Better ABM from Better Data: Using Data to Build a Propensity to Buy Model

In the first blog of our Better ABM from Better Data blog series last blog post, we talked about the importance of technographics enriched with intent data for enhancing targeting effectiveness. While Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) identification is usually Step 1 in building out an account-based marketing program, it quickly raises the question of which ICP’s among your Total Addressable Market (TAM) truly have a propensity to buy. That’s why, for most ABM programs, the obvious next planning step is to dive deeper into propensity.

Defining Propensity to Buy

In propensity to buy analysis, you look deeper, beyond simply which companies might be a good fit for your offering some time, to examine key indicators of a higher likelihood to seriously consider a purchase in the near future. It’s a much narrower focus. And when you add in quality behavioral data to your mix of inputs, you can narrow your focus further to those companies who are already actively researching a purchase. This can be a critical step for you to take on your path to higher performance, because it allows you to concentrate on a much smaller group of prospects than you get if you stop at ICP and TAM. For Marketing, this smaller group means you can create more targeted messaging. For Sales, it means much less time wasted prospecting where no real demand exists.

Using Technographics to Uncover Propensity

Technographics illuminate the facts around a company’s specific hardware and software installations being used to run their particular business. Within HG Data’s advanced tech install information, curated from more than 2 billion unstructured documents, your marketing and sales teams can glean critical insight about how receptive a particular account or set of accounts might be to considering a new solution. HG Data can help you determine if your prospects are ready to upgrade, renew, or purchase a new technology solution. You can exploit:

  • Add-on opportunity: What technologies (hardware or software) the account has installed
  • Replacement opportunity: Whether they are using competitive or complementary technologies
  • Upgrade opportunity: When they adopted specific technology products
  • Timing: The company’s historical technology adoption rate (ex. are they fast or slow adopters of new technology)
  • Specific pain points: Legacy products installed with known short-comings

Using Real Purchase Intent Insight to Target Active Buyers

Building on the technographic knowledge HG Data provides, TechTarget adds in the behavioral insight necessary for you to know who’s in an active buyer’s journey right now. This is real purchase intent insight, not information scraped from the open web.

To capture real purchase intent, TechTarget maintains a network of 140+ websites focused exclusively on enterprise technology content that they create. More than 18 million enterprise technology buyers subscribe to this content, interacting with it more than a million times each business day as they research their purchases. TechTarget monitors these behaviors, analyzes them, and makes them available via their Priority Engine purchase intent insight portal: Priority Engine™ provides direct access to extraordinarily rich behavioral information about active buyers in your market. These insights are critical in helping to answer questions such as:

  • Which accounts are most active?
  • Which specific members of the buying team – with names and contact details – are performing research?
  • What topics are they most engaged with?
  • What relevant editorial or vendor-sourced content have they viewed?
  • What competitive vendors are they considering?
  • What is the recency, the velocity and how widespread is their activity?

Knowing the answers to these questions before you act puts you in much better position to optimize all your outbound – and even your inbound – Marketing and Sales activities.

Coupling Technographics with Intent

Combining knowledge of installed technology including timing (technographics) with rich behavioral insight about buyer’s journeys in action gives you the high fidelity signal necessary to truly guide your actions more effectively. Technographics show who is likely to consider a solution; purchase intent tells you who among them is actively investigating a purchase.

Example: Propensity to Buy in Action

As you will see below, you can use HG Data and TechTarget as essential sources for creating a simple yet powerful propensity to buy model able to focus your team on the prospects likely to convert right now:

  • Situation: a maker of BI solutions for financial applications offers a reporting module that integrates seamlessly with two market-leading ERP systems. The software automates several key process elements, plus it offers much more intuitive data visualizations. The company needs to accelerate sales cycles so they want to do a better job of identifying prospects that are more likely to purchase a solution soon.
  • Technographics: Through its own research, the company knows that organizations larger than 150 employees who have been using any of the two market leading ERP systems for more than 3 years are ready to move. They are highly likely to have users who would welcome their new functionality the saves time and increases visual impact. Using technographics from HG Data, instead of targeting all companies 150+ with ERP, they identify all the companies matching their specific precursor system criteria.
  • Purchase Intent: Working from this refined segment, they now turn to TechTarget’s behavioral feed and look for the active accounts among the total segment. To the HG Data hit list, TechTarget adds a weekly append of accounts and the individuals within them, ranked in terms of their purchase intent activity. This includes exactly who’s active, what they are consuming both in terms of objective buyer-focused editorial and vendor provided material and how to reach them.

They now have everything they need to do a highly targeted nurturing effort direct to the critical members of prospect buying teams. At the same time, they can alert their BDRs and even field Sales by territory to the topics that really matter the target audience. In this way, they will save their teams hours of time and effort, they’ll deliver better conversion rates across the funnel, and they’ll be on their way to breakthrough ROI.

Propensity to Buy Model
Technographic Criteria Intent Criteria
150 Employees Yes
ERP Package One or Two Yes
Installation Date 3+ Years
Viewing BI-related content Yes
Engaged with you and/or competitor content Yes
Prospects research 4
# of Total Views 12
Viewed late stage content Yes
When last viewed 1 week ago

This simple example illustrates how powerful combining two leading-edge 3rd-party data sources can be. By leveraging HG Data’s technographic data together with TechTarget’s purchase intent via Priority Engine, you get the best toolset anywhere for determining which prospects truly have a propensity to buy right now.

In our final blog post in this series, we’ll be taking a look at using these data sources for two specific use cases: Competitive takeaway campaigns and complementary add-ons. We provide very specific guidance on how to construct hyper-specific micro-messaging to make the most of every touchpoint. Please stay tuned for that!