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TrustRadius Trust Talks: Creating a Customer-Centric GTM Strategy

May 12th, 2022 15 min read
When B2B companies align their go-to-market (GTM) with overall customer experience (CX), they’re practicing account-based experience (ABX) marketing.

“Traditional account-based marketing (ABM) didn’t feel very customer-centric,” says Jon Miller, Chief Marketing Officer at Demandbase. When B2B companies align their go-to-market (GTM) strategy with overall customer experience (CX), they’re practicing account-based experience (ABX) marketing. ABX doesn’t invalidate or replace ABM, it enhances it by adding critical principles of CX. Jon compares traditional ABM, or targeting accounts without any clear indication that they’re interested in you, to fishing with a spear. You never know what you’re going to get since you’re targeting customers with what could be irrelevant or unnecessary information. 

All of this noise causes account blindness. The opposite of account blindness is account intelligence. One of the key things B2B marketers can do to be more customer centric is better understand where each account is in their journey. Demandbase, a go-to-market ABX platform redefining how B2B companies execute their account-based strategies, uses data to help companies align their GTM to customers more precisely. As former CEO and co-Founder of Engagio, an ABX platform, and former co-founder of Marketo, a CRM platform acquired by Adobe—Miller has expert-level knowledge of how to connect marketers and customers through rich data analysis. 

In this video, TrustRadius Founder and CEO Vinay Bhagat sat down with Miller to discuss the actions companies need to take to build account intelligence that can inform a customer-centric go-to-market (GTM) strategy.In this video, Miller outlines the transformational trends affecting B2B marketing, including the rise of the self-service buyer and the disconnect between the customer-centric vision of account-based experience (ABX) and the reality of what a lot of B2B marketers are doing today.  

TrustRadius’ Trust Talks series highlights B2B executives’ approach to building a culture of listening to customers, activating the customer voice, and creating a customer-driven company.

Jon Miller

Jon Miller

CMO

Jon is a marketing entrepreneur and thought leader. He is currently Chief Marketing Officer at Demandbase, the leading account-based marketing platform. Previously, Jon was CEO and founder of Engagio (acquired by Demandbase), and was co-founder at Marketo (Nasdaq:MKTO), a leader in marketing automation.

Jon is a frequent speaker at conferences, including Dreamforce, MarketingProfs B2B, Marketing Operations Executive Summit, OMS, and the Marketing Nation Summit. He is also author of numerous e-books, including Complete and Clear Guide to Account Based Marketing and The Definitive Guide to Marketing Automation.

The Rise of the Self-Serve Buyer

From TrustRadius’ 2021 B2B Buying Disconnect report, we found that millennials (age 25-39) make up 60% of all B2B tech buyers, and the majority of them are already making decisions before ever engaging with a vendor. In fact, 87% wanted to self-serve part or all of their buying journey. From TrustRadius’ upcoming 2022 B2B Disconnect Survey, we’re learning that it’s not just millennials who want to be in control—technology buyers across all generations only want to speak with a salesperson when they are closer to a purchase. We also know that the majority research a product on a review site before searching on Google or speaking with a sales rep. 

Miller predicts customer-centric companies will be investing in more buyer self-service and educational tools as well as product experiences so buyers can learn a lot more about their offering without having to speak to sales reps directly. “Buyers don’t want to have to talk to an SDR and a salesperson just to get pricing,” says Miller.

Account blindness vs. account intelligence

“Buyers have gotten pretty smart about not filling out forms and doing research anonymously on our site or elsewhere,” says Miller. With it getting harder to reach, target, and engage potential customers, marketers and sellers are left feeling like they’re searching in the dark.

So, if buyers are self-serving most or all of their buying journey, what causes marketers and sellers to spam accounts with irrelevant messaging? Account blindness. “These marketing and sales people are smart,” says Miller, “but account blindness is causing them to do dumb things like spam their customers.” 

It’s important that marketers know actionable data about their customers, like what pain points they’re trying to solve, where they are in their journey, and what messaging would appeal to them. 

