Decoding intent data - reality or myth?
Imagine having a "cutting-edge sales intelligence tool" at your disposal, enabling your revenue team to leverage even the subtlest buying signals from your prospects. Imagine being the first one at the door when they come knocking for a solution to a problem you can solve. That's the power of buyer intent data simplified for you!
We know for a fact that data is the lifeblood of modern organisations—whether B2B or B2C. And businesses are always looking for innovative methods to generate and use data that gives them a competitive advantage.
Organisations usually start with firmographic data and get to know their target accounts and audience at the company level. However, when the sales and marketing teams want to target them, they are disadvantaged by the lack of predictive intelligence. And especially when 67% of the buyer’s journey happens digitally and salespeople’s involvement during this period is less to nothing, it’s challenging to drive the right prospects to consider one’s solution--let alone communicating it as the right fit for them.
It's where we take the leap from data to intent data.
So, what exactly is intent data?
The goal of intent data is to be able to differentiate which leads or prospects are actively researching online, which particular topics they’re researching about more than usual and the overall set of behavioural signals that help us understand the intention of leads/prospects and narrow down the ones we find as the right fit.
Experts collect data to determine the intent of prospective buyers based on location, weather conditions of the place, lifestyle choices, income, and more. However, the intention is measured by the actions prospects take that connects them to a particular topic. The strength of the intention is determined by the spike of activity about that particular topic.
Here’s a list of activities that connect buyers to topics:
- Website visiting activity
- Downloading whitepapers, guides, reports, case studies, and other publications
- Checking out product reviews
- Subscribing to certain online newsletters and updates
- The time they spend on topic-specific web pages
- Attending webinars
- Engagement levels with a specific topic / on specific pages etc.
- Spike in one or more of the above activities that point to a certain need
- Social media behaviour, including engagements, interactions and content consumption
So, intent data is not just about anonymous online activity. And all of this boils down to three words: recency, frequency, and engagement.
In layman terms, intent can be as simple as highly researched data to attach tags to targeted buyers while understanding and predicting what their behaviours and signals mean. It enables marketers to get a distinct, hands-on insight into customer's engagement, their intention to buy a product or services.
However, most intent data is derived from a limited number of engagements between a targeted persona and the business. It could be just an interaction over email or content consumed on a social media platform. The actual insights generated from such minimal touch-points could be pretty basic and confusing. Hence, it might not be possible to interpret and predict any behaviour from it until sufficient data is collected.
Although "intent" is intangible and abstract, the data collected from it is real and practical. This article hopes to bust the myth about intent data and help understand its overall impact on scaling up a business.
What is so prospective about buyer intent data?
Organisations collect first-party data by tracking visitor analytics on their websites and form fills, content consumption, retargeting ads or email campaigns, and more. Sales and marketing teams use this data to refine their targeting and convert the leads.
But the prospects who get to interact with your websites, emails, and ads are a small percentage of prospects out there. And they would be completely invisible to your tracking tools.
It’s here that Buyer Intent Data can be leveraged, as it recognises the prospects who are conducting research online, on websites you have no tracking ability.
Intent data is no longer a myth - Why?
Marketers have to pay heed to why exactly buyers are browsing for, what are they trying to accomplish, and what out there is resonating with them that they respond to it positively and consider it a viable solution or a path to the solution.
Marketing and sales teams can hunt down those user profiles with the data and take a different route on-demand to enhance the chances of making a sale. Isn't that incredible?
Marketing campaigns need to fine-tune their objectives in scaling up the business with the insights gathered from intent data. By studying and applying these insights, they can conclude a pattern or trend in prospects' buying decisions.. And with this knowledge, they tailor and customise the websites and execute ads that attract these buyers on the web.
The present-day statistics show that a quarter of B2B marketers rely on buyer intent data to drive business. This trend provides promising results, so it can be safely said that around 35% more enterprises would use intent data for marketing in 2021.
Jason Gladu, President, Avani Media
"Intent data is real. The best source of intent is Search. Someone went to Google and typed in what they were looking for, and BAM! These folks are ready to buy. In B2B, especially in the enterprise space, Search doesn't generate enough traffic to sustain revenue goals. Enter 3rd party intent data providers. They are trying to solve a hard problem. This is not about finding folks who are ready to buy, but it's about finding folks with a problem you can solve, getting them into your world, and helping them to their solution. I've seen the intent algorithms and been a part of the teams building them.
