Intent data, account based marketing, and orchestration are on (almost) every marketer’s “to-do” list, and all of these things work best in tandem with one another. A lot of marketers are using intent data, have an ABM platform and may even have some level of orchestrated campaigns. Marketers are missing the mark when it comes to taking that intent data and using it to fuel orchestrated ABM campaigns that can move prospects (based on intent signals) to different stages of the campaign. If you find yourself with intent data and an ABM platform – here are three ways you can start using those things together to create an orchestrated campaign.
One of the biggest challenges marketers face every day (besides overwhelming expectations with limited budget and resources) is knowing what accounts should be nurtured at what time. Intent-based targeting fills that gap. Marketing teams now have the power to create dynamic audiences based on intent-data that can fuel orchestrated campaigns. Intent scores can change daily, and utilizing dynamic audiences ensures you’re never missing out on accounts with high propensity to buy.
While it is common to see intent-based audiences in regular ABM campaigns, it’s not as often found in ABM orchestrated/multichannel campaigns. This is a missed opportunity because the value of intent is that it tells you who is interested in your product now. If you rely on a human to manually upload accounts/contacts and push them through stages, you will likely be a few steps behind where the prospect is in their purchase journey. ABM orchestrated campaigns can map accounts based on intent topics and then move them through a personalized buying experience, without the constant involvement from marketing.
Create and enrich actual leads
While creating dynamic audiences based on intent is a great way to begin targeting personas quickly within an account, getting to the individual decision-makers or contacts demonstrating intent to buy is the next piece of the puzzle. Knowing what accounts are looking to make a purchase can only take you so far – using intent to identify the actual buying group is what builds pipeline with a higher chance of revenue.
While you may already have an intent data provider that gives you visibility into what accounts are in a buying cycle, you will need to determine the people you need to reach. You’ve found the building, but now you need to find the people inside.
Website overlays + pop-ups
One of the best ways to start using intent data is by personalizing your website with overlays and pop-ups based on known topics of interest. If an account is showing intent on one of the many offerings you have, segment the account and personalize the site so the next time they come to your website they are met with relevant messaging that guides them to the next step in their purchase journey. Intent is also a great way to choose who sees what type of pop-up CTA based on topics of interest.
Similarly to the website overlays and pop-ups, onsite messaging can and should be adjusted for prospects showing intent. Account behavior can be flagged before the account ever comes to your website. Based on their behavior, accounts can be categorized into different audiences based on topics or solutions of interest. Then when the accounts do come to your website the website content is altered to fit their needs and goals. Pro tip: even without intent you can use this tactic to change out content and imagery based on industry.
Knowing the best time to reach out is one thing, but knowing what to say when you reach out is the second piece of the puzzle. With intent-based orchestrations, you can see those signals and automatically trigger custom outreach resources like Triblio’s 1 to 1 landing pages (Triblio Smart Pages™). Sales and Business Development teams can use those materials, customize them and reach out with information that is relevant to the prospect’s goals. Another thing to remember is as the intent signals change, it’s important to respond by adjusting content to the new needs of the prospects. Pro tip: Across the Triblio customer base, outreach containing Smart Pages are 3x more likely to elicit a response than those without.
Trigger next best action for sales reps
Intent-based orchestrations can support your sales team by flagging when accounts are researching your product and service (or your competitors). When intent signals come in, it can send notifications to your sales team via email or CRM. So your sales team is getting a fuller picture of where prospects are in their buyer’s journey, even if they are not sharing that information. For example, sometimes prospects go cold and ghost your sales team. It may seem like the deal is lost, but other times intent signals show that they are still interacting with content on their Triblio Smart Page, or on your website. That is when an intent-based orchestration would identify that signal and push the prospect to another set of messaging that is aligned with where they are in their buyer’s journey.
Go Beyond Identifying New Accounts
Intent data is only powerful if you know how to utilize it throughout the entire funnel, beyond just identifying new accounts. It plays a key part in taking that a step further in ABM orchestrated campaigns by revealing what topics and solutions are of interest and should be prioritized with personalized content, and actions by the sales team. Intent data paired with ABM orchestration can be the foundation for a successful demand generation strategy. While both intent data and ABM orchestration are important on their own, together is where you see the multiplier effect.
Intent can be abstract. Hard to understand unless you are using it (or selling it) every day. We put together a list of how real sales and marketing leaders use intent signals every day. What signals are their favourite, and why? How do they take a signal and turn it into a meaningful result? Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how intent is ACTUALLY used in the day-to-day.
After consulting with 14 professionals about their top signals, a pattern emerged. We sorted these signals into categories. Navigate to each section to find what signals interest you the most:
If you are a B2B sales or marketing human, selling software solutions, this list is made for you. Find out what signals create the best leads, and unlock untapped intent sources for your team to leverage.
