Here's everything you need to know about buyer intent data and how to leverage it for your business growth.
Do you know right now who is ready to buy your product or service?
Now imagine if you could reach out to this prospective buyer and secure the deal almost as if you’ve read their mind. Well, with B2B intent data, this power can be yours.
So what is B2B intent data?
Let’s put it this way: Your prospects are right now out there, looking for a solution to a problem that you can solve. They search online, consume information, shape opinions on solutions, and read about alternatives to alleviate their pain. But they’re not asking for help from your sales team.
Intent data indicates which leads or accounts perform research actively online. As they search, they’re scored on thousands of topics. It’s basically any information about the willingness and the readiness of an account to buy a product or service. When their high-fit accounts are in buying mode for their specific solution, this data is used to inform sales and marketing teams. Intent data, when used correctly, significantly improves conversions and sales.
Intent data is sales and marketing intelligence. Intent data of today typically observes online behavior of content, competitors, activities, influencers, and social media that signify the study and future purchase.
B2B intent data offers insight into a web customer’s purchasing intent, enabling you to assess whether and when a prospect is actively considering or trying to buy your (or similar) goods or solutions.
Yes, intent data is more important now than ever for a couple of reasons:
1. Buyers are starting their research journey before they start talking to salespeople
As a salesperson, if I can understand who’s already doing research and tap into that conversation, I have a huge advantage. Every day inside every company, some employees are doing research on projects and initiatives that the company has to execute.
What Intent data does is it takes the research that’s being done on the B2B web, collects it, and then looks for spikes in that type of research.
2. The noise in marketing technology
There are more emails; there are more ads. So to be able to cut through that noise with really relevant messaging at the right time, again, gives you a big leg up. So the really unique thing about the way our Intent Data gathers B2B Intent data signals is that they’re doing it across 4,000 of the world’s largest, highly trafficked B2B sites. That’s really covering the entire B2B digital web. So inside of every single company, somebody is researching certain topics. Well, regardless of where they’re doing research, our Intent Data
Software is picking up that research. It’s then collecting it, and it’s looking at searches across that network of over 4,000 B2B sites. So, where the next closest person providing Intent data might look at tens of millions of intent signals every quarter, the software looks at tens of billions of intent signals every quarter. And so what we’re able to do now is look across all of the companies that we profile and look for which companies are spiking on research for specific topics that are relevant for our customers.
So, why is intent data so important?
Intent data is important for many reasons. It’s got great applications for both sales and marketing. As a marketer, the way I think about intent is it gives me access to a broader funnel. So lately, I’ve been ranting a lot about this idea that our own marketing and sales funnels are a very myopic view of our total addressable market because we can’t possibly contain every account or every buyer that’s actually going to buy from us, however there’s a broader funnel that exists. It’s everyone, including you and all of your competitors, and how engaged the leads, and contacts and accounts are with them. That makes up all the people that are potentially going to buy or are actually getting ready to buy. So what intent does is it broadens your horizon, allowing you to see past the engagement that’s happening within your own website or in any of your offline events. It then basically is able to say…like, hey, here are the people that are exhibiting intent to purchase’.
A lot of that has to do with the fact that the buyer’s journey has changed. I know people have been saying this for a super-long time, but it really has. As content becomes commoditised, fewer and fewer people are choosing to engage with brand content. That’s not as fun but that’s really about what their product does and what value it brings.So now they’re going to third-party websites to get reviews, and other information, about a brand that they’re thinking of buying from, so you need to be able to see that type of activity also. Understand who’s doing it. Distill it down to the accounts that actually matter, and then deliver it to your sales team. And say, hey, here’s a target account or account list. They’re looking to buy, and the thing they’re looking to buy is something that we actually sell. So let’s get to them before one of our competitors does.
How to use it?
Looking at the common data attributes can see that it’s any signals that show this. And this core signal has three different factors:
- The first is the intent type. What is the account actually looking to buy? is it any piece of software? Perhaps it’s some accounting help or some help via a consultant.
