Buyer behavior patterns are changing as a result of their access to increased data, and marketers must use the same trove of new information to meet them halfway. This was the main message of “Marketing and Sales Intelligence: Using Data to Meet the Buyer,” a session at the Revenue-Driven Marketing Summit hosted by Aberdeen Group in Boston, MA on Thursday, Oct. 18.

B2C Marketing in the B2B Space

Ameeta Soni, SVP/CMO of VFA, a provider of software for managing large corporate real estate portfolios, began the session by describing how her organization leverages customer data to create personas and perform targeted marketing.

We collect a large amount of data across vertical markets on customer buying behavior over the years,” said Soni. “We look at who’s buying, what they’re buying, why they’re buying it, why they’re buying it from us and how the behavior has changed from before.”

For demand creation, Soni said VFA acquires target lists and also profiles top organizations and decision-makers using Web-based sources like LinkedIn (which she called a “rich source”) and OneSource. VFA also uses the Eloqua marketing automation tool.

"Our challenge is consumerized buyers,” she said. “They use the web, social media and expert commentary to do research on companies and make purchase decisions. They create a shortlist of vendors based on that information and talk to you much later in the buying cycle.”

Thus VFA decided to fight fire with fire. “If our customers are going to behave like consumers, we said let’s behave like a company in the B2C world,” Soni said. To that end, VFA developed four customer personas -- “number crunchers” who want ROI, “innovators” who want to become better, “service seekers” who want support and “risk avoiders” who want reassurance. VFA then developed specific FAQ questions and answers for each persona on its website, and also developed features tailored for each persona, such an ROI calculator for number crunchers and thought leadership content for innovators.

Getting Quality Leads

Gwen Muir, contact improvement manager of enterprise software vendor SAP, concluded the presentation by describing how SAP uses four customer acquisition methodologies and a proprietary contact scoring algorithm to provide salespeople with “quality contacts before they get to leads.”

SAP uses indiscriminate volume, targeted, enrichment and discovery methodologies to acquire contacts. “Indiscriminate volume involves purchasing data in large volumes from third-party vendors, of which about 20% is quality marketable contacts,” said Muir. Meanwhile, targeted contacts are collected with “minimal” research by third-party vendors and produce about 75% quality marketable contacts.

Enrichment involves taking in-house contacts and hiring a third-party vendor to “brush them off, clean them up and send them off,” which Muir said results in 35% high-value contacts and 25% zero-quality contacts. And discovery, the highest-cost process with the fewest resulting contacts, validates existing contacts through televalidation and produces 100% quality marketable contacts. SAP reaches out to indiscriminate and targeted contacts via email only but also uses phone for enrichment and discovery contacts.

All contacts are also scored by a proprietary algorithm that takes into account factors including teledisposition, failed email rate, acquisition type and date of last response. This further helps SAP ensure salespeople receive high-quality contacts that are prequalified.