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Why Gartner thinks you should take modern buying signals seriously
Jun 5th, 2023

Why Gartner thinks you should take modern buying signals seriously

Let’s start with the good news: If you work in marketing or sales, you have access to a treasure trove of data that can help you drive conversions and close deals.

The bad news? In a product- and community-led world, it’s not enough to get a 360-degree customer view.

That’s one of the takeaways from a recent report from research and advisory firm Gartner: Integrate and Use B2B Customer Data Signals to Improve Go-to-Market Performance*. Many companies struggle to track all necessary customer data, integrate their datasets, tap into this data, or (gulp) all three.

But the experts at Gartner also highlighted ways to supercharge your go-to-market game plan.

Keep reading for key insights from the Gartner report, including:

  • Which customer signals you need to dig into
  • Why augmenting traditional data sources is crucial
  • Why traditional tools just don’t cut it

New data means new opportunities

Only 14% of organizations claim they have a 360-degree view of the customer. Part of the reason why is that many companies rely solely on the traditional trio of customer data: marketing engagement, sales engagement, and CRM reporting.

But if a customer takes action outside a traditional marketing or sales channel—and that action isn’t logged in your system of record—odds are you’re not seeing it. And unfortunately for go-to-market teams, it’s becoming more and more common.

Website visits, email opens, and digital ad clicks have long been the bread and butter of GTM, but today’s buyers are finalizing their purchase decisions long before they enter your funnel (or at least the part of the funnel you can see)—in LinkedIn comments, Slack threads, subreddits, and more.

That’s why Gartner recommended companies take new buying signals seriously:

Buyer intentProduct usageCommunity engagement
Signals that indicate a customer’s likelihood of buying from you, such as researching products similar to yours online
Signals that show how engaged a customer is with your product, such as using specific features during a free trial
Signals that reveal conversations and activities related to your company, such as asking questions about your product in an online forum

What it means for GTM teams: If you’re not tracking buyer intent, product usage, and community engagement data, you’re only getting half the picture.

Integration is everything

Say your company has a product-led growth (PLG) strategy, a thriving user community, and a data tracking strategy for both. You should be all set, right? Well, not quite.

The value isn’t just in collecting different data points, it’s in bringing them together. The more integrated your data, the more actionable your insights.

For example, as Gartner pointed out, by cross-referencing your product-qualified leads against the content consumption habits of your community, you can better understand which messaging is most likely to turn prospects into buyers.

Now imagine what you could do if you connected everything: buyer intent, product usage, community engagement, marketing, sales, and CRM data. As Gartner highlighted, you could identify users with high product adoption scores, drill down into that list to see which ones are exploring different solutions on your website, and voilà—you just created a list of accounts for your upsell and cross-sell offers.

But integrating your data is easier said than done without the right tools. Nearly two-thirds of high-tech companies say it’s a significant challenge to integrate customer data across all systems, according to Gartner.

This aligns with CMX’s 2023 Community Industry Trends Report. Based on survey results from 400-plus community professionals, only 35% of organizations currently connect their community data with their CRM data.

Gartner spotlighted one software company (and Common Room customer), Asana, as an example of why it’s worth investing in data integration:

“To understand community attributed revenue, we feed community interaction data into our data warehouse, then quantify the revenue from organizations that appeared in the community before becoming an opportunity in our CRM,” said Asana’s Head of Global Engagement Marketing Joshua Zerkel. “In addition, we see a 40% lift in product usage in accounts that have a community ambassador (Asana expert) by analyzing product usage and community data from our data warehouse.”

This matches our own analysis, which found that 27% of opportunities originate in your community and that community-first opportunities account for 20% of annual recurring revenue.

What it means for GTM teams: Siloed insights are weaker insights. Explore ways to bring together new and traditional data signals to better serve your customers and drive results for your business.

Traditional tooling can’t keep up

According to Gartner, GTM teams—especially those at PLG companies—are struggling because they don’t have the right tools for the job.

Put simply, old-fashioned martech and salestech can’t keep up with the sheer volume and diversity of new data signals, especially when they don’t align with existing CRM contacts.

But it’s not just product data where GTM teams hit a wall. Many companies have adopted account-based marketing tools to help them track buyer intent and optimize customer acquisition. But as Gartner pointed out, most of this intent data is focused on anonymous accounts instead of identified individuals.

In other words, marketing and sales professionals are still missing key pieces of the puzzle. They’re working off a mixture of gut instinct and historical account data that quickly goes stale, not signals from the individuals taking the actions.

The solution? Giving GTM teams a platform where they can bring together all relevant data to take action with context—and integrate it with existing marketing and sales tools. This will help GTM teams efficiently find and acquire new customers, as well as deepen relationships with existing customers.

The signals are out there, but outmoded technologies can’t spot them or make them usable.

What it means for GTM teams: Without the right technology, your hands are tied. Make sure you have the tools you need to tap into key buying signals.

The way customers buy has changed. Marketing and sales teams need visibility into the modern buyer’s journey, from the earliest intent signals to the hands-on product adoption phase all the way through deals won.

But you can only get to the right data and make the most of it if you have the right toolkit.

Boost your go-to-market performance with Common Room

Sign up for free or request a demo today to see how Common Room helps you find, enrich, and take action on key buying signals.

*Gartner, Integrate and Use B2B Customer Data Signals to Improve Go-to-Market Performance, Ray Pun, March 30, 2023