Article

Priya Kumari
Priya Kumari 7 March 2022

Decoding the Significance of Intent Data for B2B Marketers

Intent data reflects online users' explicit business interests. Intent data is one of today’s top buzzwords in marketing. But what is intent data, and what are the key benefits of using it? In this post, we'll dig deeper into what intent data is and how you can use it to enhance your B2B marketing efforts.

At its core, intent data is comprised of anonymous user signals that indicate tangible future online behaviors – such as purchase or subscription actions – delivered in real-time. Intent data also has its roots as a B2B-centric marketing technique, as it was first used by companies to identify in-market buyers based on their digital behavior.

With the rise of anonymous identity resolution capabilities and the advent of new channels for content distribution, intent data has since evolved into a broader marketing tactic that can inform content creation and promotion strategies, audience segmentation for paid media buys, and more.

Intent data is a new data source that's revolutionizing several realms of B2B marketing.

A revolutionary technology, intent data is tracked through the navigation of content, leads, and accounts on and off a website. Use this knowledge to inform your content, lead nurturing, and account-based marketing strategies.

Intent data is important for B2B marketers to measure and find out their customer's buying process. Intent data can help marketers to come up with an effective marketing strategy.

Traditional marketing relies on demographics to target audiences. There are several limitations to using demographics for targeting customers, but the most significant is that it’s reactive as it only takes known buying habits into consideration. 

Intent data is completely unlike demographics and it can be used to make predicted assumptions about audiences based on their behavior across the web.

However, despite being a buzzword in the realm of B2B marketing, not many B2B marketers understand how to deploy intent data. According to a report by DemandGen, within the B2B marketing industry, only 25% of the businesses are actually deploying intent data.

If you're not using intent data to inform your B2B marketing decisions, it's time to start. Intent data is helping many of today's marketers fuel the entire B2B marketing ecosystem, increasing the ROI of just about every system in your tech stack while improving your team's operational efficiency and overall program performance.

Better still, there are a lot of ways to deploy intent-driven strategies that can have an immediate impact on revenue if done right.

Let’s explore what the significance of intent data actually is and why B2B marketers should start with the strategy today. Here are a few realms of B2B marketing wherein intent data adds value:

1. B2B Intent Data to Boost Lead Generation Endeavors

A review of the latest research from Forrester on the role intent data plays in lead generation and accelerating pipeline velocity for B2B businesses.

According to Kari Hodgson, Director of Demand Generation at Couchbase, “We layer Company Surge data with individual contact lead scores to come up with an overall account score for our target companies. We go after target companies with high account scores across all of our Account-Based Marketing channels and have seen the number of engaged contacts increase.”

Thus, intent data plays a crucial role in orchestrating your lead generation endeavors to a few specific accounts.

We live in an era of marketing automation tools that aid the lead scoring process. However, with intent data, marketers actually have the liberty to delve deeper into the researching behaviors of the prospects and their motivations behind it.

A good intent data provider comes with CRM integration functionality and can also be easily integrated with several marketing automation tools and other lead generation platforms.

Thus, this data can in turn be more beneficial when integrated with other historical data analysis tools. A scoring system prioritizes the accounts actively looking for the solutions as your or something similar and thereafter the marketing & sales teams can coordinate and personalize the outreach activities more precisely.

By the end of the year 2020, it became clear that the marketing realm needed intent analysis.

B2B marketers are constantly challenged to generate better quality sales opportunities. Intent data offers one potential solution that enables marketers to find in-market buyers through their research activity, and deliver them targeted, personalized ads and content at each step of their buyer’s journey.

Intent data is a great tool for understanding how your target accounts and contacts are interacting with your website, content, social media, and more.

Using tools like Bombora or Mindshare, marketers can understand what their leads are reading about or looking at, then use this data to gain insights into behavior and opportunities for engagement. One of the biggest benefits is that it can help you quickly identify good leads and those who are not ready to buy yet.

2. Real-Time Intent Data can Invigorate your Account-Based Marketing Endeavors

We're not just talking about a contact list, as intent data is an intent signal that reflects a prospect's behavior and interest. This can range from website visits, site search engagement, content downloads, clicks on links leading to external pages, and many other digital signals.

For B2B marketers looking to generate leads through account-based marketing (ABM), intent data is useful in targeting the accounts they are most interested in.

Relevance is the key to engaging B2B buyers—and real-time intent data can be a great help, especially when it comes to account-based marketing (ABM). Intent data provides near real-time business intelligence that helps marketers identify and reach prospects as they’re doing research online.

This can include account-specific insights, such as which topics an individual or an entire organization is investigating.

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a proven strategy to improve marketing efficiency and overall performance. Intent Data helps speed up the ABM strategy, through Demandbase’s Real-Time Intent-as-a-Service you can gain a deeper understanding of what accounts are in the market.

Today, the data that is available to B2B marketers is not the leads form or list they buy or rent, but the real-time intent data. The Intent Data uses AI to scrutinize the content consumed by specific individuals, groups, and companies via different channels.

This prompts them to identify the people who are primed for purchase but have not yet engaged with your brand. This provides a helpful advantage in connecting sales and marketing for closing more deals with hot accounts.

3. Intent Data Makes your Demand Generation Campaigns more Efficient

The key to any successful demand generation strategy is accurate targeting. As a growth-stage company, your customer base is expanding and shifting, meaning your target audience becomes increasingly complex.

Intent data allows you to identify new customer segments and reach prospective buyers with customized messaging based on recent behaviors across the web.

The use of intent data can provide useful insight into the most likely next step for a particular lead. Here we share insight on how users' explicit (or inferred) intent signals can be leveraged to make your demand generation campaigns more efficient.

