How to Use ABM Intent Data in Healthcare
One of the sexiest things in Account-based marketing (ABM) is intent data. I am a bit of an ABM intent data fan-boy and have written about it quite a lot on my blog. Most of my posts have been short video snippets, so I thought it was time to write a more comprehensive post on how to use intent data in healthcare.
Used effectively, it can boost your marketing effectiveness, but it’s still a bit of a mystery to many in healthtech so let’s start with a definition.
What exactly is ABM Intent data?
According to Bombora, a leading provider of ABM intent data, Intent data is information collected about a web user’s observed behavior – specifically web content consumption – that provides insights into their interests. This insight often indicates potential intent to take a specific action.
In this post, Bombora explains what it is in detail and how it’s created. The short story is that there are two types of ABM intent data:
- First-party Intent Data – this information your company captures on its website and social media channels that signal that a company may have an intention to buy your product. For example, visiting your solutions page multiple times, downloading a buyer guide, or signing up for a webinar.
- Third-party Intent Data – This is data provided by a third party like Zoominfo or Bombora. It provides you signals on buying intent by companies from third-party websites. For example, a prospect has downloaded a white paper about your category on a trade magazine website. The third-party intent data vendors have relationships with thousands of third parties and aggregate the buying behavior of millions of buyers for thousands of different topics.
Why Is It Important to Use ABM Intent Data in Healthcare?
This diagram from Demandbase shows the typical buyer journey.
For most of the buyer journey, the buyer is researching on their own, talking to peers, and interacting on social media. It is only late in the process that they interact with you. By then, they have well-informed opinions and may have already decided who they are going to buy from.
This is where intent data comes in. Intent data is almost like magic as it gives you business intelligence about who is in-market for your solution, who actually out there researching the category you operate in, how to solve a problem you can help them with, what their options are and who they should consider.
It can tell you who you need to focus on in your prospecting and marketing. Don’t forget that one of the key principles of ABM is focusing on fewer best-fit targets. Intent data helps you determine who these are.
Intent data in healthcare can be an unfair advantage if you use it strategically!
How Do You Source ABM Intent Data?
There is a growing number of sources of intent data. Bombora is the best known. It’s all they do, and they have been at it a long time. Zoominfo acquired a third-party intent data provider that can be accessed through the Zoominfo platform. Both charge an annual fee for their intent data.
If you purchase an ABM platform like 6sense, Terminus, or Demandbase, ABM intent data is integrated into the platform. In some cases, they have sourced their own (e.g., Demandbase). In other cases (e.g., Terminus), they use third-party data such as Bombora.
You can also license Bombora and Zoominfo ABM intent data independently. This is a less expensive way to get the data, and it can be easily integrated with your CRM or marketing automation system. This way you can see intent signals in the sales and marketing systems you use day-to-day.
One important note: Most sources of intent data only provide account-level information. They do this for privacy reasons. It would be more helpful to know which specific individual at a company is interested in what you do, but that would be a privacy violation.
Buying Signals – ABM Intent Data in Action in Healthcare
Third-party intent data provides you with signals about which accounts are actively interested in specific topics. Think of topics as search terms.
Let me give you an example based on work for one of our clients. The company in question is a virtual care provider, and they are especially interested in finding telehealth buyers.
We licensed Bombora integrated with Hubspot. As referenced in a prior post, Hubspot is increasingly useful as an ABM platform. Bombora offered about a dozen relevant topics related to telehealth. We set up a report in Bombora’s application that searched for healthcare provider organizations who were interested in those topics. Through the integration, the following shows how this data was displayed in Hubspot.
This screenshot shows accounts that are showing buying intent for telehealth topics. Bombora provides a Surge Score for each topic that reflects how actively a company is researching that topic. This article explains the Surge Score quite well. The Bombora Rollup Average Score is an average of the Surge Scores for all the relevant topics a company is researching. The Bombora Rollup Count of Topics shows how many relevant topics the company is searching for, and the adjacent column shows which specific topics are of interest to that company.
As you can see, this provides a sortable report that allows you to determine who might be in-market for what you are selling.
Note: Zoominfo provides similar information.
ABM Intent Data Use Cases
There is a lot you can do with ABM intent data. Here are several examples of the use of intent data in healthcare, from the simple to the more complex.
1. In-market Alerts for Sales Teams
One of the simplest uses of intent data is to provide in-market reports to your sales team, especially SDRs. This can be achieved by integrating the source of intent data with your CRM.
The screenshot above shows how ABM intent data is displayed in Salesforce. This is a critical dashboard for the SDRs at this company. As they have integrated this with their web analytics, the dashboard combines surge data with engagement on the company’s website. It creates a “Spike Heat” signal that indicates which companies are most actively in-market and engaging with them.
