Signal-Based Marketing and Sales
If you are involved in sales, you’ve probably noticed that it has become a bit more challenging in 2023. Conversion rates are declining, previously successful strategies no longer yield the desired results, and customers are paying more attention to their budgets, among other things. For this reason, more and more companies are implementing signal-based marketing and sales.
What is signal-based marketing and sales?
Traditional cold calling used to be relatively straightforward: you defined a target audience interested in a particular product or service and tried to reach that audience in some way. Take, for example, email marketing:
In the 1990s and 2000s, sending a mass email to the CEOs of 10,000 companies would yield good results. Then, everyone started doing the same thing. This led to the introduction of personalization. Marketing experts began personalizing emails, addressing them as “Dear Mr. <Name>… Does <Company Name> need the XY product or service?” Eventually, this too became the standard.
Additionally, a vast number of marketing experts are reaching entirely wrong target groups, resulting in a flood of emails that no one paid attention to, not even the relevant ones.
The same goes for LinkedIn, cold calls, and so on. The GDPR and competition laws further complicate the task.
This is where signal-based marketing comes into play. Customer engagement in signal-based marketing is based on specific signals coming from the target company and the target person.
- Company XYZ recently changed its address, so it is highly likely that the company needs certain office equipment.
- Startup Unicorn AG just completed a new funding round. They need to fuel their growth, so they will likely invest in sales and marketing. This is perfect timing for companies offering products or services in this segment.
- Schmidt recently changed jobs, and he was the decision-maker who “sold your product to the management” in his previous company. Therefore, chances are he will do the same in his new company.
There are numerous such examples. The task of management, particularly in sales and marketing, is to identify and capitalize on these signals.
Selling to the 3%
A well-known sales wisdom states that at any given time in any market, there are 3% of companies or individuals who are ready to buy a product. If you ask 100 random people on the street if they are currently thinking about buying a car, 3 people will say they are actively searching. Another 10 will say they are seriously considering it but it might take a while. The rest are either not interested, undecided, or already taken care of. The same goes for other industries and products: HR software, MacBooks, coffee machines, or yoga classes.
Who do you want to sell to? Companies that are already taken care of? Or have no budget or show no interest? Or rather to the 3% + 10% who are currently looking for your products or services? I think the answer is clear.
But how do you identify these 3%? The examples and technologies listed below are mainly applicable to B2B (like our entire blog and software).
Identifying Website Visitors
The simplest and safest way to identify companies interested in your product is to recognize the visitors to your website. When you see that a company has visited your website, viewed many subpages, and showed interest in your prices, this is one of the safest signs that the company is interested in your services. You can still wonder if the visit to your website was purely coincidental or if an employee of that company is applying to you. But the easiest way is to contact this company and offer your services. In the worst case, you’ll get a negative response. In many cases, however, you’ll achieve good results!
How does it work? For those who are not familiar with our product: Sign up for LeadRebel, link your website to our software, and you can immediately see which companies have visited your website, which pages they viewed, and who works in these companies.
You can use this data in your marketing campaigns (e.g., run targeted LinkedIn ads only for your website visitors) or engage in direct sales, create email marketing campaigns, and more. There are many use cases.
Signal-Based Marketing and Sales with Sales Intelligence Platforms
Sales intelligence platforms like ZoomInfo, Cognism, Apollo.io, and many others are neither new nor something you shouldn’t have heard of in 2023. If you’re not using any of these platforms in your marketing and sales activities, it’s high time you did.
Besides the many advantages these software solutions offer (data acquisition about companies and their employees, built-in marketing solutions like email marketing), you get another advantage: signals. These signals can be integrated into your marketing strategy.
- Crunchbase provides near real-time updates on funding rounds, acquisitions, and mergers in the startup and tech industry.
- io offers information about companies and the people working there. You can, for instance, see the technologies they use, get information about job changes among employees, and follow important announcements, and more.
The costs of sales intelligence platforms vary widely. Some (Crunchbase, Apollo.io) are relatively inexpensive, while others (e.g., ZoomInfo) are more costly.
Signal-Based Marketing and Sales through Web Crawling
It doesn’t always have to be a ready-made solution available. Sometimes you can be creative and create a solution yourself quickly and inexpensively to generate data and signals.
Web crawling can be one of these methods. You don’t have to buy data from third parties; you can acquire it yourself. If you have in-house web developers, even better. If not, you can find external experts who can take on the task for you.
A simple use case: If you operate a staffing agency and are looking for companies posting specific job listings, you can acquire these data externally from relevant data providers or create a crawler for specific job platforms yourself. This way, you receive a daily list of companies and contacts. If a job posting serves as a signal to you that this company might be interested in your service, you’ve developed a cost-effective and straightforward tool that provides you with fresh signals every day.
Another example would be crawling a freelancer platform. Let’s say your company specializes in web development, design, translation, etc. Leads in these industries can be quite expensive when generated through Google Ads. Other sales methods are not always very effective due to high competition in the industry. However, if you find out about project announcements in a timely manner through crawling and send an email to the company or contact the person on LinkedIn who posted the announcement (whether automated or manual), you’ll appear on the radar of your potential customers earlier than your competitors.
Signal-Based Marketing and Sales: Summary
In 2023, we have more sales tools available to us than ever before. CRM systems, email marketing platforms, sales intelligence software, VoIP tools – the list is long and includes thousands of high-quality tools. This technological advancement in the industry simultaneously presents a significant challenge. Now, everyone can quickly and affordably automate their sales or marketing. However, when everyone uses the same tools and techniques, it leads to oversaturation. The same individuals, whether CEOs or department heads, receive dozens of emails, LinkedIn requests, or calls every day. Attention spans decrease, and so do conversion rates.
To continue to be successful in 2024, you need to appear in potential customers’ inboxes when the relevant service is needed. If your product becomes relevant to the customer right now,if the company is currently looking for your solution, you should strike. But how do you know if the timing is right? By using signal-based marketing methods.
Image Source: https://datagma.com/how-to-use-lead-prioritization-for-business/