The importance of Targeting in B2B Demand Gen
How to outperform your competitors with targeting data they don’t have
In B2B Demand Generation, the success of your campaigns hinges significantly on your ability to target the right audience. While a compelling message is crucial, the efficacy of targeting surpasses it significantly. This principle is simple but often underestimated
Even the best messaging fails if it reaches the wrong audience, but excellent targeting can salvage mediocre campaigns.
Yet, most teams are rushing to market without spending proper time and resources creating a proper ICP, let alone thinking through how to craft a targeting strategy and invest in related data.
And few serious issues are coming out of this shallow approach.
Inefficient Allocation: Without precise targeting, your marketing unit costs like Cost per Thousand Impressions (CPM), Cost per Lead (CPL), and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) will suffer. Essentially, you'll be spending more to reach less relevant audiences.
Internal Trust Erosion: Ineffective targeting results in low-quality leads, breeding discontent and mistrust among your sales and revenue teams, who are going to complain you’re driving shitty or not enough leads like if it was 2015 (when you didn’t have targeting data).
Losing Market Share: While you grapple with targeting inefficiencies, your competitors are likely eating significant portions of your Share of (SOM), Serviceable (SAM), and Total Addressable Market (TAM), leaving you with limited opportunities. And before you know it, you’re left with almost no one to target.
So how do you craft a targeting strategy that’ll keep your CAC low while driving high growth? And what are the targeting data and sources that will empower you to outcompete other players, and drive high-quality pipeline and conversations to your revenue team? And last but not least, once you do have all the right targeting data, how do you personalize your messaging and demand gen distribution to maximize revenue?
Read on to find out.
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Formulating an Effective Targeting Strategy
To develop an effective targeting strategy, it's key to understand that commonly available targeting data might not suffice. Targeting data that you can buy on the main data platforms is not good enough because all your competitors can access it, and that data hardly scales.
If you want your target to be your competitive advantage, you need to identify data sources that are not accessible to your competitors and find ways to make it scalable.
1. Start with Your ICP
But before getting into all the fun data stuff though, you must build a strong understanding of your ideal customer. A thorough ICP exercise involves pinpointing and validating the following traits.
Firmographics. This is the easy part. You need to list and segment in a table all the possible properties for the following traits — geographic location, industry, company size (by team, revenue, funding, user base), and business model of the companies you’re targeting. This is the initial “filter”.
Buyer Personas: This is where things get more interesting, and you need to narrow down your target.
Teams: First, understand which functional areas your ICP is working in — is it product, design, engineering, sales, finance, operations, or multiple teams?
Roles: Then, you need to figure out the main roles. For each of these, you should write down their job title, seniority level, years of experience, average yearly budget, and sales cycle (eg. how long it takes for them to purchase and adopt a new SaaS).
Champion. Who uses your product daily, usually an individual contributor or mid-level manager.
Economic Buyer. Those who approve the decision to purchase your product and hold the budget for it. The larger your target organization, the more people might be involved in the decision — usually, the head of your target department, the VP of Finance/Operations, and/or even the CEO.
Technical buyer. Those who make a technical analysis of your product and will decide whether it’s compatible with the technical architecture of the organization stack, and release the engineering resources for the necessary integration (eg. via API, where applicable). This is usually an Engineering Manager, Tech Lead, or CTO.
Technographics. Then, you should identify which technology these companies are using that aligns with or complements your product. You should run this exercise from two points of view:
Org-wide technographics. These can be general work productivity tools that have cross-functional or org-wide use cases. For example, Slack or MS Teams for chat, JIRA for project management, or Notion and Google Workspace for documentation.
Team-specific technographics. These are specialized tools used by 1-2 teams maximum to carry out specific JTBDs at a team level. For example, product teams use Amplitude for product analytics; marketing teams use Mutiny for website personalization; HR/Ops teams use Remote.com for hiring and payroll management; and engineering teams use Vercel to streamline their development process.
Once you have a compelling understanding of the above, you can move on to crafting your value proposition messaging, which translates into a set of copy assets that span across:
Jobs To Be Done. Your customer's Jobs-To-Be-Done (what they’re trying to achieve at work within the specific problem you’re solving), how they’re currently solving for this goal (eg. by employing other market alternatives), and the related challenges that stem from their current way, as well as the impact on their goals.
Value Proposition. Mirroring the JTBD messaging, clearly articulate your product's capabilities (eg. what your product does to help them solve the current way’s challenges and achieve their JTBD), its differentiation (why it’s better and/or different than current alternatives), and the benefits (eg. the positive reasons why it impacts your JTBD).
If you have a hard time coming up with, or confirming the above, check out Wynter; it’s a great resource to capture nuanced insights about who your ICP is, their pain points and solution messaging, as well as how they approach the buying process.
2. Access Targeting Data
Once you laid out all your ICP traits, you can move on to purchasing various targeting data to effectively distribute your demand generation campaigns. Each data source offers unique insights that, when combined, can effectively enable you to target your ICP.
