By Liz Ronco, Spiceworks
There’s no greater transformative force in the world’s businesses than technology’s ability to connect people, increase competitiveness, and ultimately help organizations grow. But as the business technology market nears $4 trillion in annual spend, two significant challenges have emerged for both the businesses who buy technology and the vendors who sell it.
First, technology buyers are operating in a landscape that’s constantly shifting as new technologies are introduced and new challenges emerge, such as ever-evolving cybersecurity threats, infrastructure upgrades, and data privacy regulations. With limited time and resources, it’s difficult for buyers to sort through an overwhelming amount of information to determine the best technology solutions for their organization’s needs and find trusted resources and experts to help make the right purchase decisions.
And technology buyers aren’t alone. Technology vendors spend more than $300 billion annually on marketing and sales to reach their customers and prospects. Yet much of this investment is wasted or spent inefficiently. Why? Because it’s difficult to identify when potential buyers are in-market and ready to purchase.
As a result, B2B marketers often use inefficient tactics with too little targeting, simply hoping to hit some of their targets at the right time with the right message. However, the traditional tactics of capturing demand are yielding fewer opportunities as buyers become more frustrated with irrelevant sales calls and marketing emails that aren’t timely or personalized.
Despite this challenging backdrop, there’s no doubt in marketing’s ability to benefit the bottom line. In fact, 80 percent of businesses surveyed in Spiceworks’ 2019 State of IT Marketing study reported their B2B marketing budgets would grow or remain steady in 2019. Companies planning to expand their marketing budget anticipated an average increase of 24 percent, with most stating their organization’s increased prioritization on marketing is the top driver of budget growth.
But as marketing budgets continue to grow, businesses are still facing challenges when it comes to generating leads and acquiring new customers. Nearly half of B2B marketers said their biggest challenge in 2019 is driving conversions with marketing content. After all, it's hard to pinpoint the right buyer, especially considering up to 10 decision makers can be involved in a business technology purchase.
How The Marriage Of AI And Intent Data Can Change The Game
A revolutionary approach is needed to help B2B marketers identify, engage, and nurture the right buyers at the right time. This requires the use of artificial intelligence married with intent data to reshape how buyers and sellers connect in ways that reduce friction and improve the experience for both parties. Intent data - digital signals buyers emit as they’re moving through the purchase journey - pinpoints where buyers are in their path-to-purchase and can be a powerful predictor of who’s in-market (and who’s not). Artificial intelligence is key to accurately analyzing these signals at scale.
But it’s critical for brands to focus on the right signals that show true purchase intent when buyers are actively evaluating new products and services vs. the time buyers spend casually reading to stay up to date on the latest technology trends. In other words, buyers’ actions need to be deeply understood in a way that goes beyond basic content consumption.
So what does this look like in practice? As a B2B marketer or sales professional, you leverage AI-powered intent data to provide timely, relevant content to people who are in-market for your solutions, resulting in leads with a higher likelihood to convert. As a buyer, you’re presented with the information you need, right when you need it as your journey evolves, saving time and energy during the purchase process. It’s a win-win for both buyers and sellers.
Imagine the possibilities if you knew exactly which businesses to target and what message to use based on where they are in the purchase journey, what solutions they’re actively researching, and which competitors they’re evaluating.
At the end of the day, artificial intelligence – used to transform intent data into actionable insights on the most likely-to-buy prospects – can enable all marketers to step up their account-based marketing efforts, connect directly with the people who need their help, and provide the best solution… at the best price.
And better yet, it can help put an end to the hundreds of irrelevant sales calls and emails B2B buyers receive weekly and the millions of marketing and sales dollars spent inefficiently every year.
About The Author
Liz Ronco is the executive director of product management at Spiceworks where she strategically drives the use of Spiceworks data and effectively converts it to products that solve business needs. Ronco has nearly 10 years of experience in a variety of technical management and financial operations roles in the technology industry.