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How Snowflake fuels GTM performance and sales-marketing alignment with Intent data

It’s common that marketing and sales don’t see eye to eye, but the breadth and impact of this trend may surprise you.

According to Forrester’s research, 90% of professionals in these groups say they are misaligned on strategy, process, content, and culture. And 98% and 97% of sellers and marketers, respectively, think this poor alignment negatively impacts the business and the customer. Concerns expressed include:

  • The groups plan two different processes for engaging with customers
  • Sales and marketing tools and systems are not well integrated
  • Marketing content does not help the buyer through the buying journey

Each grievance points to why Intent data is becoming a new essential in the tech stacks of B2B businesses. By zeroing in on research topics that are spiking among prospects, sellers and marketers enjoy better results in ABM and other outbound motions.

Using data leader Snowflake’s story as a backdrop, let’s explore how Intent data can:

  • Help drive better results in marketing and sales motions and customer conversations
  • Be foundational to more sales-marketing trust and alignment
  • Easily customize content to facilitate the buying journey with relevant conversations

An evolution in ABM

Hillary Carpio, senior director of ABM at Snowflake, sought to improve collaboration among her global ABM team, 230+ SDRs, and 1,000+ sales reps. The task was as challenging as expected.

“In order to have all your go-to-market teams working seamlessly together, you have to know what’s not working,” she said. “Those conversations are painful, but important.”

The ABM team had an opportunity to collaborate with sales and create consistent  goals, messaging, and processes.

“We in marketing need to bring value to sellers to create that back-and-forth trust that builds collaboration,” Carpio insisted. “You need to provide value the sales org cannot get without you.”

That unique sense of value was to come from better-converting leads, but limited account intelligence made guesswork a large part of account list creation.

To achieve better results from its 5,000+ accounts, the ABM team launched the “One-Team GTM” approach, which united all sales and marketing and was comprised of a new permutation:

  1. Collaboration
  2. Intelligence
  3. Activation
  4. Engagement
  5. Optimization

Without step 1, muddled and inconsistent messaging would reach prospects throughout their buying journey.

“A consumer needs to see a message three times before it registers,” said Carpio. “If the account is getting different messaging each time, you’re missing the opportunity to have it resonate.”

Alignment with sales at the very beginning was also vital to establish a more sustained ABM approach focused on infiltrating a business as a whole.

“The One-Team GTM motion should be focused on accounts, not leads,” Carpio revealed. “If you’re being asked to measure leads in a funnel for an ABM approach, stop and rethink what the goal is.”


Intent-driven account selection

Step 2, intelligence, is key to boosting the value of marketing in the eyes of sales. There’s no tarnishing the credibility of a list that garners a higher closed rate.

“Increasing ROI is always top of mind, so choosing the right accounts is the most important factor,” Carpio said. “And lead analysis should not happen during the ABM motion.”

Existing vendors are usually the only ones privy to the crucial yet elusive first phase of the buying cycle: research. Yet a rep has more influence the earlier in the process they join, so overcoming incumbent bias is paramount.

“More than 60% of buying research is anonymous,” revealed Carpio, “so we want to enter the buying process before our targets realize on their own that we’re an option.”

Bombora’s ABM Intent data is fueled by the most comprehensive privacy-compliant Data Cooperative on the web. With it, Snowflake was able to discover the ‘right’ accounts based on consumption of content denoting research and in turn, buying Intent.

ABM teams can get started in Bombora Company Surge® with these steps:

  1. Determine your Intent topic clusters – Intent topic clusters are groups of closely related Intent topics that together comprise all facets of a product or service.Meet with sales counterparts and together explore our complete topic list to choose the ones that most closely align to your offering.
  2. Generate and view a surge report – This is a report generated by Company Surge® — usually at the start of each week — that displays:
    1. Surge score – This means the intensity of research between a business and a topic, compared to its historical baseline. An organization showing buying Intent on a topic would score a 60 or higher.
    2. Topic count – This is the number of topics that exhibit a surge score of 60 or higher on a given account, with the higher the topic count, the higher the buying Intent.
    3. 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.
  3. Always sort by topic count first, then by average surge score – The businesses at the top of the list should be prioritized in your ABM target selection.
  4. Next, look at the delta column to see the largest week-over-week increases in research activity – The accounts with the largest changes — plus or minus — should also be prioritized.
  5. Drill down to topic clusters, competitors, and geography of contacts “spiking” to build a list of those showing the highest buying Intent.
  6. Integrate Company Surge® with your sales and marketing platforms – Enjoy a unified view of all first- and third-party data when you integrate Bombora solutions with many leading platforms.

Snowflake was able to incorporate Company Surge® data into its own Snowhouse platform, visualize it through Tableau, and then embed it into Salesforce, where salespeople spend of their time.

Carpio and team then combined the engagement data with its own business “fit” criteria to create an aggregated, instructional view of the “MQAs,” or marketing qualified accounts. They’re not new dashboards, but rather action boards.

“With most dashboards, people say, ‘that’s really interesting, but now what?’” said Carpio. “If the sales team looks at one and it doesn’t answer that question, it’s not actionable.”

Intent-backed account prioritization made it necessary to change sales reps’ account allocation in the name of warmer leads.

“Every rep used to get to choose ten accounts to focus on,” remembered Carpio, “but now they can choose three to five accounts, and we also add a responsive layer based on Intent signals.”

