How Can an Effective Intent Data Strategy Enhance ABM?

Apurva Pathak | February 23, 2022 | 264 views

Effective Intent Data Strategy
Harnessing the power of intent data to create effective account-based marketing strategies can help sales and marketing teams effectively achieve their goals. According to HubSpot, Google processes approximately 63,000 search queries every second. Of these queries, a significant few may be associated with your business. These web searches count as behavior, and they make up intent data. Intent data is of two types: internal (gathered from websites, automation systems, and other software like CRM) and external buyer intent data (review sites, competitor’s websites, forums).

Intent data is captured by buyer intent data tools. It provides insights into a customer’s behavior, interests, pain points, needs, and expectations. These insights can be leveraged to pinpoint users closest to making a purchase decision. You can then work to convert them into customers swiftly.

The Power of Intent Data

Intent data is the number one priority for account-based marketing strategies. Companies harness the power of intent data by integrating it into the workflows of their sales and marketing teams. With the help of intent data, they can tailor their interactions to the needs of their users and create valuable connections with them.

Primarily, intent data helps prioritize a list of target accounts that should be pursued for conversion. Furthermore, some companies also create specialized groups and targeted lists to hyper-personalize their content offerings to influence purchase decisions. Once the sales and marketing teams are aware of the position of a user in the sales cycle, they can focus on pushing them forward in the buying process with the help of personalized content.

Charles Crnoevich, Vice President of Partnerships & Business Development at Bombora defines intent data as:

“Intent data helps B2B teams better their prospect and customer experience at all stages of the buyer journey. From top-funnel ad messaging that meets prospective buyers in their initial research phase, to bottom-funnel sales messaging that includes context around specific product needs, intent insights give every touchpoint the ability to be backed by data. It eliminates room for human guessing and the risk of being irrelevant to your audience.”

Let us look at how intent data is transforming businesses and the importance of an intent data strategy to scale your business.

Target Account Selection

Relying only on basic firmographic data is a thing of the past when it comes to selecting a target account. Here are five steps that you can follow to create a target account selection based on the intent data you gather:
  • Defining Your ICP
Revenue should not be the only factor you consider while defining your ICP. Look at the cost to convert, lifetime value, and churn rate. Observe what your best customers have in common. Is it their company size, their domain, the challenges they face, or their growth rate? Once you know these details, consider finding a solution for their problems. You may have more than one ICP if you have multiple products, features, and services on offer.
  • Understanding the Intent
Based on the key signals like downloads, sign-ups, booked demos, or reading certain pages on your websites that buyer intent data tools record, you can understand the intent of the user. Once the intent is clear, you can gather your data with the help of buyer intent tools. 
  • Gathering Relevant Data
Lead generation platforms like Leedfeeder, email marketing platforms like MailChimp, CRM platforms like HubSpot CRM, and marketing automation platforms like WebEngage are your sources of intent data. How you gather data depends on the platforms you are using. Most lead generation platforms will allow you to download the data in an Excel sheet or a CSV file. What is great about this kind of data is that you can always combine the spreadsheets from all these sources and clean up the inconsistencies.
  • Segmenting the Target List
Segmenting your target list is very important to understand which accounts are high intent. The other categories can be of medium or low intent. Filter out the low intent accounts first. These accounts aren’t quite ready to make any purchase decisions. Add them to your remarketing list or your account development team can nurture them. The medium and high-intent accounts can stay on your list so your sales and marketing can focus on them.
  • Targeting Key Accounts
Once your teams have the list of key accounts they need to target, they can create an effective strategy to approach these accounts and push them towards conversion. They can accelerate their conversion efforts with the help of email marketing, content marketing, advertising, and direct mail. Finding the right leads at the right time can help a great deal with targeting. With the help of B2B intent data, everything functions smoothly once you find the right key accounts.

Message Selection

The best part about B2B intent data is that it doesn’t miss any important information about the account, so your messaging strategy is based on facts and not speculation. Quality intent data will provide the prospect’s research history, going as far as including searched products and companies. The otherwise invisible, actionable prospect trends can thus come to light, and you can create messaging that can help you beat your competition.

