Last November, I spent a weekend with our executive team brainstorming the biggest and most exciting opportunities for our growth in 2020 and beyond.
We invited a trusted outsider—an expert on the sales and marketing technology landscape—to join us and share a unique perspective. The intersection of our ideas resulted in a renewed focus on delivering massive value to our customers through the best B2B intent data the market has to offer.
The ability to identify which companies are in-market for specific products and services today has made intent the fastest growing data category over the last two years, with use increasing from 28% to 62% in companies surveyed by TOPO, the sales and marketing research arm of Gartner.
In the last year alone, we’ve had literally hundreds of thousands of conversations with customers and prospects and one thing is clear—they want intent data to live at the core of how they go to market. And over the course of those calls it’s easy to see intent data taking a seat right alongside the two most important pieces of business information—account and contact data. The three together, driving account identification, targeting, and segmentation will soon be table stakes for how sellers and marketers identify their next best customers.
The Leader in Buyer Intent. Not good enough.
There is a message that I laid out when we IPO’d earlier this year in my Founder’s Letter that pervades the culture here at ZoomInfo: “that’s good, but it’s not good enough”. We are an iterative culture, so by the time we release anything to production we are already focused on the things we realized in the interim would make it better. Things around here are often good, but they are never good enough.
This year, our intent product has gained tremendous momentum. By bringing together our subject matter experts in data collection, natural language processing, and data science we had greatly improved the strength and confidence of our intent signals while also reducing noise. Our IP-to-company data graph has become more robust, driving our ability to link content consumption back to organizations. And, just three weeks ago, G2 Crowd honored ZoomInfo as the leader in “Buyer Intent Data Tools” thanks to reviews and feedback submitted by our customers.
We were confident that our intent solution was good, but we knew it could be better, we knew the market would appreciate better, and we knew we could deliver better—it wasn’t good enough.
We spent the early part of this year scouring the universe for the best intent data sources to improve our offering. After evaluating several alternatives and testing countless data samples, we met Clickagy and its visionary founder Harry Maugans. Clickagy had built a robust data processing engine that looks at billions of key data points across millions of websites and then uses robust natural language processing and artificial intelligence to categorize and make sense of those data points. Their technology, approach to data collection, privacy-first perspective, and focus on intent data made it clear that we not only wanted Clickagy to be a part of our intent product, but we needed Clickagy to be a part of ZoomInfo.
It is Clickagy’s well-built and sophisticated data collection infrastructure that allows us to do something with Intent data that no other provider has ever been able to do: Deliver B2B Intent Signals in a streaming, real-time format.
Streaming Intent by ZoomInfo and Clickagy
Our vision, and the market’s expectation, is that B2B Intent should be instantly actionable. Clickagy provides sellers and marketers with streaming behavioral intent data that is expansive and customizable. Using an advanced natural language processing engine which correctly identifies context, Clickagy’s technology delivers stronger, more reliable intent signals in real time.
With Clickagy on board, our intent product still provides all of the great features and functionality it always has (good keywords, quality focused data science, industry leading account data), but now we have access to even more data enabling us to cast a wider net. We have the ability to quickly customize and we can understand exactly what a web page is about with unbelievable accuracy. But, most importantly, we can deliver streaming intent to our customers. That’s right, intent delivered to your doorstep continuously throughout the day.
At a time when most intent solutions provide only weekly batches of buyer intent on a finite number of topics, Clickagy provides a true first-mover advantage by providing intent data in real time. But every marketer is plagued with the same problem: how do I make that data actionable? And that’s where the combination of ZoomInfo and Clickagy really becomes powerful.
Making Intent Data Actionable
I am convinced that over the next 3-5 years, B2B intent data will become a central ingredient to how companies target and segment potential customers and drive their go-to-market motions.
The B2B world has been largely behind the B2C world with respect to using intent to activate go-to-market motions. The primary reason for this lag is that B2B Intent offerings were never connected to the companies and the professionals at those companies in a way that would allow seamless activation. By combining Clickagy’s powerful Intent with ZoomInfo’s robust database of companies and professionals, we unlock the power of intent for every B2B Go-to-Market organization.
Substantiating this is a recent analysis by TOPO that explains while B2B marketing teams are rightly investing heavily across diverse intent data sources, the No.1 challenge marketers face with their intent data investments is “Making intent data actionable.”
How do you take a signal that tells you Acme Corp is showing in-market intent on the topic of “Cloud Data Platforms” and use it to fuel a go-to-market motion? What do marketing and sales teams do with that signal? How do they link it to the appropriate functional buyer at an organization? How do they get that person’s contact information? And, how do they thoughtfully and effectively engage with the prospective buyer.
Putting ZoomInfo together with Clickagy will solve that conundrum. Intent data will sit alongside, and be fully integrated with, Account and Contact Data. That association brings with it all the tools and integrations that we have already built for sales and marketing professionals.