“Hiring and tech installs for outbound: is it fair to say ‘duh’? “
“For us, a lot of companies with recent funding get bigger marketing budgets, and bigger goals to hit so we know this is a perfect time to get in front of them. We also did customer/prospect research and found that a lot of inbound leads that come in have had recent funding.
We use Crunchbase and Cognism to pull a list of the most recent funding information. And then, we have specific LinkedIn campaigns with specific messaging around funding that we add those companies to every month.”
Signal –Recent Hires or Promotions (Ex: Starts a new role as VP of marketing at a software company)
“Similar to funding, we did some prospect/customer research and one of the common reasons our inbounds come in, is that they just started at a new company, they’re gutting and need a partner. We also have higher and faster close rates with new CMOs/VPs at new companies.
To monitor this, we use Cognism and Li. Sales Navigator to pull a list of the most recent promotions/hires at companies we could work with. After that, we have specific LinkedIn campaigns with specific messaging to those contacts being promoted or hired in the last 30 to 60, sometimes 90 days.”
“I want to tell you about my love for knowing when companies are hiring or installing new tech (these often go hand in hand).
Hiring and tech installs for outbound: is it fair to say ‘duh’?
For LeadSift, companies hiring a bunch of SDRs or installing sales engagement (or similar) tech probably means they’re scaling outbound, and are going to need a bunch of leads. This happens to be an easy fix with LeadSift so there’s a clear, concise way to reach these people. It’s easy for our SDRs to reach people with a problem we help solve, and personalize in a meaningful way.”
At Vidyard we love to use signals that indicate a Marketing or Sales team is growing, or potentially shifting focus. New job postings, a newly appointed CMO/CRO, or funding news all suggest their team may be ready to adopt new tools to create sales and marketing efficiency
“Hiring an SDR manager is a great signal for us. An SDR manager typically creates playbooks and cadences for when they first start, and then train and coach their team how to use them. This is exactly what we do at Growth Genie but we know it can take up to a year to hire, train and onboard an SDR manager, which is the pain we focus on when targeting these companies.”
“For Proposify, anytime our ideal customer is showing a number of big time ‘I’m considering Proposify’ signals like visiting high-intent pages on the site or taking actions on high-intent sites like G2 – this triggers an alert in Slack. The first BDR to hit ✅, prospects the account. This helps us contact the prospect just at the right time.”
“Identifying the anonymous accounts visiting your website is a powerful intent signal that an organization is in the market to buy. By understanding what pages they have visited and the content they have engaged with, you can tailor your messaging to provide them with the most relevant information at the height of their interest.
Sales receives Slack notifications when a target account or net-new account engages with our website. Marketing then uses our Google integration to do retargeted advertisement based on the identified accounts.”
It’s all about content these days. If you have an eye on what topics your prospects are reading up about, that’s an early sign that you can use to get your foot in the door and start distributing solid thought leadership.
“Outside of ‘Contact Us’ forms and users clicking ‘I want to talk to sales’ via chatbots, unsurprisingly, intent is really difficult to nail down. We’ve seen that you could have 10 different users clicks the same ‘high intent’ asset and find they’re at completely different stages in their journey. That said, one somewhat consistent signal we’ve seen is users coming from thought leadership, solution-adjacent webinars. We spend time to understand our users via product marketing, customer success, and sales feedback loops. With those insights, we decide what content and topics will resonate most with our ICP and bring those topics to life via webinars which convert to high intent leads at a rate of anywhere from 20-40%. It’s not a perfect science, but we just keep our eyes on the data and our ears towards our customers and prospects.”
“For us, it’s great to understand what a marketing company’s greatest demand gen challenge might be through examining activity around terms like data quality, global reach, or lead engagement. An intent signal like that is valuable for us because we already know that our ABM accounts are actively engaged in demand gen initiatives, but backed with an intent data point like the above, we can create more personalized outreach and tailored solutions from the onset of our interactions with target accounts.”
We found that competitive signals rise in the final stage of buying while all third-party signals drop by 52%. If an account is showing competitive engagements, it’s time to double down on your efforts. Social proof, highly targeted messaging, and persistence is key to winning these deals.
“The profile of an account goes a long way toward determining which intent signals are most relevant. For a greenfield account, we’re more likely to prioritize signals that indicate an active product comparison is underway, whereas for our competitors’ customers it’s more effective to watch for risk signals indicating troubles with implementation, ROI, and so on.”
“For Pitch121 and our clients there are clear signals for intent on our LinkedIn feeds. The secret sauce for me on Leadsift is finding those in your target market who have followed or engaged with a competitor. Added bonus is that you know who exactly did that with the LinkedIn URL. Other tracking or intent tools I’ve used tell you ‘someone at your target company’ – leaving you fishing for who that might be.”
