COVID-19 Update

AppNeta Sees 150% Increase In Pipeline With Intent-Driven Strategy

With a small team and heavy competition, AppNeta turned to intent data to get in front of target audiences via their preferred channels. The company teamed up with TechTarget to gain a better picture of behaviors and research patterns of key stakeholders in buying committees to re-envision its demand generation strategies and successfully fuel pipeline.

The Challenge

When Amanda Bohne joined the AppNeta team as VP of Marketing, the company had already developed a strong definition of its ideal customer profile (ICP) and kept its finger on the pulse of specific named accounts to focus on, but the marketing team was understaffed, leads were of low quality and there were a only few outdated demand generation programs running on autopilot.

Enter TechTarget, a provider of real purchase intent data for enterprise tech. The company pulls intent data from a network of 140 websites, which monitors the behaviors and activities of technology buyers and processes them within its Priority Engine to help clients understand buyers on an account level, down to real names of researching prospects.

AppNeta had been a TechTarget customer prior to Bohne joining the team, but they “weren’t leveraging it particularly well,” according to Bohne. But the platform quickly became essential in helping to get AppNeta’s message in front of buyers who were interested in its solution. The foundational element of this journey was AppNeta’s clear ICP.

“Our ICP is something that we're always keeping an eye on as we continue to get new inputs from our conversations with prospects and as the market evolves,” said Bohne, who is now the Chief Marketing Officer for AppNeta. “We look across a number of dimensions to figure out who our ideal customers are, such as revenue and number of employees. AppNeta sells to large enterprise customers, so it’s important that we’re able to identify the prospects that have the greatest need for a solution like ours that’s able to service large enterprises that have many locations. That's a key indicator for us.”

Another key to AppNeta’s journey was alignment across sales, marketing and business operations teams. When she joined the company, Bohne said one of the first things she did was sit down with the sales leaders and individual reps to learn what was working, what wasn’t and what their ideal marketing organization would deliver. She also emphasized that the business operations team is a key part of the team’s “secret sauce.”

“They manage all of our business operations and processes. They manage our CRM and marketing automation tools, data hygiene, and lead routing, among many other things,” said Bohne. “The actual operational flow of data is managed by that team and it's really nice because it provides a central place for both marketing and sales to come to and partner with to work through any issues, which has saved us so much heartache.”

The Solution

AppNeta leverages TechTarget’s Priority Engine to set up segments around key topics or themes. The company identified distinct use cases/themes that a buyer might research on TechTarget’s media properties that would indicate that they had a challenge that AppNeta’s monitoring solution could help solve. AppNeta then created segmented nurture campaigns around these five key themes based on the insights it gained from the Priority Engine.

“We set up each of those individual segments to align and cross reference our ICP list,” said Bohne. “Then we pulled in the data from each of those segmented lists into our CRM and our marketing automation platform so we could create tailored nurture streams for each segment. So, a prospect would come in on segment list one from TechTarget, which was focused on a particular topic. Then we would make sure they were put into a nurture stream that was all about how that same topic is related to network monitoring. We did that kind of custom nurture segment for each of the five themes that we had detailed.”

This intent-driven strategy allows AppNeta to be more present and more relevant than its competitors, who have greater visibility and budgets for brand awareness. With TechTarget, AppNeta is positioned to deliver targeted display ads based on keywords and the prospect’s intent activity. Then, if the prospect performs a search on a related topic, they’re likely to see AppNeta on AdWords when they are actively seeking information. This triggers AppNeta to put the prospect in a segmented email nurture stream to deliver follow-up content on the topic. Finally, prospects are re-engaged via content syndication to keep AppNeta top of mind.

“We use AdWords, display advertising, LinkedIn, and email among other things as a key part of our strategy,” said Bohne. “What we did to make all of these various tactics feel like part of a cohesive strategy was to take a fully integrated approach using TechTarget’s intent data. I think that was really the difference for us, because that made our strategy more than a bunch of separate marketing projects or tactics. Instead, they were all homing in on the same themes with the same messaging that were all highly tailored and segmented based on this user data that we were getting.”

The Results

AppNeta’s intent-driven strategies delivered impressive results. In the first four months, the company saw a 50% boost in MQLs month over month — both in quality and quantity. In addition, the team’s efforts leveraging TechTarget and complementary programs delivered a 150% increase in pipeline over the previous year.

Overall, the go-to-market team was able to gain a better understanding of where the opportunities lied, especially finding which people at specific accounts were looking for a solution like AppNeta’s.

“Ultimately, you still have to sell to individual people; you have to market to people,” said Bohne. “So, it's wonderful to know account-level data, like many other ABM vendors can deliver. But what made TechTarget so meaningful for us was the individual-level data that was layered on top of that account-level data. If you don't have the actual person-level data, it's just not super actionable because you can't send an email to an account, right? You have to send it to a person. And so that that was really huge for us.”