Firmographics & Buyer Personas Data: Zoominfo, Apollo, Clearbit, and Cognism
Platforms like Zoominfo, Apollo, Clearbit, Metadata, and Cognism are great market intelligence platforms offering a wealth of firmographics and buyer personas data. By tapping into their huge database, you can mine contacts that fit your company's industry, size, and roles, and even purchase detailed intent analysis over the sales cycle. You can then use these actionable insights to:
Prospect, enrich, and score your web visitors and CRM contacts. These tools will automatically inject targeting data to help you define and create a list of contacts in your TAM, reveal your website visitors, enrich your CRM contacts, and even score your prospects. So you can identify and capture the best leads and drive only the highest-quality conversations.
Personalize ads, forms, emails, landing pages, and chat experiences. You can also plug these traits into your demand gen channels to personalize their cross-channel experiences and make them highly relevant. So you can drive higher conversions at low costs.
Technographics Data: HG Insights, Builtwith, 6sense, and Clearbit
Firmographic data are extremely accessible, that’s why you need to combine them with technographic data. This data provides insights into the technology and tools used by your target accounts, including information on when a customer started using specific software, sales cycles, contract renewal dates, and an overview of a company's tech stack.
This data — accessible from platforms like HG Insights, Builtwith, 6sense, and Clearbit becomes extremely useful to refine your segmentation and competitor analysis and optimize your ABM and demand gen efforts. It’s instrumental in identifying customers who might be receptive to your solution and in understanding the challenges they work to solve.
Intent Data: G2, Bombora, and 6sense
Last but not least, intent data uncovers what your prospects are researching online, which products and services they are interested in, and the web content they consume, based on specific keywords or topics relevant to your products. Demand gen teams can use intent data to further pinpoint those prospects that are down in the conversion funnel and ready to buy, and as a result, avoid wasting budget on those that are not.
You can split intent data into:
First-party intent data. Data points you collect yourself through the product (eg. in-app actions) marketing (eg. website actions, social, surveys, forms, etc.), and sales (eg. CRM)
Third-party intent data. Data collected outside of your owned properties. Think actions and interests publicly shared across online publishers, websites, and apps, like site visits purchasing history, and more.
G2's, Bombora, and 6sense are great third-party intent data platforms that leverage account identification technology to nearly double the match rate of buyer intent. These platforms enable you to create dynamic audiences and ad-targeting workflows that match your ICP and are triggered by specific buyer behaviors on platforms like G2. It helps in uncovering prospective accounts, automating high-quality pipeline creation, and targeting high-intent accounts, thereby facilitating highly efficient revenue growth.
Scraping data to create your own signals: Keyplay
Third-party data like firmographics, technographics, and intent data will get you only to a point. Remember, this data is also accessible to your competitors and hardly scales, so you won’t make targeting your competitive advantage with just this.
To go the extra mile, you have to add your own first-party data. And unless you have a dedicated customer research team and extensive data collection, you need to get creative and brainstorm which first-party data you need that fit your unique ICP. You can then use custom your scraping setup through public APIs (eg. via ScrapingBee, Simplescraper, or ScrapeHero) or through one of my favorites, Keyplay, where you can leverage both existing and custom first-party data signals to further enrich your target account list. I’m a big fan of Keyplay and use it extensively with my clients.
Connecting everything together: Clay
Once you have everything laid out, you can connect all your targeting data together. This is where the magic happens. Clay is an all-new fantastic SaaS that lets you aggregate a plethora of data from different sources together while enabling a very novel way of getting at data that would normally not be accessible.
If you want robust targeting to be your competitive advantage in your demand gen strategy, give us a call at HyperGrowth Partners.
3. Personalizing Demand Gen Campaigns with Data
To effectively reach your best ICP, you should connect your targeting data, and inject it across your demand gen channels like LinkedIn, Meta, Google, display, landing pages, and email. Combining firmographics, technographic, and intent data, you’ll get the clearest, most complete picture of your ideal customer, empowering your demand gen teams to drive higher revenue at lower costs.
To help you in the process, you can use SaaS like:
Metadata to enrich and orchestrate your campaigns across multiple advertising channels — both for prospecting and retargeting. Their Metamatch targeting platform is unlike any other in the industry and is very reasonably priced.
Mutiny to personalize your landing page messaging and content based on your ICP
Drift to display and customize chat messaging to route visitors depending on their interactions
To grow conversations and pipeline effectively while managing CAC and outpacing competitors, investing in unique targeting data becomes paramount. By taking the time to delve into your ICP and brainstorm creative, untapped data sources, you position your demand gen campaigns to show up to the right audience at the right time.
Targeting is not merely a component of your demand gen strategy; it's the linchpin that distinguishes average from exceptional campaigns.
Leveraging these diverse data sources provides a rich tapestry of insights essential for B2B SaaS. It enables more targeted and effective demand gen and demand capture strategies, leading to better customer engagement, higher conversion rates, and ultimately, business growth.
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