B2B marketing is getting pretty complex with each passing day. There is plenty of data available to your business. But the same data is available even to your competitors. But making sense of it and leveraging it at the right time requires planning. The most basic of marketing processes involve creating a buyer persona, setting up analytic measures, create content and meet customers where they are at their buying stage.
Using the same method for B2B marketing you used years ago will not make it. The users’ needs are evolving. There is a set of audience who isn’t ready to buy your product, another set is contemplating about it and the third set is ready to buy. All these stages require distinct efforts and strategies.
This is why many B2B marketers are gaining interest in Intent-based marketing. They see the value of using intent data to produce the desired results.
What is B2B Intent Data?
When you search for something online or visit a webpage, you are tactically expressing your interest in a particular topic. For example, if you are reading about graphic design software, it means you are interested in the topic. So more you read about graphic design, the more you are revealing your intention.
Intent data is built on the same premise. In the case of B2B Intent data, the factors include a prospect visiting your website, product, or services. The degree of content depth they explore infers the level of their buying intent. Since B2B purchases typically involve heavy research, the content consumed can be a good predictor of their intent.
Intent data can be in several forms:
- 1st Party Data: Comes from owned digital assets such as CRMs, social media profiles, or websites.
- 3rd Party Data: Comes from external sources and is often purchased.
Where Does Intent Data Come From?
Whether it’s 1st party data or third-party data, the B2B intent data requires these four components.
1) Content: Content is an integral part of the B2B customer journey. With a blog post, videos, gated content that takes the customer from the awareness stage to the decision-making stage. The content is created in solving different customer needs at different buying stages. Tracking content consumption is an easy way to research the buying intent.
2) Topic Clusters: Topics in the form of people, companies, products, concepts, places give context to what the customer intended to find on your website. This is especially important for businesses with multiple services under their hood. Tracking content through topic clusters gives a good idea of their intent and the services they are most interested in.
3) Technology that Logs the Intent: To build the intent dataset, you need technology to recognize the customer intent. On third-party websites, it can be cookies and recording IP addresses, device, and browser names. On owned sites, this could be gated content that can be accessed by submitting information like email, role, experience, company size, etc.
4) Technology that tracks individuals: Once the user is cookied, you can use the metadata around the content to build the profile. The content surrounding the cookies reveals the intent.
The Difference Between First-Party Data and Third-Party Data?
The key difference between first-party data and third-party data is the ownership. With first-party data, you build a unique database customized for your strategy. Only you have access to this data.
The third-party data is purchased from an external vendor and does not possess any personalization quality. Your competitors could leverage the same data. Third-party data has to follow a lot of opt-in methods to build an accurate list.
How to Leverage the B2B Intent Data?
Now that you know few details about B2B intent data, let’s see how you can leverage its potential.
1) Build a dataset on every part of the digital audience
You must have noticed that you are unaware of most of your traffic sources. You have some percentage in your CRM, some from your paid campaigns, but a larger chunk of the organic audience remains unexplored. You don’t know their intentions or how they discovered your website. First-party intent data gives you insight into every visitor both at the campaign and individual level.
2) Understand Customer Intent
First-party intent data gives you the exact phrases your prospects search when they are researching your product. This gives you the ability to create content at a more granular level. Content that could precisely answer customer queries.
3) Selecting Terms and Phrases
Once you collect data from different sources, you can categorize them into different search terms that reveal different intent.
When someone is in the awareness stage, they may use search phrases starting from “How”, “When”, “Why”, “Reviews” etc.
As the buyers move ahead in the funnel, they may start searching phrases like “Price”, “Alternative to…”, “free trial” etc.
The decision stage may look like “how to purchase”, “Pro packages” etc.
With any of these search phrases, you can include your brand name, location, service, or a type of product and create content to attract them towards your business and fulfill their intention.
4) Designing Website Experience
When buyers visit your website, they are anonymous since we are unsure about their intentions. There are a few techniques you could employ to gain some basic information, like tracking their IP address to reveal their company. But still, the information is incomplete. We don’t know their intention, their role in the company, or how they visited the website. You can make visitors identify themselves via filling a form so the marketing team can engage with it. This reveals their intention of visiting your website.
You can leverage this information to incentivize users to take a specific action.
