If you work in B2B marketing and sales in 2022, the most persistent question on your mind is probably, “How do I find more high-quality leads right now?”
Finding high-quality leads is difficult. People aren’t eager to pick up the phone from unknown numbers. Digital ads are mostly ignored. And newsletters tend to sit unopened in overflowing inboxes for weeks.
When potential customers have the upper hand in choosing which companies they want to talk to, it becomes critical to connect with them at the exact moment when they are exhibiting high buyer intent — while they are on your website.
What Is Buyer Intent for B2B Marketing?
B2B buyer intent is typically known as an aggregate measure of how likely a particular company is to buy your solution. It’s supported by B2B buyer intent data, which often includes a mix of signals from dozens of categories.
In determining buyer intent, some companies look at:
- Demographic data (e.g. age, title, location)
- Firmographic data (e.g. industry, revenue, size)
- Behavioral data (e.g. ad clicks, time on page, website return visits)
- Psychographic data (e.g. interests based on other websites visited)
This data can then be combined and averaged out together, with each type getting a different weight in the final score, depending on your priorities. You can then compare the results with other buyer intent scores to identify the one you believe should be pursued at the moment.
What Are the Different Forms of Buyer Intent?
The idea behind buyer intent is to ascertain who is most likely to convert from a prospect into a lead, and a lead into a sale. With that information in hand, marketing and sales teams can focus their resources and workflows into converting those who are actually most likely to convert.
However, not all buyer intent is the same.
The term has been used to describe the same concept, but is often calculated in different ways.
For example, most of today’s buyer intent tools use “content-based” methods to calculate buyer intent — think whitepaper downloads, certain blog page views, and pricing page views. The problem is that isolated actions don’t tell the whole story about a visitor’s intent. In fact, one example of where these tools go wrong is that they usually assume that visitors on a pricing page must have high buyer intent, but in fact, on average, 64% of a website’s high intent visitors are strewn across other pages of a website.
Other tools rely on “search-term” methods, which look at what keywords prospects are using in their search engines to find products and services similar to yours. The concept being, if the visitor is looking for your services, they must have high buyer intent. The problem with this is, again, the isolated action representing what should be an aggregate sum — but also the fact that searching doesn’t equal buying intent. It could also indicate educational intent, for example.
Furthermore, traditional buyer intent tools, including content-based and search-based, rely on pairing that information with third-party databases of contact or account data to determine who is demonstrating said buyer intent.
There are several challenges with this approach:
- Third-party databases often hold inaccurate or outdated data
- Your competitors all have access to the exact same data
- The data only works for a portion of website visitors, while the majority remain totally anonymous, with no contact or account data matches
Why Behavioral Buyer Intent Is What You Need
For decades, the process of determining behavioral B2B buyer intent was dismissed in sales and marketing teams as being unrealistic, since behavioral buyer intent is an aggregate measure of nuanced actions demonstrated by a visitor that considers far more variables than content viewed or search terms used.
Plus, the computational technology required to identify B2B buyer intent just wasn’t available. So sales teams stuck to what they knew best — cold-calling, cold-emailing, cold-chat engagements. Marketing teams — to content-based and search-based intent data.
Today, with the power of analytics tools, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, the technology has finally caught up with getting your sales and marketing team what they want — accurate B2B buyer intent scoring.
Not sure whether identifying buyer intent is for you? Here are five reasons why behavioral B2B buyer intent is essential, and why your website is the best place to use B2B buyer intent to increase pipeline and revenue with the greatest sales velocity.
1. It’s not about isolated actions
Most companies that don’t use buyer intent rely on various analytics platforms to find their potential customers.
The problem is that analytics only focuses on isolated actions. How many people filled out our contact form? How many visited our pricing page? Who clicked on our CTA?
Buyer intent incorporates all those actions, but also takes a much more comprehensive view of website visitors, creating a more complete picture of the potential opportunity. It’s not about metrics, it’s about understanding the behavior of every website visitor and finding the potential customers.
2. Accessible to all
While analytics is often difficult to access and understand, B2B buyer intent can be represented by a single score that can be easily shared with any team.
Your sales and marketing team can look at a list of buyer intent scores and instantly prioritize them in their communication strategy — no debate required.
How many times in the past has your sales team requested an analytics report from the marketing team? Prioritizing leads with web analytics can take hours or even days.
Up-to-date buyer intent scores, on the other hand, are always available to everyone and get recalculated in real time.
The efficiency of behavioral B2B buyer intent cannot be overestimated.
Think of a BDR working through dozens of email inquiries, usually sorted by time and date received. What if they could instantly sort by buyer intent instead? Imagine how much the response rate would be improved.
Now take that thinking and make it real-time. Imagine if your BDRs could see every visitor on your website who demonstrates high buyer intent, right now. They could engage those visitors using a real-time engagement tool such as chat, while ensuring that they don’t waste any time talking to medium or low-intent visitors, or chasing up leads who have already left the site.
Suddenly your BDR team will be more productive, convert more visitors, win customers before competitors do, and do it all so far more efficiently than ever before.
5. Always getting better
While changes to web analytics are, at best, incremental, B2B buyer intent is seeing exponential improvements due to leveraging the power of AI and machine learning.
Every day, buyer intent solutions are getting more and more accurate. Some can even adapt their results to your own needs, processing both first-party and third-party data at the same time.
The only buyer intent solution that can do all of this today is Lift AI.
Lift AI is a unique technology that instantly identifies the buyer intent of every single visitor to your website, regardless of whether they’ve been known to you or are completely anonymous.
The accuracy of Lift AI is an incredible achievement of its ever-evolving machine-learning model, trained on billions of data points and more than 14 million live sales interactions.
Unlike other solutions on the market, Lift AI provides behavioral, not informational data, and is therefore able to evaluate real-time (or online) buyer intent.
The way Lift AI works is by identifying the buyer intent of all website visitors and connecting the most promising ones directly to your BDRs through any chat platform you already use (e.g. Drift). Lower-scoring visitors, in turn, are delegated to a nurturing bot or a self-help guide. You can also integrate your Lift AI’s buyer intent scores with other tools, including CRM, MA, retargeting, and more.
Lift AI’s customers have reported improvements in their chat conversions of up to 10 times in as little as 90 days. For example, Formstack increased its pipeline by 88%. PointClickCare saw a 400% improvement.
As you can see, leveraging behavioral B2B buyer intent makes your sales and marketing team much more productive and doesn’t require any upfront investment. So try and see for yourself.