Let Buyer Activity – Not Titles and Outdated Personas – Determine Who to Engage

Chris Brookes
Chris Brookes

Product Marketing Manager, APAC

behavioral targetingIn today’s data-driven world, technology marketers have more tools than ever at their disposal to help them identify their ideal prospect profiles. Yet many continue to perpetuate hierarchical notions of who to contact – such as the most senior technology leaders at a company. Similarly, many of these same teams are relying on targeting outmoded personas that have historically been involved in the purchase of specific technology solutions.

These static methods are holding your sales and marketing teams back. Here are three reasons why targeting based on real activity and behavior will help you evolve to more dynamically reach modern buyers.

Not all titles are equal – and they are evolving

As B2B technologies that organizations are inventing and buying evolve, so too are the titles of the decision makers that are purchasing them. In fact, according to TechTarget’s 2020 IT Media Consumption, 67% of tech buyers indicated that involvement in technical decision making and responsibility goes beyond the traditional definitions of their title. 40% also concluded that IT researching and purchasing is now more spread across different departments.

After analyzing thousands of new tech buyers registering on our network of sites we noticed a 199% increase in ‘IT generalist titles’. And we weren’t alone in spotting this trend. A recent Gartner report forecasts that in 2021, 40% of IT staff will be “versatilists” — employees who can juggle multiple roles, many of which will be business rather than technology related.

Those who are focusing too narrowly on titles or rigid persona definitions are likely to miss real buyers, especially as the landscape of technology purchasing evolves. This has a measurable impact on business: 70% of companies that miss revenue and lead goals do not account for the all the members of the buying committee with their personas. Leveraging behavioral intent data can help you zero in on actual buying team members who are researching solutions like yours right now. These are buyers you may have missed with a traditional approach to targeting.

Influencing an expanding buying team

According to Gartner, there are an average of 11 stakeholders involved in a B2B purchase and the top two current challenges are gaining access to stakeholders and bringing buying groups together.

You cannot influence the full buying team if you: 1. Don’t know who all the stakeholders are, 2. Your targeting and demand strategy focuses exclusively on C-suite titles or pre identified ‘decision makers’ and omit these other constituents who have a seat at the table. Furthermore, consider the fact that in a well-structured ABM program your marketing/sales team will need to target multiple members of the buying team to have a greater chance of sales success.

Real prospect-level intent data will help you identify the entire buying team at accounts – “decision-makers” and key influencers – based on in-market activity. Not only will you be able to see leads who have engaged directly with you, but you will see additional prospects who are active and aligned to relevant topics and solution areas – with insight into their interests to drive more successful outreach.

Why activity matters

If there are more people to influence and these people are harder to identify, how do you determine who to go after? Focusing on research activities will always be the most successful way to prioritize prospects rather than cold outreach to titles or personas.

Recently, TechTarget set out to measure the success rate of reaching out to IT buyers that were doing active research around a tech solution versus attempting to engage cold prospects who may appear to be good targets. By analyzing data from over 6000 calls and 1 million emails we discovered the cost of reaching out to cold prospects is twice that of reaching out to active researchers. In fact, active researchers are five times more likely to respond to emails and 19 times more likely to accept a meeting.

It’s time to start letting behavior – and not preconceived notions – dictate who to pursue and how to engage them. You can get started today by accessing the real purchase intent insight found in TechTarget’s Priority Engine platform.

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