Traditionally, a company like TIBCO, which sells integration and analytics software, thrives on events and field sales, where company reps can explain its products in person.
But client buying habits have changed, even in the world of complex B2B solutions.
“We heard from customers that they were spending more time online learning about products before they even talked to a vendor,” said Mervyn Alamgir, senior director of demand generation and customer marketing for TIBCO.
So over the past five years, TIBCO reoriented its marketing around digital, especially to make its products more visible during a customer’s research process. Because while customers still close a deal in person, they’ve mostly made up their minds by the time they talk to a TIBCO rep.
“We needed to be able to communicate in digital channels, which is where customers are more comfortable talking to vendors today,” Alamgir said. Three years ago, that started taking the form of an account-based marketing approach, where B2B companies individualize marketing for each sales account.
TIBCO worked with TechTarget, which owns over 140 B2B tech sites, to syndicate content that guided buyers through their tech selection process. The content was designed to generate new leads, which TIBCO would nurture and pass on to the sales team.
But lead generation campaigns have a big downside. It’s hard to gauge the quality of the lead or know exactly what the buyer might be interested in. Plus, some buyers are interested in product categories – like data visualization – but aren’t as familiar with the companies that can address their needs.
TechTarget developed a software-as-a-service data tool called Priority Engine, which gives TIBCO more information about who’s interested in topics, not just products.
“We wanted data from companies that allows us to be more efficient, accurate and effective in the way we market,” Alamgir said.
Besides the usual data around name, contact information and title, Priority Engine shares details about the lead’s behavior before the person submitted their information. It records the topics and topic categories they were interested in and estimates how far along they are in the buying cycle.
So if a prospect browses a TechTarget-owned site like SearchBusinessAnalytics.com, Priority Engine passes information like whether the session was recent, whether the prospect was engaged with relevant content and whether the prospect interacted with competitive vendors on the TechTarget platform.
That data helps TIBCO prioritize the 1,000 to 2,000 leads it gets a week.
TIBCO warms up its leads by sending emails with customized content based on their interests across TechTarget sites, an automated process that happens via a direct integration between TechTarget and Marketo.
TIBCO also helps its sales teams prioritize leads with a buyer propensity model it built that feeds in Priority Engine data.
“The relationship evolved from getting leads to a highly integrated program that takes their data and puts it into our marketing engine,” Alamgir said.
Automation helps sales close faster. For example, a TechTarget lead interested in data analytics started receiving relevant TIBCO content and, within two months, the lead approached TIBCO’s sales team. Three months later, the sale closed.
“We showed our sales team that we can expand the top of the funnel without decreasing the quality of the lead – we can get leads to a point where they are fairly qualified in a buying cycle,” Alamgir said.
To date, TIBCO has focused on bringing lead data into its own marketing system, using it to enrich all of its information about sales prospects. It now runs a strong base infrastructure staffed by an experienced digital team. As it makes its marketing even more sophisticated, TIBCO wants to explore uploading its own data into TechTarget’s system, so it can find out what topics its larger customer base cares about.
“We have just scratched the surface in terms of our capabilities,” Alamgir said. “From machine learning to propensity models, the level of innovation within marketing tech is amazing.”