The success of your B2B sales and marketing efforts depend heavily on data. Experienced B2B marketers know it’s not enough to use data only for top of funnel awareness generation. The real potential value of B2B data is the power to achieve comprehensive business objectives throughout the customer engagement funnel. Combining a good understanding of the customer needs armed with data intelligence not only provides a competitive edge, but also helps to build a strong and consistent pipeline for your sales team to convert prospects into paying customers.
Given the current market maturity stage we’re at in 2021, there’s a limited number of marketers and sales professionals who truly know how to make smart use of data to take advantage of the vast array of customer insights it offers. One of the most important types of data for driving sales and marketing insights is Intent Data. In fact, according to market research firm Ascend2, 97% of B2B marketers believe that intent data will give brands a competitive advantage in the year ahead. From this study, marketers believe that “intent data can be used to better understand open opportunities or existing customers and move them through the conversion, retention, and expansion funnel.”
What is Intent Data?
Simply put, intent data is the set of behavioral signals that show the intention of your prospects to purchase a product or service. Your prospects are actively seeking solutions, looking for vendors which might offer products or services to address the problems they have. They search online, consume content, conduct extensive reviews, and ultimately leave a “digital exhaust” trail that shows what they’re possibly seeking.
According to studies by leading industry analyst firms, an average B2B prospect is already 67% of the way into their purchasing journey before ever engaging with a salesperson. Combining prospect signals with buyer intent data provides a clearer “360 degree view” to help leverage customer insights to the company’s advantage. This means prospects have an intention to buy a product or services and a sales rep has to focus on the remaining 33% to close the deal.
What Makes Buyer Intent Data More Valuable Than Other Data?
Once prospective buyers hit your website, marketers try many ways to monitor their activity and assign them lead scores. Often marketers will use retargeting ads or email campaigns to nurture the leads once the prospect completes a form on the website.
Great! However, what about all those prospects who are looking for solutions similar to your elsewhere on the internet and not on your website? When your prospects visit other websites, you cannot capture any visibility into what they are engaging with. Only a fraction of buyers actively searching for a solution will make it to your site without proactive sales and marketing outreach, and even of those hitting your site only about 10-15% of them may be actively engaged in a buying decision.
This is where buyer intent data helps you to identify those prospects who are actively engaged in a buying decision based on the type of content they are consuming.
Why Intent Data is the Future of B2B Marketing & Sales?
Understanding buyers’ intent is a must for any marketer or salesperson looking for a higher success rate and for discovering ways to better engage potential customers. Understanding prospects’ behavior and triggers help businesses to understand what makes them buy and when. Marketing and sales teams can target a specific profile with this knowledge and take a personalized approach for them to increase the likelihood of a purchase decision.
With numerous aggregated intent signals, marketers can identify “ready to buy” prospects and fine-tune their campaigns accordingly. This intent data can be used for future prospecting as they reveal certain patterns, helping you to boost the purchase decisions of your prospects on their buyer journey.
Given that, it is important to know that many organizations, potentially including your competitors, are discovering way to make best use of intent data. In fact, a market study has shown that 25% of B2B businesses are currently using intent data, while another 35% are preparing to use it within the next year. What do your plans look like?
How to Use Intent Data for Your Business?
Here are some ways that leading marketers are using intent data to develop more successful campaigns. To remain competitive, the use of buyer Intent Data is increasingly important as there are many areas where it can have significant impact. Five key things to consider include:
1. Identifying Early Opportunities
The most obvious use of intent data is tapping prospects earlier in their buying journey. One of the best ways to get a leg up on your competition is to engage the prospect before other salespeople do. Research shows that buyers prefer the business whose salesperson communicates with them first. Yet if 98% of your website visitors are anonymous, how would you effectively determine intent? Consider a tool that evaluates and scores each visitor based on their intent, be it high, medium, or low, and can then help you engage the right opportunities.
2. Lead Scoring
Buyer intent data can help to distinguish between those prospects actively researching a pain point and those simply researching a particular topic without any intention to make a purchase. This information highlights whether this lead fits your ideal customer profile or not and helps in your prioritization efforts. And better still, consider using an AI solution to provide the right level of accuracy for the visitor behavior is crucial to determining who is truly a high score vs low to drive the right level of sales engagement.
3. Account-Based Marketing
Account-based marketing is all about relationships. Intent data can become an incredibly important contributor to engaging and building relationships with the right prospects. While ABM often requires firmographic and technographic data, leading marketers are using many techniques to collect more information about their prospects that will help them take a laser-focused approach.
Intent data not only helps marketers expand their reach, but it also provides insights they might not be able to collect directly themselves. This data helps marketers to find more in-market customers, score leads with greater precision, and re-shape their ABM campaigns with personalized messaging. And this can also lead to far better website experiences with tools like live chat which engage the right user at the right time. Engaging high-quality visitors via chat is immensely powerful. Marketers can control the experience, the feedback loops are instant, and you can provide more value per second than in nearly any other marketing channel.
4. Refining Your Content Strategy
Intent data can enable you to create a content strategy that matches what your ideal customers find interesting or engaging. While several SEO tools can help you find the top keywords, and trending topics, incorporating intent data will provide a whole new layer of information to strengthen your content marketing strategy.
5. Targeted Advertising
By using intent data, you can make your advertising campaigns even more granular by capitalizing on leads that exhibit certain signals. With this technique, you don’t waste any of your advertising dollars on people who have only a passing interest and have no intent to purchase your product or service.
Once you are able to achieve the insight between what your B2B buyers need and their buying signals, then you can start sharing specific content that will help them meet their objectives and create fresh opportunities for your sales team to engage.
Conclusion: Use Buyer Intent Data in Your Marketing & Sales Efforts
Intent data can be incredibly valuable on its own, however, it works best when paired with other data points such as firmographic, technographic and engagement metrics to create a holistic scoring model that also reflects qualifying criteria and engagement. 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. Your marketing and sales efforts will be better served and you will create greater chances to turn those prospects into customers.
So how will you take best advantage of intent data? Consider a solution that can identify website visitors buying-intent (rather than just who they are) as well as tell you this in real-time. But for this to work accurately and on a large scale, it would need to take advantage of AI, as a human could not possibly calculate the necessary parameters to do so.
Meet Lift AI — the only platform that leverages the power of artificial intelligence and a proprietary machine-scoring model to identify website visitors under any conditions, with over 85% accuracy. Imagine every single user getting assigned a virtual score representing how likely they are to buy, in real time.
Lift AI evaluates every visitor as soon as they land on your website and then works with live chat for sales you already use (e.g. Drift or LivePerson) to select an appropriate path. For example, low-scoring visitors might get an automated chatbot experience while high-scoring ones connect with your BDRs right away for conversion.
The unprecedented accuracy of Lift AI comes from more than 15 years of sales data across industries, with over a billion visitors profiled and over 14 million conversations analyzed. As a result, your sales team will gain instant access to your most valuable visitors and increase their conversion rate in no time.
Moreover, Lift AI is the perfect layer on top of the rest of your visitor engagement stack, working nicely with website analytics, email forms, data-enrichment tools, and chat. Now you can know who a visitor is, and their real-time buying intent.