Do you want to waste your limited budget on programs that don’t yield worthwhile pipeline? I don’t. 

Traditional ABM focuses on the wrong element: accounts.

But who are the people within those accounts? You know, the actual human beings driving buying decisions… 

Last year, we used contact-level signals to fuel our ABM program and drive 25% of our pipeline and 37% of our revenue in 2023.

At UserGems, we’re rethinking ABM using a signal-based GTM approach to make it more human and relevant. Here’s how to start targeting the people at your accounts at the right time.

Does anyone else think intent signals are kinda… overrated?

In my position, I’m lucky to join customer and prospect calls to get an inside look at what other marketers are doing in their organizations. From these conversations, I keep hearing about one thing over and over and over again: intent signals.

That sounds great, right? “Intent” must mean they’ve shown interest in buying your product.

But the narrative around intent signals talks a big game without backing it up with any results. I rarely hear marketers talk about how much pipeline their intent signals are driving. In fact, I usually hear the opposite: that they’re a nice-to-have addition to a tech stack but don’t deliver results.

These are some of the biggest issues I’ve heard about “intent” signals.

😩 Marketers end up with so much information to work with, and no clear starting point. 

Intent signal lists are massive. Sure, you have the information you need (great!), but you’re also probably overwhelmed by what to do with it (less great!)

When you have lots of data without ways to operationalize it, your revenue team doesn’t know what to prioritize. Without out-of-the-box playbooks or super robust ops and enablement teams, the data usually ends up sitting unactioned and forgotten. 

😩 So-called “intent” doesn’t always indicate true buying intent

Signal lists tend to show all the companies that are supposedly showing “signals” without narrowing the list down to your priorities. You don’t get a clear picture about what stage in the buying journey they’re actually in with those intense signals. 

“Intent” could just mean a prospect “downloaded an ebook” or “attended a webinar.” It’s not always super… intentional. Again, this makes it nearly impossible for your revenue team to know which actions to take next to build the strongest possible pipeline.

😩 Intent signals don’t show you who wants to buy within the company

Intent signals are typically account-level data.

Let’s say Coca-Cola is “showing intent.” According to its LinkedIn page alone, over 10,000 people work there. 

Intent signals typically only show account-level data. You don’t have all the contacts who are showing intent; you only know the company. 

How do you do your outreach? It’s hard to provide personalized outreach when you don’t know the person you’re talking to. (It’s giving “to whom it may concern” vibes.) So you can see how not having contact-level data can be a huge problem.

The new era: contact-level buying signals

People buy from people. You usually hear this to illustrate why it’s important to be human in your outreach. But there’s another piece to it, too. The person on the other end of your outreach is also human.

That’s why you need to start tracking buying signals at the contact level instead of only the account level. Understanding how individuals interact with your company can offer more actionable insights, telling you who to reach out to and giving you a clear reason why

So which signals should you track at the contact level? These are the people signals that generated 25% of UserGems’ pipeline last year.

Tracking new hires & promotions

Did you know that if you reach out to a new executive within the first 3 months, they’ll convert 2.5x higher than after a year? In fact, new execs spend 70% of their budgets within their first 100 days.

Basically, you snooze, you lose. There will only be 30% of budget left after those first 100 days. You have to reach out at the right time, regardless of whether or not they’ve shown “intent.”

It’s a given that when people start a new job or get promoted, they’re trying to make an impact as quickly as possible and prove their worth. That means it’s the best possible time for them to consider new solutions and technology. 

💡 Pro Tip: UserGems’ New Hires & Promotions Signal automatically identifies buyers who are new to their roles in the accounts you care about. Then it uses workflows to push those contacts directly into the right cadence.

Tracking past champions

If they loved you once, they’ll probably love you again. In fact, previous customers are 3x more likely to buy again

That’s why it’s so important to track past champions when they change jobs and move those people to the top of your prospecting list. (Yes, you still need to do the outreach. Don’t wait for them to come to you.)

In 2023, 17% of UserGems's sales-accepted pipeline came directly from the champion tracking signal. These were all previous customers, users, and prospects who started a new job at our ICP accounts. 

I promise you it’s worth prioritizing past champions vs. spraying and praying.

Here’s the proof:

📈 WorkRamp drives 15% of its BDR-generated pipeline with UserGems champion tracking.

📈 Dozuki increased ROI 9x within 6 months of launching its champion tracking program.

📈 Metadata sees 81% shorter sales cycles and 17% bigger contract sizes since tracking champion job changes.

How to make job change signals work for you

Believe it or not, we don’t have an ABM platform here at UserGems. So here’s how we do it: When accounts go live, we use UserGems to surface the buying committee and push that over to ADRs (our version of SDRs that focus on accounts). Champions, previous Closed Lost opps, and previous users are at the top of their list.

Signal 🚦+ action 🎬 = smarter outbound 💎

Okay, prioritizing the right people for your outreach is a great start. But once you get the signal, what do you actually do with those hot leads?

You need to know what action to take for each signal. 

What does the email sequence look like? When do you send your outreach? That’s how we set up our playbooks here at UserGems and I highly recommend you do the same. If your team doesn’t know what to do next, they’ll do nothing.

Here’s an example of who does what at UserGems when they get the signal 👇

What our crystal ball tells us about 2024 🔮

Outbound 👏 is 👏 not 👏 a 👏 volume 👏 game 👏 It never should have been, but it certainly isn’t now. Your teams don’t have the time for it, and your prospects don’t have the patience.

The goal is going to be to make the human the hero, not the company. That means targeting individuals with your outbound and paid ad campaigns instead of only focusing on the account level. 

Also, there are a lot of cool tools out there, but if your team doesn’t have the bandwidth, they’re going to be useless. I predict a lot of leaders will do everything they can to ease the burden on marketing teams. 

How you can start turning signals into actions to grow pipeline

Tracking contact-level signals like new hires, promotions, and past champions will keep you focused on reaching out to the right people at the right time.

And… did I mention that UserGems has a whole product that can help? (Sorry, had to.)

You can harness contact-level insights to fill your pipeline with the best prospects, the ones who are most likely to buy.

Many of the signals we’re launching in the next few months are are hard to manually orchestrate, but super easy when you’ve for UserGems doing the work behind the scenes. 😉

Book a demo with our team to see how you can start outbounding smarter, not harder.

Want to get more pipeline with less work?