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The power of intent data for B2B marketing

June 8, 2021

Struggling to gain traction in your B2B marketing?

It could be that your communication is all wrong for your target audience.

Or, we've all been there:

You targeted too late...

 

Implementing intent data into your marketing strategy can help you overcome these challenges while making an even deeper connection with your B2B prospects.

Plus, it's easy!

Who wouldn't want that?

In this article, we'll be discussing the importance of intent data for more powerful marketing that's bang on target every single time.

Click the section you'd like to jump to or scroll 👇 to start reading from the top:

What is intent data | How is intent data sourced | Why is intent data so valuable for B2B marketing? | Brand awareness | A hyper-personalised customer journey | Personalised targeting in real-time | Aligned teams for higher conversions | Automated targeting that feels personal 

Cognism B2B Marketing

Now, before we talk shop, let’s first get down to the nitty-gritty:

What is intent data? 🤷

When your buyer searches for a product similar to yours on Google, they're showing intent to buy. Information like this is collected and stored to provide B2B business with intent data for better data driven marketing.

It's not just Google that collects this information. Website visits, blog views, whitepaper downloads, social adverts and more keep track of buyer behaviour to discern how likely they are to take a certain action.  

Charles Crnoevich, Vice President of Partnerships & Business Development at Bombora defines intent data as:

Intent data helps B2B teams better their prospect and customer experience at all stages of the buyer journey. From top-funnel ad messaging that meets prospective buyers in their initial research phase, to bottom-funnel sales messaging that includes context around specific product needs, intent insights give every touchpoint the ability to be backed by data. It eliminates room for human guessing and the risk of  being irrelevant to your audience.”

This is why intent data is so great for B2B marketers:

👉 It can help you make quick and confident decisions and saves you time qualifying outbound leads or finding new companies that may not have been on your radar before.

But, if you're worried that wading through all that extra analytics is going to take up too much time, don't.

You get two types of intent data:

  • First-party - intent data you can collect and analyse based on how the prospect interacts with your various platforms.
  • Third-party - intent data you can purchase from a vendor. When buyers show intent to purchase a similar product to yours, you'll be able to monitor their intent signals and see the list of qualified accounts, saving you a lot of time having to source it yourself.

How is intent data sourced? 🕵️‍♀️

Each time you upload a blog or resource to your website you're including a topic tag or keyword that is picked up by various search sites. Buyers find these tags and interact with your content.

In doing this they're creating metadata that can be tracked by yourself or a third-party intent data provider like our partner, Bombora:

“We collect intent data by building GDPR regulated relationships with thousands and thousands of organisations across the B2B landscape. Including the sites you might not readily visit, but your buyer does. We like to look at places that capture the bigger view of B2B research and also websites that are hyper-targeted to specific audiences you might be looking to target.”

This data is then captured to read something like:

Company 'A' is interested in the following topics - topic 1, topic 2 and topic 3.

If you’re getting your marketing data from a provider like Bombora, you can search for leads via topics that relate to your business.

Intent can be measured via several factors:

In terms of first-party, anything you already have stored on your CRM can be used including forms filled in for your gated content, Google analytics, website interactions, link clicks, conversations on social media, advert engagement and downloads from your site.

Why is intent data so valuable for B2B marketing? 💎

Imagine having the power to predict when a prospect is about to start searching for a product like yours?

Now, imagine having the power to read their mind, change your messaging in real-time to suit their needs at every stage of the buyer journey and build a dynamic relationship at the touch of a button?

Intent data is your Hammer of Thor.

 

So how can you wield this power in the best way so you never have to experience that dreaded pit of despair when a prospect ghosts you, again?

Here are seven benefits of intent data and how to take advantage of each in your marketing:

📣 Brand awareness

Your customer needs to know what they want before intent can be established.

But here's the thing:

They may have no idea who you are...

Intent data is great because it opens your business up to an audience you might never have thought to approach, and in doing so you're increasing your brand awareness and growing your lead pool.

“When you use intent data to track topics related to your industry and the common pain points that lead a customer to a product or service like yours, it gives you the ability to get in the door with these prospects and bring awareness to your brand earlier, even before they make it to your website.” - Charles

They might search for your product, visit your site and social pages just to get an idea of who you are. Most B2B buyers are shopping around, doing their research first. If you have a good brand strategy and your website and social pages are geared towards your clients, you're going to get the interaction that can be used to build intent data.

