If analyzing and leveraging purchase intent is not yet part of your B2B sales strategy, you’re missing out. Identifying intent signals from your prospective customers might be the highest ROI activity your marketing team can do today.
In a market oversaturated with SaaS solutions (over 8,000 according to CheifMartec), software vendors and their sales teams are always competing for attention and engagement as ways to anticipate purchasing behavior. Luckily, recent advances in analytics and artificial intelligence have entered the market with intent data across all industries and topics imaginable.
So, there’s a vast amount of high-quality B2B intent data out there, waiting to be used — but which intent data providers should you work with and how do you leverage that data to drive your business forward?
What Is B2B Intent Data?
B2B intent data can specifically give you information about the purchase intent of your website visitors based on who they are and their behavior. For example, they could be coming from a company within your target market, reading your marketing content, and looking at your pricing page - all of which constitutes an “intent” signal.
If you monitor B2B intent signals and have a robust purchase intent solution in place, you can track potential customers, and adjust your marketing and sales strategy to better suit their needs. With buyer intent technology, you can achieve higher engagement and conversion rates, and your marketing team can become more effective while spending less on tactics that yield mediocre results.
What Should Customers Look for in B2B Data Products?
The market for B2B intent data providers has been developing rapidly over the recent years. However, not all B2B intent data is the same.
In fact, there are two distinct types of purchase intent data: one that’s collected by you (or first-party data) and one that’s collected through external sources by intent data providers (second or third-party data). When assessing B2B intent product vendors, it’s important for you to consider these different purchase intent categories,
(Second or Third Party or “External” Buyer Intent Data)
Third-party data is aggregated by vendors, which often includes firmographic and demographic information on visitors and can include contact information, company information, and a determination of “in market intent” which is based on the websites they visit and content they consume- e.g. relevant industries, competitors, topics, etc.
(First Party or “Internal” Buyer Intent Data) Shopping-based intent
First-party data is gathered on your own digital properties such as your website, which is typically done using ABM tools using IP address lookup. This is when an IP address is matched to a database of visitors/customers, and any relevant information is surfaced and stored in your own CRM for sales actions. Sometimes these tools determine “intent” as actions on a website, including viewing the pricing page, product page, or downloading an e-book.
Additionally, you should take into account three purchase intent attributes: type of intent, intent strength, and timing.
- Type mainly tracks the product or service (or marketing content topics) that potential customers are evaluating
- Intent strength considers all data points that show desire to buy
- Timing deals with recency, duration, and the number of repeat visits
Brought together, these intent signals are meant to reveal engagement and capture the customer decision journey more accurately than ever before. As a result, your sales team can interject at the point where purchase intent is at its peak.
How Is B2B Data Collected from Websites?
When you collect purchase intent data yourself, you generally pay attention to who is visiting your website, for how long, what type of content they are looking at, and what their engagement level is (e.g. by reaching out to sales chat or requesting a demo).
B2B intent data purchased from intent data providers, however, is usually gathered through the use of IP addresses, browser pixels, and cookies. This type of data is excellent at aggregating activity across the web and providing valuable firmographic and demographic information that your sales team can later use to integrate with first-party data to get a truly comprehensive overview of your potential customers.
As with other vendors and technology solutions, you shouldn’t simply trust all intent data providers. The data you get can be corrupted, outdated, or unclear, so it’s crucial to ensure that you know which buyer intent signals are being analyzed, how often the purchase intent databases are getting updated, and what kind of data sources are being used to pull information.
For the same reasons, the pricing for B2B intent data can vary significantly and depend on the number of monitored industries, topics, or accounts. Some vendors sell separate datasets, others offer a recurring subscription.
So where can you buy B2B intent data? Here are the top intent data providers you need to know, that all fit under the research-based intent category:
- 6sense - parses keyword search, research, and other intent signals to inform and align your marketing and sales team with your ICPs' purchasing process
- Bombora - collects data from a cooperative of more than 4,000 top B2B websites to track surges in account activity
- Demandbase - identifies the online activities of accounts and buying committees and tracks activity across public business registries, B2B content consumption, B2B content production, and engagement on your website
- Zoominfo - triggers signals tracked from a network of 300,000 publisher domains and new keyword-to-device pairings
- Tech Target - utilizes more than 150 highly targeted technology-specific websites and 1,125 channels to attract and nurture communities of technology buyers and track their consumption of content based on buyers researching for solutions to their companies’ information technology needs
- G2 - Leverages over 6M in-market buyers every month to gain insights into what prospects are researching, which competitors they are considering and what keywords they are focused on
What Are Some B2B Content & Account-Based Marketing Data Strategies?
Now that you’ve got research-based B2B intent data, how can your marketing team actually incorporate it in their customer acquisition strategy?
Account-based marketing is one of the most popular approaches to B2B sales that is based on reaching out to companies that are considered to be the best fit for your business. Supercharged by B2B purchase intent data, the process of engaging potential customers should go much more smoothly, since you can incorporate new information and insights to personalize your targeting.
Automated marketing activities can be significantly improved by B2B intent data as well. Knowing the purchase intent of all the visitors on your website allows you to trigger the most appropriate actions for each visitor individually, from triggering invitations to chat suggesting engaging content.
Lead prioritization is perhaps the most common sales technique and use of intent data. Your sales team can use B2B intent data to prioritize their outreach efforts and also target specific potential customers that exhibit high purchase intent while on your website. This will significantly improve your conversion rates while taking up fewer resources.
It is also the most powerful of the three strategies, when done right - because it can address all visitors (not just known accounts) and can do so in real-time (not automated in latent time). However, it’s also the hardest to do.
In fact, the only way to do lead prioritization with high accuracy and in real-time is using buyer intent AI (a machine-learning model designed to predict the buyer intent of your visitors) that is based on the real time shopping intent of your visitors.
Using Technology to Determine Buyer Intent
All of the intent data discussed in this article is based on known entities - you reveal the ID of a prospect and then use their behaviour on websites, the content they consume, and more to try and predict some purchase intent that you can act on as a marketer. This all makes sense, but it is incomplete.
The data gives you insight into some of your market but it can come with issues including poor data quality, your competitors are buying the same data, the data is out of date by the time you get it, and most importantly it doesn’t address the biggest issue - most of the visitors on your website are anonymous. Some of those anonymous visitors are great prospects, but none of the buyer intent products will reveal that for you.
Lift AI is the only purchase intent platform on the market that completely automates B2B intent data analysis, based on the real time shopping intent of your website visitors — all thanks to the industry-leading machine-learning model trained on over 15 years of sales data across multiple industries, billions of data points, and over 14 million live sales conversations.
With the ability to rank the purchase intent of every single website visitor (including anonymous ones that can represent up to 98% of total traffic), Lift AI presents your team with an unparalleled dataset that they can use to engage visitors with the highest conversion potential.
Lift AI is different to other buyer intent tools as it uses a sophisticated AI model rather than an algorithm based on a hypothesis of basic engagement metrics.
Lift AI integrates directly into any chat platform you already use (e.g. Drift, LivePerson) and sends high-scoring visitors right to live chat, while showing a self-help guide or chatbot to visitors with lower purchase intent to avoid overloading your sales team.
Here’s a visual of how Lift AI’s buyer intent data can be used in conjunction with the buyer intent tools we discussed earlier in the article, and make them more valuable and the information from them more useful. Lift AI can also inform your CRM and Marketing Automation Platforms to to create a highly optimized, intent-led activities that results in more website conversions, pipeline and revenue:
The results are incredible. A recent study showed Drift customers converted 9x more conversations to pipeline using Lift AI.