Intent data, as its name suggests, shows which customers or accounts are likely to buy based on their online activities, such as price comparison and market research. By alerting sales and marketing teams when a high-fit account is primed to buy, intent data can powerfully boost conversion rates and sales. However, intent data isn’t a silver bullet; it must be carefully and intentionally integrated into a holistic marketing strategy. Both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) businesses can benefit from smart intent data marketing. Here are five key methods for leveraging intent data to get the most bang for your buck.
Choose your intent data wisely.
Intent data isn’t one-size-fits-all and choosing between different varieties can be like comparing apples to oranges. I always say that intent data is like a cake; generally, the more layers of intent you include, the more appetizing your marketing will be. However, it is possible to have too much of a good thing, especially when it comes to data. Knowing your options is essential.
In general, there are two main types of intent data that track potential customers using IP addresses and browser cookies. First-party intent data (engagement data) tracks activity on your own website, while third-party intent data tracks your competitors’ websites via third-party analyst sites and publications. Combining these different types of intent data can boost strategies like targeted outreach and account-based marketing (ABM).
Using a comprehensive data provider, companies can best gauge how to combine data types to maximize their own unique account scoring model. When choosing an automated intent data provider, look for a platform that offers a flexible scoring model as well as broader context and granular detail.
Don’t scrap other valuable data.
Because intent data can be such a powerful tool, it may be tempting for businesses to put all their eggs in one basket. But it’s generally a mistake to leverage only intent data without utilizing other types of data and traditional forms of marketing.
For example, while intent data can be an invaluable way to gauge an account’s buying potential, it can’t necessarily tell you if an interested buyer is a qualified buyer. Combining intent data with deep firmographic data about a business’ size, revenue and location can help sales and marketing teams home in on accounts with high intent that are also most highly qualified to buy.
Technographic data, which provides insights into a company’s technology stack and its likelihood for seeking new or supplementary technology, is another complement to intent data. Like intent data, technographic data is growing in essential value, due to the exponential rise in Software as a Service (SaaS) apps.
According to Bilssfully’s 2019 Annual SaaS Trends Report, the average business with 200 to 500 employees has a stack of 123 rotating SaaS applications; on average, businesses changed 40% of their SaaS apps in the preceding two years. With the average organization spending $343,000 on SaaS apps annually, deep, precise technographic data paired with strong intent data can create a huge sales opportunity for SaaS developers.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes.
While intent data may be utilized more by B2B businesses, it’s also extremely valuable to B2C businesses (consider how Amazon built its pioneering business model with customer intent data, such as browsing and buying history). In fact, best practices for B2B intent data and B2C intent data often overlap, and B2B businesses can benefit by approaching intent marketing through the lens of individual consumers.
Intent data is best used to humanize the marketing tactics of any business. Instead of telling customers they should buy a product based on all the data you’ve collected from them, marketers should focus on using intent data to improve the customer experience, addressing pain points and offering incentives instead of instructions.
For example, instead of sending an email that tells a customer “You forgot something in your cart!” businesses would do better to offer a discount code via email or pop-up to customers who have a high likelihood of purchasing. Humor and gamification go a long way toward humanizing your outreach and keeping your customers engaged while making them feel valued as individuals.
Focus on content creation.
One of the most underutilized applications of intent data is content creation. While technology is invaluable for aggregating and interpreting large amounts of data, marketers can easily rely too much on technology and thereby overlook more nuanced intent data that should be collected and interpreted by humans.
Businesses need to pay better attention to what their customers and potential customers are saying about their products online. Simply visiting Q&A forums like Quora to see how people ask questions about your products is a free and easy method of collecting valuable intent data.
Too often, I see and hear people ask questions about a product that aren’t answered on the company’s website. Companies that don’t listen to and address what people are saying in the market often make the mistake of assuming what customers want to hear. They simply try to drive their message home, then wonder why it falls short.
Ultimately, maximizing intent data takes building a long-term relationship with your customers. Intent data isn’t about instant gratification; it’s about building a sustainable pipeline that integrates multiple data types and traditional marketing with the end goal of satisfying each customer’s unique needs and desires.