Accounts showing buying Intent in Company Surge® are more likely to convert than those a rep chooses based on traditional factors. But this proactive/responsive hybrid approach fosters goodwill between teams.

“We’re crossing that chasm and helping sales get insight into that first 60% of the buying process that’s anonymous,” Carpio said. “We can help reps understand which prospects are engaging much earlier by their research of our Intent topics.”

The Bombora-powered strategy improved results for both marketing and sales who experienced a 3x higher campaign attendance rate and a 50% faster move from opportunity to closed/won, respectively.

Snowflake ABM – Before and after Bombora ABM Intent data
From thisto this
Proactive 1:1 outreach (based on campaign clicks)Combo of Proactive 1:1 + Responsive 1:many outreach (based on both clicks and Intent topic spikes)
Connect via campaign click during last 40% of buyer journeyConnect during 100% of buyer journey, including the “anonymous” first 60%
Multiple systems’ dashboards for prioritization insightA unified “action board” in CRM giving clear instructions

Consistency that converts

The report mentioned above revealed that 97% of sales and marketing professionals face challenges with alignment on content and messaging. LinkedIn, who commissioned the research, summarizes the dilemma:

dollar-iconB2B marketers are often hamstrung by creating messaging and content that starts with the product or service and aims to translate features into customer value. Salespeople, on the other hand, typically start with the customer, laser-focus on their needs and design an offering that meets those needs. Marketing should include sales as they determine core themes, campaigns and content strategies.

To convey consistent narratives to prospects across all touchpoints, Snowflake used both third-party-data-focused Company Surge® and first-party-centric Visitor Insights from Bombora.

“Company Surge® tells us what an account is researching most, while Visitor Insights tells us the function, seniority, and personal interest of a visitor to our website,” Carpio informed.

Visitor Insights matches the IP addresses of your website’s visitors to accounts from Bombora’s Data Cooperative database or third-party partners. Marketing teams can identify visitors missing from their ABM database, gather pre-contact-form leads for sales, and dive deep into the content being digested.

The business-level engagement scoring in Visitor Insights stems from many factors, including:

  • Dwell time – A measure of the time spent actively viewing a page or spent on the website
  • Scroll depth – The distance that a website visitor scrolls down the page in relation to the length of the page
  • Scroll speed – The velocity at which a website visitor scrolls down the page
  • Time between scrolls – The length of time between moments of scrolling on the page

Whether using insights from third-party sites via Company Surge® or Visitor Insights from its own website, Snowflake now was able to share the right messaging to the right contacts at the right time in their buying journey. CTR rates increase and bounce rates decline through content reflecting:

  • Expertise on topics and pain points they’re researching
  • Competitive differentiation to outshine vendors they’re exploring
  • Understanding of the priorities of their role and line of business
  • Context that aligns to their geography
  • Deals and offerings that may stop them from churning

The same Intent-verified marketing messaging can be shared via ads, emails, microsites, landing pages, social posts, and more. But constantly changing ICPs can be a challenge to keep up with. That’s why ongoing sales-marketing collaboration is vital to consistent messaging and outreach.

“Narrative is not permanent,” said Carpio. “We continue to develop it over time based on the new Bombora Intent data every week.”

Using a method that helped them close Comcast and other customers, the ABM team maintains pre-written and pre-approved copy blurbs and images. Within moments, a seller can have a custom piece of content tailored to an account and its spiking Intent topic(s). Despite different formats, matching information shared by ABM managers, SDRs, and AEs has a cumulative effect when received.

“That’s three touchpoints of the same message to the same company around the same time,” Carpio shared. “That’s where you’re going to get this multiplication of impact.”

Snowflake’s 24-day 14-step SDR outreach sequence is comprised of:

  • Five emails
  • Five phone calls
  • Three LinkedIn messages
  • One direct email

It’s been a success for the SDR team, who’s enjoyed two to four times more meetings and a 26% higher completed meeting rate since the launch of Intent-based “one-team messaging.”

Scaling after success

Despite the credible insight that Intent data brings, it’s important to always start small, verify results, and optimize before expanding your new ABM strategy.

A good starting point is Snowflake’s basic five-step play, in which SDRs start their outbound motion within two weeks of campaign activation. See below.

“We kept the structure of our one-two punch basic on purpose,” explained Carpio. “And since it went well, we’ve applied the same approach to different teams, segments, and regions.”

Although Intent-backed ABM was successful for all sales account segments — strategic, digital (1:1), and programmatic — Carpio and team felt some pushback. But there was no keeping ABM Intent data down.

“A region that decided not to take our suggested list of accounts ended up having a 17% meeting rate — while all their peers had a 46% meeting rate,” Carpio remembered.

Carpio and her team are excited to grow their Bombora use cases within Snowflake. Projects include more automation and using ABM Intent data to prioritize their partner selection and relationship investment.

“Now we can see which partners accounts are surging on that we aren’t prioritizing, and which partners we are prioritizing that nobody’s surging on,” she said.

Wherever Bombora’s capabilities take them, Carpio is thankful to leave a large part of the guessing game behind.

“Reaching out to accounts with Intent data is like a great first date — you don’t reveal that you’ve done all your research online ahead of time, and it feels natural.”

Email to receive a free ABM Intent data report tailored to your business. You’ll be amazed at the insights we uncover.