Operationalizing Intent Data to Go From Conversation to Conversion—Instantly

July 2nd, 2020

TrustRadius recently hosted a meeting of the minds with Jessica Brook, Senior Demand Generation Manager at Optimizely; Mark Kilens, VP of Content and Community at Drift; and Russ Somers, VP of Marketing at TrustRadius. The topic of the digital event (available on-demand here) was a unique and powerful experiment Optimizely conducted, which combined TrustRadius True Intent data and Drift’s book-a-meeting bot to accelerate their sales cycle.. 

Pre-pandemic, 67% of the buyer’s journey was digital. However, now it’s 100% digital. This means it’s more important than ever to connect with interested buyers when they land on your website, it may be the only chance you have to interact with them. But how can marketers tell which buyers have already done their research and are ready to talk with a sales rep?

Intent data solves this issue by allowing companies to identify target accounts that are getting closer to a purchase decision. Below, find out how Optimizely used True Intent data and a Drift bot to target high-value accounts, and what they plan to do next. 

Online Reputation Matters 

Based on our own research, we’ve found that 49% of buyers won’t ever interact with a vendor representative. And even before the pandemic, over half of buyers (52%) were already using reviews to make technology purchases. 

Pie chart indicating that 52% of buyers use reviews in their purchase process.

Buyers turn to review sites like TrustRadius to evaluate different software options, research specific use cases, and make one-to-one comparisons. In Optimizely’s case, buyers spend an average of 10 minutes and 24 seconds on TrustRadius product comparison pages.

Optimizely vs Launch Darkly comparison page

Since they’ve already done their own research on your product or service, buyers that come from review sites tend to be further down the funnel. They’re educated and ready to make a decision. So before you start using intent data to target high-value accounts, make sure your buyers can find your product or service on review sites like TrustRadius. 

Optimizely has partnered with TrustRadius to boost their online presence, resulting in over 380 customers on the record and 11K pageviews since the beginning of 2019. 

They’re winning a huge share of the buyers in their category relative to the competition, but there are still 4 in 5 buyers in the market for a solution like Optimizely who haven’t considered them yet. True Intent data allows Optimizely to “see” and connect with those other buyers who haven’t checked them out yet, too. 

Optimizely's accomplishments using TrustRadius reviews and data

Leveraging True Intent Data 

Once you’ve built up your presence on TrustRadius, it’s time to tap into True Intent data and find out which target accounts have been actively considering you. 

Not All Intent Data is the Same 

When we polled our webinar audience about their intent data use cases, we found out that about 2 out of 3 people are using intent data in both Marketing and Sales channels. However, not all intent data is created equal. 

Your intent data is only as strong as the signal it provides. Which means, when choosing the right intent data provider for you, you’ll want to consider:

Quick poll about intent data screenshot
  1. Where the intent signal comes from 
  2. How specific the signal is

For example, do the intent signals come from keyword searches across various media websites, or specific actions a buyer takes on a review site? If the intent data is vague or feels like a shot in the dark, it’s likely you’re working with weak intent signals. Weak signals tend to provide simple metrics, like a count of total pageviews, rather than more complex signals that track buyer behavior. 

If it’s not clear what intention the buyer had or what action they want to take, your intent data isn’t answering the most important questions. 

“True Intent Data gave us insight into which accounts are comparing Optimizely to competitors .”

Jessica Brook 

Organizations that are advanced intent data users typically pull together intent signals from multiple providers. This provides them with a full-funnel view that combines general topic interest with specific comparison and purchase intent. 

Accelerating and Optimizing the Sales Cycle

At Optimizely, Jessica knew she wanted to focus on accounts that were further along in the buyer’s journey, which is where TrustRadius came into play. With a background in account-based marketing (ABM), Jessica was familiar with using intent data to help identify and then target high priority accounts. 

For their end of the year campaign, Jessica created an experiment using 180 days worth of TrustRadius True Intent data and a Drift book-a-meeting bot to help target high-value accounts. Once the Trust Intent data fed into the Drift bot, it would instantly reach out to high value accounts that visited Optimizely landing pages asking if they would like to book a meeting.

After filtering down the list of over 1,000 accounts captured by True Intent data from TrustRadius, Jessica identified 176 target accounts to plug into the Drift chatbot. This resulted in: 

  • 11 meetings booked 
  • 4 sales accepted meetings
  • 1 closed-won deal that closed in 1 day

According to Jessica, the success of this experiment was due to it being the right message, at the right time, in the right channel—a perfect storm. 

“This experiment completely validated my hypothesis that these people were ready to talk to sales, and even buy.”

