With a Cookieless future rapidly approaching, ABM must move beyond lead qualification based on form fills and begin exploring new intent-rich pathways.
Technological advancements in account-based marketing (ABM) have enabled marketers to record and use the “intent” of prospective purchasers as a marketing stack. Typically, the technology collects data from digital ad clicks/impressions and website clicks, and then matches IP addresses to reveal information at the “domain-level.”
While marketers may undoubtedly gather “intent signals” themselves using two or more apps, using an intent provider who processes billions of these digital actions to evaluate “domain-level intent” is significantly more scalable. When they identify which domains are the most engaged with their content or offer, it signals that the marketing and sales efforts will be more successful.
Companies, of course, make purchases, but the decisions that lead to those purchases are made by their employees, frequently in buying groups. So, while understanding domain-level intent is a good start, it falls short of revealing the decision maker’s goal. In a world without cookies, its importance will dwindle even more.
Current state of lead qualification and domain-level intent analysis
The buyer’s journey cannot start with a “domain-level” interest. It all starts with a face-to-face interaction with a human on that domain. Long before they are ready to buy, the internet and content marketing have enabled potential consumers to learn a lot about the brands on their own. They often click a lot more than they fill out forms during this process. That behavior is a more obvious and straightforward indication of early intent.
The issue with “only form completions” is that they are more difficult to perform at a large scale. And the number of clicks is out of proportion to the number of forms filled out. And, while those who are motivated to click certainly show some interest, it’s typical to treat their “inability” to complete a form as a disqualifier.
So, if brands recognize the importance of a click, how do they determine that “contact-level” intent outside of typical form completion?
Targeted email marketing is the best response to that question. While inbound marketing gets a lot of attention, it’s the focused outbound of email that can generate measurable clicks at scale.
The missing piece of the puzzle
The sender of the email can identify people who click using a unique identity linked to each contact in the target group for clicks generated by targeted email. The appending of history behavior, LinkedIn profiles, and company firmographics – or whatever else they may have in their CRM/marketing automation/database – is possible as a result of this link.
Of course, producing clicks at a large scale necessitates the use of marketing automation. Enriching a portion of those clicks till they become buyers should be a deliberate process in which automation supports nurturing and lead scoring enables nurture to produce SQLs over time. SQLs are, without a doubt, the most closely related marketing “state” to revenue realization. In other words, even if form completions aren’t achieved, marketers can still drive demand by generating and leveraging other types of early interaction.
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