Unlocking go-to-market success in enterprise manufacturing
Gaining insights from Siemens’ Intent-driven campaign performance
In the dynamic landscape of the manufacturing industry, where success hinges upon numerous essential factors (commonly referred to as the ‘C’s), this sector is a high performer across all four:
Enterprises in this vertical — and even third-party logistics (3PL) firms — continue to weather compounding challenges, from major supply chain disruptions to worsening labor shortages.
But top manufacturing businesses are growing by adapting to the direct-to-consumer (D2C) paradigm shift, using data-centric methodologies like ABM, ABX, and programmatic advertising.
Intent data in particular, though, has quickly proven to be a transformative engine to improve both marketing and sales teams.
With the success story of Siemens Digital Industries as a backdrop, let’s walk through how to use Bombora’s Company Surge® — a type of Intent data — for:
- More qualified leads for sales and partners
- Higher campaign ROI
- Better win/loss rates
- Lower qualification costs
- Shorter sales cycles
- More long-term competitiveness
Challenge No. 1: Incumbent bias
Siemens Digital Industries is the No. 1 global provider of factory automation, motion control, and industrial software, with $19.5 billion in revenue for the last fiscal year. Yet it lagged behind the top vendor in the U.S. by a large margin.
One major reason was common incumbent bias.
“The cost of switching vendors is very high, so it’s difficult to justify a new solution,” said Dan Staresinic, VP of marketing and communications at Siemens Digital Industries. “It’s an emotional issue, so it’s not a level playing field.”
The main hindrance, though, was engaging a lead too late in their purchase process. A major automation project buying cycle can take from 9 to 18 months, with incumbents entrenched from the start and offering incentives to continue their contracts.
The biggest opportunity for non-incumbents to influence buying outcomes occurs during the first 10% of this time period — within a few days of budget approval. Yet RFPs typically start after the halfway mark.
Most bluntly put, 70-90% of a buyer’s research journey is already complete by the time a potential customer contacts you, according to Forrester.
“No one was even thinking of the project, but once budget is approved, it’s a race for engineering, purchasing, and others to start researching,” said Staresinic. “As a non-incumbent vendor, we have zero visibility until the RFP comes out.”
“When the RFP comes out, it’s written for someone else to win.”
Challenge No. 2: Too many targets
The size of the addressable market (any U.S. manufacturer using automation in production) was another issue. Prioritizing outreach was difficult, and the percentage of viable leads was tiny:
- 90% were not currently investing in a major project
- 9% had a good project but were too far down the buying cycle
To increase efficiency, revenue, and market share, Siemens needed a way to produce highly qualified leads in the first few days of a new automation project — and do it at scale.
Challenge No. 3: More valuable leads from demand gen
Traditional demand generation is not effective. The acceptance rate for Siemens’ marketing qualified leads (MQL) was only 1%, which eroded the sales team’s trust in marketing.
Common reasons for MQL rejection included:
- They’re already a customer
- Sales already knew about the project
- They’re not buying anything right now
- Sales rejected the same lead a few weeks ago
- The same lead rejected sales a few weeks ago
- They’re already halfway through the buying process
“We had a large volume of MQLs where one person watched ten seconds of video, another attended a webinar, someone looked at three emails, and another opened a gated asset,” said Staresinic. “But we can’t call them ‘buyers.’”
Traditional demand generation shortcomings:
- Before buyers are ‘in market,’ they don’t exhibit buying behaviors, so the usual demand gen approaches cannot find them
- After they go ‘in market,’ traditional demand gen is unlikely to qualify them within the 10% early window
Core tenets of demand generation programs are insufficient when applied to the crucial first tenth of the manufacturing industry buying cycle.
“Nurturing leads through drip campaigns and scoring them up — all of that cannot happen in the first 10% of the buying lifecycle,” said Staresinic. “We don’t get the ‘hot leads’ until it’s too late.”
Only 15% of your market is ‘in market’ for your solution, meaning they are ready to explore buying, so demand generation campaigns on their own may appear irrelevant or pushy.
“Before they’re ‘in market,’ they’re not exhibiting buying behavior — they’re just learning, like engineers who are always researching what is new and cool.”
Siemens Digital Industries used Bombora’s Company Surge® to launch non-traditional demand generation. Now, an MQL must:
- Be the right person (in terms of role, business)
- Respond to the right message (content topic, ad’s call to action)
- Correspond with you at the right time (when buying intent is ‘spiking’)
Follow these steps to Intent data-guided demand generation:
- Determine your Intent topic clusters in Company Surge® — These are groups of closely related Intent topics that together comprise all facets of a product or service.
- Generate and view a surge report — This is a report generated by Company Surge® — usually at the start of each week — that displays:
- Surge score — This means the intensity of research between an organization and a topic, compared to its historical baseline. A business showing buying intent on a topic would score 60 or higher.
- Topic count — This is the number of topics that exhibit a surge score of 60 or higher on a given account. The higher the topic count, the higher the buying intent.
- Delta — This is the change in research activity for a topic compared to the previous week. Bombora provides up to 18 months of an account’s Intent data.
- Look at the delta column to see the largest week-over-week increases in research activity — The accounts with the largest changes — whether plus or minus — should also be priorities
- Drill down to topic clusters, competitors, and geography of contacts ‘spiking’ to build a list of those showing the highest buying intent
- Integrate Company Surge® with your demand generation platform — Siemens used CX platform Sprinklr, but your business can integrate Bombora solutions with many leading platforms
Intent-driven demand generation was a success for the Siemens Digital Industries marketing team, which:
- Grew sales acceptance of MQLs from 1% to 90%
- Earned more trust from sales
- Strengthened partner relationships by providing higher-quality leads
“Salespeople actually ping us to say, ‘The Intent report is late this week; when will it be available?’” said Staresinic.
