Throw out your MQAs and start focusing on buyer groups

Did you know that a traditional, lead-centered marketing strategy has a less than 1% success rate? That’s right: Less than 1% of leads convert. 

Ok. That’s why we have marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) and marketing-qualified accounts (MQAs), right? This process for determining which leads are likely to convert has long been the conventional focus of B2B marketing efforts. 

But those aren’t the answers, either. 

Even a marketing-qualified lead is still a lead. It’s just one person, when we know that 80% of B2B buying decisions are made by groups of three or more people. Plus, the MQL process frequently classifies multiple personas from the same company as duplicate leads.

On the other hand, MQAs represent a group of people – so we’re on the right track. They tell you how many people from an account are engaged. But those people still might not be your buying group. Accounts can have many engaged buyers, each at a different stage and interested in a different product or service.

What about ABM?

Now let’s add another acronym to the mix: account-based marketing (ABM). ABM is a marketing strategy that focuses on ultra-personalized, targeted outreach to your most ideal prospects. It’s a shift in mindset from stockpiling leads to building relationships – and ultimately shortening the long B2B buying cycle.

It’s easy to think that ABM is all about MQAs – the “A” in both does stand for “account,” after all. But to really get the most out of your marketing, you need to break down MQAs even more. You need to target buyer groups. We call it buyer group marketing (BGM). 

BGM is the new ABM.

Apologies for the new acronym, it had to be done. Because if there’s one thing to know, it’s that while MQLs are too narrow, MQAs are too broad. Your accounts are not your buyers. B2B buying decisions are made by buying groups, and the larger the deal, the larger the buying group involved. It’s the buying group that’s the sweet spot. 

But wait. Buying groups are made up of individuals, aren’t they? Yes – and that’s the point. Each individual has different needs. Let’s say you’re a SaaS company with multiple solutions for business analytics, fraud prevention, and customer outreach. 

The VP of Growth might be the primary decision maker for an analytics solution, while a senior engineer or even the CTO fills that role for a fraud solution. The Director of Marketing will have an outsize say in customer-related solutions. But all of these people might be in your buying group as influencers or users for any given solution. 

Each individual needs something different from your product. And they’re also at different points in their buying journey. You don’t just need to know who engaged and for how many minutes – you need to know what role they play, what they were looking at, and what next steps they took.

Sound complicated? Not when you have the right tools

Welcome to the new age of media buying. 

In the new age of media buying, you need to reorganize your processes to how buyers really buy, hitting the right individuals with the right media at the right time to create an experience — not just sell a product. And you need to measure and analyze it all so you can continuously optimize campaigns and increase ROI. Here’s how. 

Identify your buying group.

Your buying group are people, too. You need to identify each buying group member, their role in the decision-making process, and what they care about. You can do this with tools that connect web traffic and intent signals to individuals within your ideal accounts.

Here’s where the right tech stack can set you apart. ABM tools like 6sense can provide insight from multiple sources into what companies and users are visiting your website. It will surface intent signals from key companies including content topics they engaged with, the web pages they visited, and the number of users per company. Then you can optimize campaigns for targeting down the funnel as they engage and alert sales when engagement metrics show enough intent. 

These feedback loops between in-platform performance, web analytics, and surging intent data are key to moving accounts through the funnel, in addition to adding automated and manual sales alerts. 

Fill the gaps.

Modern buying groups are complex, with as many as ten contributors for large deals. Winning that deal requires engaging as many group members as possible – even those who haven’t raised their hands yet. You need to know not only who is engaging with your content, but who isn’t. But how?

AI-powered marketing tools like 6sense let you uncover demand before a buyer has engaged with your content, so you can catch their attention. You can also find the gaps in your buying group so you can increase your account coverage. You can even get AI-driven insights about ideal accounts, potential buying team members, and where they are in their buying journey – before they’re even on your radar. 

Personalize it.

Once you have a holistic view of who your buyers are and what they care about, you’re ready to craft a personalized nurture stream that meets them where they are and takes them where you want them to be. 

You’ve already identified which of your contacts fills each role on your buying committee. Now it’s time to focus your attention on those with the greatest influence who are most likely to buy. You’re ready to prioritize your budget and start creating content targeted toward decision-makers, influencers, and users. 

Content marketing is key. Highly personalized content that delivers actual value to your buying group is priceless to your decision-makers and influencers, who are tasked with convincing others to make the purchase. The right technology lets you leverage not only demographics but psychographics – their social profiles, skills, and interests – to craft talking points and value propositions that resonate and build your credibility.

Enhance your analytics.

By now, you’re looking through a buyer-group lens – but without analytics, the picture is going to be blurry. You’re going to need a strong measurement strategy to optimize your marketing efforts. Here’s what you need to do. 

Web analytics:

  • Integrate your Demandbase account and buyer insights to web analytics in order to measure what content members of the buying group are engaging with and what attributes ladder up to conversions.
  • Distinguish between new website traffic and returning website traffic using deployed tags to verify whether your strategy is more effective at reaching new audiences or retargeting existing prospects.


  • Enrich Salesforce opportunities with business intelligence to influence bottom-funnel opportunities and increase deal velocity.
  • Help sales engage qualified leads with insights to what website content they’ve been consuming and what solutions they’re searching for.
  • Capture all revenue contributors with full, multitouch journey mapping that includes both pre-opportunity web activity and post-opportunity sales interactions.

With a fully integrated martech platform, you can analyze the full buyer journey end-to-end, linking marketing efforts and buyer group behaviors directly to your pipeline and unlocking true revenue-based optimizations. Ready to get started? We’d love to help you craft your BGM strategy. Talk to one of our experts and let’s get started.