Some piece together a bunch of disparate consumption data points to guess that someone is in the market. Some use warranty and age data of devices to guess that a company will replace or upgrade hardware. Some look at your historical customers, the activities that led to a conversion, and try to guess what will work for new customers. All of that is much harder than it sounds. Thousands of smart data scientists work on these algorithms. If you approach intent data from this perspective, it will turn from a myth to reality. It's all in the application."
Business areas that can leverage intent data
Let us decode how we can use Intent Data in a functional enterprise. In an extremely competitive market, business users can use intent data in the following cases. And this will show us that Intent Data is not a myth; instead promises cutting-edge sales intelligence that would lead to direct growth revenues.
- Identifying early opportunities
By now, it is quite obvious to the reader that Intent Data is a common practice to tap prospects in the buying process effectively. The Buyer Intent Data records can help businesses get in touch with prospective buyers before other sales agencies approach them. Studies conducted reveal that in more than two-thirds of cases, prospects go with the first salesperson who interacts with them.
- Lead scoring
If a business aims to differentiate between prospects who are actively looking for a solution to purchase and those who are casually browsing the web without any intention of buying something, it needs to rely on Buyer Intent Data.
Lead Scoring from Intent Data informs the organisation whether the lead fits the ideal customer profile or not. A direct effect of lead scoring is highlighting what the customer needs.
- Account-based marketing
Marketing and sales are nothing without forging relationships with customers. Intent data contributes to the account-based marketing efforts of an organisation towards building relationships with prospects and customers.
When we club intent data with account-based marketing, it not only helps to extend the scope of business but also collects data for future developments, which is otherwise unobtainable. This data paves the way to usher in more in-market customers, record leads with higher accuracy, and make a robust ABM business campaign with customised messaging.
Manoj Ramani, CEO, Salesintel
"Intent data is essential to creating and perfecting targeted campaigns, especially if you're using ABM. The ability for marketing, sales and demand gen leaders to quickly identify the level of interest from buying signals allows them to move the prospect into the ideal part of the funnel. You can fast track those who are highly engaged to your sales team while sending the tire kickers into your nurture campaigns."
- Refining your content strategy
Intent Data allows business executives to design their web content that quenches the needs of their prospects and customers. When the sales team works with intent data, they can successfully put their product in front of a potential customer when they want to see it. This is one of the biggest advantages of Intent Data as it refines content and shows what the user wants to see.
On the one hand, our content can become unique and exclusive thanks to SEO tools. On the other, Intent Data's inclusion levels up the content refinement, providing highly relevant information that eventually strengthens the overall content marketing strategy.
- Targeted advertising
With Intent Data, advertising campaigns can be customised and made user-specific across niches and ease their way through the diverse world of products and services.
The combination of Intent Data and advertising is the best way to ensure that the end-user satisfies their objectives while maximising the ROI of organisation’s marketing investments.
How to use intent data in a real business?
We now understand the role and impact of Intent Data. Let’s now throw some light on how exactly the Intent Data can be leveraged to drive the business goals and build long-standing organisations.
Find New Buying Groups To Expand Accounts
A sure-fire way to scale up a business and build a robust revenue system with intent data is to prioritise the target buyers over a general audience with lesser intent to purchase. It saves the resources that may have to spend on targeting the wrong or unready prospects.
The first step is to identify the buying groups that the marketers need to communicate, and it can be achieved through segregating accounts and grouping them by search trends and rankings.
Once the buying groups are set up, the next step is to appear in front of them with the right messaging, including trends, reports, whitepapers, case studies related to the problems they're trying to solve. Respective metrics such as email open rates, click-through rates, social media interactions need to be tracked towards optimising the messaging and marketing budgets being spent.
Intent Data can enable sales to decide which accounts to connect with, which profiles to prioritise, and how they can win back the prospects who no longer show interest.
A Win-win situation for all
Timing is crucial in marketing, and it's one of the most effective and efficient but least used methods to boost sales. The reason is simple: it's hard to know the timing without leveraging intent data.
Essentially, the ROI of marketing can be amplified by simply utilising Intent Data to build and run the campaigns. Intent Data is the deepest you can go in understanding prospects at scale and optimising your marketing messages to sell with empathy.
On the other hand, Intent Data makes the lives of prospects easier. Not only do prospects don't have to live with spammy ads that try to sell them something they don't want, but they also help them discover the solutions that best fit their requirements.
If you are a business owner aiming to understand your prospects better, strengthen customer experience, grab a bigger market share, outcompete, and build a robust revenue machine for your organisation, buyer intent data is for you!