually, just 50% of the field came from the US. And nearly 20% of Hubspot Inbound 2019 attendees came from the UK.

Attendee Job Functions

Hubspot Inbound 2019 analysis

This is always interesting. Many events seem like they are going to attract your decision makers and buyers, but don’t attract as many as you’d think. There are always Sales reps and teams in attendance that are’t your buyers, along with consultants or sometimes students. But how many of them? If too many, it may not be the right event for you.

With Hubspot Inbound 2019, we’re surprised that there were not many consultants in attendance at all. Usually the numbers for these folks is higher. With that said, the number of founders and owners of companies is pretty high too. This is because as we saw earlier, many companies with 1 to 10 employees were in attendance this year. Of course, we expect a large amount of Marketing people here. And with any big event, there will be a lot of vendors and exhibitors bringing their Sales and Business Development team along. People need to run the booths and stands to generate leads, with as many vendors as there was at Hubspot Inbound 2019 and events of it’s size you would expect this.

 

Download the infographic here if you want to take a closer look. Drop us an email or a message on LinkedIn if you want to have us review an event you’re running or interested in…

DOWNLOAD INFOGRAPHIC

Driving Content With Intent: Proposify’s Marketing Strategy Analyzed

We ran an un-gated webinar with Proposify‘s CEO, Kyle Racki. You can watch it any time, but we wanted to understand what Proposify’s marketing strategy looks like versus what their audience is doing and cares about.

So we analyzed their ICP and their competitors. We found out what topics their competitors create more content on and what topics their audience consumes. With Kyle, we analyzed the gaps and overlaps on this.

Then, we looked at which events Kyle’s buyers are going to compared to which events his competitors sponsor. It’s fair to say we uncovered some missed opportunities that Kyle’s taking forward.

So, let’s get into what we found out and what to do with the information…

Proposify’s Marketing Strategy Breakdown

Proposify is a SaaS company that helps Sales pros send better, slicker proposals to their prospects. They integrate with SalesForce, but try to help buyers have a slicker experience when buying.

A lot of Proposify’s content is around sales strategy, the sales process, operations, enablement and proposals of course. They target the mid market, talking to Sales and Marketing leaders along with Sales or Revenue Ops.

The Sales, Marketing and Rev Ops teams usually have different use cases for the product, meaning they’ll need different content.

The events they care about are DreamForce and mainly Hubspot Inbound this year, with AA-ISP local events too. With that in mind, where are the gaps?

Competitor content topics

This was an interesting one. Proposify do not really talk about SalesForce in their content, but it’s a big part of their value proposition. They integrate with SFDC, and a lot of their competitors talk about SalesForce in their content.

In the latter stages of a sales cycle, Proposify helps you a great deal. So it’s natural to talk about closing, deal velocity and things further down the deal cycle than the specific tools that people use for those stages.

We also found an anomaly that hardly any of the competitors are talking about but the buyers are engaging with…

 

Content Topics

Within the broader topic of Sales, we spotted that a prominent topic out there was closed-won analysis. And under SalesForce where Proposify have less content than their competitors, we found that “reducing manual data entry” was a key subtopic. This aligns to a value proposition Proposify’s Sales team mention on their calls. That’s one thing that Kyle’s team are going to be writing about soon!

One of the action items Kyle’s team is going to take after seeing this data is to review their content categories. It’s easy to talk about “Sales” at a high level and talk about lead generation, but the data shows other subtopics are what their ICP is talking about. You can begin to build a funnel too.

For Proposify, response management is probably a lower stage of the funnel piece of content. You wouldn’t read an article on that unless you were a really good fit for Proposify. But closed-won analysis is something that is more top of funnel, where more SaaS sales leaders would be interested in that content. From building out the funnel in this way, you can begin to work out a calendar that addresses all the key topics with equal weight.

 

Event Marketing Strategy

This was our favorite part of the webinar. We found a bunch of events that Proposify had not heard of, that their buyers are going to, that their competitors do not go to.

DreamForce is the big event in their space, along with Inbound. But MidWest Dreaming, sounding like a country music hit single, is a killer event for Proposify. Why?

Because it’s big, their competitors don’t attend it and their ICP attend this event in their droves.

 

If you want your marketing strategy analyzed, talk to us. We do this for the fun of it and the process of understanding the gaps and overlaps in a marketing strategy. To understand where the opportunities are. Visit this page to watch the full webinar any time and fill out the form at the bottom if you want to do this with us.

