Wouldn’t it be great to have a crystal ball that lets you predict which of your leads you are more likely to win over with a sales pitch? That’s – more or less – what buyer intent does, except it doesn’t do it by magic but through insights and analytics. In this article, we will explain the importance of buyer intent and how to use it to your advantage.
What is buyer intent?
Buyer intent simply indicates how willing a particular buyer is to make a purchase. This is done by analyzing behavioral data on buyers to see what topics and solutions they research and engage with. Companies collect buyer intent data to figure out what stage a buyer is in as they move along their buying journey, so they know when to reach out, to whom, and with what message.
In other words, buyer intent tells you how ready (and therefore how likely) a buyer is to purchase your product or service.
There are three kinds of buyer intent data:
Internal or 1st party intent data
Internal buyer intent data is the behavioral data you collect yourself about potential buyers. It includes both your marketing and sales activity data. Internal intent data is collected based on the activities you run such as email send outs, website visits and content tracking.
On the marketing side 1st party intent data are the insights on what website pages someone visits, how much time they spend on your website, forms they fill out or newsletter subscriptions. On the sales side internal intent data are the insights on how prospects engage with the emails, messages, and content sellers share. It’s the data you get when a prospect opens or clicks an email or watches a video you sent them.
Internal buyer intent data can be collected both on company level and on contact level offering a big potential for your sales and marketing motions.
Standard Tools: Marketing Automation Tool, CRM, and Sales engagement platform
Advanced Tools: Additional website tracking to uncover what companies visit your website such as Leadfeeder
Hot tip: LinkedIn also offers buyer intent data based on what buyers engage with your company on the platform.
- It’s very accurate as you collect it yourself
- You can ensure a seamless data flow into and through your tech stack
- Rather low cost connected to collecting 1st party intent data in comparison to the other intent data types
- 1st party intent data comes in a lower quantity
2nd party intent data
2nd party buyer intent data is the 1st party data of other websites such as B2B publishers and product review websites as for example G2 and Trustradius. It’s the insights on what categories and solutions buyers are researching and engaging with.
The data is collected based on keywords such as company names, product names and product categories. 2nd party intent data can be collected both on company level and on contact level depending on the provider.
- The data is quite accurate, but the accuracy is highly dependent on your product category and keywords.
- There is a high quantity of 2nd party intent data available, but the quantity is also dependent on your specific product category and its demand in the market.
- It’s rather expensive
- The level of buyer intent is unknown
- It doesn’t allow you to make assumptions on where the buyer is at in the buyer’s journey
3rd party intent data
3rd party intent data is collected external of your organization from buyer’s interactions across the internet. It’s the insights on what online ads, content, and websites buyers visit that is gathered from data co-ops, advertising networks, cookies, website crawlers, and chatbots.
- It comes in high quantities
- A variety of interactions are tracked
- The data is rather inaccurate
- The level of buyer intent is unknown as several interactions are tracked
- The data lacks context
- It is very costly
Why is buyer intent data important to close deals?
Every Sales and Marketing team is currently dreaming of getting access to a list of buyers that are ready to buy RIGHT NOW. Collecting buyer intent data helps you to identify buyers that are aware of solutions in your product category early on. This is especially important as B2B marketers on average miss 85% of the sales journey.
Intent data gives you the opportunity to reach active buyers and influence their purchase decisions, which in turn shortens the sales cycles. This enables both Marketing and Sales to be more effective focusing on the buyers that have a higher likelihood to convert, saving you time and money.
While you can gain good insights even just from internal data, it is more and more common for companies to use intent data from third parties to get a more complete picture of their buyers’ journey, especially since buyers spend 50% of their time researching via independent third parties.
Moreover, second-party and third-party intent data gives you the advantage of showing you your direct competitors, thus empowering you to strategically position your pitches to beat the competition.
How Sales and Marketing can use buyer intent data to generate more revenue
In order to make the best of the buyer intent data you have access to from 1st, 2nd or 3rd parties, it is important to differentiate between the two types of intent signal data: company-level and contact level intent data.