Programmatic ads that net better leads
By more accurately targeting the contacts actually ‘in market’ for your product or service, Intent-driven programmatic advertising campaigns:
- Reduce cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-lead (CPL)
- Deliver higher-quality leads who are more ready to buy
- Extend the budget for a given period due to fewer ‘wasted’ activations
With Company Surge® informing its campaigns, Siemens Digital Industries experienced an 80% reduction in CPC and noticeably more receptive leads.
To achieve this, the marketing team crafted account-specific ads and micro-targeted them to businesses:
- Showing intent toward real-time locating systems (RTLS) topics
- Having topic-based job titles
- Located in spiking metropolitan areas
“Ads with a relevant topic and product are irresistibly clickable for the right person,” Staresinic said of the successful ‘who-what-where’ approach. “They’ll click and even answer our questions.”
Siemens Digital Industries reduced its CPC by 80% using Bombora’s Intent data.
Prioritization that bypasses the funnel
Sales teams in manufacturing are feeling the strain of limited resources more than most. But Intent data delivers prioritization that approaches the elusive Pareto’s Principle: spending 80% of one’s time on the 20% of prospects most likely to buy.
Follow steps 1-6 above to finally be confident that a lead list won’t feel like gambling with every call you make or email you send.
More importantly, by using credible Intent data available at the beginning of a contact’s buying journey, you’ll have a larger opportunity to influence the deal by:
- Being the only non-incumbent vendor corresponding with contacts in the first 10% of the buying cycle
- Proactively disrupting the competitors likely to enter during the RFP stage
- Developing strong empathy with the contacts with a steady stream of highly relevant resources based on their ‘spiking’ Intent topics
“The guy actually said to me, ‘Your timing is incredible; we just started a new project last week.’”
Siemens Digital Industries used Company Surge® for better sales prioritization, which led to great gains, including:
- A 99% reduction of telequalification (TQ) cost per sales accepted lead (SAL)
- Months shaved off sales cycles due to earlier outreach
Immediately after deploying Company Surge®, Staresinic and his team were pleased with how Intent data helped their campaigns achieve a seeming impossibility in business — speed and quality.
“I remember thinking, ‘These are the best leads I have ever seen,’” he said. “We actually skipped the funnel.”
Account intelligence for sustainable wins
With more contacts in the buying process, knowing what to say (and when) is tougher than ever. And B2B prospects won’t wait for you to reach their row on a leads list, with 45% starting to engage 90+ days before filling a contact form.
And with growing expectations of hyper-personalization, it’s harder to get manufacturing buyers to:
- Feel you understand their highly specific pain points
- Believe your product or service will alleviate those challenges
- Know your business is the top choice over the competition
- Engage meaningfully much earlier in their buying cycle
“An account manager told our salesperson we won the deal because we were first to make contact.”
For the turbulent manufacturing industry, it’s especially vital to establish a steadier, more sustained sales strategy built on strict alignment to customer needs and constant lead mining.
Intent-based account intelligence can dive deeper into customers’ wants and needs than was ever possible before. Bombora’s Audience Solutions offers more precise targeting via custom audiences from five datasets: profile, behavioral, install, ABM, and Company Surge®.
This granular, credible info can strengthen results in all categories, including:
- Upsell — These are existing customers who are good candidates to upgrade their current version of a product or buy others from you or a strategic partner
- Opportunities — These are leads that have moved past an initial chat toward more substantive sales correspondence centered on a quote or proposal
- Cold outreach — Naturally the lowest priority, these comprise the largest of these segments; sales has had no engagement with these contacts
Follow these steps to warm up your cold and other prospects:
- Determine ‘in market’ status by verifying they’re actively researching solution or brand topics and sort by topic count first to see who’s most ‘sales-ready’ based on a score of 60 or higher
- Learn the personas of those digesting content, such as ‘sales acceleration’ or ‘data-driven marketing’
- Drill down for segment criteria and messaging based on patterns within the account list that organically spawn new target segments
- Find similar business accounts, then nurture them accordingly with:
- Role-specific, attention-grabbing messaging
- An offer or call to action addressing their top solution Intent topics
- Specialized, team-specific terminology to establish credibility
- Differentiation to beat competitors appearing in brand topics
“We generated so much revenue from leads directly attributable to Bombora’s Intent data — and not anything else.”
Siemens Digital Industries experienced huge gains as a result of Bombora’s Intent-based account intelligence, including:
- A win/loss rate of 94%
- Over 400 new pipeline opportunities, most of which are competitive
- Substantial portion of revenue coming from leads directly attributable to Bombora’s Intent data
- Major global manufacturer win leading to substantial ARR
- Almost zero marketing investment per lead
- Better upsell and cross-sell rates
- Reduced customer churn rate
“After we won a deal with a major international business using Bombora’s Intent data, we got calls from sales,” Staresinic said. “It landed on the radar of senior executives, and now they mention it at every quarterly sales call!”
- Intent data tips for manufacturers from Siemens’ marketing VP
- Shift from a marketing to an ‘Intent’ mindset to differentiate buyer behavior
- Keep campaigns manual until you’re sure they work the way you intended
- Feel free to break the status quo — we succeeded without using:
- First-party data
- Multi-step nurture campaigns
- Gated assets
- Measure only what’s important — an open rate is meaningless when you expect most not to open it
Due to the success of its deployment, Siemens has already integrated Company Surge® with its CRM system, implemented a self-serve model for reps, and launched expansion into new use cases and regions.
“Other vendors — some of whom we worked with for years — couldn’t solve our use case,” Staresinic said. “Only with Bombora did it work consistently — and scale.”