Data is everything for a budding business, so whenever you hear about a new type of data, a new way to gather data or a new method of leveraging data, your entrepreneur’s ears should perk straight up. Intent data is a variety that many entrepreneurs might not be familiar with, but it is especially important for those launching B2Bs to understand the five Ws (and the H) of intent data:
What Is Intent Data?
While all data collected from clients and customers should help a business be more effective at making sales, intent data is unique. Intent data is information that helps businesses understand how their clients are making decisions, so the sales team can better judge a lead’s goals and inclinations. Usually, intent data is sorted into two categories:
Internal Intent Data.
This is the activity and information a business collects through its website, application logs or similar assets. Because the content on these assets is extremely relevant to purchase decisions, businesses can be relatively certain that information gleaned in this manner will contain highly predictive buying signals. Sometimes, marketing and data analytics firms will refer to this type of data as “first-party data.”
External Intent Data.
Also known as “third-party data,” this information is collected by publisher networks. It details the content clients interact with, such as blog posts, videos, downloads, site searches, comments and more, before they make purchases. To acquire this data, a business must use the services of a third-party provider.
Who Is Involved With Intent Data?
To be specific, there are typically three parties involved in the generation, collection, analysis and application of intent data:
- Business clients
- Data and analytics providers
In truth, intent data is specifically designed to help B2Bs understand and engage business clients. Consumers tend to be too diverse in their habits and their exposure to information for intent data to be of much use to B2Cs. However, B2Bs can gain great insights from intent data when it is properly collected and leveraged.
Where and When Is Intent Data Collected?
As mentioned before, intent data can be harvested from a business’s own assets as well as third-party publishing sites. In both cases, it is useful to take advantage of marketing automation and intent data providers, both of whom will score the data to make it easier for a business to apply.
It’s important to carefully select one’s intent data provider because different platforms will provide different levels of data access at different price points. Entrepreneurs should understand how granular they want their intent data to be before embarking on this journey. Some questions to ask while evaluating various providers include:
- How and from where is the data collected?
- How broad is the coverage, and how granular is the detail?
- Does the provider deliver context for the data?
- Does this data integrate into your existing marketing system, CRM and other tools?
Why Does Intent Data Matter?
The ultimate purpose of intent data is to help B2Bs become more proficient at predicting prospects and guiding leads down the sales funnel. The sales process is an energy-, time- and cost-intensive one, which means the more a business can do to improve efficiency and reduce risks, the better. However, B2Bs and entrepreneurs should note that the act of acquiring intent data in itself will not always lead to improvement; one needs to know how to best leverage B2B intent data to ensure the benefits come.
How Can You Use Intent Data?
There are a few different ways to make good use of intent data captured for B2Bs — but only if an organization’s sales team is taught to use the information effectively. A business’s first priority when planning to integrate an intent data strategy is to educate the sales and marketing teams and give them the right tools for applying intent data properly.
The most common uses for intent data include:
- Advanced prioritization. Some prospects are so-called tire kickers, while others are really and truly eager to buy. Intent data will help sales teams identify the best leads, so less energy is wasted on clients with little potential to purchase.
- Strategic nurturing. With intent data, it is easy to identify prospects who have recently re-engaged and nurture them, so sales teams can overcome recency bias and devote their attentions appropriately.
- Automated outreach. When prospects reach a certain milestone in the buying cycle, businesses might trigger automated outreach to engage them fully at the right time, as determined through intent data studies.
Higher-quality and more-effective content marketing, account-based sales, targeted advertising and more could result from properly applied intent data. If you are eager to integrate more data into your B2B sales strategy, you should learn more about intent data and give this strategy a try.