“At Copado, we have a pretty niche persona so we spend time researching the skills that prospects list on their LinkedIn page; for example, if they have “Salesforce” or “DevOps” or even one of our competitors listed, those tend to be a great starting point for us because that indicates they see the value in a DevOps tool and potentially used our product at a past company or have at least felt the pain points in a typical DevOps process.”
“Based off the clients current customer base, enriching the data and finding similarities based on AOV. For example, AOV is 27% higher when they have 50+ people in sales . Those triggers can be found using people data labs (# of people in a department), using BuiltWith for the active tech count and Slintel for technology.
The biggest thing we’ll do is create specific messaging and ads for each of the triggers. For example, if they use a specific ABM platform, have messaging that talks about how their tech integrates or compliments it.”
“When you go to reach out, you’ve got the trigger event that they’re in a new position. You’ve got the empathy to say ‘I know you just landed there, but maybe in a few weeks when you’re settled we should talk’. And the best part, you have a second reason for that conversation.”
“Picture the scene. The decision-maker you spoke to, who became a customer… just left the company they work for a few months after signing with you. You know them, you’ve helped them, and they’ve trusted you to solve a problem in their work.
But now they’ve gone to a new company. You can use the “social credit” you’ve built up with them over the course of the relationship and how it started, but that might not quite be enough. We don’t want to come into their inbox on the 3rd day of their new job and ask what are their priorities, and can we meet. That shows a lack of empathy and understanding. Starting a new job means a lot of things, meeting with salespeople is pretty low on the agenda in the first few weeks at any job.
How can we help the rubber hit the road here? Involve another trigger event, to increase the relevancy.
For example, find if the company they’ve moved to is using a competing tool. This could be done via a Chrome Plugin (varying accuracy), searching on G2 for reviews by their colleagues, a LinkedIn Sales Navigator search for technologies used within the account.
Now when you go to reach out, you’ve got the trigger event that they’re in a new position. You’ve got the empathy to say “I know you just landed there, but maybe in a few weeks when you’re settled we should talk”. And the best part, you have a second reason for that conversation. Not just relying on your prior relationship to book that call. You’ve found the contextual, account-level trigger event too which merits the discussion for them in this current role and at this company. Without that, you’re much less likely to get the call.”
“We have very high response rates and close rates with customer POC’s moving to another company. Right now, monitoring this signal is a manual process. The only company I know that does this at scale is Usergems, who we’re looking into now.
The audience size for these people isn’t huge so we can’t do anything on the advertisement side but we do have AE’s that reach out to these people via Linkedin to get the conversation started.”
What Signals are You Missing Out On?
What signals will you be tracking next? No one can do it all, so take what resonates and leave what doesn’t.
You wouldn’t buy a car without asking a few questions first. What’s the mileage like? When did it last pass inspection? Treat buying data with the same care and concern.
In 2022, data is king. Good luck selling anything without it. However, not everyone can be a data expert, so we made this list of questions to ask potential data vendors so you can be confident the data you’re paying for is squeaky clean.
Why do you need to ask your data vendor these questions? Because in a world where data regulations are always changing, it’s important to be sure the data you’re using won’t get you in trouble or alienate your customers.
“When target audiences lose faith in our ability to safeguard their interest, they’re far less likely to interact with our marketing engagement efforts, much less do business with our companies.”
These questions are in reference to The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) released by the European Union. That being said, if you aren’t impacted by GDPR, if you’re dealing with data, regulations exist or are moving in quickly. With more and more countries, states, and regions enacting their own data regulations similar to our friends across the pond, it’s important to be forward-thinking when it comes to data quality. Don’t wait until it’s too late to get the best data available. Good data hygiene is always a solid investment.
1. Are they collecting and sharing personal data with you?
Personal data is anything that is traceable back to an individual. So things like first and last names, email addresses, phone numbers, LinkedIn profiles, social IDs and more all count as personal data.
2. Where is the personal data collected from?
For example, LeadSift scrapes the public web. Personal data from the public web would include first and last names, which most people choose to provide on their social media profiles. Intent vendors, LeadSift included, may have relationships with publishers and content providers where members can opt-in to have their personal data processed.
Data compliance is a spectrum, and there are a lot of grey areas.
“Some data providers will get your names and email addresses among intent-identified accounts using their own contact databases. This, however, is a gray area of compliance (and I’m being lenient here), because you don’t know if or how exactly these contacts opted into providing their information.” – David Crane
3. What is the lawful basis for collecting and processing the data?
In total there are six lawful bases for collecting and processing personal data in the EU. However, for marketers and sales reps, the two you need to focus on are consent and legitimate interest.
4. Do they have explicit consent and how do they get it?
GDPR outlines explicit consent as “Any freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s wishes by which he or she, by a statement or by a clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her.”
