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How To Use Intent Data To Drive Pipeline (Part II)

May 17, 2023
February 27, 2024
Table of Contents

Hey! Have you read part one yet? Check out the first stage of our intent data program here: How To Use Intent Data To Drive Pipeline Part I. We also discuss what intent data is, why it’s important, and the various tools and people you’ll need to get the most out of your intent data.

In part II, we discuss the remaining three stages of the intent program process: 

  • Stage 2: Enrich & Prospect
  • Stage 3:Engage & Convert
  • Stage 4: Measure & Report

Let’s jump right in.. 

2. Stage Two: Enrich & Prospect

Up until this point, we’ve identified ICP accounts visiting the website and notified sales reps with relevant details. But actually reaching out to leads within these accounts involves making an educated guess as to who may have visited. Here’s what we suggest:

Step 4: Enrich relevant contacts

Enrich account-level information with contacts that are likely to be part of the buying committee using the aforementioned enrichment tools (Apollo, Zoominfo, Lusha, etc). Key contact data includes:

  • Name
  • Job title
  • Work email
  • Phone number

For example, a martech product likely sells to marketing executives. In this case, it would make sense to find CMOs and Marketing VPs from the companies visiting your website. 

Assuming you have a good idea as to what these buyer personas are for your company, identify 3-6 contacts based on their roles in the buying committee: user, champion, decision maker, influencer, and blocker.

Here’s an example of a buying committee for an account identification tool like Factors:

Buying Committee Title Description
User Sales reps & managers The end user of the product. May or may not have buying authority.
Champion Marketing leads An advocate willing to support the product and convince other stakeholders involved.
Decision maker CEO The final decision maker who gives the go ahead for the purchase
Influencer Sales managers Has an influence over purchase decision but may not have a stake in the final decision
Blocker Finance Stands in the way of a deal for reasons such as budget constraints

Step 5: Prioritize the right accounts

Based on your website traffic, you may identify thousands of ICP visitors every week. The ability to reach out to every single one of those accounts will depend on the maturity and scale of your intent program and sales team. 

Assuming that most early to mid-market companies aren’t in a position to target every account, here’s our F.I.R.E 🔥 framework to help prioritize who to go after first: 

1. Fitment: Divide your ICP criteria into 3 tiers (Great fit, Good fit, Poor fit) based on a combination of the following factors:

  • Deal size - expected contract value 
  • Deal velocity - time to customer conversion 
  • Deal win rate - probability of closure 

In general, deal size tends to increase as accounts progress from SMB to mid-market to enterprise. Similarly, the further up-market you go, the slower the deal velocity. Win rate varies based on size and industry. Once divided, it's that much easier to prioritize targeting based on company size, short sales cycle vs long sales cycle accounts, or low-hanging fruits with high win rates.

2. Intent

While a company may fit your ideal client profile, they may not be sales-ready. Some buyers may be aware of the problem but not the solution or the product, while others may be sales-ready and wholly aware of the problem, solution and product. 

This is where intent data plays a huge role in determining a prospect’s readiness to buy. Here’s an example:

Journey Stage Activity Data Source Buying Intent
Problem aware Reading articles in publications, asking for help in communities, &  public forums 3rd party (Eg: Bombora) Low
Solution aware Reading category listings on review sites 2nd party (Eg: G2)  Medium 
Product aware Visits homepage, blogs, competitor listings on review sites  1st and 2nd party (Website and review sites) High
Most aware Multiple website sessions on high-intent pages like pricing, product or competitor comparison 1st party and 2nd party (Website and review sites)  Very high

Gauge prospects based on what stage of the buyer journey they’re in and prioritize accounts based on buying intent.

3. Recency

Research finds that reaching out to prospects quickly dramatically raises the odds of conversion. Recency establishes how recently an account has been looking to solve a problem with your solution. This can be measured by identifying the last active time of a particular account.

For instance, a high-fit account that’s repeatedly visiting your company’s G2 reviews over the past 24 hours should be prioritized over an equally high-fit account that visited your homepage several weeks ago.

4. Engagement

Engagement is complementary to Intent but provides broader insights into where accounts are coming from and what topics they’re specifically interested in. 

For example, an account reading a “what-is-xyz?” article may indicate that it is still way up in the awareness stage as compared to a visitor from a search ad on a landing page or a visitor reading a “comparison” article.

Monitoring engagement also helps understand what content appeals most to your target audience. Let’s say that SMB account seem to be especially interested in the pricing page while enterprise accounts are interested in the security compliance page. If your ICP is enterprise firms, then it might make sense to highlight privacy related content more prominently to drive conversions. 

Depending on your tech stack and the complexity of processes, the Enrichment & Prioritization steps of the process can be:

  • Decentralized - handled by individual sales reps 
  • Centralized & Manual - handled by the data & research team 
  • Centralized & Automated - handled by workflows set up by marketing ops & sales ops 

Once you’ve prioritized your accounts using the above framework, decide whether it’ll be sales or marketing that’s reaching out to warm up target accounts. Here’s an example of one mix, but feel free to experiment with different approached:

Tier Priority Warm-up outreach by
Tier 1 High priority  Only Sales
Tier 2 Medium priority  Sales and Marketing
Tier 3 Low priority Only Marketing

3. Stage Three: Engage & Convert

So far, we’ve identified companies, enriched ICP accounts with relevant contacts, and prioritized target accounts based on fit and intent. Next, marketing and sales do what they do best: reach out and convert sales-ready buyers. Remember to check out the sales engagement tools recommended in Part I for this. 

