There’s no doubt that top of the funnels like traffic and opportunities remain important indicators to B2B marketers. But increasingly, high-growth marketing teams are held accountable for bottom-line business metrics like pipeline and revenue.
That being said, driving deals is easier said than done. With limited budgets, tight competition, and volatile markets, go-to-market teams need an efficient alternative to make the most of their resources.
Enter: Intent data
Intent data captures buyer intent so you can identify, target, and convert high-fit sales-ready accounts. Here’s what this means for your team:
When used efficiently, intent data can wring out every bit of ROI from existing marketing and sales efforts. The following guide highlights how to leverage intent data to drive more pipeline, with less spend.
Intent data is any data that provides information about customer behavior and buyer intent across campaigns, websites, review sites, or more. There are 4 types of intent data: zero-party, first-party, second-party, and third-party:
1. Efficiency gains: Just a few years ago, businesses were ready to buy, buy, buy. These days, companies are far more conservative. Longer sales cycles, lower win rates, and shrinking contract values all point towards this.
That's why prospects that are considering your solution are that much more important. However, only about 5% of website traffic actually converts — leaving the remaining 95% of visiting accounts completely anonymous.
Using intent-data in tandem with account identification tools helps discover, qualify, and convert up to 64% of sales-ready companies already visiting your website. Tap into a pool of mid/bottom of the funnel accounts who are yet to convert with zero additional spend. Here are a few questions you can answer:
2. Early-intent detection: Studies find that buyers are 57% along the buyer journey before contacting a sales rep. Fifty. Seven. Percent! By this stage, in-market accounts have done their research and formed a rough idea as to which vendor they’re leaning towards.
Intent data helps identify buyer intent much, much before a form is submitted. This gives teams a significant first mover advantage in establishing the initial evaluation criteria, building relevant relationships, and improving the odds for a higher ACV.
It would mean beating competitors to the sales by reaching out to sales-ready prospects before anyone else does. While getting there first isn’t everything, it certainly helps.
We’ve established that intent data is pretty valuable. But how to collect intent data? Who should be involved? And what’s a comprehensive way to leverage this data to drive pipeline? This section covers the tools, people & process that make intent data work.
Here are all the tools you’ll need to identify, track, report, and activate intent data.
Data is essential to make this work. Start by identifying a handful of sources for various types of intent data. This doesn’t have to be complex or expensive, the following tools are a great starting point:
Factors is a account intelligence tool that delivers industry-leading IP-lookup technology to identify up to 64% of companies visiting your website. This includes company name, firmographics (industry, headcount, revenue-range, etc), and behavioral data (page views, scroll-depth, button clicks, etc)
A CRM acts as a single source of truth to unify intent data for the entire GTM engine across sales, marketing, and customer success. You’re likely already using a CRM such as HubSpot or Salesforce. Other alternatives include Zoho, Pipedrive, and Leadsquared.
Once accounts visiting the website have been qualified for fit and intent, use an enrichment database to identify the appropriate people to reach out to. A few popular enrichment tools include:
The following sales engagement tools help sales reps and marketers automate the outreach process across multiple channels including email, phone calls, and social media:
Push real-time alerts to internal communication tools like Slack or MS teams when new companies or existing leads from target companies are live on the website.
We’ll cover how each of these tools work in tandem in the process section of this article.
These are the stakeholders and responsibilities involved in mastering intent data.
Bringing it all together, is the following 4-stage, 8-step intent program process to leverage intent data.
As previously mentioned, there are several types of intent data. When it comes to setting up an intent-based outreach program, it’s best to start with first-party website IP-to-company identification data. For one, the website is the most voluminous touchpoint in a B2B/SaaS buyer journey. For another, starting with account identification from website traffic is a low-effort, high-impact initiative involving minimal investment.
The remainder of this article zeroes-in on leveraging first-party account identification data. That being said, the process remains largely the same for other types of intent data.
Of course, not all website traffic will make a great fit for your business. Refine the total set of accounts identified to just those that fit your ideal client profile using firmographic and technographic filters.
For example, maybe you’re only interested in companies visiting your website that meet the following criteria:
But even still, not every one of these companies may be ready to buy. With Factors, you can filter down the list of ICP companies to high-intent accounts based on their engagement. For example, maybe you’re only interested in ICP visitors that spend at least 60 seconds on high-intent pages such as pricing or features.
Once a criteria for high-intent, ICP accounts has been established, use Factors to push real-time alerts on Slack, MS teams, or Email when accounts that match this criteria are live on the site. This notification may be shared with sales reps to take action while the iron’s still hot.
Phew…this is a pretty involved read so we’ve split the remaining three stages of this intent program here: How To Use Intent Data To Drive Pipeline Part II. Read on to understand how to enrich, engage, and convert sales-ready accounts with intent-data and account identification.
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