The individual has to be made aware of how their information will be used and given a clear opportunity to approve or disapprove of the processing. The data subject can’t be cornered or required to opt-in their data as a condition of using the service. “Silence, pre-ticked/checked boxes, or inactivity does not, therefore, constitute consent. That said, if you or any vendors you work with ensures that all contact-level data was acquired through such compliant means (typically by a clear opt-in or double opt-in process), you should be able to contact them via the normal marketing channels, as long as such uses were clearly stated when the individual opted in”, Says Crane.
There are a few exceptions when it comes to data that is necessary for the provision of service. For example, credit card information and shipping addresses can be required for processing payments and product deliveries (GDPR.EU)
If a vendor doesn’t have explicit consent, then they are likely using legitimate interest as the lawful basis to collect the data, which is why the next question is incredibly important to ask.
5. Can you see a copy of a legitimate interest assessment?
When you receive a copy of a legitimate interest assessment (LIA) from a vendor, that’s a good sign. They are aligning themselves with data accountability and data hygiene. Two fantastic traits to look for in a vendor. As a result, you can be confident you’re putting your budget in the right place.
So what does a proper LIA look like?
A good LIA will be specific and clear. The length of the assessment will be determined by specific circumstances surrounding the data collection practices and therefore will vary from vendor to vendor. The EU does not lay out specifics on how a legitimate interest assessment should be carried out. The UK’s data authority, the information commissioner’s office (ICO), suggests a three-part test that can help data processors determine their legitimate interest:
Purpose test (is there legitimate interest behind the processing?)
Necessity test (is the processing necessary?)
Balancing test (does the individual’s interests and rights and freedoms override your legitimate interests.)
Want to see how LeadSift stays compliant with GDPR? Meet with us and ask all these questions, and more! Go ahead and grill us, we can take it.
Today we are announcing that LeadSift has agreed to be acquired by IDG Communications, the leader in tech media, data and marketing services. We are beyond excited to join this family.
We started LeadSift in 2012 with the hypothesis that there is a massive amount of buying intent generated across billions of public web documents every day. We quickly realized that this data, if delivered in a timely manner, could be a game changer for businesses trying to connect with their customers. (P.S. we were talking about buying intent way before it was cool.) And over the last 9 years – across multiple product pivots and 100s of customers – we have always focused (almost obsessed) over the mission of “mining information from public web sources to help businesses identify and engage their customers in the buying journey.”
Being one of the leading B2B intent data providers and working with some of the savviest marketers, we got to see how big a role intent data was playing across the entire B2B demand generation process. From identifying buyers across the buying journey to engaging with the right message across multiple channels.
Since the inception of LeadSift and our pivot to a B2B intent data platform, we have had many champions and supporters of our mission who understood the power of intent data for B2B marketers, but few have understood as quickly and succinctly as Andre Yee, Chief Product Officer of IDG Communications. (N.B. When you start discussing a product roadmap in the middle of a corp-dev call with half a dozen executives, you know you have found your kindred spirit!) Right after our first meeting, we realized the incredibly powerful future for B2B marketers we could be building together with the IDG’s proprietary first-party and the marketing tech stack they were building (acquiring Triblio and KickFire is not a coincidence).
If you’re a LeadSift customer, partner or one of our prospective customers (P.S. we should chat now seriously!) here are 3 reasons why we are super excited about the future:
1. Data is King: It is obvious the company that has the most depth and breadth of data wins the B2B demand generation space. IDG.com being the #1 Tech Media company with troves of proprietary first-party intent-data across event attendance, engagement with editorial articles, branded conversations and human verified insights has a massive head start. Imagine how scalable and actionable our intent signals will be once we integrate our 3rd-party realtime web based intent signals with this proprietary first-party intent data stream.
2. Incredible Reach: Let’s be honest, being a small startup from Halifax, N.S. we’ve always had challenges in scaling demand generation programs for really large enterprises. By merging with IDG, a company with offices across the globe, we will have a lot more resources to be able to provide global reach and support at a level that we could not previously imagine.
3. Full Cycle Demand Generation: 3rd-party intent data is one piece (albeit a very important one) of the overall B2B marketing and demand generation puzzle. But what if you could know all the information about your first-party web visitors (IDG | Kickfire), cross-reference and prioritize them with 3rd-party intent signals (LeadSift + IDG proprietary first-party data), activate them seamlessly across digital channels (IDG | Triblio) and run highly targeted lead generation programs, all from one single dashboard! This is what Kumaran Ramanathan, president of IDG Communications says: “IDG’s goal of moving to the intersection of media and MarTech is to help B2B marketers navigate the customer journey across a dynamic ecosystem by leveraging unmatched data sets. . LeadSift’s technology is further enhancing our unique intent data that drives ROI for our customers.”
What does this mean for you as a current customer and partner?
