Q&A: How Marketo’s demand-gen team uses intent data

By February 22, 2018
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A Q&A with Marketo’s Mike Madden

 

This week, we sat down with Mike Madden, Sr. Manager of Demand Generation CoE & Strategy at Marketo, to talk about how his team drives deals with intent data.

 

Q: How would you describe intent data?

 

Madden: Intent data is everything we can’t capture with Marketo. We can track our digital assets and paid programs, but intent data gives us the chance to understand what happens outside our reach. It gives us a fuller picture of every lead, contact, and account, and helps us equip sales to pursue deals faster.

 

What led you to intent data?

 

Like most marketing teams, our growth numbers have gone through the roof and we have to deliver it on less budget than before. We needed to get a lot smarter with our martech stack.

Intent data from Bombora is one way we extend our reach and make the most of our database. Marketers can normally only create content for their opted-in prospects, but there’s always going to be a large portion of the database that’s not opted-in or is partially anonymous. Bombora gives us influence over that non opted-in portion and helps us track what’s happening on an account level.

Intent data is especially useful in outbound, which is fairly new for Marketo. Historically, upwards of 90 percent of our deals were marketing-sourced. Now that salespeople are going out and hunting, intent data gives them air cover when engagement data can’t.

 

What are your favorite use cases?

 

There’s really two that come to mind. The first is acquisition. You can segment your audience by just the ideal accounts that are surging on relevant topics and pass them to content syndication vendors and sales. While prospects can’t research your competitors on your site, they research them on others, and Bombora tells you that an account has been looking at X, Y, and Z vendors. Our salespeople have competitive battlecards and they know exactly how to position the deal on the first call.

 

Intent data can tell you if your customers are thinking of churning.  

 

The other use case is retention. Intent data can tell you if your customers are thinking of churning. If our customers start researching competitors heavily, we can notify the customer service managers who can react.

 

How do you operationalize intent data?

 

Intent is really a pretty simple thing. You select the keywords or topics that are most valuable to you, Bombora scores the accounts, and we push that data into our Marketo scoring model.

 

We can dissect the intent data to ask how many topics an account is surging on, which ones, and in what time frame.

 

To get technical, we push the data into custom objects. This allows us to break the intent data down into regular fields which can be tokenized to send sales alerts, create interesting moments, and prioritize the accounts. We can also dissect the intent data to ask how many topics an account is surging on, which ones, and in what time frame.

We can infer a lot from topic scores. With account-level intent data, you can’t see which contacts are doing the research. But you can infer, based on the job titles and engagement scores in your database, who they are, and target them.

 

What’s been a challenge?

 

Deciding which is more valuable: A lead with a very high score on a few topics or a lead with a low score on many topics? In my mind, it’s the latter. We put more priority on accounts that have conducted wider research because it’s a sign that they’re more educated or interested in multiple products.

 

Final words of advice?

 

If an account is surging on intent, don’t just throw it over the fence to sales – qualify it first. If you send everything over, you’ll flood the reps and they might stop trusting you. You want to create enough scarcity that reps want to work whatever you send over, and that the quality remains high. Keep your hand on the tap and dial it up and down based on the ask.

 

You want to create enough scarcity that reps want to work whatever you send over.  

 

Plus, you don’t want to waste anything – no lead left behind. I’d rather hold onto a lead and continue to nurture it than send it over if it’s not going to be worked.

 

See intent data for yourself: Get a free intent assessment with EverString.

 

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