 

3 Huge Event Marketing Lessons For Vendors For Booking More Meetings

I’ve been travelling around the US and Canada over the past couple of weeks and been to some great events and conferences. While there, I met tons of marketers who told me about their hectic events schedule. I hear this all the time, events are a huge part of the Marketing weapon wheel. There are so many events in every industry. But often events are expensive, with the costs of travel and exhibiting or tickets adding up. Especially if you bring your team along with you.

Before, during and after the events I’ve been to recently I noticed a few trends. Here’s a run down of what I noticed about modern event marketing. The good, the bad and the super smart:

Pre-booking meetings

We’ve all had the standard emails from Sales reps asking if we’re going to X event and are free for a coffee while there. This happens to everyone. But if you can pre-book meetings, you’re off to a good start.

A lot of the time it’s clear that this type of outreach is done based off intuition from the rep, not actual data. If you’re near Boston, there’s a chance you would go to Inbound 19 because Boston is where the event was this year – it’s that type of assumption. This is where you can get hit by emails that are quickly dismiss-able. If you’re not going, the “reason for the email” is invalid so you’re not going to read on.

Sometimes the event organizers will share the attendee list with the sponsors before the actual date of the event. This is a good leverage for reps, but beware every other sponsor has the list. If you’re putting time and money into events, put the time into considered 1 to 1 outreach to pre book meetings. Blanket emails won’t work.

Another way you can narrow down your outreach to the right people is to use the mobile app that attendees use to sign into the conference. You can often sign into the event and message other people who are signed up before the event. The only issue on this is that the smaller events may not have this capability, and numbers may be small if they do. But certainly for bigger events, get ahead using this channel.

1 way I personally have done this is to use intent data that tells me when my target accounts are attending an event. Usually, this works because of engagements from leads on social media indicating they are sponsoring or attending the event before and during the time. There are other sources of course behind the scenes, but this is a rich ground for appointment setting I have used.

Your booth

If you’re a SaaS company, demos are key. Your booth needs at the very least, cutting messaging that is quick and easy to digest. This is so that traffic around the event stop to talk to you. You don’t want to send reps hunting around the room to drag people to your stand because not enough are stopping. If you’ve got the booth and set up to have screens show a quick video people can watch as they walk around, that’s killer. Demos are useful but really it’s about the quick message that makes them stop and talk to you. The demo can come later, but think about great messaging that hits right on the pain or a goal people want to achieve.

For example, some booths at the events I went to had quite bland messages. If LeadSift were at an event, the level of message we’re talking is “LeadSift uses intent data to help you talk to the best prospects”. Where I’d be much more likely to stop if I saw “LeadSift tells you which leads are looking at your competitors, so you can approach them and win more deals”.

It sounds simple but I noticed this a lot. It’s not really the “what” or “how”, more the outcome for the user that when used well at booths got me to stop and talk.

One thing for the people at your booth, get out and talk. There’s a line between hoarding people to your booth and being too strong on this. But don’t sit and wait for people to walk up into the middle of your booth. A key thing I noticed here is that the follow ups from events can become tedious. Many, many reps want to book a meeting with leads who they scanned at the event or swapped business cards with. You can get around this by physically booking a meeting there and then if the lead is OK with it.

Everyone has Google Calendar on their phone, or something similar. Get the phone out, check and suggest a time. You can book it up and send an invite there and then. Or, if you have a Hubspot calendar (or Calendly for example) have it open on your phone and pass to people for filling out. They can pick a time that works for them.

People you didn’t meet

You’ll not meet everyone you wanted to at an event. But, you do have a good reason to reach out with that in mind. One thing I noticed is that I got a lot of emails saying “nice to see you at…” when I never met the person emailing me. I’m sure this is pretty common and it’s just a blanket email. But straight away, I’m not reading the email any further even if they’re offering me something amazing.

So, always be straight about this. I’m way more likely to respond if I get a:

“Hey Tukan, we didn’t get to meet at X but I hoped we would get the chance to chat. I wanted to ask you about X”.

This is a good way to generate some more appointments, reach out to people you didn’t get to talk to. Leverage some context about the event when doing this. For example, mention that your team felt the attendance was super strong and you’re 100% going to sponsor next year. Or if you felt there was something remark-worthy that other people there would have noticed. Use this so that the prospect resonates with you, and sees you’re not looking for an appointment right away.

A lot of the time, people I wanted to meet but didn’t were away from their stand. You can mention your opinion on their stand. Or ask if they went to a certain keynote that was really good. There’s a lot of context you can use in this follow up.

You may already know, but we launched a free tool called LeadSift Buzz that tells you when target accounts are at events (among many other things!). I use it so that I make sure I’m aware of customers and prospects at events. Try it for free…

That’s what I noticed. What do you see at events that vendors could try and do better with event marketing? Let me know!