As a current customer and partner nothing changes in terms of your subscription, but you can look forward to more and better intent data that includes information from first-party websites and offline sources such as event attendance and telemarketing! Stay tuned for all the exciting product developments we have planned.
What does this mean for the LeadSift team?
We’re closer to building out the most comprehensive and actionable intent data as a service to serve the savviest B2B marketers – and we could not be happier (video/picture). Our entire team is excited to embark on this next chapter of the journey to continue to focus on our mission of “mining information from public web + proprietary data sources to help businesses identify and engage their customers in the buying journey.”
We’ve all heard the terms “dark social” or “dark funnel” by now. Terms like this exist because so much of the buyer’s journey happens in places we can’t see. Most people aren’t waving a flag, shouting they’re in-market.
But intent data is meant to unveil those people right?
The problem is, most intent data vendors are only providing intent signals from one source. This means you’re only getting one, small piece of the puzzle, and a few outliers could not only throw your messaging and timing for a loop, but cause you to miss the accounts that are actually in buying mode.
Introducing LeadSift 360
We’ve always had a multi-source perspective on intent, but we just took it to another level. LeadSift 360 layers more than five data sources, so you get the vastest data, scored like the stock market, so you have noise-free lead generation, directly in your sales and marketing teams’ hands.
LeadSift 360 mines the public web, including job postings, social networks, leadership changes, public forums, technographics, and any other signal on the public web, and layers it with research-based intent. This type of intent is sourced based on prospects researching and reading content on publisher websites that may signal they’re in-market.
Having more data sources means you get a 360-degree view of the buyer’s journey. The intent data essentially validates itself by being cross-referenced with multiple sources, and scored accordingly.
In practice, that means you can be confident in your timing and messaging, beat your competitors to the punch, and scale revenue.
No more black box intent data
A lot of the skepticism around intent comes (rightfully) from not knowing how it’s defined, what counts as a signal, and scoring that is only ever arbitrary secret sauce.
So let’s break down how we’re doing things differently.
First things first, the intent data.
Attached to every lead you get, we tell you the event that triggered the event signal. Whether that’s someone engaging with your competitor, a custom keyword, or hiring for a relevant role, you deserve to have that intel to power your messaging.
We revamped our scoring to mimic the stock market. This way, large accounts aren’t automatically, artificially inflated, and small accounts aren’t left behind if they’re truly in-market. Directly in the LeadSift platform, you can actually see why we’ve scored an account the way we have. [Note: in the platform, scores are labeled cold, warm, hot, but in the data deliveries, numbers are there for granular prioritization.]
Other research-based intent providers often send out a lot of noise. This is because the nature of that data is broad and high volume. But this can be a good thing when paired with a more narrow source. By layering research-based intent and public web signals, with trend-based scoring, you can filter out the noise and end up with clear, relevant, actionable intent leads at your fingertips.
So, if you want to get started with noise-free intent data and scale revenue faster, you can try it free for 7 days.
The B2B data space is evolving at break-neck speeds and with it spanning wider and wider, data privacy is an increasing concern for consumers, businesses, and the people whose job it is to use that data.
One of the hardest parts is that people don’t know where to start. What is GDPR? How do I make sure the data I’m using won’t get me in trouble? How will this impact how I market and sell my solution?
After recently digging into our own compliance and completing a Legitimate Interest Assessment (LIA) for GDPR compliance, we reached out to data providers, marketing automation tools, programmatic advertising companies, and outbound sales tools to get their expertise on how GDPR affects B2B tech teams and what they can do to make sure everything’s compliant.
We interviewed leaders from B2B data and service providers to gain their perspectives on compliance. Answers range from what GDPR means for buyers and sellers now, how to make sure your data providers are up to standard, and how to effectively market and sell in a B2B landscape while remaining compliant.
Keep in mind, this article isn’t written by lawyers, but by providers who know the ins and outs by being compliant themselves, and ensuring their customers do the same.
For the sake of honesty, there are a few shameless plugs, but what can I say, it’s written by marketers across the industry. We wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t shout out our products at least a little bit.
So, what is GDPR?
GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, is a set of rules to give EU citizens more control over their personal data. It aims to simplify the regulatory environment for business so both citizens and businesses in the EU can fully benefit from the digital economy.
Data Protection regulations outlined by GDPR include:
Right of Access: you may request access to your personal information and obtain a copy of personal information.
Right of Rectification: you may request to change, update or complete any missing data processed about you.
Right to Erasure: you may at any time withdraw your consent to the processing of your personal information. In this case, if there is no overriding legitimate interest for continuing the processing of your personal information and the personal information is no longer necessary in relation to the purpose for which it was originally collected, we will erase your data.
Right to Data Portability: You have the right to receive personal information in a structured, commonly used format.
Why is GDPR compliance crucial for B2B organizations?
Kicking our interviews off, we talked to Intentsify’s David Crane. Step one is covering why GDPR (and compliance in general) are not only important from a legal basis but help build a business customers want to work with.
