We are delighted to share the latest interview from Napier’s Marketing B2B Technology Podcast.

In our latest episode, we interview Olivia Kenney, Marketing Manager at LeadSift, a sales intelligence platform that generates qualified leads using intent signals. Olivia shares how LeadSift helps B2B marketers solve everyday issues, and how intent data can be used to get ahead of competitors and generate a higher quality of leads rather than a large quantity of leads.

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Transcript: Interview with Olivia Kenney

Speakers: Mike Maynard, Olivia Kenney

Mike: Thanks for listening to marketing b2b tech, the podcast from Napier, where you can find out what really works in b2b marketing today. Welcome to the latest episode of marketing b2b technology, the podcast from Napier. Today, I’m with Olivia Kenny, who is a marketing manager at lead sift. Welcome to the podcast. Olivia.

Olivia: Hi, Mike, thank you for having me.

Mike: Thanks so much for coming on. I mean, I’m really interested, you know, can you just give me a bit of background about your career, and what’s led you to working at lead sift. So,

Olivia: I’ve always been very interested in technology and b2b technology, specifically, starting with my last role, which was at kewra, which was another b2b technology companies specifically in engineering requirements, software. And they’re I really got a deep glimpse into the challenges behind lead generation, and specifically, the balance between quality and quantity. And it’s a lot easier to get a lot of quantity than quality, of course, which is why the opportunity that came from me at lead sift was so exciting, because it’s really an opportunity to solve the problems that I was dealing with every day as a b2b marketer. And now with leads that I get to work really closely with the demand generation strategies, and with our customer marketing strategies, and things like that, and it’s been really great.

Mike: Awesome, I mean, I love the thought of getting better quality leads, I think, every market has been frustrated with sending a batch of leads across the sales, and then just getting the reply. They’re all rubbish. So how do you do it? I mean, what does lead Sif do to ensure that marketers generate that higher quality of lead?

Olivia: Yeah, that’s a great question. So at least if we mined the public web for signals that people are looking to buy, so this can be anything from social media, to job boards, to public forums, and we can scrape this information, find intent signals, and then we can actually tie that back to a specific person showing intent. And then we work closely with our customers to figure out their ICP who they’re trying to target down to the job title. And then we deliver that that data to them.

Mike: Great. So you talk about intent? Can you just give us some examples to explain what you mean by intent or intent data?

Olivia: Sure. So intent really is any signal that someone is actively in market or looking to buy. So that could be anything from engaging with one of your competitors, hiring signals, adding any technology, anything that shows that they might either be thinking of making a decision, or recently got budget or anything like that, that would put them in the buyers journey.

Mike: Okay. And you’re talking about the public web. So you’re looking at social media for that, or looking broader.

Olivia: Yeah, social media is a big part of it, but it does go broader. So social media, anything that you could find, manually, we can just do it at a much larger scale. So social media, public forums, job boards, websites, anything like that.

Mike: Interesting. And, I mean, the thing I found fascinating about your website was you talk about intent data at the contact level, can you just explain what other people are doing and then then what you mean by contact level intent data?

Olivia: Sure. So to start kind of out as as a broader seen other companies in the space can find intent signals at a company level. So they can tell you, for example, someone that IBM is, in market to buy. The difference is that leads if we can tell you, the director of data science at IBM is looking to buy. And this is so valuable, because it really narrows it down and make sure you’re a talking to someone that is in your ICP, and be talking to the actual person that is interested in in market so that you’re not playing a guessing game of who is the right person to reach out to.

Mike: And presumably, when you look at bigger companies like IBM, I mean, that’s really important because IBM so big, there’s probably someone in IBM looking to buy almost anything at any one time. Is that is that is that the challenge people come up with?

Olivia: Yeah, that’s exactly it’s so hard to know, who is looking at what so we’re able to actually narrow it down and say, and often it’s more than one person, which is great because that’s a stronger signal of intent. But it’s really great to be able to narrow it down and not only tell you who but also be able to tell you what their email addresses how you can reach them, their LinkedIn profile, all of the necessary information including exactly what signal of intent we found for that specific person.

