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What Is Intent Data And Its Benefits for B2B Sales?

Intent data is a behavioural dataset that indicates what a business or an individual is interested in. It predicts whether a buyer intends to invest in your (or similar) products or solutions. It’s the next big step in data-driven marketing and sales.

It can be used to make more efficient and confident marketing and sales decisions.

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Intent data 101 | What is the value of intent data? | What are the different types of intent data? | Why intent data is useful for B2B sales | Why intent data is useful for B2B marketing | Cognism and intent data | Contact Cognism today

Intent data 101

Cognism's Video Marketer Emily Liu is your guide to intent data and how it helps B2B sales! Press ▶️ to watch her sales training video.


What is the value of intent data?

Cognism’s Head of Product, Baptiste Picard, is the person responsible for bringing intent data to Cognism Prospector. We spoke to Baptiste, so we could give you all the information you need on intent data. He told us:

“You’re able to prioritise companies based on their intent. Knowing which prospects have shown the most interest in your solution will revolutionise your sales and marketing efforts.”

“You can also expand on this to identify companies and markets which have shown interest, but might not have been on your radar.”

“Intent data will be a key factor in identifying new prospects and prioritising existing ones.”

- Baptiste Picard, Head of Product

Cognism’s Head of Global Customer Success, Zachary White, also has a few examples of the benefits intent data can provide.

There are two main benefits of using intent data:

1 - Finding active companies

“Intent data can be the difference between finding companies which are and aren’t active. This makes it much easier to identify the low hanging fruit - which will allow you to convert a higher rate of opportunities.”

- Zachary White, Head of Customer Success

2 - Gaining audience insights

“The information you gather will help you learn about your audience. Which companies make up this list? How is our solution going to help these companies? In this instance, intent data can be used to build a more detailed ICP.”

- Zachary White, Head of Global Customer Success

This isn’t only the case for tech companies. Intent data is highly valuable for any B2B company.

In the next section, you’ll learn a bit more about intent data.

What are the different types of intent data?

To understand where intent data comes from, you have to understand the different types of intent data. There are two main areas: first-party and third-party intent data.

First-party intent data is any intent data that is collected from your own site. This could include forms that are filled in for gated content or IP addresses collected from visitors. 

Third-party intent data is any intent data collected from another website. This also includes filled in forms and collected IP addresses. It’s usually gathered by intent data providers, such as Cognism’s partner Bombora, and provided to buyers.

We’ve broken this down in a handy cheat sheet for you to steal 👇

Intent Data Cheat Sheet

The trick to gathering your own intent data is knowing where to look. 

  • Known first-party intent data - your CRM.
  • Anonymous first-party intent data - Google Analytics.
  • Known third-party intent data - an intent data provider, such as Bombora.
  • Anonymous third-party intent data - an intent data provider, such as Bombora.

Combining prospecting and intent data is a seriously powerful move, which Cognism will be doing in March 2021. We’ll touch on that later.

First, let’s take a look at the marketing and sales possibilities opened up by intent data.

Why B2B intent data is useful for sales

Intent data can give you the edge over your competitors, giving you better awareness of your market and a lot more context heading into cold calls.

If you’re still not convinced, here are a few use cases for intent data in B2B sales.

Get in early

Every salesperson knows, it pays to be the first person in touch.

With intent data, you’ll be able to get in front of potential clients earlier in their buyer’s journey. Your awareness of potential customers, who are just starting to look around, means that you can start targeting them sooner.

You’re also more likely to find potential buyers who aren’t aware of your company…yet. With intent data, you’ve got a chance to intercept buyers before they start investigating competitors.

Lead scoring

If sales teams are identifying a lot of outbound leads, they might not have time to reach out to all of them. This is where lead scoring comes in. It’s the process of prioritising leads, so you know who to speak to first. 

What’s the best way of scoring leads?

By their intent, of course. If they’re more likely to buy, you want to get on the phone and start pitching to them straight away.

One of the most valuable aspects of intent data is that you can rank prospects in order of intent. This will give you a list of targets, ordered by who you should contact first.

It’s a lead generation game-changer.

Cold calling context

If you have knowledge of the types of companies a prospect is looking at, and the type of company you are, you can have a more valuable call with them. 

It will give you insights into the reasons why they’re looking at your solution. This means you’re not looking for pain points at the start of your cold call. You already know them.

You’re also going to do a better job of building rapport when you already know about the prospect’s intent to buy.

Reduce churn and upsell

This might be one for the Customer Success team, but it’s no secret that retaining customers is more cost-efficient than finding new ones.

Intent data allows companies to see the solutions their current client base are considering. They might include additional features that you don’t yet offer, or alternate solutions to your own.

You now have a chance to either work to save the client, or add the feature they’re looking for. It’s a great indicator of the gaps in your product, so you can improve your offering over time - and keep your customers from moving elsewhere.

Why intent data is useful for B2B marketing

In B2B virtual prospecting intent data plays a key role. It’s mostly about prioritisation and market discovery. Here are the main use cases for intent data in B2B marketing.

Build LinkedIn matched audiences

With the help of intent data, you’ll be able to build effective ABM campaigns. Showing relevant ads to the right companies at the right time will drastically reduce your cost per lead. 

With a better idea of the companies who are interested in your product, you’ll be presenting ads to familiar faces. Your branding will be recognised and conversions will soar.

This also applies to content marketing.

Just created a handy whitepaper? Great!

Now you can make sure you’re putting it in front of the right eyes. Which people need to see this content to get a deal over the line? Let’s get it in front of them - by targeting high intent leads with relevant content at every stage of the B2B marketing funnel.

Improve your targeting

Once you’ve ordered your leads by intent, you’ll be able to build a better idea of your ideal customer profile (ICP). You know which buyer groups are the most interested. These are the people you want to target.

This feeds into everything a marketer does.

Make sure your team is up to date with the intent scoring, so they can tailor their campaign efforts to hit the right note. It gives you an extra element of flexibility that isn’t always there with B2B marketing.

Your email marketers will be able to build highly relevant lead nurturing campaigns. Which people are ready for a more forward CTA? Which ones need a bit more time? It’s all invaluable information.

Optimise your website

This is another benefit that comes from a more accurate ICP. You can adjust your website to fit your audience. 

The ICP doesn’t always stay the same. Changes in certain industries might make them a better or worse match. Figuring out your ICP isn’t a one-time job. Intent data gives you the opportunity to calculate it constantly, and make small adjustments to reflect the change.

This includes optimising your website. Create pages specifically for the most frequent visitors, and those with the highest intent. You could make relevant case studies easier to access and provide industry-specific information.

Cognism and intent data

The benefit of having company intent data in a B2B prospecting tool, like Cognism, is twofold.

With intent data, you can get background information on a company, so you can target more precisely and qualify with more speed and confidence. 

This gives you the power to only speak to companies who are currently looking for a product just like yours - and the ability to understand exactly what they’re looking for.

Once you’ve found the right companies, Cognism will show you the right people. You’ll quickly be able to find the key decision-maker at the company for your solution.

In just a few clicks, you’ll be speaking to the perfect person at the perfect company. It’s as easy as that!

Contact Cognism today

Take advantage of intent data on the Cognism platform today!

Click 👇 to get started.

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