“What’s good for customers is good for business. Unfortunately, as marketers, we’re often unaware of how secure (or insecure) data is when we capture, transfer, or use it. As it turns out, it’s often not all that secure. Not long ago, hackers gained access to information on 150 million users of Under Armour’s MyFitnessPal app. Soon after, Marriott announced a massive data breach, potentially affecting 500 million people. Identity theft is estimated to cost American consumers alone more than $16 billion annually” says Crane.
“When target audiences lose faith in our ability to safeguard their interest, they’re far less likely to interact with our marketing engagement efforts, much less do business with our companies.”
– David Crane, Intentsify
“This all reverberates throughout the digital marketing space, hurting our organizations as well as our customers. When target audiences lose faith in our ability to safeguard their interest, they’re far less likely to interact with our marketing engagement efforts, much less do business with our companies.
Back in May of 2018, an Economist article succinctly corroborated the link between marketing practices and data privacy laws, stating the GDPR was the result of marketers’ (via their advertising tech) “insatiable hunger for personal data.
Businesses across the globe have largely failed to self-regulate. And the marketing industry’s pursuit to acquire as much data as possible, as quickly as possible, has put prospects and customers at risk. It’s for reasons such as these that government-implemented data-protection regulations are on the rise.
Now, we all know that these new regulations can place extra burdens on us as marketers (cleansing databases, revising opt-in language on landing pages, adjusting data-transfer processes, etc.). However, in the long run, the GDPR and other data privacy regulations like the CCPA will do businesses more good than harm.”
So, in what ways have new privacy regulations been good for businesses and consumers?
Here are just a few positive results of new regulations according to Crane:
1. “They encourage account-based focus—Account-based marketing (ABM) requires marketers to focus their efforts, resources, and budget on fewer accounts and individuals. It shuns spray-and-pray email tactics and high-volume lead gen goals—both of which require marketers to scrape as much personal data as possible and are averse to data privacy. Data regulations and good ABM strategies strive to create quality prospect interactions by being customer-focused. This demands that marketers be respectful of prospect data and gain trust.
2.They cause businesses to focus on the metrics that matter—Recent and upcoming data-privacy regulations provide good arguments for marketing teams to shift goals down the funnel to focus on metrics like sales pipeline and revenue growth, rather than top-funnel lead volume, which encourages gathering as much contact-level data as possible.
3.They improve prospect and customer data quality—The fact that the GDPR requires consent for specific uses of data will lead to an improved understanding of prospect needs. In other words, marketers will gain more specific, accurate prospect data with which they can further qualify, nurture, and convert leads into opportunities.
4.Enhance program transparency—Regulations certainly create barriers to marketing-funnel entry. But this is a good thing. This barrier acts as a filtration device, limiting the amount of bad data that can muddy your database and skew your program measurement, analysis, and optimization. With a cleaner database, you’ll gain a better understanding of which engagement tactics are resonating with your target audiences.
5.Increase marketing (and sales) efficiency—When prospect data is of higher quality, your team doesn’t need to waste as many resources trying to convert leads that should never have been in your database, to begin with. You can reallocate time and effort to more strategic, revenue-driving activities.”
Intent Data and GDPR
How to find compliant contact-level data
Next, we talked to Crane about GDPR in the context of intent data specifically. This is his wheelhouse and he did not fail to give great insights. Here’s what he had to say.
“There are a few ways to find and use contact-level data, some more compliant than others,” says Crane.
“For example, some data providers will get you names and email addresses among intent-identified accounts using their own contact databases. This, however, is a gray area of compliance (and I’m being lenient here), because you don’t know if or how exactly these contacts opted into providing their information.”
Crane also proposes some solutions and services that provide data that is compliant, more transparent, and ethical in approach. Two compliant options he suggests are:
LeadSift—Since LeadSift’s tech derives data only from public sources, such as social media platforms, they have identified legitimate interest, a pillar of GDPR compliance, therefore they can provide intent data at the contact level.
Intentsify’s demand gen solution—While Intentsify’s intent data is purely account-level data, their demand gen solution allows you to distribute your branded content among intent-identified accounts, and targeted personas can then opt-in to providing their contact info to access the content. Not only is this GDPR compliant, but it also shows a further level of intent.
Questions to ask your third-party data provider
At LeadSift, we just went through the process of making sure we’re doing the right things. This means double and triple checking our data and processes and completing a Legitimate Interest Assessment (LIA) to make sure we’re doing all we can to be compliant.
That’s why we answered the next question in-house and asked LeadSift Co-founder and CEO, Tukan Das, about how to make sure the data you buy fits the bill.