Mike: Okay, and you talked a lot about ICP. So the ideal customer profile. Are you filtering all the signals of intent down to just providing the the People who are who fit that customer profile? Or are you doing something a bit more? Maybe, you know, helping companies understand who their ICP should actually be?

Olivia: Yeah, that’s a great question. So we work to narrow down to your ideal customer profile. So you give us all of that criteria, all those criteria, and then we look at these companies that fit, also your ICP, so the industries you’re looking to sell to the size of company, location. And then it’s not a way to determine your ICP, it’s a way to target them. So we provide data that matches your pre existing ICP.

Mike: Perfect, so you’ve got to understand who you’re trying to sell to, because that’s one of the ways you filter this intent data. Is that is that the right understanding of it?

Olivia: That’s exactly right. And there are instances where, for example, a company might be showing intent. And it’s not necessarily the specific person in your ICP and the specific persona that you’re looking for. And in that case, we can give additional contacts within that organisation that do fit your ICP so that you’re always reaching out to the person that is the best fit for you.

Mike: Great, great. I mean, one of the things I’ve heard about in 10 data is actually it’s just lead scoring. Is that right? Or are you doing something very different?

Olivia: Yeah, that’s, that’s a great question. So intent data can definitely be an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to lead scoring. It’s definitely something that should be used and majorly considered. But it’s so much bigger than that, especially when you’re looking at the contact level. It is super actionable. In terms of email outreach, ad targeting ABM for prioritisation and personalization. So, as much as I do think it is important to us in your scoring, and we actually provide an intent score specifically with each lead. It’s, it’s really an integral part of our marketing strategy. And I actually consider it as its own channel alongside organic or direct or paid spent.

Mike: Interesting. And does that mean that what you’re doing is you’re actually generating a lot of very time specific data with with intense I mean, is that is that the big difference? You know, people are showing they want to buy now rather than, you know, perhaps have an interest in a product and maybe in a year’s time?

Olivia: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Timing is everything. And it’s a really great way to be able to action leads, while they’re relevant while they’re looking. And before they choose one of your competitors. Basically.

Mike: I think that’s a great point. I mean, we talk to our clients a lot about, you know, speed through the funnel. And, of course, the big issue is if a client chooses a competitor doesn’t matter how good your marketing is, if you’re too late, you’re never going to win. And I think, you know, that that’s a great use of intent data.

Olivia: Yeah, exactly. And we can tell you, specifically, when someone is engaging with one of your competitors, that you can kind of swoop in and beat them to the punch.

Mike: Wow. So you find out how people are engaging? How, How’d you do that? I mean, I guess you’re not, you’re not spying on them or waiting for them to call, you’re looking at what they’re doing on the web. Is that right?

Olivia: Yeah, exactly. And there are definitely some nuances to it. As much as I wish this happened. Most people don’t just raise their hand and say, Hi, I want to buy your product. I’m talking to a competitor XYZ. Here I am, email me. Unfortunately, that is not how it works. But we can look at signals based on social media engagements, following comments, things like that, that are publicly available. And then we can determine based on those and other signals, that someone is engaging with your competitor.

Mike: Great, so. So maybe we can make this more tangible and understand, you know, what, what a signal would be I mean, if you’re, for example, looking for a marketing agency, I mean, what are the things that lead Sif would pick up on you doing on the web, that would show that you’ve got intent to hire a marketing agency? Sure.

Olivia: So there are a number of things that could be engaging with your competitors, or engaging with topics surrounding your use cases. That’s really the way I like to frame our keyword search is less about what you provide and more about what you sell for. And then some other options would be like your hiring signal. So for example, if you were looking to sell to an agency, you might see that they just hired a new marketing manager or something like that the person that would be your key user, and that would show that they probably have new budget and a need for a new tool. So that’s a perfect opportunity to kind of swoop in and know exactly who to reach out to within that company.

Mike: Interesting. So I guess in a way, people who use LinkedIn Sales Navigator get like very basic sort of intent data because they’ll get these new hires appearing in their feed is that is that a similar concept or be a little bit similar?

