The job of a B2B marketer today is not easy. With the constant pressure to demonstrate the business value of campaigns to the buyers and create stable conversion pipelines, marketers have to be highly proactive in their approach.
As per a B2B buyers’ survey, 77% of buyers conduct a detailed ROI analysis before making a buying decision.
So, what does a B2B marketer do to gain deeper insights into the buyers’ needs and wants so that the value of the campaigns can be demonstrated?
They use intent data. In this post, we will discuss what intent data is and how B2B marketers can use it to enhance ROI and drive more sales.
What is intent data?
As the name indicates, intent data reveals buyers’ intent, like what actions they are most likely to take, products and services they are most likely to buy.
Only 3% of potential buyers exist in the market for a product or service at a given time, so you have to use your marketing dollars wisely to ensure you are engaging with the right prospects with the right message.
Intent data help you focus on the right leads, shorten the sales cycle, and increase conversions.
Let us elaborate this by using an example:
Your buyers are searching online for a solution to a problem that you can solve. They’re reading articles, blogs and comparing options to find the best solution to their problem.
But they have not approached your company yet. So how would you let them know you have the right solution for them? By using intent data, which will help you ensure you get ahead of the process and position yourself to be the first in the line to make your sales pitch.
Marketers gather intent data by tracking buyers’ online behavior, which includes:
- The websites they are visiting
- The time they are spending on specific websites
- Products or services they are researching
- Their online subscriptions and product reviews
The below image indicates some other sources from which content data can be gathered.
Types of Intent Data
B2B marketers swim in a sea of data. Having the right data can be the difference between success and failure. Therefore, it is important to identify the right data and use it to manage the sales cycle and close deals better.
First-Party Intent Data:
The information marketers obtain by observing and directly interacting with the customers or prospects. This data can be collected through your website, emails, and social media.
Third-Party Intent Data:
It is the information that marketers obtain from other sites. For example, by visiting review sites, publishing networks. It is predicted that by the end of 2022, over 70% of B2B marketing companies will be using third-party intent data to target their customers and prospects.
Below are some of the activities buyers perform on third party websites during the buying process.
Besides understanding the intent of the buyer, it is also important to understand who the buyer is. For example, if a person reading this article is an industry analyst, he/she is probably writing a report and trying to gain more insights on the subject. On the other hand, if it’s a product development expert reading this article, the purpose may be different.
So basically, what we mean to say here is that understanding who your buyer is adds another valuable dimension to your customer-based marketing model, thus making your marketing strategies even more effective.
How to Use Intent Data
Now that you have some basic understanding of intent data, let us discuss how it can be used to drive revenue.
1. Personalize website experience for website visitors
When a person visits your website, with the help of the right tools, you can identify their company and industry based on their IP address. You can then track the pages they visit and serve customized content to them using web personalization.
2. Prioritize inbound leads based on the lead scoring method
With the help of 1st party behavioral data, the visitor’s intent can be given different scores based on the activities they perform on your website. For example, if a lead visits your product overview page, they will be given a score of 5; if they visit the pricing page, they will be given a score of 7, and so on. When a lead’s score reaches a certain point agreed upon by your sales and marketing team, the prospect will then be approached.
3. Identify potential customers and influence them
You can influence buyers’ purchasing decisions before they even visit your website. For example, people consume social media content and read reviews online, which shape their opinions and ultimately influence their purchasing decisions.
Although this data is very useful to marketers, its volume is massive, and many companies don’t have the budget to integrate such data into their existing marketing strategies. By integrating predictive analytics platforms with their marketing automation and CRM platforms, you can easily sieve the relevant data. This data can then be incorporated into predictive account scoring models to determine if the buyers would buy your products or services.
4. Device an effective content strategy
Content marketing helps companies get 3x more leads than paid search advertising.
But, if your content is not relevant to the customers, they can easily click away. That is why you need to tailor your content as per the needs of the customers. Intent data will help you deliver suitable content to your prospects/customers at the right time.
5. Improve SEO and grow organic presence
For 61% of marketers today, improving SEO is their most important inbound marketing strategy. By defining specific behavior and pain points with the help of intent data, companies can provide content that meets the B2B buyers’ specific needs, thus boosting the SEO.
Benefits of Using Intent Data For B2B Marketing
B2B industry is highly competitive, with marketers always trying to get ahead of their competition. Understanding the prospects’ buying behavior can help you target specific buyers and create personalized advertising for them.
When approached at the right time, with the right type of advertising, the prospect shows more intent to buy.
The benefits of intent data in the B2B space don’t end here. Below are some other benefits of intent data for the B2B marketers.
Targeting the “Invisible” buyers
Many B2B buyers prefer to remain anonymous and do not engage with a business until they are finally ready to make the purchase decision. This is known as “Invisible Demand.”
68% of B2B buyers prefer to do their research alone, which is a challenge for the B2B marketers as they do not even get the opportunity to interact with such buyers. Intent data can help you uncover such demands by revealing the online activity of key accounts. You can then use this data to understand their buying behavior and the buyer journey they are in.
Once you have identified which organizations are interested in your products/services, you can focus your time and energy on such accounts. This type of marketing is known as account-based marketing.
The intent data can be combined with account-based marketing in the following ways:
- For prioritizing high-intent accounts.
- For retargeting visitors with relevant messages in the ads, emails, and sales outreach.
- For creating personalized buying experiences.
Some Other key benefits of B2B marketing include:
- It enhances user experience by delivering relevant and personalized content.
- It helps the marketing teams to focus on the right leads.
- Lost leads can be retargeted with the help of intent data.
- By aligning intent data with demographics, local marketing efforts can be strengthened.
- If the page elements of the landing pages can be tweaked with the help of intent data, it can result in high conversions.
Intent data presents great benefits to the B2B industry; despite that, just 25% of B2B companies use intent data. As a B2B marketer, if you too are ignoring the value of intent data, then you should definitely start using intent data now as the future of B2B marketing will be highly based on intent data.
Why Intent data is the basis of the future of B2B Marketing and sales?
As big data becomes increasingly relevant in today’s data-driven world, intent data will become an indispensable tool for the B2B marketers that will help them by providing clear patterns from billions of data.
Using the latest tools, such as Leadspace, first-person data and intent data can be combined, which can be further analyzed using Artificial Intelligence to create better customer profiles, and tailor content for specific needs.
At this point, it would not be wrong to say that data is the lifeline of B2B marketing. If you can see the world as the customers do and shape your marketing strategies based on the intent data, you can reap several rewards, like increased ROI, increased revenue, cost improvements, and advantage over your competitors, which is paramount to the success of any organization.