The Buyers Journey HAS Changed or When Analysts “Get It”

By July 6, 2015
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Last week, Laura Ramos from Forrester published a great report (requires subscription) on the role of predictive Analytics in B2B marketing. The report outlines “how B2B marketers can use predictive analytics to help their companies better understand buyers and enhance their longer and more valuable journey from customer to advocate.”

The report is definitely worth a read and while full of great insight; she also sets forth valuable frameworks and some wonderful advice to aid you on your journey. She also presents some baseline understanding on buyer “intent”, which is worth exploring even further.

What’s YOUR journey?

lauraWe are all buyers, and I would presume most of us undertake fairly extensive research before buying any enterprise solution. Funny enough, you are here on our site reading this blog, so perhaps you are doing research right now. You must have some interest in predictive solutions. While news of the changing buyer’s journey is hardly earth shattering, it is great to see numbers backing this claim. Laura presents a key finding, and personally, I am definitely in that 53%.

“53% of decision-makers told Forrester that they prefer researching online to talking to a salesperson”

When we browse and research products online we exhibit intent to buy. Sure, this can be seen in the age-old recommendation engine example, and sure, this can work for Amazon.com, which has a catalog of hundreds of millions of products. But what about you? What about your handful of products and only tens of thousands of website visitors? How do you collect intent signals beyond just your single site?

With EverString, we collect a broad set of intent data from both public sources and by using our proprietary technology to scour and capture this information from points well beyond your own web property. We then help you use this information to turn this raw intent into an engaged prospect.

Account based marketing allows you to turn intent into engagement

The myth of intent is that there is massive latent demand for your product. As data practitioners we need to be honest with ourselves and our customers. We need to be pragmatic, and use the right data and the right science to help understand the intent that is present.

Intent signals do exist from prospects who have interest in your product category, and EverString will help you identify those high-intent prospects. As importantly, EverString enables you to go far beyond the layer of prospects who already have intent, and dig deeper to uncover additional prospects which SHOULD be interested in your offering, and where you can cultivate intent, engagement, and ultimately closed-won deals.

Again, in this new Forrester report, Laura presents some great advice that instructs you to understand segments of buyers and then message them correctly. Segmentation is fairly straightforward once a prospect is engaged and you have contact details in your marketing automation system. However, how do you do this when a prospect shows intent but you have no further information?

According to Forrester, we must “nurture those prospects more likely to become ready buyers”. This is why understanding intent requires an account-based approach, as the context of the individual is critical. While some may be able to identify individual intent, the best method to truly understand whether chasing the intent is worth your while is to also apply “fit”. Does this prospect represent an account that looks like your optimal customer?

All Intent Data is not equal

There is a lot of intent data out there, and asking vendors WHAT data they use is important. Are they merely collectors of commercially available information, or do they extend publicly available and standard commercial data sources with true proprietary data? How much work do they do to curate this data? Laura outlines a good set of this data in a graphic in the report called: “Predictive analytics expand the universe of buyer insight”.

At EverString we are data geeks. We take pride in our data set and have built a company around it to provide the most accurate and valuable solution in the predictive analytics market. We’d be delighted to talk to you about your intent.

Learn more today… download our primer on predictive analytics!

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