Find more of your best prospects with intent data
There is a common saying in politics — "The rent is too damn high." It reflects the reality that if people are spending too much of their income on housing, it becomes very hard to climb the socioeconomic ladder.
B2B companies could have a similar saying — "The customer acquisition cost is too damn high." If sales and marketing burn up too much money chasing low-quality leads, growth can become impossible.
How do you keep customer acquisition costs down and still grow? Instead of always chasing new, variable-quality leads for variable results, you can do more with what you already have by leveraging intent data. Find and target prospects who are likely to give you the highest returns because you know they're both more inclined to buy and fit your ideal customer profile.
What is B2B intent data?
Intent data is information collected about a person’s online activity, which tells you what and how they're interested in buying.
With good signals of purchase intent, you can start to understand whether prospects actually care about what you’re offering, how close they are to making a buying decision, if they're just casually window shopping, learning from your resources, or simply landed on your site somehow.
Intent data provides a strong marker of where prospects fall in their buying journey and your funnel — indicating when they reach that key point in their process when they're looking for a specific solution. This orientation gives you an opportunity to reach out with more relevant, convincing communication.
The abandoned cart is an easy-to-understand example of strong intent data from the B2C world. When you add something to an online cart, that's a strong sign that you want to buy that item. If you don't check out, many businesses will remind you via email or retargeting ads about the remaining items in the cart — a much more relevant message than sending out a blast newsletter about what's new in stock or generic ad about your brand.
Things are always a bit more complicated in the world of B2B, but the premise remains. Strong signals of intent enable you to provide a better experience for your prospects and convert them at higher rates because you know who's more ready to talk to sales and get specific sales or product-related content.
Intent data allows you to play the role of helpful hotel concierge, expertly learning about what your guests would like to do and guiding them to the places that will make them happiest.
It's time to leverage your own intent data
Intent data can be first-party data, coming from your own properties and accounts, and it can also come from third-party vendors, which track web activity from other sources. Since we're talking about how to do more with what you have, in this post we'll focus on first-party intent data.
First of all, it's very likely that you're already relying on a fair amount of intent data to score or prioritize leads. For instance, you might track typical B2B lead activities in a CRM or marketing automation platform, like who filled out a contact or demo request form, who signed up for a free trial or account, downloaded a piece of content, or emailed the sales team with a question.
Notice, however, that all these intent data sources require prospects to make the first move by providing their email. In fact, that's how you know who these high-intent possessors are.
That still leaves a very promising, untapped source of intent data right in front of you: your website.
Whether they want to do more research or coordination on their own first, don't want to fill out a high-friction form, or even just get distracted — prospects with high intent may not immediately introduce themselves.
With a tool like Clearbit Reveal which reverses IP addresses to identify companies, you can de-anonymize your traffic and uncover this motivated group of accounts. For example, find out when stakeholders from a net-new account visited your pricing page five times in a week, viewed your product demo page, and browsed your implementation docs — but nobody has filled out a form. That's a new opportunity you wouldn't have otherwise known about!
But first — match fit and intent
Intent data is great on its own, but, like a fine wine, it’s best with a pairing. The Parmesan to intent data’s Prosecco is your ideal customer profile.
Just because someone is interested in you — it doesn't necessarily follow that you are interested in them. There are plenty of opportunities for bad leads to express tons of intent — and without a quality filter, that paves the way to an inefficient, overwhelming sales and support process and subpar revenue.
Pair your ICP with intent data for the best matches: highly-interested prospects who are also good, long-term fits for your services because they have a high chance of experiencing value as a customer and have the means to pay your price.
Let's say you have a list of target accounts you're pursuing, a subset of Fortune 1000 companies. You see that people from Oracle are browsing your homepage, solutions page, and pricing page multiple times in the past two weeks. So you know you can pursue the Oracle account with more gusto. And when firstname.lastname@example.org signs up for one of your general newsletters (typically a relatively weak sign of purchase intent) and her job title fits your buyer personas, you know you can launch right into a more specific sales pitch and middle to bottom-of-the-funnel content.
Alternatively, if an account comes in and reads all your blog posts, chats up a storm on your chat widget, and visits that all-important pricing page ten times? That’s all well and good, but if you know these visitors come from a ten-person startup with a revenue well below budget, it would be a waste of time and money to pay attention to them in the same way.
Using the quality filter of matching fit and intent focuses the efforts of your sales team, because they won’t get bogged down and distracted dealing with people who never had an intention, the means, or the position to buy. And it gives you the data you need to be able to tailor the buying experience to maximize conversions — with proactive outreach from your sales team to help prospects with research earlier in their journey and a personalized marketing approach.
Gain more control over conversions
It's demoralizing to waste time and energy chasing a lead that was never a good fit to begin with. Take advantage of your own intent data to uncover the best opportunities you might be missing and understand the quality and readiness of the leads in your universe. It'll put you well on your way to more efficiently closing deals, reducing your customer acquisition costs, and, importantly, keeping your team happy. Give your sales and marketing team the tools they need to make them fulfilled, focused, and in more control over your funnel.