Intent data has become a crucial tool for B2B companies and B2C brands that increasingly use similar data to fuel personalized offers. Using it can increase close rates for B2B companies by as much as 79%.
Intent data is the collection of behavioral signals that help predict B2B purchase intent. Using intent data, you can pinpoint your potential customers’ recent behaviors and signals of interest, so you know that they’re in-market for what you’re selling. Intent data can include first-party data (behaviors you track on your own website and campaigns), as well as third-party data, which tracks behaviors across a network of sites and channels. These insights include online behavioral signals such as content downloads, webcast registrations, and keyword searches.
How B2B brands can use intent data to drive revenue:
Intent data is not about casting a wide net, it’s about taking a very targeted approach to finding qualified leads that your sales and marketing teams can pursue. Using intent data, you can predict which target accounts are already searching for information about products and services in your industry.
Even when personally identifying information (PII) is unavailable, brands can use intent data to recognize purchase intent at a company/account level. This knowledge can help optimize account based marketing (ABM) efforts. Then, you can feed that data directly into your CRM platform and match it against your database to identify and contact decision makers at target companies. Tools like Data Axle for Salesforce and Data Axle for Dynamics can feed and update information for B2B prospects in real time and straight into your CRM.
Intent data helps you prioritize prospects by letting you know if a prospect is actively looking for your product/service, – flagging leads who have been researching the solution, looking at similar products, and reading reviews online. These are prospects who are looking for something specific to solve their business problem. They’re already aware of the space they’re researching (whether they know your brand or not). What they need to find is the right product. Serious buyers will spend 50% of their time seeking information from third-party sources, according to Gartner.1
Once you know a lead is serious, you can take prioritization to the next level by taking two things into consideration. The first is whether the lead is in the market for your product. The second is whether the lead is high-quality relative to your customers/audience. The best leads for your business are not just the ones that are in-market for your product, but ALSO the ones who resemble your current high-value customers. In fact, an analysis done by Data Axle, found that running a campaign with prospects who closely resemble existing high-value customers had 23% higher response rate than the control.
The B2B sales cycle is long, which leaves a lot of room for error, distraction, and lost prospects. A recent survey from Forrester has shown that 92% of B2B purchases start with online research.2 Intent data can help you reach leads earlier in the buyer journey, allowing you to beat the competition by proactively reaching out. This is crucial, as 30-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds to a prospect’s inquiry first. If you strike the right note early on, and nurture it with appropriate messaging, you can build a relationship ahead of other vendors in the running and convert your prospects at a much higher rate.
Intent data can help brands gauge what stage a prospect is in on their buyer journey. For example, a newly flagged account, is likely to be in the earlier stages of the buyer journey, so brands can tailor their messaging to move the client slowly down the funnel. Alternatively, if the prospect has been researching a solution for quite a while, or you are seeing heavy activity from a target account, they are probably further along in their buyer journey, so the sales and marketing teams can provide content and touchpoints designed to best answer questions at the middle-to-bottom of the funnel.
Taking a tailored approach to your prospects helps build a connection with them. The data should inform your approach so that you don’t overwhelm them with information or send them content that is irrelevant to their buyers’ journey. Start by showing a potential client that you are knowledgeable about their needs, so that later on, you can show them that you know how to solve their problems as well.
Brand Example: Lenovo uses intent data to boost campaign success3
Technology company, Lenovo, decided they were done throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. They wanted to target their B2B prospects more narrowly, in order to reduce marketing spend while increasing results. Michael Ballard, Senior Manager of Digital Marketing at Lenovo decided to incorporate intent data into their North American B2B strategy. They used intent data to find the customers who were interested in their products, and refine their messaging across channels (ads, social media, emails) to ensure the copy was personalized and relevant to the buyer.
Intent data allowed Lenovo to:
Lenovo features pets on their Instagram page, knowing it appeals to their target audience on this channel
Intent data is creating new opportunities for companies to connect with their prospects and close more deals. Leveraging intent data sets a company up for success by connecting them with their buyers at critical stages in their buying journey – allowing them to personalize messaging and prioritize leads.
Learn more about how leveraging intent data can help drive your business.
As Content Marketing Manager, Natasia is responsible for helping strategize, produce and execute Data Axle's content. With a passion for writing and an enthusiasm for data management and technology, Natasia creates content that is designed to deliver nuggets of wisdom to help brands and individuals elevate their data governance policies. A native New Yorker, when Natasia is not at work she can be found enjoying New York’s food scene, at one of NYC’s many museums, or at one of the city’s many parks with her two teacup yorkies.