Olivia: Yeah, that’s that’s a similar concept, definitely, we can do it just more at scale, and then with the contact data on top of that, so it’s definitely something that really goes well, when you have tools like Sales Navigator to work in tandem with intent data.

Mike: Cool. Okay. Um, so how does a marketer work with leads? If I mean, I mean, do they just turn up and say, you know, these are the companies I’m targeting? This is this is my customer profile in terms of job title. And these are the things that relate to my industry, the keywords?

Olivia: Yeah, like, that’s a great starting point, it definitely depends on their use case. For example, me personally, I, I use our data, of course, in my own marketing strategies. And one of my favourite ways is to use it for ad targeting, because it can be super hard to target in b2b, through ad platforms to reach the actual people that you want to. So yeah, so you determine what your use case is going to be. You figure out your keywords, your competitors, location, give all that to us, we build your campaign, and then you start receiving the data.

Mike: And how does that data appear? Is that a list of companies you should approach or you really just down to, you know, directly giving the contact?

Olivia: Yeah, we give full contact level data. And that can either come as a CSV or directly into someone’s here, I’m a marketing automation tool, which makes it super actionable, and easy to track. But yeah, we give everything first name, last name, industry, job title, LinkedIn, profile, URL, email, phone number, really any contact level information you can think of?

Mike: And that sounds like that’s, that’s pretty much sales ready? I mean, do you see the marketers, you know, running lead sift to generate the leads, and then they, they get handed off to sales or marketers doing more with the leads before they consider themselves qualified.

Olivia: I always recommend multi-touch approach. So I think the best way to do it is to get as many touch points as possible. So that includes running ads to make sure people are aware of you sending them marketing, nurture, emails, things like that even sometimes building your content strategy around engagements that you’re seeing, but then simultaneously giving those leads to your sales team. And then in a more personalised way, reaching out to them is the best way to see success.

Mike: I love that idea. So you’re saying that you can watch the your competitors content, find out what prospects are engaging with, and then create the content that excites the prospects is that is that that what you’re saying?

Olivia: Exactly. And even seeing the topics that they’re most often engaging with, and even down to? Okay, my leads in this industry are specifically super interested in this one topic. We don’t have a tonne of topic or content about that. So let’s produce them and make sure that we’re giving them exactly what they’re looking for. Because we have that insight now.

Mike: Perfect. And you mentioned that people use lead sift in tandem with LinkedIn on LinkedIn Sales Navigator. In terms of the other activities, are they also working, you know, alongside an advertising platform? I mean, what are the sort of other tools that tie into your lead sift campaign?

Olivia: Yeah, so we have quite a few integrations with CRM and marketing, automation tools. Specifically, Salesforce is our is our biggest direct integration. And then we also work, you can always leave in most of the common ad platforms. So anywhere that you can upload a list to create an audience, you can easily access. So Google ads, Facebook, LinkedIn, ad roll, really, wherever you’re building your audiences, you can build ads campaigns to specifically reach those people. And actually, for ads campaigns, specifically, we give up to five emails per contact. And those include personal emails instead of just the business emails that we provide in our other campaigns. And that’s to increase our match rates on the outs platforms, because most people aren’t signing up for LinkedIn with their athletes. yp.com or whatever their work email is.

Mike: Interesting. So you’re doing what some of the ABM platforms are doing and matching personal or business emails together within your own leadership platform.

Olivia: Yeah, exactly. Just to increase the match rates on those platforms.

Mike: Awesome. So. So in terms of approach, you know, it all sounds very easy, but is there kind of a best practice approach or a process people should go through to really make lead generation effective?

Olivia: Yeah, definitely, I think when it comes to lead generation, multi touch approach is always the best way to go. Making sure people are aware of who you are, before they get those sales emails is one of the easiest ways to make sure that they’re ready for you to talk to them, because you don’t want to jump the gun and go into early and then turn them off from what you’re trying to sell to them. So I think a multi touch approach is definitely a best practice when it comes to lead generation and really knowing your ICP Making sure you have those processes in place to understand who your most successful customers are and targeting people like that. So that it’s all about quality over quantity.