Soon, go-to-market organizations will be able to build workflows that tell them instantly when Fintech companies in California, who have Snowflake in their tech stack, at least 100 employees, and $50M in funding, begin spiking on research for “cloud data platforms”. That signal can simultaneously kick-off a workflow that captures the Vice Presidents, Directors, Managers, and other key stakeholders at those Fintech companies, check for open opportunities in CRM, and begin marketing automation, sales automation, and CRM campaigns against those decision makers.
To achieve this level of automation today, modern marketers are working against spreadsheets that are updated every week, are doing offline deduping, comparisons and cross-checks, are downloading and uploading files, and don’t have the data they need to properly execute at scale in a digital first way.
Said another way, our customers will be able to create behavioral filters and overlay them across live web traffic, capture highly-refined intent signals in real time, and make them actionable within seconds. This lets them engage prospects while they’re still in the research mode with a buying mentality—not weeks later when they’ve moved on to something else, or worse, after they’ve already made their decision.
The combination of ZoomInfo and Clickagy will dramatically shorten the path from data, to decision, to action.
Casting a Wider Net
Every marketer’s dream is to cast as wide a net as possible over their prospects so they can capture every likely buyer at the opportune moment with a spot-on message. The challenge is that marketers don’t know every potential path their buyers can take, every site they might visit, every message that might resonate, or every resource they might find.
The value of intent data comes from (1) the size of the net cast across the web (i.e., how many relevant websites it can monitor for activity beyond your own website and digital properties, (2) the quality of the signals that are generated by listening, detecting, gathering and making sense of that activity, and (3) the timeliness of signals being communicated to sellers and marketers.
This activity—the digital footprints that buyers generate when researching solutions categories, topics, and vendors on their path to purchase—can be generated through online searches, website visits, content downloads, event registrations, and other online activity all across the internet.
The Clickagy acquisition offers ZoomInfo a significant advantage in each of these three areas:
- Reach – It allows us to cast a huge net across the web expanding our reach to over 300,000 publisher domains (and growing), generating a trillion-plus new keyword-to-device pairings each month, sourced from over 91% of accessible devices in the United States.
- Quality – Clickagy’s technology reads, extracts, and scores topical relevance for any specified topic across billions of individual web pages giving customers full control over the granularity of their signals. This gets coupled with ZoomInfo’s expertise in matching, aggregating, scoring, and surfacing meaningful and actionable signals at accounts and its ability to surface the functional buyer with verified contact information.
- Timeliness – The real-time nature of Clickagy’s data and the ability to stream intent to customers and prospects is a game-changer.
Improved Transparency and Control
A major challenge for users of intent data is that the algorithms used to classify and attribute intent for any given topic are typically considered a ‘black box.’ The logic used to determine if the aggregated behaviors of individuals at a company should be surfaced as a signal is determined by the code designed and written by product managers and data scientists.
Clickagy, however, has built a robust and configurable technology that unlocks those algorithms and enables administrators to adjust the logical rules, keywords, inclusions, exclusions, and thresholds used to determine when a company is indeed exhibiting intent for a particular keyword or topic in order to reduce false positives. This greater transparency and configurability gives B2B marketers and sellers unprecedented control over the quality of the intent signals they receive.
Focus on Data Privacy
Intent data respects the privacy of the individuals by preserving anonymity and not revealing, gathering, storing, or displaying any personal information on the individuals conducting research, but rather aggregating the activity of multiple individuals and linking their activity to a specific business entity. B2B sellers and marketers go-to-market with intent by targeting accounts—not specific people at those accounts.
While ZoomInfo intent data does not reveal the identity of individuals conducting research activity, it does direct marketers and sellers to the functional decision-makers responsible for making the purchases implied by an intent signal.
Additionally, Clickagy’s Privacy Clusters innovation creates a 100% cookieless tracking and activation technology that increases scale while offering a future-proof cookie replacement technology.
Get Started Today
Intent data is a game-changer for organizations of every size, across every vertical, with every kind of budget. Contact our sales team or your account manager today to find out how you can start leveraging these incredible insights to target the right prospects, at the right time, with the right messages to fill your pipeline and hit your number!
This blog contains forward-looking statements regarding the anticipated benefits of the transaction and the services ZoomInfo will provide to its customers. Forward-looking statements include all statements that are not historical facts. In some cases, you can identify these forward-looking statements by the use of words such as “outlook,” “believes,” “expects,” “potential,” “continues,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “could,” “seeks,” “predicts,” “intends,” “trends,” “plans,” “estimates,” “anticipates” or the negative version of these words or other comparable words. These statements are subject to risks, uncertainties, assumptions, or changes in circumstances that could cause actual results to differ materially from these statements, such as the ability of ZoomInfo and Clickagy to successfully integrate their respective market opportunities, technology, products, personnel and operations. Additional risks and uncertainties are detailed under “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in the reports ZoomInfo files with the SEC, including its registration statements and Form 10-Q. These factors should not be construed as exhaustive and should be read in conjunction with the other cautionary statements that are included in the reports ZoomInfo files with the SEC. ZoomInfo undertakes no obligation to publicly update or review any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise, except as required by law. Copies of reports filed with the SEC are posted on ZoomInfo’s website and are available from ZoomInfo without charge.