3 Ways to Maximize Lead Gen Potential by Working From the “Outside In”

lead gen targetingEvery day clients come to us with lists of people they want to target. Their lists are built from three classic building blocks:

  • A combination of titles associated with past closed/won deals
  • Firmographic and demographic profiles of companies and personas who they think should be buyers
  • And various hypotheticals offered by interested internal constituencies.

This is important work. It can give you a pretty good initial target set for use in your further lead qualification efforts. On the other hand, right from the start, these standard approaches also immediately leave open a big, huge gap in your lead generation targeting strategy as a whole. The reason is that these methods are heavily weighted towards only what you already ‘know’ – that is, the 1st party data you have retained in your systems about a contact’s interactions with you. The reality is that there’s a whole lot more total demand out there for solutions like yours in the open market. So if you focus only on your historically positive 1st party data, you’re going to be missing all of the market you don’t know as well (and the associated market share potential). Given our experiences with many clients over the years, we have abundant evidence that, to maximize your lead gen potential, you should keep three basic ideas in mind when supplying targeting specifications to a lead gen provider like us.

#1 – Instead of typical Lead Gen targeting, use Lead Gen targeting that maximizes demand identification

The rationale for supplying targeting lists as described above is to lock in what sort of accounts and people you most want in your funnel and keep out “junk”. As a major lead gen supplier, when we follow such instructions to the letter, we deliver back only those engagements that fully match your profile specifications. Since how you build your lead gen specifications is often largely based on what you know or think from inside your own company records, it’s not a particularly good representation of what’s actually happening in your target market, as a whole. Because the market is changing, while you’re trying hard to be smart and efficient, you’re also likely to be choking off significant demand volumes.

Let’s take a closer look at a few limitations typical of the classical inside-out lead filter specifications approach:

  • While tech markets evolve very quickly, your historical experience changes much more slowly – so it’s always behind the market reality. Because many tech markets are evolving ahead of what you’ve captured historically, your history doesn’t account for changes in influencing personas, title relevance, even organizational structure changes and ICPs. It’s also very likely that your historical models don’t pick up on things like deals that you almost won, but didn’t – models often only concentrate on deals where everything went right. So there’s a lot of potential value in deals where you came pretty close. Think about the value of loosening your specs a bit to leave room for both changes in the market and for the ‘pretty good’ matches (in addition to the ‘perfect’).
  • Another problem is the question of duplicate leads from the same person or from the same account. In a traditional “cost-minimizing” approach, additional signals from the same person are ignored, so too with multiple signals from the same account (the theory being that the sales rep assigned only needs one signal to trigger the right action). This approach abandons the fact that additional signals from the same person have informational and prioritization value to a seller. Similarly, multiple signals on the same topic from the same account are logically an even stronger indicator of demand than a single MQL. In fact, in today’s intent-driven reality, these intensity signals are making all the difference in identifying more real opportunities.
  • It’s also possible, almost by definition, that your list filtering and lead delivery specs stand to cut out any real demand where you’re having problems engaging the account with your content marketing. If, using intent data, you can see a buyer’s journey taking shape, you need a way to get that information to sales even in the absence of a lead. In terms of the total contribution to pipeline made by your lead generation efforts, you should work to combine the yields from your content syndication programs and yields from sales prospecting outcomes gained from proper pursuit of prospect-level intent data.

Solution: Cultivate an open mind towards lead filtering. Instead of filtering out, try filtering in.

When you’re using external lead suppliers like TechTarget to increase your demand capture at scale, be as conscious of what you don’t know as you are about what’s worked in the past. Faster growing companies build their lead gen specs with some flexibility built in. Instead of brute-force disqualification, they work with their internal constituencies to take advantage of new insights about their market and their ideal customer profiles that quickly open up new possibilities. They recognize that reinforcing signals – multiple leads from an individual or multiple leads in an account – have increased value because they’re more predictive of actual demand than individual leads can possibly be. And they know that leads combined with prospect-level intent data point to the presence of more actual buyer’s journeys in process.

#2 – Don’t miss out on the web’s most obvious organizing principle

Even though this blog is about B2B tech specifically, there’s a lot we can learn from B2C/B2B2C examples like Amazon and LinkedIn. Maybe a decade ago, Amazon had already become one of the first places we’d look to buy all sorts of stuff. And LinkedIn remains the go-to for connecting like-minded professionals (and of course, it’s a venue where we all willingly share very personal data!). If you want to sell something to consumers, you have to be on Amazon – it’s where the highest concentration of transactional buyers are. And as a B2B seller, if you want to understand more about a prospect, it would be silly not to look them up on LinkedIn. Both companies have built a value exchange model based on offerings that people really want. In exchange for the value provided, people willingly supply their data, their money or both.

And this simple value model is repeated everywhere you look on the web: If you create value, you can attract audiences, monetize them in some way, and grow a business. The process is even amplified for you by Google, because their algorithms send more and more people to the same places where others have been going. The end result is an internet organized somewhat like the night sky: there’s both a lot of very bright areas with clusters of value-exchange activity and (relatively more) dark areas with very little activity at all.

