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Demandbase moves account-based marketing forward

Demandbase integrates data from multiple sources and enlists artificial intelligence to help companies identify the highest-value sales opportunities.

Each quarter, the editors at SearchCRM recognize a technology for innovation and market impact. The product selected this quarter is from Demandbase.

Product: Demandbase account-based marketing software

What it does

Using algorithms and an account-based marketing (ABM) approach, Demandbase helps sales and marketing teams identify companies that are more promising prospects and higher-value leads. Demandbase identifies a series of attributes (determined by an individual company) that signal when a company is ready to buy. It then combines the company's internal data with third-party information gathered through machine learning and linguistics (including U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings, annual reports and social media) to identify the most promising accounts and to personalize sales and marketing efforts accordingly.

Demandbase analyzes a company's buying "triggers" and counsels sales reps on which companies to focus on. It also coaches marketers on the most appropriate marketing content to send to each company to cultivate these leads. As a result, ABM allows companies to target larger accounts and more promising leads.

Demandbase and ABM also identify the most appropriate members within a company to target with sales and marketing efforts. Account-based marketing recognizes changes in the way companies purchase goods and services. Many companies now have buying teams to help make purchasing decisions, so ABM identifies the most appropriate decision-makers within the company to target.

Why it matters

Historically, sales reps cite receiving poor-quality leads from marketing as the primary reason for their inability to sell more. ABM strives to make marketing more efficient and to yield higher quality leads.

According to data from SiriusDecisions Inc., poor-quality leads can make up as much as 30% of a database, which means salespeople are wasting time on leads with little promise. By combining data to identify new customers and to understand existing ones, tools like Demandbase prioritize sales reps' time so they can focus on higher-priority leads.

"We target the accounts that are most valuable to the business," said Demandbase founder and CEO Chris Golec. "It's breaking the paradigm of volume and aligning the marketing measurements around faster close rights, higher deals."

Feature drilldown

Account-based data standard. Demandbase uses an IP address-based approach, rather than focusing on cookies.

"We're able to tie together advertising data, data that reflects what's happening on your website and data in your CRM," Golec said. "Most other marketing solutions are cookie-based, so you can't tie these systems together easily."

Because Demandbase is based on IP addresses, it can tie together data from all of these systems.

"It's probably the least sexy thing, but it's why big enterprises are standardizing on Demandbase -- we can reach across the whole funnel, from advertising to marketing to CRM," Golec said. "We've built our foundation on that and the ability to tie all these systems and data together at the account level."

Full-funnel technology. "We reach across advertising and retargeting, website personalizing, marketing automation to CRM systems," Golec said. "We integrate with the entire sales-marketing-advertising funnel. Demandbase integrates with nearly 60 marketing automation providers, as well as advertising retargeting technologies."

As a result, with Demandbase, it's possible to become more systematic when acquiring new customers. "You can start automating the workflow," Golec explained. "It becomes a lot more powerful and programmatic."

Third-party data and intelligence. In mid-2016, Demandbase acquired Spiderbook Inc., a vendor whose software uses machine learning and linguistics to scan the web and identify the most appropriate buyers based on factors such as an individual's social media posts or the industry events they've attended.

With the algorithms in Spiderbook, Demandbase can exploit unstructured data to hone in on the buying team. It scans not only structured databases, but also unstructured data, such as prospects' social activity, online behavior and articles, to identify the right prospect to target.

The Spiderbook acquisition has pluses and minuses. Demandbase is in a growth spurt, and this may bode well for its future; it has received millions of dollars in funding to expand. But, at the same time, Demandbase has work to do to integrate the Spiderbook acquisition into its platform. The integration of new platforms with company processes always takes time.

The competition in this market is fierce, but also unfocused, with several technologies sprouting up that don't overlap entirely with others in the space. That's partly attributable to the fact that ABM has become a catchall buzzword for many marketing technologies. Companies that previously self-aligned in other categories, such as predictive analytics, have jumped on the ABM bandwagon, where predictive analytics has been a somewhat difficult category to sell effectively. Account-based marketing has been a new, popular tagline.

In the predictive analytics arena, competition includes Infer Inc., 6Sense Insights Inc. and Lattice Engines Inc. In lead generation, competition includes Engagio Inc. and Terminus Software LLC. In content personalization, competition includes Docurated Inc. and Marketo Inc. Demandbase is also competitive with social networking sites, like LinkedIn, as well as Microsoft's Dynamics 365 service, which combines CRM data with artificial intelligence and other services in Office 365.

What users say

For companies like W.W. Grainger Inc., the goal of account-based marketing tools is to better personalize messaging and sales efforts based on specific attributes. Grainger, a distributor of industrial supplies; maintenance, repair and operations equipment; tools; and materials, wanted to better personalize its messaging and content on its website to target users based on their industry.

"That helps us drive toward more segmentation and targeting messaging on our website, said Michael Coleman, marketing automation manager at Grainger. "We can talk their language; we know your specific needs."

"We're not just trying to sell a hammer and a nail to everyone," Coleman said. "We're looking toward what those specific industries might want to buy and what might get them engaged with our site."

Demandbase can help isolate potential customers by industry and subindustry.

"Demandbase is now a critical part of our data," Coleman said.

Pricing

Demandbase has enterprise customers that invest $2.5 million and more each year, as well as midmarket customers that pay a fraction of that. For more information, contact Demandbase.

Editor's note: TechTarget offers a project intelligence data and tools service for ABM.

Next Steps

Using lead scoring for more efficient sales processes

Is account-based marketing right for you?

Fixing the sales funnel with ABM

This was last published in December 2016

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