1 Big Lesson In Competitive Intelligence: Nail A Niche 1 By 1

Competitive intelligence is used widely in B2B SaaS marketing to help you work out who to target. The tricky thing is establishing who, what and why. Because really,  who you think your ideal customer is may not even be the best customers for you to try and win. Lots of SaaS companies target a huge, wide pool of companies and say that’s the “niche” but it’s way too big. If that’s the case, you’re bound to be targeting too many competitors and industries with your competitive intelligence data. So here’s the lesson…

Nailing a niche with competitive intelligence

We’re going to use ourselves as an example of this. There is a process behind how you can work this out too.

LeadSift. We provide intent data if we had to summarize in 4 words. That means email addresses, social media contact information for leads and much more. You could also say that under the “lead information” category you’d find companies like Lead IQ who are a totally different company to us but offer 1 overlapping service between ours and theirs.

Really, there is some legitimate reason we could look at people who interact with Lead IQ. But it’s not the perfect fit. 

For instance, the VP Sales looking at Lead IQ is not a great fit for us. They may literally be looking for direct information about prospects for the team to use. But the VP Marketing looking at Lead IQ might be OK, because they could be looking for live data rather than static. We can work with that. But it’s still not 100% on target. Closer, but not quite.

You can clearly see why we could track this company though. The marketing messaging and the sales process would be hugely different from a perfect lead for us. Which means different and un-optimized processes and inevitably lower results because of that. Our time is better spent looking at leads who engage other companies, but how do we know which ones to look at?

Direct competitors

This is the obvious part. Track your direct competitors who offer a very, very similar solution to you. Simple.

But don’t ONLY track them. There are others who belong to the same category as you, that help a customer achieve the same goal as you that do not explicitly compete with you.

Categories

We provide intent data that helps people target the hottest leads out there. You could say that outside of intent data, there are solutions that help people do that via different methods and we compete with them.

To use an example everybody knows of, let’s talk about Hubspot.

We would define Hubspot as 2 main things, CRM and Marketing Automation. Within that, they have landing page building, blog hosting, social media, ads, email sending, sales and marketing reporting and more.

To name one company that competes with each of those offerings, you could easily think of WordPress, Instapage, Sprout Social, MailChimp and Databox. But they do not really compete with these companies. The use case is too nuanced for Hubspot to talk to an Instagage lead because their offering is far wider and different from what Instapage does.

Sure, in some cases it might work but Hubspot could use competitive intelligence to look at companies defined as CRM and Marketing Automation.

Nimble CRM is not a direct competitor of Hubspot because it is mainly a CRM, not an exact competitor to Hubspot’s offering. But Hubspot could target Nimble using competitive intelligence and have a good use case to talk about with those leads because, in terms of the outcome a lead wants from these 2 solutions, the goal is the same.

CRM is for managing contacts, customers, deals and knowing who you’re talking to. Making sure you don’t overlap with your teammates. Nimble can do that, Hubspot can do that. But they don’t truly compete.

Reviewing new competitors

When you’ve been through every company that could be classed as in the same category as you or that achieves the same outcome as you, review them. Will a person looking at LeadPages convert for you if you’re Hubspot? Maybe, but others may be better to look at.

There is no magic number of competitors to review because every industry is different, with vendors having tons of different features all of the time too.

Partner vendors

This is the fun part. You have to be selective when tracking vendors with this method with competitive intelligence but if you have a hungry sales team, this is golden.

If you’re a marketing agency who works using Hubspot commonly, tracking people who look at Hubspot is smart. Hubspot doesn’t compete with you in any way, but clearly if they are interested in what Hubspot does there is use case there for you to tap into. The same goes for Act-On or Active Campaign in the same use case.

So if you’re LeadSift and you offer intent data, partner vendors like SalesForce are perfect. People interested in and using SalesForce are a great fit for us compared to people who are not.

Look at your customer base. Ask your sales team if there are particular partners/ vendors that indicate things are going to work with a prospect. Of course, this does not mean that people who don’t have interest or investment in these vendors are relevant. But it’s a good sign to follow.

How to test it

Typically you’ll need to give your sales team enough time to test out the leads you gather. This is usually around 1 average deal cycle. Any less time than that, they won’t know if deals have closed from this method. You will have an indicator of how easy it is for sales to pick up these leads and work them, but no close rates to take to your VP and C level and talk about. A good metric to track is Lead Conversion Velocity month on month. If your leads are converting quicker from cold to demo, or cold to SQL each month, that is a win!

Try LeadSift Buzz for free, we’ll let you know when your target accounts are looking at partner vendors or your direct competitors, plus a whole bunch of other sales trigger events you’ll want to mention in your outreach.