Solution: Leverage optimally efficient targeting.

The logic here is crystal clear:

  • You shouldn’t target just anyone, anywhere they pop up. Likewise you shouldn’t spend a lot of effort targeting internet-based ‘places’ that aren’t relevant for buying what you sell.
  • You should concentrate your marketing effort on places where the traffic relevant to you is most abundant. If you don’t, it’s as if you were selling office products and refused to sell on Amazon, or if you were looking for a job and refused to post information about yourself on LinkedIn!

#3 – Identify where your buyers already congregate and pursue them there — where and when it’s relevant to them!

If you’re a B2B marketer, you know that if you make good content (with good SEO keywords that people already respond to), you will attract an audience. But just like trying to make a living as an influencer, doing everything necessary yourself can be super hard. You can add tools that make a lot of the executional steps easier to scale, but that doesn’t solve for the content you need to build. The smart thing to do is flip the script around 180°. The really productive approach is to leverage the content others are already creating and put it to better use for your purposes.

Solution: Turn to Lead Gen partners that can deliver high quality audiences in context.  

Again, you already know exactly how this all works: When you’re looking for information about something that interests you, 9 times out of 10, you’ll just Google it (or now you might go to TikTok or even Chat GPT). If the same topic appeals to others, there might be thousands or even millions of people doing exactly the same thing. In effect, search engines have organized the internet into spaces where content seekers and content producers can find each other as easily as possible. And that’s why good sites grow the most valuable audiences.

  • So to reach more of your targets more productively, it stands to reason that you should target the sites (or places within sites) where they congregate most. In B2B tech, TechTarget is the place on the internet where more buyers congregate when they are researching solution purchases.

Below, you can see in their own words, why more enterprise tech-buying professionals join TechTarget’s content networks. We build our many web properties specifically to serve the needs of enterprise tech buyers. And that means, if you sell enterprise technology, you’ll find more of the people you seek, much more productively, by targeting them through us:

Rick Giesige
IT Manager of Cybersecurity, Oshkosh Corporation
Steven McClain
Senior Manager, Global Systems Integrator
“I use TechTarget a lot, not for tech news, but for looking into vendors and getting that detailed information. I’ll go look for talks … on BrightTALK or on ComputerWeekly and then I’ll leverage those to improve my understanding when I talk to vendors. I would recommend TechTarget to get a diversity of content, of reviews and opinions.” “Often times [TechTarget has] information that is relevant to what I’m looking for, which is not always the case with other publishers … there’s something that’s relevant to what I’m trying to research. Whenever I have a junior staffer looking for information, I point them your way too. I influence decisions for technology and tools directly in my practice.”
Sreelatha Machireddy
Sr Mgr TPM | Cyber Risk & Governance, Capital One Financial
Kalyan Sircar
Architect – Database Systems, J.P. Morgan
“…you attack the fundamentals of each topic that I’m looking for. I would recommend TechTarget. The content is reliable. I go deep into the detail so [colleagues] come to me.” “I see TechTarget as a one-stop shop for data-related content that I rely on for technical information … it’s not product oriented … not a marketing site. Of course, I would recommend TechTarget.”
Ian Brisson
Manager, Cloud FinOps, athenahealth
Thomas Gile
Infrastructure Engineer, Novo Nordisk
“I did a project involving Cloud Finance Usage Platforms for AWS & Azure and I used TechTarget … my colleagues and I share articles back and forth … TechTarget is non-partisan and non-sponsored and I like that.” “TechTarget has always been a staple for me. I do have influence [and] I share content with other departments.”
Karan Sood
Cloud Deployment/Migration, KPMG
Rick Kutcipal
Product Planner, Broadcom Limited
“We help implement solutions and guide clients through the buying process. TechTarget is one of the only tech sites I follow…you are not pushing a single vendor…unbiased & neutral and that’s a big help to me.” “I feel like there’s no agenda. I feel [TechTarget] is fair. I’m very involved with standards bodies and things like that. I interact with a lot of people. I’m an influencer … they look to me for my advice.”

To serve the more than 30 million opted-in members (your buyers) across our information networks and keep them coming back, we have to stay on top of their rapidly evolving information needs. We need to anticipate where categories and organizations are going and be there for our members. And that means, for our tech vendor clients, we can be the best possible source of insights into what’s happening in their hyper-specific categories, for both strategic and tactical – lead gen or otherwise — purposes. We help them turn our audiences (representing their markets) into more demand, better leads and healthier opportunity pipelines. So if you’re looking to be much more productive with your marketing and sales targeting, and your targets are similar to the professionals above sharing their opinions about the value they get from our sites, it’s very likely we can help you ramp up your own GTM productivity really fast.

To learn more about the power of our Prospect-Level Intent™ data or anything else in our industry-leading portfolio of products and services, please reach out to us for a customized demo or click here.

contextual targeting, demand generation, intent data, Priority Engine

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