Buying has changed a lot in recent years. One key element of that is that buyers prefer to remain anonymous much farther into the purchase journey. That means they’re less likely to raise their hands and identify themselves by trading contact info for gated content like an ebook than they used to be. In fact, only 3% of website visitors fill out a form these days.
As a marketer, you need to be able to reach the other 97% of website visitors as well — especially in an economy in which opportunities are fewer and farther between. But only 26% of organizations in a recent survey said they identify web traffic that doesn’t fill out a form.
In order to reclaim that 97% of web traffic in an anonymous buying world, you need to adapt to how buyers buy today. Here are five main capabilities you need to have to be able to connect with anonymous buyers.
1. Identify Opportunities
Even though buyers may not actively identify themselves to you, they leave signals that indicate they’re looking to buy what you’re selling. But in order to see those signals, you need access to robust intent data from a number of sources:
- First-party intent data from properties that belong to you, like your website, your CRM, and MAP.
- Second-party intent data from sites you don’t own, but which contain content about you — think review sites like TrustRadius, Capterra, and G2.
- Third-party intent data from everywhere else on the web that lets you know an account could be in the market for a solution like yours.
Having access to all three types of intent data is essential for capturing opportunities that exist for your company right now in an anonymous buying environment.
2. Look for Indicators of Unmet Needs
Even before prospects begin their buying journey, they leave signals that they might be entering the market in the future. We call this pre-intent data, and it comes in three main flavors:
- Technographic data. A company’s tech ecosystem says a lot about what tech they might be in the market for soon. Data about current tech stacks, what integrates with them, and timing of contract renewals can give you a head start in marketing to potential buyers long before your competition does.
- Psychographic data. Before they’re ready to buy, people engage in conversation across the web that highlights their pain points. This psychographic data exists in annual reports, web pages, social media, and elsewhere. It can shape your understanding of prospects so you can engage with more-relevant messaging.
- Market updates. Product launches, leadership turnover, relevant hires, funding updates, acquisitions, and events can signal opportunities and help you anticipate upcoming needs.
3. Hear Through the Noise
The more data points you have, the better equipped you are to recognize every revenue moment. But massive amounts of data can quickly become noise unless you can distill them into actionable insights. That’s where AI and predictive analytics come in: They take all that data and answer questions like:
- What does this mean for the buyer’s journey?
- What does this engagement pattern tell you?
- Does this mean they’re about to open an opportunity, or does this mean they’re new in their journey?
- Which buyers do you prioritize based on the signals you’re receiving?
- How, when, and where can you best engage with these prospects?
4. Seize the moment
If you have the best intent and pre-intent data, plus the ability to distill insights from the noise, you have what you need to seize on every revenue moment. Now you have to do it — and do it fast.
I like to remind my team that it’s a revenue moment, not a revenue week or month. When you receive signals that an account is in market, you need to act fast.
That takes more than just will. It requires having all the data consolidated and ready to use — including high-quality contact data. It’s not helpful to know an account is hot to buy and then spend a day tracking down contact info and another week fielding bounces because the info is all out of date.
Being ready and able to engage with an account at the exact right moment also requires building expectations for your reps and sellers around timing and quality of outreach. Your SLAs should specify how quickly, how often, and to how many personas your reps should reach out once an account is identified as being in market.
5. Make it relevant
Part of quality outreach entails hyper-relevant messaging. What makes a message relevant? It comes down to four things:
- Fit. What about the account makes it a good fit? By pairing pre-intent data with firmographic data like company size, geography, and vertical, you can determine what unique value you can add for the customer.
- Persona. Your data should give you insights into the personas you want to engage with. What jobs do they hold? What can you do to help them in their roles?
- Behavior. If you know what a company is researching or talking about online, you can speak directly to those issues in your first outreach — even using relevant keywords in your subject line.
- Timing. The message will differ depending on buying stage. Use messaging that’s appropriate for their level of awareness and readiness and activate appropriate campaigns at the exact moment that your prospects are ready for them.
Pulling it All Together to Reach Anonymous Buyers
When you have these five ingredients — intent data, pre-intent data, a way to separate the insights from the noise, the ability to act fast, and the insights to create relevant messaging — you can effectively reach buyers, even when they aren’t raising their hands to identify themselves.
About the Author
Latané Conant is the Chief Market Officer of 6sense and author of the bestselling book, No Forms. No Spam. No Cold Calls. She’s passionate about empowering marketing leaders to confidently lead their teams, company, and industry into the future. Latané is laser-focused on leveraging technology and data to build marketing programs that result in deals, not just leads. She’s known across the industry for her creativity, competitiveness, and boundless energy.
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