McAfee uses account-based marketing to reach its target list of 788 companies in the Americas it wants to buy its software.
McAfee made the switch to a more targeted B2B marketing approach last year. Because many IT buyers conduct research online before contacting a sales rep toward the end of the research process, the marketing team wanted to influence those buyers during their learning phase.
“We know the buyer’s journey has changed. We knew we needed to do more online to support that and take a more targeted approach to larger accounts,” said Mathew Donoghue, who heads marketing in the Americas for McAfee.
But account-based marketing has a big challenge: accessing the right data. McAfee needed to find IT buyers from those 788 “green-field” accounts where it wanted to win business. That meant McAfee had to find out who they were and what kind of messaging would resonate with them.
McAfee worked with Demandbase, which used IP addresses to collect information about who was looking at McAfee’s content. But the approach, while effective, has some gaps.
“Demandbase can show that a company was engaged this week and looked at 300 pieces of content, and here are the pages people at the company looked at,” Donoghue said. “But I can’t go to the sales team and tell them the articles these people looked at.”
But it can with TechTarget. The publisher of 140 IT sites first created a data product, dubbed Priority Engine, in 2015. McAfee, which had subscribed to but barely used the product at launch, adopted it with gusto this year because of how much information the improved product provides.
Priority Engine allows McAfee to see exactly what content different people at a company are reading, how many articles they are reading and how long they spend reading that content.
When salespeople reach out, they are armed with more information, increasing effectiveness when they initiate conversations.
“The product empowers our reps to feel confident to aggressively try to get into those accounts because they are armed with the information to contribute,” Donoghue said.
The granular data offers an improvement over more general insights on which the sales and marketing team previously relied.
For example, an offshore team prepares weekly insights on executive appointments or executive news that might influence a sales cycle for McAfee. Now, the marketing team will send a field sales rep a spreadsheet from Priority Engine showing what kind of content people in their accounts have been consuming to make conversations more personalized.
The sales reps know where to start conversations and can plug them into specific email marketing campaigns that align with their interests.
Measuring the impact of TechTarget’s new product is a work in progress. McAfee is revamping its attribution model to give credit to more of the interactions that happen before a sale.
But Donoghue plans to look at how many sales deals that used Priority Engine enter the pipeline, as well as the size of those deals. Adding more contact details to those accounts will also be a success metric.
As McAfee expands its use of Priority Engine, it plans to use TechTarget’s API to connect it to its CRM system, Salesforce, and its marketing automation platform, Eloqua.
Donoghue said the quality of the data Priority Engine provides, which it gets from logged-in users, is high, though sometimes the IT readers aren’t quite as senior, falling more into the “influencers” than “decision-makers” category. He questions the sustainability of a model that uses readers’ contact information, especially as other B2B advertisers also start using the tool.
TechTarget CEO Mike Cotoia said choice and relevancy will help avoid those concerns. To view premium content, readers must log in and opt in to vendor communications.
“When a tech buyer needs to evaluate public cloud versus private cloud and gets an email later from a vendor that understands exactly what they are dealing with, they are more likely to engage,” Cotoia said.
Based on interest from B2B brands like McAfee, TechTarget expects its data business to grow from $31 million last year to $44 million this year. Priority Engine accounts for a good chunk of that growth, and the company is placing its bet on data, not traditional advertising or lead gen, to grow its business.
McAfee is making the most of TechTarget because it’s driving results.
“Demandbase and TechTarget are the two vendors that brought account-based marketing to life for us,” Donoghue said.