Effective B2B growth in account-based marketing (ABM) relies heavily on what you are able to learn about your target accounts. The more information that you have on hand, the more you can custom-tailor your content and interactions to speak to the issues and concerns that they care about most as they relate to your product.

At its heart, account-based marketing is all about relationships. The relationship between your sales team and their buying team. The relationship between their company and your product. And the relationship between their buying team and the competition.

It has only been a little over a decade since the ITSMA first published their initial account-based marketing reports, and since that time the practice has grown rapidly in popularity among B2B operations. In recent years, we have seen account-based marketing really take hold. According to a recent survey from SiriusDecisions, more than 90% of marketers believe that account-based marketing is a must-have strategy for B2B teams. Intent data is perhaps the most important tool that ABM teams have at their disposal.

According to IBM, consumers around the globe consume more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every single day. That data includes every action that we take, video that we watch, and social media update that we post. The on-site data that companies collect is valuable but pales in comparison to off-site intent data collected through digital channels that they don’t own, both in terms of sheer data volume and usefulness.

Most companies — even those that practice ABM — make few attempts to consolidate data from outside sources, instead relying on their owned properties for insight. While that can still provide actionable data, it leaves a lot on the table. In account-based marketing, where the information that you collect on your customers plays a key role in your marketing and sales process, it is vital that you use every avenue possible to collect data to inform those processes. Intent data expands your reach and provides you with insights you wouldn’t be able to collect on your own.

Types of ABM Data

The best ABM teams have pinpointed ways to accurately score leads and determine which accounts to focus a majority of their resources on. To do this, you’ll need data. The ABM lead scoring practice eschews the use of intuition and gut instincts and relies on what you know and what is actionable. With fewer data points you have less to work with and your decisions and strategies will suffer.

In ABM, there are a few key types of data that companies use to inform their strategies. These are firmographic, technographic, intent, and engagement data.

Firmographic Data

Firmographic data encompasses the characteristics of a given account. It’s demographic data, but for companies. This data is often used to gauge how much interest a particular account might have on your product, based on internal historical data. Firmographic data includes:

  • Company size
  • Employees
  • Industry
  • Locations
  • Etc.

It’s the type of data that you might see showing up on a customer persona — the key information about your prospects that you use to gauge whether the company fits within your target market. There are many ways to procure this data. Many companies publish it themselves in annual reports. Third-party data vendors are sure to have it as well. It’s the basic layer of account data. If you’re missing firmographic data for target accounts, you don’t have much to go on.

*Wait! We asked 27 experts on how they engage buyers and some of them mentioned Intent Data in their strategies to win new business. Get the eBook now!*

sales and marketing leaders ebook banner

Technographic Data

Information about what solutions the company is currently using. Do they utilize a solution that would pair well with your current offering? Do they use technology that might make their investment in your product less likely? What platforms are they using? Technographic information is critical for tech and software companies when scoring leads and evaluating the likelihood that a company would be interested in their solutions.

Engagement Data

Engagement data is the data that you collect on your own website or digitally owned properties. Engagement data encompasses all recorded actions a customer takes on those properties. They way they engage with your blog content, emails, and social media accounts would all fall under the umbrella of engagement data.

Engagement data plays a very important role in ABM. Knowing what your customer has looked at and what they engage with on your website is important for tailoring your marketing and sales approaches to their buying team. But it’s only a small piece of the engage puzzle. Third-party engagement data, known as intent data, provides a wider scope and a more complete look at the actions your accounts take.

Intent Data

Third-party data collected from non-owned channels. Intent data relates to the behavior of individuals and target accounts and is extremely useful in the ABM qualification and scoring process. Intent data can encompass a wide range of information including social media interactions, content downloads, ad clicks, and any public discussion.

Use Intent Data to Identify In-Market Prospects

Intent data fits seamlessly into ABM strategies in a number of ways, but the most impact of which is in how it helps ABM teams to identify in-market prospects and qualified accounts. Intent data helps you to uncover accounts that are proactively evaluating and searching for solutions that are just like yours.

LeadSift’s intent data can help you to identify in-market prospects by examining their public interactions. This includes discussions on social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn, posts on popular industry forums and community websites, and content they have commented on or engaged with. Having this information at your disposal will allow your ABM team to grow their list of accounts and fill that list with interested, in-market accounts that will be more likely to engage with the sales process.

Intent Data for Lead Scoring & Predicting Success

Intent data is extremely useful in ABM processes for identifying marketing and sales qualified leads. Firmographic and technographic data are both static data formats. Intent data, on the other hand, uses behavior to indicate qualification with higher levels of confidence. This helps ABM teams to better score leads, predict outcomes, and prioritize accounts and resources.

Identifying marketing qualified accounts relies on your ability to understand an account’s intent. That intent includes all members of buying teams, which average 5.4 people per team.

account-based marketing

Source: Harvard Business Review

Intent data provides insights into the thoughts and motivations of individual members of that buying team, allowing you to tailor your messaging to meet the needs and address concerns of every stakeholder in the group. Integrating intent data into your ABM processes lets you stop throwing darts against the wall, hoping for a bullseye with your messaging, and lets you make informed decisions that lead to more sales.

Today B2B buyers lead heavily on digital processes to research and better understand solutions before investing in them. SiriusDecisions found in 2013 that 67% of the buyer’s journey takes place digitally. You can be sure that those teams are only relying more heavily on digital research in 2018.

A Powerful ABM Tool

Intent data provides ABM teams with a powerful tool. It enables them to identify more in-market accounts, score leads with increased accuracy, and re-shape their campaigns with personalized messaging. Third-party intent data is the perfect complement to ABM strategies that rely heavily on quality, actionable data for improvement.