How to Connect the “Dark Funnel” for Successful Account-Based MarketingRead Time: 8 minutes

2019-04-24T15:13:14-04:00

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Know everything, do anything. That’s the motto our guest goes by for marketing to potential customers throughout the funnel. This is because so many people looking for help with B2B services do their early research without filling out any forms. They’re part of what Latane Conant from 6sense calls the “dark funnel.”

So what is this dark funnel, and how can you illuminate its secrets and use them to form a successful account-based marketing strategy?

Check out this week’s episode or keep reading to find out.

Know (Almost) Everything

When you’re looking to understand the needs of prospects and customers, your first step should be getting your data in order. This includes data from your dark funnel, which is 68% of the buyer’s journey that is completed anonymously online without filling out any forms. You want to look at your website visits to understand what pages people are looking at the most, then use that information to develop a full picture of the buyer’s journey.

While it can be impossible to guess everything your prospective buyers may be thinking, it is possible to make an educated guess by examining that traffic data, as well as the content your competitors are sharing. If you’re providing as many, or even more, answers to buyer questions as your competitors, you’re on the right track toward a successful account-based marketing strategy.

Paying Attention to Intent Signals

One of the biggest methods you can use to determine what potential customers are researching is to focus on intent signals. These signals can be at either a category level (e.g. SEO services) or a granular keyword level (e.g. best New York SEO agency). Your understanding of the keywords potential customers are searching for and their place in the marketing funnel informs your entire account-based marketing strategy. This includes the types of emails you send, the search terms you target with your content and ads, and your personalization strategy.

While paying attention to these signals can help you to have more meaningful conversations with leads, doing so can also help you in lead scoring. Just ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is this a good account for your company?
  2. Is the account in the market? If so, where in the buying journey is it?
  3. Who are the people on the account and what is their engagement level?
  4. Are these the people looking to make a decision to buy now, or are they just browsing for the future?

Think of it this way – when you go to make a purchase, you tend to do your research. Your prospective customers are doing the same. To ensure they receive the best information possible (and end up choosing your company), you want to provide them with answers to any questions they may be asking.

One thing that’s important to keep in mind is that purchase decisions are no longer being made by just one individual. More often than not, those choices are now made by teams.

Once you have a full picture of your data and understand your customers and buyer behaviors, you can begin to move into the “do anything” phase of Latane’s motto.

Do Anything

B2B selling has always been account-based. However, people in marketing tend to have a lead-based mentality. Unfortunately, since many people now buy and research business investments in teams, the typical notion of a lead is broken. To successfully market to businesses, marketers should shift their focus to understanding that interest in a product from one person isn’t necessarily an opportunity. That account likely needs more nurturing to actually come to fruition.

To nurture that account, Latane recommends looking to where the account is in the marketing funnel. This can be determined with the data showing what webpages they’ve visited on your website. You can also chart your data using A.I. to better understand where in the cycle the team is and to determine the best message and message timing to turn them into an actual lead.

Scaling ABM

If you want to scale your account-based marketing initiative and begin turning more potential customers into actual leads, Latane recommends setting up nurture tracks. This can be done using any number of platforms, including HubSpot or 6sense.

These nurture tracks are basically “choose your own adventure” books following your leads through the marketing funnel. No two lead accounts are the same, and no two will behave the same way. The data you gather from their behaviors can be used to determine the next step they take in your marketing tracks and bring them just a little bit closer to becoming customers.

KEY INSIGHTS

  • Pay attention to customer intent signals. Doing so can help you have more meaningful conversations and better leads.
  • Interest from one person isn’t necessarily an opportunity for your company. Many businesses are now leaving major buying decisions up to teams, not individuals.
  • Your marketing efforts should be able to inform, educate, and help people during their buyers’ journey.

LATANE’S TAKEAWAYS

  • Account-based marketing can help businesses see an increase in lifetime customer value, their number of new customer opportunities, and the size of those opportunities.
  • 68% of the buyer’s journey is completed anonymously online without filling out any forms. This portion of the journey is called the “dark funnel.”
  • Knowing all your competitors, what they’re going to be pitching, and how their pitches would affect your pitch as a company is critical to developing a successful account-based marketing strategy.

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