Navigating the complex landscape of Marketing requires a deep understanding of your prospect’s journey. In this ever-evolving landscape, one powerful tool has emerged that is revolutionizing the way B2B marketers work: buyer intent data. This invaluable resource provides businesses with unrivalled insights into their prospect’s behavior, enabling them to present their offerings at precisely the right moment.
According to our first party research conducted within our IFP community, 99% of B2B marketers have witnessed significant sales and ROI increases by harnessing the power of intent data. The results speak for themselves…
In this comprehensive guide, we take a deep dive into what intent data actually is, explore its multitude of benefits, delve into its various types, and uncover the intricacies of its collection methods.
What is buyer intent data?
When we talk about buyer intent data, we refer to the information gathered about a person’s online behavior. This data is based on behavioral signals that indicate a person’s interest in a specific topic, product, or service. This information helps in understanding their perceived intent or their purchasing readiness.
The power of buyer intent data lies in its ability to allow sales and marketing teams to prioritize certain groups of people based on their intent. This data provides deeper insights into the buyer’s journey, helping businesses to better tailor their marketing campaigns and strategies to their target audience.
The strength of a buyer’s intent can be gauged through the types of content consumed. Some common indicators include:
- Reading specific articles on a company’s website
- Visiting product comparison and review pages
- The frequency of their visits and how often they return
- Downloads (whitepapers, case studies, eBooks)
- Engagement levels (email opens, time on site, clicks)
The more data points collected, the stronger the intent signals. In summary, intent data tells you when a lead is actively researching online before making a purchasing decision.
Intent data classification and collection strategies
To unlock the full potential of buyer intent data, it’s essential to understand its different types and sources. Broadly, intent data can be divided into three main categories:
- First party intent data: This data is gathered directly from a company’s customers, and is the most reliable source of data as it is collected directly from their interactions with your website, products and services. First party intent data is gathered through tracking tools such as cookies and analytics, surveys and other customer feedback and allows marketers to gain better insights into their customer’s behaviors, preferences and interests.
- Second party intent data: Second party intent data acts as a bridge between first and third party data, providing unique insights from partners or affiliates like G2 and Scoops. It offers external perspectives, enhancing exclusivity compared to third party data. Integrating it with your existing data enriches your understanding of buyer journeys, making it a vital component for a holistic view of buyer behavior and key behavioral indicators.
- Third party intent data: This type of data is collected from third party sources across the internet about a customer’s online behavior, such as their searches, web visits, purchases, and more. This third party data is typically mined via reverse IP lookup, bidstream data and media exchange/publishing members, collected from sources such as websites, surveys, and social media platforms, and then compiled into a database.
These types of data all have their unique advantages and should be used in combination for a comprehensive understanding of buyer behaviour.
Diving deeper: 4 key types of intent data
There are four primary sources of intent data that businesses can harness for their marketing and sales efforts:
1. Search intent data
Search intent data is generated when potential customers use search engines like Google to look up keywords or phrases. It helps businesses identify their target audience’s interests and needs more effectively.
2. Engagement data
Engagement data refers to the interaction of prospective buyers with specific pieces of content. This could include activities like reading, sharing, or commenting on content across various channels, such as blogs, websites, social media platforms, and more.
3. Firmographic data
Firmographic data relates to the information about a prospective company. It includes details like the company size, location, industry, and revenue, which can be sourced from business directories, website forms, and B2B data providers.
4. Technographic data
Technographic data encompasses the details about the business software, hardware, and networks a company uses. This type of data can be collected through surveys, questionnaires, and polls to gain a deeper understanding of a target company’s technical capabilities and needs.
The benefits of leveraging buyer intent data in B2B marketing
In the dynamic landscape of B2B marketing, understanding your audience’s intentions can be the key to success. Here are the advantages of harnessing buyer intent data:
1. Eliminating uninterested buyers and boosting conversion
The significant advantage of using intent data is that it eliminates the risk of engaging with uninterested buyers. It streamlines your prospecting pipeline to qualified leads only, dramatically increasing your conversion rate potential and giving your sales and marketing team a considerable advantage over competitors.