According to a Gartner research study, more than 70 percent of B2B marketers will utilize third-party intent data to target their prospects or initiate engagement with buyer groups in selected accounts by the end of 2022.

Message optimization may not be at the top of the chart for the most impactful uses of intent data, but it does play an important role in helping content marketers be successful. Buyer intent data enables them to better align their sales pitches to accommodate the buyers’ interests and needs that they discover using the third-party site buyer signals.

Decreasing Churn Rate

By monitoring the intent data signals of clients who search your competitor’s website to find alternatives to the products or services you provide, you can know which clients need more attention and support. This information indicates that these clients do not find your product or services up to the mark or are not fulfilling their needs and expectations. You can set up triggers for such clients and ask for feedback from them to find out the shortcomings of your product or service. You can use the feedback as a guide for future product development and reduce your churn rate by retaining clients. Another interesting approach would be to provide your team access to reliable and clean intent data so they can make decisions to enhance the sales strategy.
Image Source: Orbitmedia

Sales Outreach

According to Gartner research, prospects spend about 50% of their time trying to find information from third-party sources. Usually, the sales team has to wait for a buyer to either fill out a form or perform a trigger action to be classified as a prospect. However, with buyer intent signals, prospect movement is revealed. The prospect’s intent indicators help the sales team decide when to outreach.

Enhancing Content Personalization

Use third and first-party data to create informed blog content, email marketing campaigns, and other content marketing initiatives to appeal to your prospects. By leveraging the intent data at hand, you can offer what the clients want in an appealing way. You can target their entire buyer persona by creating a more effective content strategy. Your content marketing team can know the topics they need to cover in their marketing efforts. It can also improve the existing content to make it more impactful.

Discovering New Leads

Whenever a customer searches for products or services that you offer or topics relevant to them, third-party intent data aggregators can track them and notify you about this customer. If this customer hasn’t already interacted with your business, then these are new leads your teams can pursue with appropriate messaging and tailored content.

Enabling ABM Strategy

In ABM marketing, knowing which accounts to target is the most crucial step. With the help of data insights on specific accounts, you can build a focused ABM strategy. You can analyse their research data and interpret their buying intent, and based on that, you can add them to your target list. Measure and test the content they interact with and what makes them move further along the sales funnel. You can find the content that isn’t creating any impact and replace it. Adapting an ABM strategy in real time becomes easy, so you are more customer-centric than ever before.

Improving Marketing Automation

Intent data tells you exactly where your prospects are in the sales funnel. Use this information to trigger certain actions to nurture these prospects. For example, once you find that a certain prospect has stopped consuming the awareness-stage content on your website and starts devoting time to consideration or conversion-stage content, you can trigger a change in the kind of marketing content you send out.

Targeting Keywords Effectively

Search engine marketers find long-tail keywords important because they are descriptive, relevant, and do a great job of implying the buyer’s intent. However, it is challenging for advertisers to target long-tail keywords because they do not have enough search volume. This affects ad visibility as compared to when high volume keywords are used. To get the same results with the long tail keywords, companies need to optimize many long tail keywords.

Automated bidding technologies can easily carry out this task. By using your third-party intent data, you can know the kind of long-tail keywords your audience is searching for. Use your website analytics to discover fresh information on keywords and then use it to target keywords or create relevant ads.

You can also automate ad personalization with the help of intent data aggregators that identify qualified leads based on information like domain and device advertisement. You can then place the right ads on your audience’s devices.

Now that we know how intent data helps with account-based marketing, intent based marketing, and other marketing endeavors, let us look at the key elements of an intent data strategy and how to make the most of it.

8 Key Elements of an Effective Intent Data Strategy

We have already established how important intent data is in B2B marketing in improving targeting, lead generation, lead nurturing, and overall customer experience. When it comes to creating an effective intent data strategy, you should follow these guidelines:

Align ABM Initiatives & Intent Data Strategy

In an ABM strategy, you can deploy intent data for account prioritization in the following ways:
  • Fuse intent data with your defined ICP
Identify your target accounts and check which of these are showing buyer intent. Your sales team can have relevant information to talk to these accounts and convince them to make a purchase.
  • Segment accounts showing intent but don’t align with your ICP
You can increase your sales pipeline by segmenting the new accounts by showing buyer intent but not aligning them with your ICP. This is especially useful for companies with a smaller database.