Mike: Yeah, I love that you’re back to that quality over quantity, I think something that, that every marketer, and also every salesperson would love to hear. So that’s great. I am interested to know, I mean, one of the things that obviously concerns people listen to the podcast in Europe is GDPR. I mean, how, how easy or difficult is it for you to be GDPR compliant?

Olivia: Sure, so leads were actually GDPR compliant because of something called reasonable interest. So since we’re mining this from the public web, and it’s all publicly available data, we can determine that people are interested enough that you’re allowed to reach out to them, obviously, making sure you still have an unsubscribe button and things like that, to be compliant are super important. But in terms of GDPR, with the contact data, it’s all actionable within compliance.

Mike: And the reason that you’re able to claim legitimate interest, presumably, is because you’re so targeted, you’re so specific, you know, these people are, are reasonable targets to go after.

Olivia: Exactly. So since we can say, well, this person did this specific action on LinkedIn publicly, we’re allowed to then target that person.

Mike: That’s, I mean, that’s great. And I think that’s, that’s probably very reassuring for a lot of potential European customers. I mean, tricks like do you do you get a lot of pushback from potential customers worried about GDPR? Or when they understand the process to do they? Do they, you know, accept it and feel confident that there’s no issue?

Olivia: Yeah, I mean, we definitely have people, especially in the early stages, that have had concerns, but it’s all about how you action the data, so as long as you’re acting in a compliant way, and sometimes that means like, sending sales emails first, before sending bigger marketing emails, and targeting them with ads first, and letting them come to you. There are ways to make sure it is like as seamlessly compliant as possible. So once people understand that process, and do it that way, then it’s worked really well.

Mike: Interesting. Um, are there particular industries where lead sift is more effective? I mean, it seems like, like maybe some industries, you’d be more likely to engage in discussion about them than perhaps others.

Olivia: Yeah, so our the main people that we targeted the main people that we see having the most excessively, except our other b2b technology companies, usually in the middle, like mid range, like 50 to 5000 employees, even that mid range, and b2b Tech has really seen a lot of success with leads.

Mike: And that’s presumably for a couple reasons. Firstly, tech, because people tend to engage with content around technology on social media, so you can see the intent visibly. And secondly, because if you’re an IBM, people who can afford to buy from you probably come to you anyway. So there’s, there’s less value is that? Is that a reasonable understanding of why it’s that mid range?

Olivia: Yeah, you could say that I think it definitely. The b2b space is, first of all super important because we’re providing other businesses data, and tech, I think it’s just the nature of how marketing strategies unfold in b2b tech. It’s a lot of ads, email outreach, things like that, that is really cohesive with what we do. The other audience that actually has seen a lot of success with lead sift our b2b marketing services company, so anyone doing any kind of lead generation content syndication, appointment setting, they’ve really seen a lot of success with leads of by using it to add value to their clients packages, and booking more ICP meetings for them.

Mike: Fascinating. And then presumably, if you look at things like the military sector there people have not engaging publicly, and it’s not really a market for for lead sift.

Olivia: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Mike: No, that makes sense. So. So it’s great that most people listening to the podcast in the b2b tech market. So we’ve definitely got the right guest on today. And I think people who’ve listened to this, I mean, they’ll be fascinated, they’ll be thinking, well, it doesn’t sound very hard to do. It certainly makes sense to me. And the idea of quality over quantity is something that I think more or less all marketers or salespeople, as I said would be, you know, would be delighted to hear so I guess the next question everyone’s gonna ask is, is it a super expensive technology then?

Olivia: It’s, it’s not it’s not we don’t charge per lead or anything like that. It’s a standard monthly rate. It typically starts around 15 $100 a month and you have unlimited leads with that.

Mike: Wow. So that more use The more value you get from the platform.

Olivia: Exactly, exactly.

Mike: So yeah, so very reasonably priced. And then you say it starts from that to people then buy more features more capabilities, or do they buy support and consulting? I mean, how would people spend more money?