2. Capturing interest throughout the buyer journey
Most B2B buyers are already 57% of the way through the buying journey by the time they reach out to a company for more information. With buyer intent data, you can engage with customers before they reach out, tailor your messaging based on average content consumption, and build relationships with leads immediately.
3. Elevating Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
Successful ABM relies on precise targeting of accounts that align with your company’s offerings and present the most profitable opportunities. Incorporating intent data into your Account-Based Marketing strategy can help you better align your Sales and Marketing teams through informing which accounts you should prioritize your efforts – based on buying signals.
Intent intelligence also facilitates more accurate personalization strategies, enabling you to align your content precisely with your prospects’ pain points at crucial touchpoints in the buyer’s journey.
This strategic use of intent data not only streamlines your ABM efforts but also helps to build trust, and ultimately revenue, with your best fit accounts.
4. Refining your targeting
When it comes to organizing your accounts into target segments, intent data can increase accuracy and efficiency. Firmographic and technographic intent can help define the criteria used to construct your ideal customer profile (ICP). While action based intent, provides crucial rationale for segmenting your ICP into priority tiers based on factors such as readiness to buy and familiarity with your brand.
Using intent to build a data-driven targeting strategy opens up more opportunities to refine your campaigns and improve relevancy through better personalization tactics such as action-oriented campaigns and email sequences.
5. Enhancing ad campaigns
Intent data provides valuable context by revealing the topics and interests that resonate with individuals. Armed with this knowledge, you can develop targeted ad campaigns and distribute relevant, compelling content to address your prospects’ inquiries.
6. Scaling relevant content creation
Buyer intent data empowers your marketing teams to generate relevant content at scale. For example, by segmenting your accounts into ad groups you can deliver 1-1 messaging at scale based on a variety of data points.
You can also segment your email send lists and deliver personalized comms based on specific intent criteria. Similar intent targeting can be used to trigger website personalization, delivering tailored landing pages and messaging to audiences with a specific need, size or orientation.
7. Enhancing ROI through precision retargeting
Leveraging buyer intent data enhances your return on investment (ROI) through increasing the accuracy of your retargeting and remarketing efforts. With intent data in hand, your marketing team can prioritize remarketing efforts towards top tier target account lists (TAL) exhibiting strong active buyer intent.
This means your team gains a clear passage to potential buyers who are not only interested but also eager to close a deal. By retargeting this prime audience, you can maximize the efficiency of your ad spend – as your ads are more likely to resonate and result in conversions. This targeted retargeting strategy ensures that your marketing budget is focused on engaging those most likely to take action, ultimately leading to a higher ROI and more successful marketing efforts.
Assessing the quality of B2B intent data
When it comes to determining the quality of your intent data, you need to understand human behavior and the broader meaning of intent. Some common reasons why a prospect is looking for a solution online include informational intent (they’re researching a topic), commercial investigation (comparing providers, products, solutions), and purchase intent (the final step in the buying cycle).
To judge the quality of your intent data, consider factors such as how recently your potential customers have engaged, how often they have returned, and how engaged they are.
Where to find B2B intent data?
B2B companies turn to third party intent data providers to access this valuable information. According to our research, 99% of large companies use intent data in some way, with 98% of marketers expressing confidence in using intent data. Over half of marketers combine first party and third party data, and almost 40% of businesses are spending more than half of their marketing budget on intent data.
You can promptly utilize your existing resources to start gathering customer data. Ready-made applications can assist in collecting this information from your website, enhancing your marketing and sales operations as a result. However, if your aim is to obtain explicit purchase intent about your ideal B2B customer, opting for third party intent data might be the wiser choice.
Buyer intent data has fundamentally changed the way prospecting is done. Being able to actively target an audience of decision makers to influence their buying decision is a cornerstone of modern intent-based marketing. As our first party research suggests, there is no doubt intent has hit the marketing mainstream, how marketers will continue to evolve and refine their practice will pave the way for future innovation.
Take a look at our latest category intent reports.