- Intense strength. This is how ready the account is actually to buy the product or service.
- Intent recency. How long ago was it? If it was last year, it’s probably not so hot, whereas if it’s this week or month, the account is probably a lot more ready and willing to be sold.
And this links to how the data is actually collected.
If you imagine this from a buyer’s perspective, first, the account will realise that I need a different product or service. Let’s say they need some consulting.
They’re going to put some research in and have some people from the company look into what options are available.
Then we’re going to look at the specific providers and the products they have and put some research into this.
And from this, you can collect data into what they’re looking for and how long they’ve spent on the specific research. This could be signing up for webinars, signing up for newsletters, or downloading white papers. All this information could be collected as they’re researching. After this initial stage of research has happened, they can go into properly comparing the individual prices and product options of the service they’ve actually decided to select. As this goes on, you can see that the intent strength really builds. When someone gets to a comparison, they’re really ready. This is when it’s good to reach out and make sure you’ve secured it.
So when you’re assuring the quality of your B2B intent data, it’s basically just assuming that you’re getting the strongest quality signal.
- How are the signals collected? It has to do with the technical methods during the research process we mentioned above. Have they been in contact with a person? Do you measure dwell time on a website or maybe the clicks onto pages? The technical methods will determine the quality and strength of the actual signal.
- How recently were the signals collected? As we mentioned, if it was last year, it’s probably not so hot. Whereas if it’s still this quarter, maybe even last week, you can tell that the iron is still hot. So you can go.
- Finally, is the data on the right scale? For you, the scale is always important, especially with B2B intent data. It can be hard to get data on the right scale to make sure you’ve got that.
Then once you’ve got your beautiful scale data, how are you going to use it?
Well, it mostly comes down to account-based marketing. You can
identify some early intent in the account and reach out at this early stage of the process to help guide them. 70 percent of the time, the salesperson who gets there first secures the deal. So. if you reach out to the account just when they’re ready, almost like you’ve read their mind, there’s a high chance that you will be the one to secure their purchase. Then once you’ve got them on board, you’ve got the marketing team nurturing this potential; you can then prioritize them when they’re hot and send your sales teams to secure the deal.
Then finally, once you’ve got them as a customer, we’ve got to retain them. If you start to notice that they’re looking at competitors or maybe they’re not so happy with your service, you can use this information from the intent data to make sure that you retain them.
Practical ways to use buyer intent data
With buyer intent data, I’m able to go into our platform, apply filters that are relevant to my territory, so whether it’s geographic location, whether it’s employee size, revenue size, whatever the case may be, I’m able to go in, apply these filters, save the search. What this does is it literally sources for me every single week. I get an email every week, saying, “These are the companies that are actively searching for a topic that is relevant to your product, how much it scored.” I’m able to go after them, and it actually then backs it up with relevant contact data to go after them with direct dials and direct emails, to be able to not only know what they’re searching but actually have the people to go after too.
If you’re like me, and you’re in sales, the most time-consuming part of your day is finding accounts to go after. Not only are you just throwing things at a wall and hope that it sticks, but with this intent data, you can actually find companies within your territory that are actively searching for a product and a topic relevant to your company and be able to go after them at the right time. So you’re not throwing things at a wall and hope that it sticks. You’re actually creating a sales cycle within a relevant time period within the right time within the right people.
Is intent data really a new thing?
Is some’s intent to purchase a new thing? Surely not. That’s why actionable intent insights have existed for a while, and many larger enterprises have already incorporated intent consideration in their strategies. Because customers are creating and sharing more data than ever before, and technology has evolved, marketers are even better equipped to gain a granular view of intent and move from ‘topic’ to ‘keyword’ insights.
The insight intent data provides can help us understand exactly where an account is in its buying journey. It is based on the content and keywords that buyers are researching. This is an additional layer of timing, relevance, and context within campaigns, especially account based campaigns.
It also clarifies the sentiment attached to certain topics (positive or negative), giving a more comprehensive view than more traditional profiling or behavioural data.