For an SDR with hundreds of accounts to target, this is invaluable as it helps them prioritize where to hunt.
Diving deeper, the following shows an account-level screen that combines third and first-party intent data. For a specific account, the SDR can see how a prospect has engaged on their website and what topics they have been interested in. See what I mean by sexy!
We recently used Zoominfo intent data with a client and saw positive results within a week. Their SDR team was researching current customer intent for a relatively new service that they were offering, e.g. Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM). The head of the SDR team saw that a very large current customer was showing intent for RPM but had not purchased it from them. She alerted the account team, and within a few days, they reached the right person at the customer, who said they were about to start an RFP process and would be included.
2. At-Risk Customers
While the most exciting use of intent data is for finding new customers, it is also valuable in keeping an eye on existing ones.
For example, if you are in a wireless networking company specializing in healthcare, you can create a report that tracks what your current customers are interested in. If you see that they are actively surging for wireless networking as a topic, it may indicate that they are looking around.
3. Segment-specific Sales routines
Once your SDRs are familiar with intent data, it may be time to move up to a segment-specific approach to ABM. In segment-specific or 1:Few ABM, you market to a group of accounts with commonalities.
For example, if you are selling telecommunications services and you notice that prospects tend to be interested in Cloud VOIP, Hosted VOIP, and IP Telephony, you can develop separate marketing sequences for each topic. Each week, you segment prospects based on interest in each topic, e.g. highest surging respectively for Cloud VOIP, Hosted VOIP, and IP Telephony. You then create lists of target contacts for each segment and run the appropriate segment-specific sequence against each segment.
4. Intent-based Display Advertising
One of the coolest uses of intent data is how you can use it to target your advertising to in-market prospects.
The ABM platforms like Terminus are designed to make it easy for you to run orchestrated digital ad campaigns to in-market targets. Part of this is running targeted display ads through their own DSP network. For example, if you are selling security services to healthcare, you specify topics related to security and run digital ads that are displayed exclusively to people from companies that are showing high interest. These ads run across Terminus’s display ad network.
One of my favorite uses of intent data in healthcare is how you can use it with LinkedIn. This is quite simple. Again in the case of the security software firm, you would run a weekly report through your intent data service to identify healthcare providers who appear to be in-market for security software. You then export this as a list into LinkedIn Campaign Manager. Note: with some services LinkedIn can be integrated so this can happen automatically.
You then run a campaign targeting specific relevant titles (e.g. CISO’s) at the healthcare organizations that are in-market with content or an offer that is relevant to the topic of highest interest (e.g Malware threats).
5. Using Intent Data In Content Marketing
Lastly, Intent Data can be valuable in helping shape your content strategy. In this screenshot, you can see the topics that a list of target accounts have high interest in.
In this example, the target account list appears to have a high interest in asset management and security orchestration. As asset management was a core part of what this company offers, they had marketing materials and content. Security Orchestration was a newly surging topic. The sales team alerted marketing about this and together they developed new content specifically geared towards security orchestration.
How Well Does Third-party Intent Data Cover Healthcare
The value of intent data is a factor of the number of topics covered. I have been using intent data for a couple of years, and the number off topics covered is expanding all the time. Eighteen months ago I would have said that the value of intent data in healthcare was limited, and it is now much more effective.
Bombora covers over 10,000 topics, and over 400 of these are healthcare specific. These cover more than a dozen categories from administration to patient management. In addition, there are hundreds of topics that are not healthcare specific that are still useful in searching for in-market prospects. For example, language services appear under “Other” not “Healthcare” category. You can download a spreadsheet of the Bombora topics here.
Note: Zoominfo covers around 4,000 topics. This list is growing, and having used the data with healthcare clients, I have found it to be useful.
Intent Data in Healthcare Case Study Series – Nuvolo
Nuvolo is a master in the use of intent data in healthcare as well as other verticals. In this video, Ben Person, their superb Chief Marketing Officer, talks about intent data.
We have detailed Nuvolo’s ABM strategy in multiple posts. Intent data is integral to this strategy.
- How Nuvolo Approaches ABM
- Nuvolo’s 1:1 Approach to ABM
- Nuvolo’s 1:Few Approach to ABM
- Nuvolo’s 1:Many Approach to ABM
- How Nuvolo Uses Intent Data
Conclusion and Next Steps
As I hope you can see, intent data has a great deal of potential, and I recommend investigating how you can use it in your company. If you have used it in the past and had an underwhelming experience, give it a second chance. The quality of the data and the topics covered have expanded significantly over the last few years.