A Case Study in Data-driven B-to-B Customer Acquisition Marketing
My new book, B2B Data-Driven Marketing: Sources, Uses, Results, is launching in a few weeks. While preparing case studies for book, I had the fun of interviewing a bunch of very smart B-to-B marketers to learn how they were applying data and analytics to their marketing objectives. One of the most compelling stories came from Doug Sechrist, vice president of demand marketing at Five9, a cloud contact-center software company based in San Ramon CA. Here's a sneak peek of Doug's success in finding new customers using lookalike modeling.
Five9's solutions provide everything businesses need to run an inbound and/or outbound center for sales and marketing, customer service or outsourcing, including sophisticated management tools for reporting, recording, workforce management, quality monitoring and CRM integration.
With responsibility for demand generation, Sechrist is mired in database marketing. "Our approach starts with crafting a data strategy and operationalizing it," says Sechrist. "First, we target the right accounts. We look at past wins, and the attributes of those customers. We examine those who buy and later become long-term clients."
In short, Five9 is creating an ideal customer profile, and going out in the market place to find similar accounts, a process known as lookalike modeling. In their search for lookalikes, they identified 6,000-7,000 prospects. "We focus our demand generation marketing on those lookalikes," says Sechrist.
Attributes that tend to be predictive in the lookalike modeling include:
- Number of employees in the call center.
- Presence of a customer service or outbound sales and marketing team.
- Use of an outbound collections department internally.
- Use of similar technologies, whether SaaS or on premise.
- Past purchase of cloud-based software.
- Competitive technologies installed.
- Use of "adjacent" or complementary technologies, like a workflow management system.
Five9 also looks at individual personas among their customer base, using a similar process. First they identify the attributes and behaviors of top buyers, using the rich detail that can be found on LinkedIn or other social sites. The personas support the crafting of relevant messages at the right time to sell call center software.
Ruth P. Stevens consults on customer acquisition and retention, and teaches marketing at companies and business schools around the world. She is past chair of the DMA Business-to-Business Council, and past president of the Direct Marketing Club of New York. Ruth was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing by Crain's BtoB magazine, and one of 20 Women to Watch by the Sales Lead Management Association. She is the author of Maximizing Lead Generation: The Complete Guide for B2B Marketers, and Trade Show and Event Marketing. Ruth serves as a director of Edmund Optics, Inc. She has held senior marketing positions at Time Warner, Ziff-Davis, and IBM and holds an MBA from Columbia University.