Contact-level intent data:
- Can be 1st and 2nd party data
- Is the behavioral and engagement data of specific people signaling intent to buy your solution or a solution within your product category
Company-level intent data:
- Can be 1st, 2nd or 3rd party data
- Is the engagement data on companies that are signaling interest in buying your solution or a solution within your product category
How you integrate the buyer intent data into your Marketing and Sales activities is dependent on the level and type of information you have access to. Contact-level data has different advantages from company-level data, which is why we differentiated the use cases for the buyer intent data into these two types.
1. Use cases for contact-level buyer intent data
Buyer intent data can help you qualify inbound leads by analyzing the types of content they engaged with and the number of engagements and website visits. To do this at a larger scale, you can assign scores to your leads to find the ones that are worth pursuing, thus limiting the waste of time and resources. You can look at your past conversions to identify desirable buyer criteria and behaviors that make your leads convert at a higher rate, then assign numerical values to each criterion and add up to score your leads, so you know which ones are ready to be contacted by Sales.
According to Gartner, you should score leads based on both ‘profile fit’ (ask yourself, to what extent does this lead match my ideal customer profile?) and ‘behavioral fit’ (ask yourself, is this lead showing signs that indicate they are ready to purchase?).
Prioritization for Sales
You can use 1st and 2nd party buyer intent data effectively to prioritize leads in the Sales outreach. This can ensure that sellers first reach out the leads that show the strongest buyer intent signals such as:
- Visiting the pricing page on your website
- Visiting the integrations page on your website
- Downloading a product sheet
By ensuring that sellers prioritize leads with high intent signals they are ready to answer the buyer’s questions and give valuable insights right when the buyer needs them.
1st party buyer intent data offer excellent insights for your Marketing team to create an effective retargeting campaign. The advantage of a retargeting campaign is that your company stays top of mind of buyers that have shown a first interest in your product.
Depending on the volume of the 1st party data, you can create retargeting campaigns based on different criteria such as:
- The content the buyer engaged with
- The buyer’s job seniority
- The buyer’s job title
- The company size
- The industry
- The region, country, and language
An effective retargeting campaign ideally includes a variety of content, channels, and messaging. While marketers might be tempted to retarget website visitors with product-focused content, it can be more impactful to share informative and brand awareness content in addition to product insights.
No matter how you orchestrate your retargeting campaign, you need to plan when and how leads should be handed over to Sales. Not every website visitor is ready to interact with sellers. Therefore, it is often more effective to set key criteria for the level of engagement leads have shown to determine when they should be handed over to Sales.
Personalized marketing campaigns
Consumers today expect hyper-personalization – contact-level buyer intent data can help you achieve that. Thanks to the intent signals on specific buyers collected on your own website, you can personalize campaigns across channels to fit to specific buyer groups.
The most used personalization factors are based on the buyers’ pain points. Adding insights on how your product is solving some of the problems your buyers are facing will greatly impact the relevancy of your messages for your buyers and increase the conversion rates.
Personalized sales outreach
In alignment with retargeting and personalized marketing campaigns, contact-level buyer intent data also gives the Sales department the opportunity to tailor their outreach towards the specific buyer. As the seller gets information on what kind of content the buyer has engaged with, they can address problems or insights mentioned in the content piece in their outreach messages to increase the relevancy. By doing that, the seller can give more value to the buyer, which will turn into increased conversion rates.
If sellers additionally get information about the buyer’s journey this can help to a more impactful and effective Sales outreach. Such information can for example be the channels the buyers engaged with. If a buyer engaged with marketing activities solely on LinkedIn, then LinkedIn might be the most effective outreach method rather than emails or calling.
Automated Integrations are an important factor to include buyer intent data in your Sales outreach. The platform that collects your contact-level intent data should be integrated into your CRM, so sellers automatically have all information on the buyer available in the lead record within your CRM.
Effective outreach to the buying committee
A recent LinkedIn study showed that the size of the buying committee has grown over the past 3 years, and now consists of 13 members on average. This means that there is not one buyer that decides on whether to buy your solution, but 13. That’s why your marketing and sales strategy should include effective methods to reach all buyers within the buying committee. Contact-level buyer intent data gives you the possibility to track and analyze how many stakeholders within a company are researching your product.