Winning companies are taking all of the information about an account, interpreting it, and shaping their GTM strategy accordingly. This “account intelligence” is a comprehensive term for a variety of data points about a specific account or contact that can be acquired or collected across first-party and third-party domains.

First-party data is collected on your own website. You own it, and it tells you about the people you know and how they’re engaging with you. It’s integrated into your CRM or marketing automation system. “In a cookieless world, first-party data will become even more important,” says Miller. However, “first-party data is important, but not sufficient.”

Third-party data is acquired from external sources, and when coupled with your owned data it helps paint a picture of your account’s activity on and off your properties. This is important intel, however most marketers still treat these accounts in the same, generic way. To be less spammy, companies need to take advantage of all the collective data out there—or account intelligence—and align it to a GTM strategy that is personalized and meets the buyer where they are in their journey.

Input signals that enhance account intelligence

Adding more data to increase your account intelligence can drive better customer-centricity. Marketers and sellers can know where the account is in their journey and who else they’re evaluating. 

Types of third-party data or account intelligence

 

Firmographic data

Accurate firmographic information helps erase account blindness and is a form of account intelligence on its own, says Miller. It includes information that can be used to categorize organizations, such as geographic area, number of clients, type or size of the organization, industry, technologies, etc. 

Account data

You have to know who your accounts are. This includes company size, changes in size, and revenue numbers. Account data also allows you to deanonymize visitors to your site who aren’t registered in your CRM yet. By cross-referencing between stored cookies and IP addresses, you can determine which company they work for. 

Contact data

Information about people at accounts—name, phone number, email address, social media info, etc. Questions to ask are, is the information you have accurate and updated? Have they changed job titles or been promoted? Do they even still work there? 

Technographic data

Technographic data is a sophisticated type of third-party data that tells you an account’s use of technology solutions, adoption rates, and the potential challenges facing an organization. 

“It’s not for everybody, but sometimes knowing what technology companies have installed is the most important piece of information you can have,” says Miller. 

Intent data

“Intent data tells you what people are reading about on the open web. Whether they’re researching a new category or researching vendor evaluations on TrustRadius,” says Miller. 

TrustRadius downstream intent data

TrustRadius downstream intent data is unique in the fact that it’s considered second-party intent data, or someone else’s first-party data that is monetized. There are very few sites that offer this, and for review sites like TrustRadius, it yields high-intent prospects closer to a purchase. It also helps prevent churn by understanding the account activity of existing customers.

TrustRadius buyers on average spend almost 11 minutes researching and comparing products. They look at product pricing, alternatives, feature scorecards, FAQs, and customer reviews. The time spent on these content-rich pages provides vendors with high-fidelity downstream intent signals about which of their products or competitors’ products in-market buyers are engaging with. The intent data can be product-specific, meaning which accounts are researching your product, or category-specific, meaning which accounts are researching your competitors.

This downstream intent data can also be seamlessly integrated into ABX platforms like Demandbase, giving users the ability to segment, target, and direct sales efforts to the accounts that will most likely convert to pipeline and ultimately become valuable customers. “What we know is that more intent is better, and intent coming from different sources is going to give you different types of information,” says Miller.

In this month’s TrustRadius Trust Talks: Creating a Customer-Centric GTM Strategy, we learned that B2B marketers can create a customer-centric GTM strategy by first building account intelligence derived from various input signals like first- and third-party data. Second-party downstream intent data from content-rich review sites like TrustRadius provide superior account intelligence of mid- to bottom-funnel buyers researching you or your competitors’ products. When you leverage social proof in the communities where your customers are engaging, you can then better reach, segment, and target those customers with ABX marketing. Get in touch with us to learn more!

Additional Resources:

About Demandbase

Demandbase is a targeting and personalization platform for business-to-business companies. Marketers can target online ads to companies that fit pre-determined criteria based on attributes and metrics like industry, revenue, customer status, or products purchased.

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