Intent data provides marketers and sales leaders insight into potential customers’ interests and purchase stage.

By gathering and analyzing intent signals, marketers and enterprise AEs can target specific accounts with relevant messaging, promotions and outbound programs to help move the customer through the sales funnel faster and with better results. They could also identify new accounts that are in the market for their solution. 

What Is Intent Data?

Intent data is a broad term used to describe how purchasing intent, including interest level, interest topic, and buying cycle stage, leaves digital breadcrumbs across the internet. These breadcrumbs include search terms, topics of articles that they have read, and types of ads they have responded to. 

By collecting and analyzing it, sellers could identify the right prospect to reach at the right time. 

Intent data that is coupled with an advertising platform, integrated with CRM data, and available via sales engagement and conversational intelligence tools could easily transform to a powerful demand generation machine. 

Types of Intent Data Used Today For Account Based Marketing and Sales Programs 

There are three types of intent data, some of them are already used in ABM programs, and some are often overlooked:

  1. 3rd party intent data – companies such as Bombora and 6Sense collect search and content engagement signals across millions of sites. These signals are analyzed and then standardized to a specific buying intent. For example, if I’m looking for “what is ABM” it means that I’m in an early stage of my buying process, while if I’m searching for “6Sense vs. Bombora”, it shows that I’m already evaluating vendors. These signals are collected and analyzed by these platforms, and those that are more advanced also run specific algorithms on these data points to segment accounts to buying stages. In turn, this could be used to guide sales and marketing resources. 
  2. 1st party intent data – marketing automation platforms are tracking website and email engagements. When a company implements a content strategy that is based on prospect’s buying stages, these signals could be used to better understand the stage that a prospect is at in their buying process. 
  3. Interactive intent data – one of the often overlooked types of intent data is what is derived from interacting directly with the buyer. Companies that implement conversational marketing platforms such as Drift, have the technology to engage with their visitors at scale, and gather information about their needs and maturity in their buying decision process. Integrating these data points with CRM data, 3rd party data and 1st party data provides a holistic view of your buyers – all before reaching out to them. 

Each type of intent data has its own value; using all three can help B2B marketers provide the most relevant content to meet prospects’ needs.

Using intent data across the buyer lifecycle 

When it comes to intent data, one of the biggest challenges is to apply it to the entire buying process. Here are the various ways intent data is used in the buying process: 

Early stage / Awareness 

  1. Use intent data to optimize ad spend and messaging based on research topic and interest level of your named accounts. 
  2. Uncover accounts that might meet your ICP but weren’t in your named account list, yet have relevant intent. 

Research / Evaluation 

  1. Rollout new ad campaigns with messaging related to vendor comparison and other evaluation criteria of your potential buyers 
  2. Use intent to prioritize accounts for outbound campaigns by BDRs 
  3. Use intent to trigger specific bots and other conversational experiences on your website

Active Opportunities 

  1. Identify competitors that based on intent signals of accounts in your pipeline
  2. Optimize ad messaging based on intent data and sales feedback from direct communication with buyers. 

Renewal and Cross Selling 

  1. Use intent to identify red flags during renewal period, such as an account that is researching competing products 
  2. Identify pains that could be answered by other company products and initiate a cross selling motion 

What’s Next?

As one can see, intent is an extremely valuable tool for B2B revenue organizations. 

However, to fully leverage it, an organization must have a robust and scalable method of tracking, and reporting on that intent – as well as propagating it across the stack.

We will touch on that topic, vendors in this field, and other considerations of intent in following articles.

We are also doing a joint online session with Salesloft and 6Sense talking about intent in sales.
Click here to register.