What Is Intent Data and How Can It Drive B2B Sales for Your Business?

B2B sales and marketing success depends heavily on data – but data is not created equal – nor put to work in the same ways. Consumers research products and read content about the best solutions for their pain points, and the B2B buyer is mostly finished with the buying journey by the time they contact a salesperson. The goal of intent data is to get ahead of this process by using cutting-edge sales intelligence to position yourself in front of a buyer. This is accomplished by using tools that alert you to prospects’ buying signals.

In simple words, intent data is the set of behavioral signals that helps you to understand the intention of your prospects to purchase a product or service. For example – when watching a basketball game, you can clearly see where all the players are, but you cannot predict what they will do next. Intent data helps to predict behavior.

Organizations that can collect and use online intent data can reach buyers much earlier in the process, guiding the decision-making process before a competitor even knows about their prospect’s interest. Investing into intent indicators represent a huge opportunity for forward-thinking businesses that seek to improve marketing engagement, reduce the cost per lead, increase marketing ROI, and expand sales pipelines.

How Is Intent Data Gathered?

Intent data shows which leads or accounts are actively researching on third-party sites. When research on a particular topic is higher than usual, the account spikes on those topics. As signals spike, sales and marketing teams can prioritize accounts to spur B2B sales.

Intent data focuses on the consumption of case studies, product comparisons, message boards, and product reviews. Consumption of this type of content is a strong indicator of intent to buy. Vendors that sell intent data collect and aggregate online research activity from thousands of B2B websites, media publishers, and other sources. By monitoring businesses content consumption and looking for spikes in activity, the intent of searches can be made more clear.

Algorithms used by intent data vendors typically consider indicators such as time on page, scroll speed, type of content consumed, amount of content consumed, and the number of consumers within a business entity. It’s important to realize that intent data differs greatly from web tracking data that’s taken from your own website. Intent data provides information on what prospects are doing outside the bounds of your website. When your prospects visit other websites, you have no visibility into their activity or implied intent.

How Can You Use Intent Data?

  1. Identifying Opportunities: Tapping into prospects before your competition is a major advantage. Purchase intent signals help identify which companies are actively researching your solution – before they fill out a form on your site or engage with your sales or marketing teams.
  2. Personalization: Your sales teams can personalize initial outreach with resources matching the solutions that prospects are seeking.
  3. Grading Leads: Sales and marketing teams can dynamically filter outreach lists for accounts that show active interest. This information highlights whether a lead fits your ideal customer profile or not and makes prioritization easy.
  4. Refine Your Content Strategy: With intent data you can create a content strategy that better matches what your ideal customers would like to see. While SEO tools can help find the top keywords, intent data provides a whole new layer of information to enhance content marketing strategies.
  5. Account Based Marketing: Intent Data can become the most important contributor to engaging and building relationships with the right prospects. You can expand your reach, find more in-market customers, find leads with more precision, and customize messaging.

While intent data can be important by itself, its most powerful when combined with other data. Knowing that a lead is interested in a particular topic isn’t very useful unless that lead is also qualified to buy. If used in the right combination, Intent Data can be a powerful predictor of which accounts have the highest chances of buying your product or service.

Evaluating Providers of Intent Data

If you’re business seeks to invest in intent data, carefully consider these questions before making a purchase.

  • Can you customize topics that you track?
  • How frequently are you updated?
  • Does the data integrate into your existing CRM?
  • Does the provider breakdown how scores are calculated?
  • How broad is the coverage?
  • How granular is the detail?
  • Does the data direct to leads or accounts?
  • Are you alerted in real time when signals are detected?

Providers of intent data vary by price, ability, and customer service. Bombora has a free package you can start out with. A couple of other intent data providers are Kick Fire and Demand Jump.

While intent data can be a powerful tool, it is not the end-all, be-all. Not all provider’s models will capture interested buyers and focusing too heavily on intent data can set a precedent where you prioritize quick wins instead of building a more sustainable sales pipeline.

B2B intent data works best when paired with other data, but interpreting and gathering all that data can be a full-time job in itself. There may be other areas where your efforts could produce leads – before making a major investment into intent data. Some businesses make the mistake of locking into a contract to receive intent data, but they fail to interpret and act upon that valuable data. Before deciding on intent data, its important to understand how to use it and whether it would fit into your overall digital marketing efforts.

Contact us today to learn how to improve your digital marketing strategy and learn whether an investment into intent data would benefit your business!