Step 6: Multi-channel engagement 

Even though we know we’re reaching out to high-fit, high-intent accounts, we can’t be sure that we’re reaching out to the exact individual who visited our website. And regardless, no one likes a cold, out-of-the-blue sales pitch. 

Do not approach contacts from high-intent, de-anonymized accounts like you’d approach inbound hand-raisers. These contacts are yet to submit a form or explicitly communicate with your business.

That being said, these accounts aren’t exactly cold either given that we have context on their intent. Marketing and sales must work in tandem to warm up these accounts with appropriate, multi-channel engagement:

Channel Activity
Ads Nurture accounts by showing ads on social media or display channels through personalized retargeting or account-based targeting. 
Email Send contextual drip emails to educate prospects about the problem and potential solutions based on where they are in the buyer journey
Events & Webinars Invite prospects to in-person, virtual meet-ups, podcasts, and webinars to talk about pain-points.
 Direct mail Collaborate with sales to send personalized gifts to prospects and grab their attention

Factors can measure engagement on G2, Linkedin ads, and more. Here’s a quick summary of use-cases:

  • Identify which companies are viewing your ads but are yet to convert
  • Track the buyer journey at an account level across ads, website, and CRM
  • Fine tune messaging, targeting (and retargeting) efforts based on engagement

Channel Activity
Cold Email Work with marketing to create a library of personalized material based on the F.I.R.E. framework for each persona. 
Cold Calls Good old fashioned dial ups
Social Selling Post, comment and engage with prospects on LinkedIn and other forums. Leverage your network to catch their attention.
Direct mail Collaborate with marketing to send personalized gifts to prospects using gifting platforms like Sendoso and Reachdesk

Here’s an example of a multi-channel sales engagement cadence:

Here’s a sample template for prospect that show website intent:

Here’s another one for prospects that show intent from G2:

Step 7: Qualify buying intent

Earlier in this intent program, we qualified accounts based on fit and intent. But once we’ve established contact, it makes sense to qualify accounts again to know where to double down. BANT is an excellent framework for this:

Criteria Description
Budget How much is the prospect willing and able to spend on your solution?
Authority Who is part of the buying committee? Who makes the ultimate decision?
Need What problem are they trying to solve? Do they need a solution? Can the product meet their needs and expectations?
Timeline How much time will the prospect need to make a purchasing decision?

Here are a few more qualifying questions to gauge customer-fit and intent:

  • What triggered your search for a solution?
  • How have you been solving this up until now?
  • Have you explored other alternatives?
  • What factors will influence your purchase decision? What are the non-negotiables? 

4. Stage Four: Measure & Report

Finally, we’re at the last stage of the intent program — crunching the numbers.

Step 8: Track and optimize the intent funnel

Once qualified accounts start converting and generating pipeline, it’s important to measure every step of the funnel from accounts identified to closed won pipeline. Here’s an exhaustive list of funnel metrics to measure the health of the program:

Metric Description Notes
Total Accounts Identified  Total # of accounts identified by intent source   
ICP Accounts Identified   # of accounts that match ICP criteria and are relevant to you   Measure % of ICP accounts out of accounts identified to understand the quality of traffic
ICP Accounts Enriched # of accounts for which you’re able to identify at least 2 or 3 relevant contacts from your buying committee    Measure % of accounts enriched out of ICP accounts to understand if your database has data relevant to you
Accounts Nurtured by Marketing   # of accounts part of marketing campaigns  Ideally all ICP accounts identified should be a part of marketing campaigns on at least one channel. But this can vary depending on your budget or channel mix. 
Accounts Engaged  # of accounts engaged by marketing  Measure % of accounts engaged out of accounts nurtured by marketing to understand the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns 
Accounts Assigned to Sales  # of accounts assigned to sales for outreach with or without marketing touchpoints   Ideally all ICP accounts enriched should be followed up by sales. But this can vary depending on the size of your sales team handling intent and their bandwidth. 
Accounts Contacted   # of accounts sales has reached out % of accounts contacted out of those assigned to sales to understand if sales is sticking to their SLAs 
 Accounts Replied # of accounts where we received a positive or a negative reply   % of accounts replied out of those contacted to understand effectiveness of sales outreach
Sales Qualified Accounts  # of accounts qualified by sales as per the BANT framework   % of accounts qualified out of those that replied positively to understand the quality of accounts in your intent program
Demos  # of accounts which have attended a product demo with mutually agreed next steps   
Opportunities  # of deals created along with its pipeline value   
 Closed Won # of deals won along with its deal value   Deal Win Rate to understand strengths in your Product & GTM
Closed Lost  # of deals lost along with its deal value  Deal Loss Rate to understand gaps in your Product & GTM 

Make sure you keep track of these metrics across all tiers/priorities of accounts to better understand the quality of conversion. It’s also important to track traditional GTM metrics such as ACV, deal velocity, and win rates so as to be able to compare the intent program against standard inbound and outbound programs.

And there you have it! Intent-data is a powerful tool to accelerate pipeline without significant additional investment. We strongly recommend the program discussed over the course of this two-part series to dramatically improve inbound, outbound, and ABM efforts across the board. Overall, we’ve seen great, real-life success with customers using similar workflows.

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