Define Your Goals and Strategies

Break silos and work towards the same goals. Get a buy-in from the higher-ups in the company and let the teams know what to achieve with the intent data. Share the intent data strategy with every team member, align the goals and metrics, and train those who need to know more about intent data.

Integrate the Data from Different Systems

Increase the efficiency of your intent data strategy by integrating systems like CRM to improve the visibility and performance of the funnel. A step-by-step approach goes a long way when it comes to an intent data strategy.

Start with a Small Pilot

Trial and tweaking your intent data strategy can be a good idea. Create an intent data framework for a small set of accounts and share it with a limited group of sales team members at your company. Streamline your processes through this pilot test. Once you know the intricacies of what works and what doesn’t, you can launch intent data strategies with other sales teams.

Collect Performance Metrics

Ensure you collect your conversion rate before rolling out a pilot program for testing. This way, you can compare the before and after. Monitor the performance metrics throughout the program. Your marketing and sales teams can go over the metrics together to see what tweaks are needed to the intent data strategy before multiple teams adopt one. 

Gather Buyer Journey Intelligence

Identify trends through specific search terms, topics, asset types, features or product interests so you can create topic clusters for specific content that can be distributed throughout the funnel. You can do this by gathering first-party data from your marketing automation software, CRM, and other customer-data platforms. You can also interview customers to get any other useful information to understand a buyer’s journey better. You can also engage intent data providers to find out more about historical buyer journey analysis.

Monitor Important Topics

Select the right topics to monitor. The intent data will only work if you know which specific topic or clusters of topics will determine the status of a prospect. Choose the topics that are critical for success. Remember, the higher the use cases in a fuller, the lower the number of topics you should monitor. As you move down the funnel, be more specific about the topics you want to monitor.

Explore Potential Integrations

By integrating your intent data with the right platform, you can amplify the results of your intent data strategy. Since intent data supports the complete customer lifecycle and increases the value of your other martech software or sales-tech investments, it is important to explore integrations that may enhance your sales and marketing strategy. When used wisely, intent data can transform your business, one department at a time. It can also ensure customers’ satisfaction and help you scale your business faster than you ever imagined.

Ultima Generated ROI in Eight Weeks Through Cognism

Ultima, a UK-based infotech company led an example by generating ROI in just eight weeks using intent data provided by Cognism. "Our sales cycle is typically 6-8 months long. At Cognism, we saw ROI in 8 weeks from intent data and direct dials. One deal pays for a year’s Cognism subscription." - George Mckenna, Head of Cloud Sales at Ultima.

Conclusion

Creating an effective intent data strategy can be a game-changing factor for your business. With its implementation, not only will you be able to connect with your customers on a deeper level, but you will also be able to get higher win rates than your competitors that practice manual prospecting.

FAQ

How can you collect intent data?

You can collect intent data through signals like website clicks, social media ad clicks, length of time spent on a website, email newsletter subscription behavior, or frequent website visits.

What are the benefits of intent data in B2B marketing?

With the help of a good intent data strategy, you can find new potential leads, focus on companies already a part of your sales funnel, promote yourself to your customers early on in their decision-making process, prioritize your leads, and personalize your outreach. These benefits can drive your sales growth.

How does intent data help in ABM marketing?

ABM marketing is also intent-based marketing. Intent data for ABM is an asset as it helps with account prioritization (lowering the scale of the program to focus better on key accounts) and account activation through personalized and specific marketing messaging.

Spotlight

RenderTribe

Specialists in Pipeline Marketing for SaaS and Software Companies. A New York-based (Saratoga Springs & New York City) boutique digital marketing firm driving growth for start-up and growth stage enterprises. We design profitable marketing strategies with insight analytics for SaaS, software and new technology companies with national and global market reach.

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