Intent Data 101: Everything B2B Businesses Need To Know

The importance and effectiveness of data have been increasing throughout the business world. There are different aspects of data, such as data collection, data sorting, data visualization, data analytics, and more. One of the mistakes businesses make is not collecting the right type of data. Not all data is equal. There needs to be a clearly defined objective of collecting data. For example, one of the objectives of collecting data is to understand customer intentions. This will enable the business to calibrate their business offering. This type of data is known as indent data. It is a collection of information that helps predict the purchasing behavior of customers. Businesses can use intent data for sales purposes or to improve their marketing ability.

To better understand the intent data, let us look at an example. A marketing department of the company wants to make in-house videos. The marketing manager or someone from his team searches the internet to find the equipment needed to make the videos. Typically, their online search will start with a search engine, leading them to a website such as an article, blog, or online retailer. After some time, which could be days or weeks, the marketing department would have finalized their decision on what equipment to buy and how to make the in-house videos. In this case, the intent data would be their entire search history, web pages they visited, and the type of queries they entered. This intent data would be extremely precious information for video equipment manufacturers or other companies related to making videos.

How Intent Data helps B2B customers?

There are two types of intent data, first-party and third-party. For the first-party intent data, the company captures data directly through its website, CRM software, or other means. For a B2B company, this type of data is useful to determine the buying pattern of the customers. The company has gathered information such as which website the customer visited, what links they clicked on, time spent on each page, and more. They can put together certain buying indicators and can help them improve their internal marketing activities such as redesigning their website or re-calibrating their social media campaign.

For third-party intent data, certain companies such as publishing networks gather this data and then sell this information to clients. These companies collect this data by tracking IP traffic, website cookies, and other methods. This type of data helps B2B companies understand what type of website is visited by customers, what search queries have been performed by them if they have written any reviews, comments, or made any specific downloads.

B2B companies can use intent data to make a more sophisticated lead-scoring model. Unlike traditional lead generation models which do not have access to the entire history of the customer, model based on intent data are more accurate in predictive analysis of the customer. The intent data B2B benefits also include lead prioritization, shortened sales cycle, automatic customer outreach through CRM systems, and more targeted and personalized marketing.

Intent data can help with nurturing the pipeline for leads and identifying bottlenecks that need extra attention from the sales team. It also helps B2B businesses with evaluating promotional campaign effectiveness. That can allow the marketing team to be more efficient and optimize their B2B lead generation strategies. Keep in mind that for a successful B2B company, close the sales deal is the just first step. Customer relationship is the key to long-term success and intent data can be used to help with that. Intent data can be used to predict which customers are more probable to become a long-term customer so that your team can focus on building a relationship with them and invest maximum resources into those accounts.

What matters with intent data?

The quality and quantity of intent data matters. To have successful match rates, you should have multiple data sources of intent data. A single source, such as IP address from one device such as their laptop, might not be enough as prospects can use multiples devices to search for products and services. The objective is not only to collect data from multiple sources but also to match them to form more comprehensive intent behavior. There is also a need to set up an In-market Ideal Customer Profile (IICP), which will help match buyer data to accounts that your team needs to pursue.

Common mistakes using intent data

Intent data marketing is an emerging source where businesses are continuously learning how to best collect, analyze, and use it. One of the common mistakes with intent data is not collecting the right data. This could lead to incorrect categorization of leads. It is not necessarily the fault of the companies that they did not collect the right data as it can be a complex exercise to do so. What companies need to do is to have a structured approach to collecting data. This begins with collecting basic information about a prospect or customer and then building their profile based on their activities. This will offer a more accurate predictive model of their buying behavior. For example, the basic profile of the prospect, whether the prospect is a student or working professional, can help determine if the online activity of the prospect is for research purposes for an academic assignment or actual buying intent.

Another mistake is to only rely on intent data. There is no doubt that intent data is useful but it needs to be combined with other forms of data for a holistic picture of what the market is doing and how the product or service offering can be calibrated to better suit the needs of the customers. The intent data is going to provide information for various types of prospects. It would be a mistake to spend too much effort or time on a type of prospect that doesn’t qualify as a potential customer. So it is important to clearly define the criteria of a qualified lead.

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