B2B insights

Good B2B Marketing: Timing is Everything

Intent data B2B

From ABM to the use of firmographic data, insight-driven marketing strategies have become more sophisticated in recent years. Intent data has the power to make marketers outreach more effective and efficient by vastly improving the timing element. However, there’s still an influx of materials randomly put in front of buyers which stops your marketing efforts in their tracks.

In a recent report with durhamlane, we found that B2B buyers are becoming numb to the sheer volume of sales and marketing content, with 56% consuming more material than pre-pandemic.

If you put out your messages far and wide, then you’re bound to catch one or two prospects that are in the right frame of mind to buy. Whilst you may capture some prospective customers this way, it’s much more likely that a wider proportion will be put off, find this irritating and become less likely to want to engage now or in the future.

The pandemic has also resulted in decision makers becoming more cautious; 47% are at the mercy of budget scrutiny and 60% of purchase decisions are affected by fast-changing business priorities. This presents a significant challenge to the B2B marketer, but there is hope as over 80% of respondents agreed that they engage with B2B vendors when they are ready to buy.

Timing is key

Deciding which accounts or type of organisations to target is just one challenge marketers face, as to when to reach out to them? That’s a whole new challenge in itself.

The numbers speak for themselves. 64% of B2B buyers believe that vendors do not approach them at the right time and only 21% believe they are given relevant information – a damning indictment of how B2B revenue generation activities are not resonating with target audiences to say the least.

So, how do you identify when a company is ready to buy and therefore ready to approach?

Unlocking the ‘right time’

The first thing that needs to shift is the attitude of both marketing and sales professionals. Not just when it comes to lead generation, but also data. The industry as a whole has long been of the opinion that, when it comes to data, the more the better, quantity over quality.

Marketers need to strip down their use of data to focus only on the most useful, relevant and accurate insights. By cutting through the data noise, which has become such a distraction over recent years, marketers can instead concentrate on getting a clear view of buyers’ intentions and their position in their buying journey.

This is something that needs to work in a collaborative process between sales and marketing. Which we’ve seen happening a lot more with an increase in ABM strategies, with 70% of marketers reporting that they use ABM up from 15% from 2020.

ABM provides a much more targeted approach to buyers, as opposed to a scattergun approach and uses data insights, such as intent data, to analyse where each prospect is in the buying lifecycle.

Accurate intent data uses a multiple of third-party audience identifying factors (unified IDs, IP addresses, single sign-on apps, etc) which provide B2B marketers with useful insights. Intent data can tell what your target audiences are researching in terms of products or services, what content they’re reading, if they’re looking at your competitors or what problems they face. Intent data also tracks content engagement and consumption across multiple websites. Providing a much clearer picture as to when is the right time to approach.

The right message at the right time

Once you have a clearer understanding of where your customers and prospects are in terms of the buying cycle, which for many B2B businesses is a time consuming and extensive process with many stages, you can choose the right messages to engage with.

As with any marketing and sales campaigns, engaging, insightful and of course, as we’ve ascertained, relevant content and messaging is key. Once you’ve collated your key data insights you can develop highly personalised content and messaging that is relevant to each key customer.

The right message can show that you understand your customers, you’ve listened, you empathise with their plight and have a solution that’s worth exploring. Furthermore, the right content not only attracts interested buyers but has the potential to shorten the sales cycle, as in our research, 85% of B2B buyers said they share relevant content with other decision makers in the business. Tie this in with the fact, as mentioned earlier, 80% of buyers will engage with vendors when they’re ready to buy, then there is a real opportunity for marketers to capitalise.

Intent-driven engagement can help to surface in-market buyers and improve your outreach to revenue conversions, and help to reduce your customer acquisition cost. However, I still recommend that you consistently build a brand within your target markets too. But try not to confuse the two strategies. Building a brand takes time and consistent effort to help build awareness and trust over a long period of time. Intent-fuelled demand generation or ABM requires laser targeting of ‘in-market’ companies that fit your ICP, and have a different set of metrics and goals to brand building.

When you get it right…

As you can see, implementing a marketing strategy built on accurate and timely data can yield tremendous value for your marketing team and overall business. It’s about using a wide range of information and tracking behaviours, to understand your prospective audience and be able to target them at the right time, with the right message — ultimately gathering quality leads which result in higher engagement rates.

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