Intent data has become an increasingly essential tool for B2B marketers as they look to streamline their demand gen efforts and shrink the sales cycle.

Whether your organization is a growth-stage or established brand, it’s critical to leverage intent data to inform messaging and make campaigns more efficient. Intent data helps B2B marketers identify and prioritize leads based on the signals they express across the web.

Intent data is comprised of the billions of signals generated by users across the Web. These signals reveal the products, features, and content that your target audience is researching.

A great way to harness intent data for your demand generation campaigns is to use it for product recommendations based on user behavior, like recommending accessories based on the phone model a customer is viewing.

Or if you're a B2B company looking to increase the conversions from your content marketing efforts, you could use specific action signals to recommend articles that are contextually relevant to recent web and search activities.

Intent data, which identifies individual user engagement with digital content such as website visits and social media posts, can be leveraged to make your demand generation campaigns more efficient.

This type of data is designed to capture important signals (or breadcrumbs) into what the intent or the need is for technology influences. Moreover, insights gleaned from the intent data can help shape messaging that's relevant to specific target accounts' wants and needs.

Once the marketers are able to prioritize accounts on the basis of their purchasing intent they can skyrocket the conversions through activities such as email marketing, programmatic advertising, video marketing & even through cold emails.

4. Use of Intent Data Boosts your Content Marketing ROI

Intent data can be defined as information regarding the online activity of users indicating their search for a specific product/service. The B2B buyer’s journey typically involves consuming relevant content at each stage.

Unleashing the power of intent data, marketers can anticipate the content consumption habits of their target audience groups and determine how to better serve the needs of the early buyers who are still in research mode, while also catering to more immediate and qualified prospects further down the funnel.

With intent data, marketers can tailor their content strategy to suit audiences’ interests. With intent data you can actually create the content your target audience will engage with.

This strategy has already benefitted a lot of brands including Cloudera.

In fact, Cloudera leveraged this strategy to boost their on-site engagement by 66%.

Heather Sutherland, Senior Director of Demand Generation at Cloudera explains, “On a weekly basis we pass our sales teams with intent data on which their accounts are showing an increase in intent on different topics, the intensity of increase, and that allows sales teams to raise those accounts to a higher level and to decide if they want to go after them or have their SDRs on some prospecting.”

In contrast to first-party transactional and behavioral data, which has historically been the mainstay of B2B marketers, intent data is sourced from external signals of individuals and companies as they are actively researching and evaluating products/services.

The data is then assembled and delivered in the form of personalized insights by compliant vendors to help fuel the content consumption habits of marketing and sales professionals.

With tailored pieces of content, the sales cycles shorten and this provides a competitive edge.

5. Intent Data Assists in Exploring Cross-Selling Opportunities & Reduces Customer Churn

With the amount of competitive noise increasing every day, it is hard for organizations to keep their customers engaged with their buying journey.

In such a scenario, as per Aberdeen's research, B2B marketers who maintain a strong engagement with their customers through intent data have a lower customer attrition rate. With the help of intent data, your marketing teams can explore potential cross-selling opportunities and engage with the existing clients in a more informed manner.

Intent data is helping companies develop new strategies for understanding their customers, improving their relationships, and finding potential customers to generate more growth.

By tapping into the intent data available to them, B2B marketers can develop faster go-to-market strategies, map buying processes, and address customer churn with a data-informed perspective.

Buying Intent Data allows B2B marketers to get as close to their prospects as possible, enabling them to create personalized messages that are aligned with the particular preferences of each target group.

Thus, marketers can identify the right personas and understand who is visiting specific websites and where they come from. Combining intent data with your existing customer information, you can segment new leads who matched your existing contacts' digital behavior.

This will give valuable insight into which products they want to buy too or potential services they may need.

According to MarketingProfs, companies that have learned how to leverage intent data witness impressive results, in terms of bolstering the average deal value by up to 35% and augmenting higher customer win rates by up to 20%; also the average duration to close the deals is reduced by 20%.

Road Ahead: Turn Intent Data into B2B Business Intelligence

Intent Data is a relatively new way for B2B marketers to find the right customer and know exactly when they're ready to buy. Because this data helps you understand your customer's interests, it has the potential to be one of the strongest tools in your marketing tech stack.

The key to success in today’s competitive B2B market is agility, particularly when it comes to how you engage with prospects. Intent data has the unique capability to empower your sales and marketing organizations in real-time, giving them the relevant insights they need to act quickly and decisively.

You might have already developed a strategy to turn your B2B marketing plans into success stories. But with intent data, you can take that strategy even further. Intent data gives you the insights you need to deliver the right message at the right time.

Once upon a time, companies would send out mass mailings or email campaigns to thousands of people with no way of knowing if they were actually interested in receiving their messages - from the transportation industry to insurance to banking and finance.

But there was a problem: There wasn’t a way for businesses to reach their potential customers on a one-to-one basis because they had no way of knowing what those consumers really wanted.

For better B2B marketing strategies, it is essential to leverage intent data from the prospect. It offers an up-close look at the target audience, their browsing patterns, and interests. Intent data can be leveraged in many different ways such as gauging purchase readiness, pre-planning content marketing efforts, and analyzing competitors' success rates.

As for personalization in sales and marketing, intent data is the knowledge of what consumers want right now. Intent data includes third-party (anonymous) B2B engagement with website content, social media pages, and paid searches — all real-time signals that B2B businesses can monitor.

Get ready, marketers: The road ahead to turn intent data into B2B business intelligence is a long one.

From intent data to business-to-business (B2B) insights, demand generation results, or marketing funnel management, to fully understanding how all of these are interconnected and supporting each other, it’s going to take time — and patience; however, the right time to start is right now.

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