We are living in an age of information. All our decisions, no matter how small, are informed by the vast amount of information available on the internet. Consumers now prefer to research before making any purchase. Hence, unlike the last decade when advertisements on TV were enough to drive up B2B sales, now it won’t cut it anymore. Companies must collect B2B Intent data to create targeted sales strategies and stay ahead of the competition.
Intent data is the most valuable tool in a marketer’s arsenal to reach new customers. No B2B business has become successful without understanding what the customers need. A good B2B business will always cater to the demands of its customer base and create products that resonate with their needs. Most companies used to conduct market surveys or collect feedback from focus groups to understand the customer’s needs. But now, with technological advancement, these methods have become quite obsolete.
A marketer can reliably depend on Intent data to understand customers’ needs. Moreover, it also informs him about consumer behaviour, such as their preferred online retail website, the discounts they look for, or the specific product description they are searching for. Therefore, Intent data has become too essential for any business to ignore. Let us now try to understand what Intent data is, where to collect it from, its major types, and how it can be used.
What is Intent data?
In simple words, B2B Intent data comprises facts and statistical data that tell a marketer if a potential customer is interested in their product or service. By analysing this data, marketers can gain an understanding of the prospective buyer’s preferences. This data is very important as it can be the key to creating any future sales and marketing strategies.
Any activity of the prospective buyer on the internet with regards to a particular product or service that falls under your domain is Intent data for you. This can include a general search for products, downloading a brochure, visiting websites, reading through blogs, watching videos, or booking a trial or demo. All of these activities denote purchasing intent of the prospective buyer.
These activities signal the marketer that the consumer is looking for a product they sell. The vital job of the marketer, then, is to create a sales strategy that aligns with the customer’s needs, ultimately leading to a sale. These signals may be subtle or obvious, depending on the consumer. Thus, a marketer who can correctly analyse these data is vital to any business.
Where to get the Intent Data from?
Any product or service listed on the internet for purchase will have vast amounts of content linked to it. This content can be in the form of product reviews, blogs, product comparisons, case studies, tutorials, etc. Whenever a person goes through any content related to a product or service, it is a signal that the person is a prospective buyer. This person’s behaviour is tracked, and the data is collected.
This kind of data can be collected in two ways. Firstly, your own sales and marketing team are always engaging with potential customers on the internet through a variety of content. Whenever a customer visits your website and checks out your products, your in-house team can easily track it by running an analytics tool. Similarly, when an internet user fills out a form or subscribes to your emails, the sales team can try to make a sale using advertisements that match the prospective buyer’s query.
The second way of collecting this Intent data is to simply buy it. There are many third-party vendors who operate in this space, whose job is to collect consumer data. These vendors collect and store the data related to your company’s content consumption. They are in an advantageous position to map out your business’ content consumption in relation to your competitors.
The vendors calculate your content consumption on the basis of the following:
- The amount of content consumed.
- The types of content consumed.
- The total number of consumers.
- Time spent by consumers on your page.
- The scroll speed of the consumers.
All of these are valuable information for your marketing team, who can reach out to the buyer during their research and make a sale for the business.
Types of Intent data
Now we have arrived at the crux of our discussion today. In 2023, there are 4 types of Intent data that can drive B2B sales. Let us look at each one in detail.
- Traffic Intent
This is the first type of Intent data that most companies look for. It is very valuable to a company because it comes from its own website. A B2B business website normally has a website with all the product descriptions, a chatbox, a sales query page and much more that the consumer can use to engage with the company. This engagement can be tracked by analytics tools, trackers, and other marketing tools. Any engagement from the consumer is an insight for the marketing team that can help inform their future advertisements and other marketing efforts.
However, it is important to note that most people who visit the website will remain anonymous unless they identify themselves by filling out a form or chatting with your agent. Therefore, companies need to employ the services of third-party vendors who can give you the IP address of the prospective buyer, which can help you to understand the geographic location and browsing behavior of the user, allowing you to tailor your marketing efforts accordingly.
- Content Intent
This is the most popular Intent data that most companies provide. The process starts with the identification of the prospective buyer’s content consumption. This includes reading an article or downloading any kind of content related to a specific product or service. This tells the vendor that the person is a prospective buyer who is researching before making a purchase. However, there is one problem with this type of Intent data. It also considers content consumption by professionals who only read materials to understand market trends. They have no intention of buying anything that the topic is talking about.
- Review Intent
You can find many review websites on the internet. They provide a reliable source of Intent data collated from the internet. This data is drawn from the comparisons made between the websites of a particular domain. The comparisons are made on the basis of features of the products, level of customer satisfaction, price and much more. This is an effective way of collecting Intent data because these review websites ask consumers to log in by providing their email address or phone number. Thus, the companies can easily identify them in case of contacting them directly with ads. Because of this, most B2B Sales teams prefer Review Intent over Content Intent.
- Growth Intent
In this type of Intent data, companies need to find other companies in their ICP that are showing growth. This involves data showing the hiring records, expansion of physical locations, increase in website traffic, increase in funding, and more. These are indicators that show that the company has surplus money, which they can invest in adding more services. Let us understand this with an example. Suppose you run a company that provides a certain kind of business solution. If another company reads your content, visits your website, or checks out your growth on a review website, it tells you that they are looking to grow, so you can contact them to pitch your services.
How to use Intent data?
Most B2B marketing strategies these days are created after analysing Intent data. Since making more sales is the topmost priority of any business, understanding what the customer wants is vital. The usefulness of intent data is that it allows the marketing and sales team to reach out to prospective customers early on in their purchase journey. These are the following ways companies use Intent data:
- Creating successful marketing campaigns
Most marketing teams focus on ABM or Account-Based Marketing strategies. The Intent data helps in this regard by giving the team a set of target accounts to focus their resources. From this vast set, the team can slowly narrow down to find the ideal buyers.
- Improve your targeted advertisements
Intent data gives you valuable information and helps you to understand the customer profile. With this information, you can deliver proper marketing strategies in the form of personalized content and targeted ads that can improve customer engagement.
- Website optimization
The first time you create your website, it might not appeal to your customer base despite the excellent design. This is because you still do not have relevant information about your customer’s preferences. Once you have this in the form of Intent data, you can easily optimize your website and boost engagement.
Wrapping up, we hope that this guide has been able to explain what Intent data is and its importance in B2B sales. If you want your marketing strategies to have a positive impact on your sales, you should consider buying Intent data from a vendor. We hope that this guide has been helpful.