“The most important question to ask your data provider is if they are processing and sharing any personal data with you? Personal data from a B2B perspective includes first name, last name, email, phone, LinkedIn, social IDs, etc. If they are dealing with personal data then ask them where they are collecting the data from and ask for the lawful basis of them collecting and processing the data?”
“If they have explicit consent from the data subjects (i.e. professional contacts) ask them how they collected the opt-in and any additional context (terms of service etc.) around it. If they don’t have consent – then they’d probably use legitimate interest as their lawful basis to process the data (most third-party providers would fall under it). Ask them to provide a detailed LIA for their data collection and processing.
In addition to a completed LIA, ask them if they can support blocking of contacts and also providing a full-trail of the personal data they have stored on the contacts in a human-readable format.”
If these boxes are all checked, you’re probably good to go. At the end of the day, transparency is key here.
What are the compliance implications of account vs contact-level data?
Back on track with Intentsify’s David Crane, we also pulled in Metadata’s Logan Neveau, we talked about the difference between buying and using company vs contact data under the lens of compliance.
“Both types of data are important. As my old colleague and friend, Scott Vaughan would often say (almost ad nauseum, but important nonetheless): ‘Companies don’t buy anything, people do.’ Despite the fact that I liked to debate this by saying ‘Well, companies do buy things, but people sign the checks,’ Scott’s point is absolutely correct—account-level data doesn’t mean much if you can’t find and have conversations with the right people.” says Crane.
The trick to acting on contact-level data under GDPR is understanding that the privacy regulations are highly focused on the rights of the individual, so you have to be vigilant along every step of the data’s journey through your business.
Metadata’s Logan Neveau had a similar thing to say concerning the countries GDPR applies to, “You have to be 100% confident that every single person who’s going to see your ad is not a European Union citizen.”
He dives deeper explaining, “They don’t hold double citizenship. They’re not on vacation, and they’re not using a VPN because the VPN can screw with where they’re actually located. So it’s practically impossible. By default, everyone should be treated as if GDPR applies to them if you want to be safe from a legal perspective.”
When it comes to targeting at the contact-level using email addresses from an ads perspective, Neveau says “When you want to target contacts you don’t get to see the Personal Identifiable Information (PII), it’s hashed, encrypted, and passed directly to the API for the data set to Facebook or LinkedIn. So we’re not exposing any PII until you opt-in and you consent saying let’s have a conversation, then we can unmask who that person is.”
What’s allowed and not allowed within GDPR compliance?
Now that we’ve talked a bit about the implications of GDPR compliance, we can dive into what we can do with data.
“First, I’m not a lawyer, and any business dealing with these issues should have an attorney look into their specific circumstances. That said, here’s the main, high-level stuff to know from my perspective as a marketer.” explains Crane.
“There are six ‘Lawful Bases’ by which organizations can acquire and process personal data in the European Union. The two that matter most to marketers are consent and legitimate interest (the other four bases will rarely if ever, affect marketing efforts).
Obtaining consent should be the primary legal basis by which marketers use personal data. This largely means requiring contacts to opt into a specific use of their personal info. Specifically, the GDPR states that consent should be given by:
“Clear affirmative act establishing a freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her, such as by a written statement, including by electronic means, or an oral statement.” [https://www.legislation.gov.uk/eur/2016/679/contents]
Silence, pre-ticked/checked boxes, or inactivity does not, therefore, constitute consent. That said, if you or any vendors you work with ensures that all contact-level data was acquired through such compliant means (typically by a clear opt-in or double opt-in process), you should be able to contact them via the normal marketing channels, as long as such uses were clearly stated when the individual opted in.” explains Crane.
How will these laws affect data providers moving forward? How will this shape the future of intent?
Crane says “I think data-privacy regulations are good for the industry as a whole, including data providers (at least the diligent, ethical ones, which are the ones you want anyway). Any data provider that can’t perform under such new rules is simply less equipped to support their customers’ needs. Consequently, they won’t succeed. That’s just capitalism working as it should, and it’s good for marketers, businesses, consumers, and society in general.”
GDPR and Outbound Sales
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Data is only as good as its action plan. So now that we know what it takes for intent to be compliant. How does GDPR impact the processes intent ebbs and flows into?
Does GDPR mean you can’t do Outbound Prospecting?
“It doesn’t!” says Predictable Revenue’s, Sarah Hicks, “But it does mean you have to play by the rules.”
“GDPR requires permission from the individual to collect, store, and use their personal data. That means that if you’re purchasing lists from a data provider or having someone research/scrape to find data for you – you need to make sure that data is GDPR compliant.”
How can SDR’s still be compliant with their email outreach?
Hicks explains that “Article 47 of GDPR states that ‘direct marketing purposes may be regarded as carried out for legitimate interest.’”