To manage and reach the buyer’s stakeholder group effectively, your content and messaging should be tailored towards the different buyer personas that are relevant for your solution. By including that level of personalization in your Sales outreach, you can inform all stakeholders within the buying committee effectively with the information that is most important to them to make an educated purchase decision.
Contact-level buyer intent data on how buyers interact with your Sales materials does not only increase the impact of Sales follow-ups, but also help sellers to prioritize their follow-ups. A Sales enablement solution such as Prezentor collects data on how and when buyers engage with presentations, guides, calculators, and all other content. Sellers get notified when a specific buyer opens and clicks on shared materials and gets thereby the opportunity to know when to reach out, and strategically choose what messaging to share.
Integrating contact-level buyer intent data into your Sales process will increase your conversion rates as the Sales outreach is more targeted and valuable for buyers. Additionally, it will boost the productivity amongst your Sales team as sellers have to spend less time on planning and preparing follow-up emails while receiving automatic notifications on updates.
Customer churn reduction
Contact-level intent data can additionally be exploited to inform your Customer Success strategy and monitor the engagement of existing customers. If your Customer Success team shares relevant information with customers, it can be helpful to track and analyze their engagement with the content. This can be especially important when a contract renewal is coming up, and customers are researching you via the website or other channels. In turn, this information can also be used when customers are not engaging with important materials your Customer Success team is sharing.
2. Use cases for company-level buyer intent data
While company-level buyer intent sourced by 2nd and 3rd parties often lacks precision it offers a variety of use cases to increase the effectiveness of your Marketing and Sales activities.
One of the most common use cases for company-level intent data is Account-based Marketing (ABM). As the buying committee has grown over the past years, it is most effective to target the key stakeholders holistically and track the engagement within an entire account. 2nd and 3rd level intent data gives you the opportunity to do exactly that.
More specifically the company-level intent signals from 2nd and 3rd party vendors can be used for these purposes:
- Targeted marketing campaigns to intent accounts
- Personalizes Sales outreach to the account’s stakeholder group based on the engagement level, keywords, and content
- More effective objection handling based on the product category, and or competitors
It is important to note that any effective ABM motion must be strongly aligned between Sales and Marketing to ensure a smooth buyer’s journey for every member of the buying committee.
Personalized Marketing Campaigns
Even if you are not ready to create an ABM strategy, you can include 2nd party intent data in your marketing strategy to increase the impact. Most vendors that offer 2nd party intent data have an integration with LinkedIn. This enables you to create an intent audience within LinkedIn, choose the relevant personas, and target them with a personalized campaign.
To personalize your campaign as much as possible and increase the relevancy of your ads, you can use the following factors:
- Company size
- Keywords researched
- Product category researched
- Specific website page visited
The more personalization you bring into your campaign, the higher the effectiveness of your campaign will be.
Early Sales Outreach
Both 2nd and 3rd party intent data inform you on first buying intent signals at prospective companies. This information can be used to enable sellers to engage with potential buyers early on and raise the awareness of your company. That can be important to ensure that your product is part of the buyer’s vendor shortlist and considered in the purchase decision.
Customer Churn Reduction
2nd and 3rd party intent data doesn’t have to be limited to potential buyers; it can also be exploited by Customer Success to monitor existing customers’ behaviour. If you see that your customers are researching competitors, you can detect the risk of churn and act on it before it’s too late.
Company-level intent data can be an effective tool for competitor research. The intent signals give you a realistic picture of the number of existing solutions within your company. Additionally, you can detect early on if a competitor is increasing their market share. Based on the number of companies that are researching your competitors you also get insights on what companies they are targeting.
While intent data can easily be seen as a magic trick that brings your product closer to potential buyers in a shorter time, the usage of buyer intent data should be thoroughly thought through to be effective. Nevertheless, buyer intent data is powerful, which is why it is seeing a lot of interest in the market.
You want to know if Prezentor is the magic trick you have been looking for?
Book a demo and one of the Prezentor wizards will guide you through the magical world of Sales enablement and buyer intent data.