Olivia: Sure, that is a great question. So one of the ways that it might be more than 1500 is if you need additional categories, or you have additional use cases, for things like that it’s, it really changes based on use case, and how much data you need specifically,

Mike: Absolutely makes sense. If you’re a big industrial conglomerate with, you know, 20 different markets you’re addressing, they’re all completely different, then you’re going to need much more in terms of support from lead sift, than you would if you’re a very focused tech company, just selling one product, one market.

Olivia: Yeah, exactly. So we often sort our data by category, and you get a certain number of categories when you sign up. And if you need more, or, for example, if you are an agency using us or a partner of ours reselling our data, then that obviously scales that way.

Mike: Absolutely. Absolutely. Makes sense. So I guess, you know, we’re coming towards the end of the interview, I’m going to be cheeky, you’ve obviously done a lot of lead generation, you’ve seen a lot of lead generation. So other than using lead safe, which I think goes without saying as being a top tip for improving lead generation. And do you have any other ideas or thoughts about how b2b companies can actually do a better job in terms of lead generation, and particularly in terms of improving quality?

Olivia: Definitely, I think something really important that I’ve learned more and more over the last year is not getting caught up in attribution. It’s so hard to track attribution, especially in its space. For example, we had a lead come in about a week ago. And the way they found us was one of their colleagues had seen one of our ads, they were calling didn’t click it, we never could have traced it back to them. And then he told his colleague about it, who then searched us and it looked like the lead came in through direct traffic, even though it did originally from an ad. But it’s so hard to know exactly where leads are coming from, I think it’s more important. Like the bottom line is more important for me, at the end of the day, as a b2b marketer, revenue is number one. So if that means I put more ad spend in and I see organic, increased direct traffic increase, just an across the board increase, I value that because a lot of times you can spend more on ads, and you don’t necessarily see an uptick in leads from ads. So I think not getting caught up in attribution is really important. And another important thing in b2b marketing is understand that marketing doesn’t end when someone becomes a customer. It’s a full cycle. And your messaging just changes as people travel through the buyers journey. But marketing doesn’t stop.

Mike: I think particularly the the comment about attribution, people will love I know, my experiences as a marketer is even when you can produce really clear evidence of you know, how that prospects engaged, the lead will go to sales, and it will be entirely down to a sales relationship. And anything we’ll have done, if the lead turns out to be a big customer will be completely irrelevant. So the fact we don’t have to stress about that, I think it’s really great.

Olivia: Definitely, I think more people are starting to understand that which is, which is great to see.

Mike: So, I mean, I guess the other question is, what do people do wrong? I mean, do you see any any consistent mistakes that people should avoid?

Olivia: Yeah, I think sometimes people can get caught up in models and frameworks, and kind of an analysis paralysis, where they spend so much time trying to make sure that they’re doing the right thing that they don’t end up doing anything. So I think it’s more important to just do something, learn from that iterate on that process. And if it doesn’t work, fail fast.

Mike: Brilliant, that’s fantastic advice. So having listened to this, if people feel that, you know, lead sift might be a great product for them, they want to improve the quality of the leads, they want leads to arrive when when customers are ready to buy, I mean, how would they go about evaluating the lead Sif platform, and really, you know, getting to the point where they know whether or not it’s the right product for them?

Olivia: Sure. So the best way to do that would be to go to our website, which is Leadsift.com and book a demo. Alternatively, you can find me on LinkedIn, Olivia Kenny, and ask me any questions and we can take the conversation from there.

Mike: Well, that’s amazing. So I mean, thank you so much for your time and for your, your great insights on lead generation. We’ve actually recently done a survey of b2b marketers, trying to understand what the priorities are coming out of COVID. And not surprisingly, lead generation was by far the most important priority. So it’s very timely to be able to talk to you so thank you very much for your time.

Olivia: Thank you so much for having me.

Mike: Thanks so much for listening to marketing b2b tech. We hope you enjoyed the episode. And if you did, please make sure you subscribe on iTunes or on your favourite podcast application. If you’d like to know more, please visit our website at Napier b2b dot com or contact me directly on LinkedIn.