What is Intent Data and How Does Buyer Intent Work?

When it comes to B2B marketing and sales, the success of your campaigns hinges heavily on the quality of your data and how you use it. Any marketing professional or sales expert worth their salt knows the true value of harnessing data to grow and strengthen their pipeline. 

Despite all the types of data out there – in its myriad forms of packaged customer insights and dashboard trackers – there’s none quite as effective as Buyer Intent Data.

Bearing this in mind, only 25% of B2B companies use intent data, even though 75% of companies say closing more deals is their top sales priority.  It’s time to get acquainted with business’s most powerful tool.

Buyer intent, in its simplest terms, is data that indicates the purchasing intentions of your potential customers. Using Buyer Intent Data, you are able to scope out the signals given off by your ideal prospects so you can understand how actively they are engaging with your product or service online.

Lead Onion Buyer IntentThese “signals” are triggered by a prospect’s activity. Whether it be their engagement with a competitor, website visits or research into your product, they are happening long before your prospects have visited your website, submitted a form or got in contact.

Once a prospect’s actions trigger a signal, it will be harvested by a Buyer Intent engine which aggregates these behaviors as a roadmap to identifying where a prospect is in their buying cycle

The whole point of Buyer Intent is creating a direct line to the prospects in your marketplace who match your customer personas and are in the hunting process for what you’re selling.

Imagine the leg work removed in the nurturing process if every prospect in your funnel is in purchasing mode!

With 49% of companies reporting that increasing customer acquisition is at the top of their agenda [Ascend2, 2020], buyer intent becomes an invaluable, all-seeing capability to connect with the companies and businesses already searching for the solution you have to offer. 

But how does it work?

In the advent of online shopping, millions of people all around the world are interacting online in their hunt for the products that will meet their needs. From engaging with content on websites to specific search engine topics and according to research by Google, 89% of B2B researchers are using the internet during the B2B research process – this is a huge amount of data left behind the actions of your potential target market.

By using smart technology, such as machine learning and AI, these databases of information can be mined to deliver key insights, predict Buyer Intent patterns and track consumer engagement. 

The success of Buyer Intent is all down to the algorithm which is set up to monitor engagements, observe prospects’ behaviour and locate the prospects who match your buyer profile. In return, the Buyer Intent algorithm will deliver all the prospects who are indicating high purchase intent and put them straight into your database.

Where does Intent Data come from?

How Buyer Intent data is collected has to do with its sources and these are broken down into three categories: first, second and third party data. Until recent years, Buyer Intent has been largely restricted to first-party sources, but in the growth of technology and mobile shopping, buyer intent data can now be accumulated across the three categories.

First-party intent data

First-party data is the data you’re directly in control of and directly have access to, such as: 

  • Website visits
  • Interactions with your customers across social media or email, social listening tools.
  • Offline interactions like attendance at industry events or tradeshow. 

Second-party intent data

Second-party intent data is the information collected, analysed and sold by another company, such as:

  • Review sites, like G2 (a premier technology review site).
  • Publishing networks.  

In the case of G2, it collects data for visitors to industry categories and sells this information back to the companies listed.

While this can be useful data, it is finite because it’s restricted to traffic only on the host website and doesn’t provide individual-level data, only company-level which isn’t specific to the person responsible for purchasing decisions within the company. 

Third-party intent data

Third-party intent data is collected from activities outside of your owned digital  properties, such as:

  • Keyword and topic mentions.
  • User reviews.
  • Competitor mentions on external sources such as Blogs, B2B publishers, Forums, business or technology-focused online communities.
  • Public data from social media networks, i.e. LinkedIn.

With contact level intent data you can start to segment and score your leads and use intent data to trigger personalised emails. 

Why is Buyer Intent Data more valuable than any other data?

Digital media is a competitive space to thrive in. If you want to keep ahead of your competitors and keep your finger on the pulse of your ideal customers, you need to think and act like they do.

To do that, you need to extend your customer insights beyond the first-party data at your fingertips. 

While it’s important to keep the activity of your websites, ads and email campaigns in check and nurture your leads accordingly, there’s a whole world of prospects out there who are suited to your product or service – and best of all – they’re searching for it.

If you don’t find a way to connect with your ideal personas who are in buying mode, then your key target market remains out of reach. 

Lead Onion Topic IntentWith Buyer Intent, you have the visibility to see beyond your own platforms and into the content your potential prospects are engaging with, so you can identify who is actively engaged and nearing their commitment to a purchase.

Why Intent Data is it the future of B2B Marketing & Sales?

Intent data presents a solution to the fundamentals of marketing and sales, which is to know your ideal customer and understand their behavior, so you can make informed strategies for responding to their needs in the spaces where they are active and searching for a product or service. 

Using intent data, companies can assemble a map of signals which indicate the where, when and why of your prospects’ buying patterns. Marketing and sales teams can use this information to adapt and personalise their campaigns to appeal to “ready-to-buy” prospects and nurture their inclination to purchase. 

According to Gartner’s, more than 70% of B2B marketers will be using third-party buyer intent data to target prospects by the end of 2022.

Their prediction is aided by in-depth research indicating a growing trend for using third-party data, where they found 50% of buyers are spending their time researching information from independent third-party sources. 

In the pursuit of maximising effectiveness in their ABM campaigns, 91% of marketers said their company had embraced intent data, with an additional 7% indicating a plan to do so in the future.

As the use of buyer intent continues to grow, B2B campaigns will benefit with deeper accuracy in their marketing and sales, particularly in how individual-level data can be used to target decision-makers with relevant content in their research phase. 

To learn more download the full Lead Onion Guide to Buyer Intent here. 

Lead Onion Guide to Buyer Intent

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