But, this interaction can also be used to help you discover what your brand is missing. Then you can optimise your content plans so as not to miss any future opportunities.

What's more, with intent you get a good idea of who the person is you’re selling to, so you can personalise your interaction with them. Personalisation means they'll be more likely to refer you in the future and keep the awareness growing.

🧭 A hyper-personalised customer journey

Before intent data, marketers spent a lot of time segmenting lists based on a buyer’s job title and company.

While we got away with calling this 'personalisation' there's so much more to your buyer than where they work and what they do.

To get them on board with your brand you need to delve into what truly interests them. Intent data is going to tell you exactly what that is.

Based on interactions across your site, you can collect B2B data that gives you a better understanding of what your buyer is interested in. You can then gauge their level of intent by monitoring the number of business-relevant topics they've engaged with.

From here you can:

  • Rank your leads from low potential leads to prospective clients.
  • Segment your list by topic.
  • Create hyper-personalised messaging based on what they want to read, rather than what you've guessed they want to read.

That’s effective ABM!

But, don't stop at segmentation:

Create engagement and build your relationship with your buyer throughout their experience. Map out points based on their needs, interests and challenges along the way.

Previous prospects will help you define the most successful approach to the buyer experience, but their specific intent will help you take their journey from a drab commute to an enjoyable adventure!

🎯 Personalised targeting in real-time

In today's fast-paced world, you need to act quickly if you want to snag your buyers' attention away from the competition.

High-quality intent data can help you do this.

How so?

By connecting with your buyer as they start looking around and before they start researching your competitors - as Charles explains:

“A lot of people know they have a problem but they don’t know what it is yet and they don’t know what technology or service is going to solve this problem. In this case, you’ll see a huge spike in research before a buyer makes a decision. This is a great time for top of funnel thought leadership and getting your name in there by letting them know that you have the solution to their problem and you’re the best provider for it.”

SEO helps a lot in getting in front of them first. Intent data is actually way more effective than just using keywords. It can help you rank high and improve organic presence through topics that meet your buyers’ pain points, needs and business goals.

“In fact. It might appear as if you've read their mind! It will really seem like that's the case when you approach them first with the exact solution they need and the perfect messaging - messaging that can be adapted in real-time to connect at the perfect time.

Not only can you hook a buyer as soon as they start their journey but you can apply churn models and survival analysis to ensure you can retain them if they get cold feet.

For example, based on their needs you can offer them a special discount or a free upgrade.

🖇️ Aligned teams for higher conversions

Sometimes it might feel like B2B marketing is speaking a whole new language compared to B2B sales

 

Intent data is the common ground, a meeting point where teams can speak the same language and communicate clearly.

When you add an automated solution to the mix, you're looking at an all-powerful sales and marketing duo that's perfectly aligned to move prospects down the funnel and ensure optimised workflows.

This is achieved because you're no longer wasting precious time manually entering data, analysing it all and waiting for trigger alerts. Everything you need to know can be found in your intent database.

But, the benefit of intent for all teams doesn't end there. When you can predict your customers' journey, you can pre-programme actions like sending out emails for every stage of the funnel.

🤖 Automated marketing that feels personal

Once you have a list of your target audience, or total addressable market, based on the data you've collected, you can start to plan an effective personalised marketing plan.

Charles adds:

Your buyers' needs are ever-changing, and so is intent data. Not only does it reflect those spikes and lulls in interest but it ensures you get in front of them with automated marketing actions as soon as they show a spike in interest for your product or service.”

What you do next will depend on how deep you want to dive into the wonderful world of data-driven marketing with intent data.

You can automate emails for lead nurturing campaigns to suit their level of intent. Do they need a firmer CTA? Will asking for a meeting right now scare them off? Perhaps they need a little more time getting to know you... It can all be automated to suit their specific needs.

What's more, you can even personalise landing pages just for them.

“Knowing your buyer's intent and having a team that's knowledgeable about intent scoring allows you to adjust different elements on your page to seem as if it was built just for them!

Or, you can un-gate content you know they'd be the most interested in - the options really are endless and make for a great customer experience.

Last thoughts

Intent data is a game-changer if you're looking to become more efficient in connecting with your buyers on a deeper level. Relationships built with intent data give you higher win rates because they're stronger and better quality than those acquired through manual prospecting.

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