As the sales processes become more and more complex, it is also getting harder to understand the real intentions of a potential buyer. However, thanks to modern innovations, there are new technologies that help business owners and managers assess a person’s likelihood to make a purchase, even without interacting with them. This is exactly what intent data can do for your business, and many successful companies already use it to fuel their lead generation. If you too are looking to gain a competitive advantage through intent lead generation, this guide will tell you everything you need to know.
Intent data includes all the information about prospective customers that define their interests, and behavior, as well as their intention to actually make a purchase. In other words, it is a set of contextual signals that reveal a person’s likelihood and readiness to buy. Some of the most valuable signals used in such processes are engagement with sales emails, interaction with ads that contain target keywords, direct interactions with relevant topics, and downloading and consuming relevant content.
Companies can use buyer intent data to fine-tune their marketing efforts, making sure that all the resources are spent on high-quality leads. This brings us to the concept of intent-driven lead generation which is the result of the use of intent data for the purpose of supercharging the process of lead generation.
Intent data can come from many different sources, and based on the type of the source, it can be divided into two different groups:
Internal data refers to the information that you source within your organization. Such data is collected through email tracking, website cookies, CRM platforms, automation tools, and application logs. First-party sources are an excellent option if you’re just starting out with the use of intent data since their range is pretty limited. Internal sources can only give you insights about the prospects who are already familiar with your product or service and may have already interacted with your staff members.
As opposed to the internal sources, the external ones present you with data collected outside of your organization. Usually, it is sourced from dedicated data providers or aggregators. By its nature, third-party information covers a wider audience than internally collected information, since it includes individuals who are not yet familiar with your business. However, it comes with downsides, too.
Firstly, the data is not unique, and the provider is free to offer the exact same information to your competitors. Secondly, you can only prove the quality of the data after you’ve actually used it in marketing, which can lead to a waste of resources. Therefore, if you’re looking to make the most out of your efforts, you should include both internal and external sources. That way you will get a complete view of your target audience which will help you create personalized strategies.
Let’s go over some of the greatest benefits of using intent data in lead generation:
The use of intent data allows businesses to spot profitable leads quickly and efficiently. The strategy provides companies with valuable results without forcing them to spend time and money on actions that will only get them leads that are unlikely to convert. Furthermore, being able to spot lucrative prospects optimizes the costs of marketing and boosts sales performance at the same time.
Even when you spot valuable leads, intent data will allow you to do further qualification where you can allocate more focus and effort to the ones who are more likely to make a purchase. Compared to traditional volume-based marketing, this approach helps you avoid diminishing returns. Intent data will help you reach the right person at the right time while serving them the right pieces of content.
As soon as you collect detailed information about your target audience and their interests, you will be able to start strategizing on the creation of relevant content. Using the knowledge about the behavior of your prospects will help you create custom content strategies with advanced personalization. The data will enable you to build unique, perfectly tailored experiences throughout the sales funnel.
Intent data analysis and the creation of data-driven lead generation campaigns require unified efforts of different departments who are all motivated to reach the same goals. Such an experience transforms the quality of your entire organization’s communication, collaborations, and brand alignment. As a result, the business benefits on many different levels, beyond the intent-focused campaigns.
Check out some of the best ways you can use intent data in practice to enhance your lead-generation efforts:
As mentioned above, intent data allows marketers to create tailored solutions that are more likely to make an impact on the target audience. But how does that work in practice? Basically, you can use the available intent data and customize the UI and the content of your website to resonate with each prospect. For instance, you can show custom pop-up windows that will be triggered by different types of activities on the site.
And if you are willing to go through further modification, you can even use dynamic personalization of some of the elements on the website. For example, you can use the IP address of the prospect to create localized website content that will resonate with that particular person. And as you go on and continue learning more about your potential clients, you will get even more opportunities for a personalized approach.
Account-based marketing focuses marketing efforts on particular leads, and as such, it goes perfectly well with intent data which allows you to identify the ideal prospects to target. Therefore, think about creating a comprehensive lead qualification strategy that will enable you to bring high-quality leads right where they need to be in your sales funnel.
In addition to that, tap into their emotions in each stage of the sales funnel by trying to awaken feelings of curiosity, desire, and even greed. This approach will allow you to fine-tune the content across the entire funnel to have it resonate with the intent-driven prospects.
Intent data that showcases the interests of your prospects will also enable you to build sales campaigns with more precise targeting. Depending on the nature of your products or services, you can always find useful clues that will help you create a more relevant outreach. For example, a thorough analysis may reveal a group of leads who have started a checkout process but failed to finalize it.
Such leads are located further down the sales funnel and should be approached with different messages than those who are on the other end of the funnel. On the other hand, you can use the same strategy to exclude a particular group from your campaigns to avoid irrelevant targeting.
Before you jumpstart your new intent data strategy, take a look at some of the most common mistakes you should avoid:
If you still don’t have enough content on the website, you should postpone the measuring of intent data, especially if you're pulling it from traffic analysis. Analyzing traffic data can reveal the content preferences of your target audience, as well as the topic they’re most interested in. However, if there is not enough content on the site, you will be presented with unreliable data since the users were faced with limited options that may not reflect their actual interests.
No matter how detailed the data is, you will not make the most out of it if you don’t work on the further development of buyer journeys. You need to stay on top of the changes in the behavior of your potential clients. On top of that, you also need to be up-to-date with the latest industry strategies and trends. Being able to pair the data with constant analysis of the results will make your business capable to adapt to new circumstances and use them to its advantage.
If there is no quality communication between the sales and marketing teams, the intent data can easily be wasted on flawed practices. That is why marketers need to keep salespeople informed about the strategies and messaging used in the lead qualification process. That way, the sales team members can perform actions and follow-ups that are in line with the company’s planned lead-generation journey.
Gathering and analyzing intent data can be a lengthy process, but making an effort to do it can be rewarding in so many ways. Boosting your lead generation strategies with intent data leads to precise targeting and personalized campaigns that result in more sales. You worked hard to build a business, and making use of valuable intent data is an important step that will make it stand out among the competitors.