Jessica Brook

Setting up a Drift Chatbot

If you’re wondering how you can use True Intent data to set up your own Drift book-a-meeting bot, follow these steps: 

  1. Download your True Intent Data .csv file 
  2. Filter out any segments that are not a priority (e.g. specific company sizes, location of company headquarters, known customer accounts, etc.) 
  3. Create an account segment inside Drift 
  4. Filter by account domain and owner 
  5. Make sure the Drift bot only appears for accounts that have an owner (i.e. fall within your ICP), this will help prevent un-owned accounts from having a bad bot experience
  6. Add in personal touches like the headshot of the account owner
  7. Feed the refined True Intent account list into a Drift chatbot 
Driftbot in action!

Optimizely has also created a plugin for Drift that allows users to A/B test different messaging. So the final step is testing your bot copy to make sure you’re targeting the right accounts with the best possible message. For more information on how to set up this plugin, see Optimizely’s step-by-step guide. 

Best Practices

Here areJessica and Mark’s tips for reaching out to prospects when they visit your website:. 

  1. Ask for email early in the conversation
  2. Personalize based on which page the user is on or what content they have engaged with (on your site, via email, or on TrustRadius)
  3. Focus on high-intent pages like pricing and demo requests and turn them into pipeline generation machines 
  4. The hook your bot uses should be relevant and personalized to the prospect

Optimizely’s Results

For Optimizely, combining the targeting power of True Intent data with the Drift bot’s ability to catch prospects at exactly the right moment resulted in an accelerated sales cycle. 

Jessica plans to continue and expand this experiment at Optimizely. Here are the results she’s seen so far:

  • Closed won deal 98% faster compared to average sales cycle 
  • Booked nearly 200 meetings via Drift this year so far (all playbooks)
  • Rate of conversation is up 21% compared to last year

“The deal we closed using True Intent with Drift  was one of the fastest deals ever recorded.” 

Jessica Brook 

Another notable fact about the True Intent & Drift bot campaign Jessica ran: it didn’t cost them an extra penny. Because she already had access to the TrustRadius intent data and Drift bots, Jessica didn’t have to use any more marketing dollars for targeted ads. Right now, every marketer is trying to squeeze more out of each dollar they have. So keeping marketing spend efficient is extremely important. 

Continuing the Experiment

Optimizely's competitive audience on TrustRadius

Now that Optimizely has concluded their first experiment and witnessed just how fast they can go from conversation to conversion, Jessica plans to expand this approach. 

She’s leveraging True Intent data to specifically target accounts considering Optimizely competitors. 

Using True Intent data along with personalized Drift bots, Jessica plans to tailor competitive messaging based on the products the prospect is considering. The bot’s hook will address the benefits of Optimizely over specific competitors Jessica knows they’ve been comparing, cutting right to the chase.  

Combined with A/B testing through Optimizely’s new plugin, Jessica’s team will be able to figure out which differentiators resonate most with their audience. 

Leveraging the Full TrustRadius Platform

Along with using True Intent data for ABM and sales cycle acceleration, there are multiple other ways to take advantage of the TrustRadius platform. These include growing your online presence, increasing the number of customers you have on the record, retargeting the audience of buyers evaluating products in your software category, and enabling sales with content. 

“We talk a lot about how to use customer evidence, customer stories, and customer proof across the entire buyer’s journey. Collecting the data points is important, but then using them in your content to start conversations and enable your sales team is CRITICAL. ” 

Mark Kilens
TrustRadius marketing funnel

Our most successful customers use the TrustRadius platform throughout the funnel to: 

  • Attract buyers to their review site listing
  • Target a category audience of in-market buyers
  • Enable sales with UGC and premium content 
  • Increase their brand awareness on social 
  • Syndicate content to high-value web pages to boost engagement

For example, 8×8 Inc. boosted conversion rates by 150% on their landing pages by adding dynamic review syndication. 

Another customer, PandaDoc, displayed their 2020 Top Rated badge on social media ads targeted at prospects who had already done research on TrustRadius, to show they care about customer feedback. 

8x8 conversion rate story
PandaDoc LinkedIn ad showing Top Rated badge

And Avalara worked with TrustRadius to increase organic engagement on social media as well as social ad performance. With only 16 tweets, they’ve achieved 26,264 impressions, 54 engagements, and 12 clicks. They also increased CTR by 2x and decreased CPC by 66%, for their best performing LinkedIn ad campaign yet.

Avalara LinkedIn ad with shareable review quote
Avalara TrustMap ad on Facebook

Interested in learning more about TrustRadius? You can sign up for a demo here. You can also access a free 30 days of True Intent data here

More Marketing and Demand Gen Resources

For more tips and tricks about using Drift, check out Drift Insider. To find out what else Jessica and her team are up to, check out the Optimizely blog. For more world-class B2B marketing tips, check out these other TR events: 

Got a cool use case for True Intent data in YOUR sales or marketing channels? Email us at marketing@trustradius.com to brag about it, and you could be featured in one of our next digital roundtable events.