“Outbound prospecting falls under the umbrella of direct marketing in this context. If you have researched a company and/or buyer persona and write a one-to-one email to a prospect expressing relevant ways you can help them solve an issue or achieve a goal – that probably counts as legitimate interest. What you can’t do under GDPR is send out mass, spray and pray outreach via email. This blog post can help you determine whether your outreach meets the legitimate interest criteria.”
How will laws like GDPR affect outbound activity in the future?
This industry changes quickly and without remorse. It’s important to not only consider how your outbound sales activities are compliant today, but how SDRs can be compliant without interruption moving forward. Here’s Hicks’s advice.
“Data security and privacy laws and regulations are becoming increasingly strict. Each region has its own set of privacy acts that are being amended and added to all the time. At the moment, the EU and California have some of the most extensive data privacy regulations in place with GDPR and CCPA, but Canada is close behind with new regulations proposed. As individuals spend more and more time online, they become more concerned about their data security and privacy, and the legal and regulatory systems in countries are catching up.
There are certain business development thought leaders that believe that cold emails will be made completely illegal within the next decade and some that cold calls are a thing of the past thanks to increasingly tight regulations and personal attitudes that find these methods of communication invasive. I think it’s totally plausible that, in future, SDR/BDR activity will be limited to 1 to 1, researched, customized, and relevant outreach. “ says Hicks.
Outplay’s Sathyanarain (Narain) Muralidharan goes on to explain “A multi-channel outbound sales strategy is really a powerful way to work within the rules of GDPR. The key is to get permission from a prospect before sending them an outbound sales email.
Once you have your account list, it is always a great practice to warm the prospect up via various channels like social media, and even channels like text messages and cold calls. A multi-channel sales engagement platform like Outplay lets you execute such a sequence at scale across your team of sales reps to ensure you operate within the rules of GDPR.”
GDPR and B2B Advertising
From an advertisement perspective, how will laws like GDPR and CCPA impact B2B marketers?
“The B2B advertising landscape for most of the ABM tools has all been very display focused. There’s a ton of data that you can get within a Display Side Platform (DSP) particularly on cookies and individual user tracking. But with Google’s changes coming to get rid of the ‘cookie-pocalypse’, paired with GDPR, it’s really hard to get that granularity and that visibility. So companies like 6Sense, Demandbase, and Terminus, which have all that intent data based on ad interaction data risk losing that visibility and those signals because you won’t be able to track third-party users via cookies on Chrome” says Neveau.
“Now that we’re working from home, IP is harder to track. And honestly, in GDPR, if you pair it with anything else, it’s no longer uniquely identifiable. So there’s a gray area in GDPR. Is it PII or is it not? Well, I don’t know. It depends. What’s the context? And so there’s hesitation to use IP addresses.”
How will Display Advertising be impacted?
“It’s already been impacted because you can’t target by specific PII signals. The only thing that makes it different is when you’re on Facebook and LinkedIn, you have accepted their terms and conditions, you have to be anonymized yourself in a display environment you have not,” explains Neveau.
“Right now the only way to target someone in a display network is by IP address. So if someone from within this IP address is visiting, show me that. We have lost individual-based targeting and display in the EU because of GDPR.”
How do you see GDPR impacting advertising outside of intent?
“Immediately when GDPR went into effect, you could no longer target an individual user on display in the EU. It’s IP address only so now you’re targeting an entire company. But, in a closed environment like social media, users have logged in, they’ve consented to share their information with Facebook or LinkedIn, platforms know who users are. Because of this, we can still target an individual user within social media. These walled gardens are going to become immensely more valuable in B2B marketing to continue to retain your targeting.“
Neveau goes on to say, “The downside about this is that LinkedIn knows where you work because you’ve told them so they can say, ‘hey, this account has seen your ad X and Y amount of times.’ Facebook or Quora does not. You can still target individuals there, but you can’t report in an ABM fashion. That’ll be quite scary soon because that is one of the metrics that a lot of these ABM platforms report, penetration on these accounts.
So we shouldn’t set up our marketing to drive clicks and impressions, we shouldn’t be reporting on an account-based lift, because it’s not in our favour, it’s only going to get worse. So instead, we want to say, ‘we’ve gotten impressions and clicks in front of these accounts, go ahead and send that to your sales team,’ but don’t hang your hat on that metric. There are holes in those numbers that you could drive a bus through. Use it as a leading indicator, but you should be rolling out, ‘we drove this many qualified inbound requests, we now have a first-party relationship with that user 100%.’”
When buying data, have open conversations with your provider about where it’s coming from.
Data privacy and compliance are good for everyone. For providers, it improves data quality and holds everyone accountable to the metrics that matter.
Compliance at all stages matters. It’s not just about how to acquire data, it’s about using it in compliant ways.
GDPR and other regulatory bodies aren’t going anywhere. Figuring out a compliant strategy now, and being adaptable as regulations evolve is the pinnacle to success.
Want to read how we use our own data in a GDPR compliant way?