5) Lead Prioritization
B2B companies can leverage intent data to score and prioritize their leads. Their intent reveals what stage are they currently in.
a) Informational Intent: At top of the intent funnel, the user is not up for buying your product but researching information about their pain point. They know their problem and searching for a solution in more general terms like “How to store large files”, “How to automate the email campaign”. They may not be high-priority leads, but they shouldn’t be ignored. A lead nurturing campaign can help you convert this audience into customers.
b) Commercial Intent: Prospects with commercial intent are looking for specific information about your product. They compare your products with other brands, seek reviews, pricing options, and the best mode of buying. Here your sales team should focus on convincing the customer that how your product differentiates from the competitors.
c) Transactional Intent: At this stage, the prospect is ready to buy the product. There is an urgency and typically spend time on your checkout and pricing page.
The intent data helps you set up these prioritization systems. Your sales team can focus on leads with an appropriate amount of attention.
6) Nurture Leads with Personalized Content
First buyer data helps you uncover who the buyer is exactly. When it comes to B2B companies, knowing the buying power of your prospect is important. The decisions are usually done at upper-level management. With the lead stages mentioned above, you can nurture your audience with appropriate content educating the audience.
7) Targeted Advertising
Every B2B marketer desires to create more personalized marketing campaigns. B2B intent data allows you to do that efficiently. Intent data can create highly targeted ads with specific content. Improving your click-through rates.
8) Leverage Automation.
With first-party data, you can forecast demand and run automated drip campaigns and reduce the manual efforts that are typically associated with handling omnichannel marketing.
Intent Data and Account-Based Marketing
92% of all B2B marketers say that account-based marketing brings in the highest revenue than other strategies. Since ABM focuses on a specific set of individuals, knowing their intent would definitely help you in building successful marketing campaigns.
There is an immeasurable amount of data available at our disposal today. B2B marketers can use this data to understand crucial behavior aspects, their actions, and exclusions. Here’s How intent data can help
1) Demand Generation
Intent data can enhance the marketing efforts by specifically targeting customers when they are searching for solutions. The data will result in high attendance and conversions. Your team will know exactly how much budget to allocate and create content based on the interest shown in the data.
2) Optimized Content Strategy
Intent data can spotlight customer queries. This makes your content creation strategy easier. You can create content answering the frequently asked questions about your product. Reducing the efforts the customer has to put into research about a solution. This will dramatically increase your conversion rates.
3) Enhance Team Partnerships
The success of account-based marketing highly depends on how efficiently you implement the cross-channel marketing strategy. So different teams are working towards a similar goal. Intent data can assist these groups with clear intentions and objectives. All teams would know exactly what role they plan in making the customer journey smooth. The intent data also help you prioritize the role of each team based on their impact on the results.
4) Reduce Customer Churn
Intent data can reduce customer churn by closely monitoring customer behaviors. There may be certain activities during which you may witness a spike in customer churn. This data can fix the sales pipeline and improve conversions and retention.
Using Intent Data with Other B2B Data
Intent data is never utilized alone.
Just knowing the intent isn’t very helpful. So it is often paired with other data that your B2B marketing team collects. Pairing up this data narrows down the list of right-fit prospects.
Fit data includes all the information you use for segmenting the audience on a basic level. This includes demographics like job title, company, location, revenue, company size. The data is static and tells you basic information about your prospect. It still doesn’t contextualize your information.
Refers to conditions that are favorable for customers to buy your product. It can be company events, new series of funding, mergers, and acquisitions. All of these activities show buyers it’s a favorable condition to buy the product.
When you combine intent data with other B2B data, your chances of success become much higher.
Intent data goes one step ahead and tells you the right time to sell the product. It is important to be there when your customer needs you the most.
The data trifecta of the above-mentioned categories creates a perfect recipe for success.
Points to Remember while Evaluating Intent Platforms
If you are planning to buy Intent data from third-party platforms, here’s what you need to evaluate.
- Does this data map to an individual or company?
- How broad is the behavioral coverage?
- Can the provider provide the breakdown of how the data was collected?
- Is the data suitable to fit your current marketing strategy? Or do you need to modify the data or the strategy?
- How frequently do you get an update on this data?
- Are you able to customize the content topics you track?
Many B2B prospects prefer researching before they purchase the product. The intent data allows you to be for your customer at the beginning of the sales cycle.
Any company that waits for the prospective buyer to stumble upon their free trial or a Demo page will not make it. You need to take customers on a journey. And it is only possible if you are present when your prospects need you the most.