Intent data is like knowing what a close friend’s hobbies, usual day-to-day schedule, and favorite foods are. Not having it is like knowing their first name… and maybe their Instagram handle. Okay, you must be wondering why this is related to how to use this type of data, but hear me out.
This “intent data” about your friend can help you plan the world’s most amazing birthday surprise. 🎂
In the context of B2B marketing, intent data about your prospects helps you plan the most effective campaigns to win them over as customers — quickly, and without any waste of your budget. 💰
So what are some data marketing strategies we can use for B2B lead generation?
In this blog, I’ll share how to use it for fundamentals like segmentation and personalization, and also key channels like email marketing and paid ads.
I’ll also share a killer prospecting and sales tactic to get deals — i.e. using it to generate qualified leads as quickly as possible. If you’re rushing to meet your quotas this month, feel free to jump to the end and I might help you out.
Quick primer on what is intent data
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s get on the same page about what it actually is.
What is intent data in B2B?
Intent data captures the digital signals or actions taken by a user, indicating their buying intent or interest in a specific product or service.
For example, in the context of B2B tech sectors, a CIO reading an AI article or a manager comparing SaaS solutions, both represent intent. This data helps marketers and sales leaders target potential customers more effectively.
To be more specific, this type of data can include both:
- Explicit signals like form fills or direct inquiries, and
- Inexplicit ones like reading certain articles, email engagement, or keyword data.
Sources of this data can be categorized too, as:
- Zero-party (given directly by the consumer),
- First-party (collected by the organization),
- Second-party (shared between organizations), and
- Third-party (purchased from external sources).
If you’re looking for a more in-depth breakdown of these types and sources, check out my other blogs where I cover everything you need to know:
Ready? Let’s begin.
Strategy 1 - Customer segmentation
Before starting with any intent data marketing strategies, first, use the intent data you have on hand to segment your audience.
Customer segmentation isn’t new, but it lays the groundwork for everything that comes next. So let’s take a bit more time to unpack this strategy.
So why is intent data so beneficial for segmentation?
Unlike basic data points like job title or company size, intent data clues you into where your ideal customer profile (ICP) is on their buying journey. It’s about understanding not just who they are, but what they want and when they want it.
Using intent data to segment consumers
Firstly, you can start with any existing customer lists that are already segmented by basic demographics and firmographics like industry, company size, or role.
What you’re going to do is layer on intent data to create more nuanced categories, like these groups for example:
- Cold leads
- Brand-aware warm prospects
- Marketing qualified leads
- Sales-ready leads
The grouping really depends on what data you have, and your marketing strategy. However the overall goal is to group audiences with similar behaviors or interests together.
With that grouping set, you’ll be able to execute various kinds of campaigns on a larger scale, in a way that’s repeatable, or better, automated.
For example, if you have accounts showing an intent surge around products similar to yours, they could be primed for an introductory cold email campaign that’s perhaps automatically triggered.
Or, you might have existing prospects who are frequent visitors to your blog or have downloaded several of your ebooks. This group could be ripe for targeted campaigns like webinar invites that showcase your solutions in real time. Ideally, these ebooks and webinars can be used repeatedly for more bang for your buck.
Summary: Using intent data for segmentation
What the strategy means: Grouping audiences based on their interest before activating campaigns
Best types of data used: All, especially broader, inexplicit, and second to third-party signals that benefit from mass segmentation.
I’ll touch more on these specific lead generation campaigns later through this blog — but you get the gist. Segmenting your customers is step 1 to build that foundation for hyper-targeted campaigns that are also efficient.
The results? Faster sales cycles, and a more strategic use of your B2B marketing budget.
One more thing: If you’re new to segmentation, this ICP template might come in handy. The blueprint will help you visualize what data points you need, or don’t need, for various kinds of segmentation objectives.
Strategy 2 - Content marketing
Once you’ve got your audience segmented, the next most logical (and easiest) step is to tailor your content to speak directly to each group’s unique interests and needs.
Intent data can make your content marketing strategies far more potent than ever. Unlike standard segmentation parameters, intent data can reveal not only who your prospects are but also what challenges or goals they’re looking to solve.
Using intent data for content and messaging personalization
Creating content is about working on a wide, abstract canvas. That also means lots of opportunities for personalization.
Here, the main content variations you can play with according to your intent data and customer segments are:
- Messaging: such as specific pain points and goals
- Topics: such as educational, commercial, or transactional keywords
- Formats: such as visuals, videos, short form, long form
For example, segments early in the “awareness” stage with more, top-of-the-funnel content like trend overviews or industry challenges might be a hit. These could be around thought leadership and leverage original market research, in the form of blog articles, infographics, and short-form videos.
You’ll be able to identify these colder audiences pretty easily by their keywords, which could sound like “what is security orchestration automation and response,” aka SOAR.
For those further down the funnel and contemplating specifics — budgets, solutions, alternatives — you’d do well with more detailed content. That might include formats and topics like:
- Case studies
- Buyer guides
- Cost-benefit analyses
- Personalized demos
Here, their keywords would sound more like “best SOAR software 2023”.
Summary: Intent-driven content marketing
What the strategy means: Personalizing content by messaging, topic, and/or format based on an audience or segment’s intent
The best types of data used: Keyword intent data, readership signals, sales calls and interviews with existing customers.
Creating content with intent data takes the guesswork out of what your audience wants. That means more impactful content, greater engagement, and ultimately, a more effective use of your B2B marketing resources.
Strategy 3 - Email marketing
You’ve got your audience segmented and your content dialed in. What’s next?
Email marketing, is the go-to channel to nurture your prospects into leads.
Intent data amplifies the effectiveness of your email marketing lead generation campaigns, by providing insights into what your prospects really care about and when they’re most likely to take action. This sets you up for smarter timing and more precise lead prioritization.
I’ll quickly share about two intent data marketing strategies here.
How to optimize timing for conversions with intent data
Let’s cut to the chase: timing matters. With intent data, you can pinpoint when your prospects are most active or showing strong buying signals.
For example, you’re noticing a surge in activity around a particular topic or keyword. That’s your cue to fire off a relevant email, with the personalized content you’ve already determined in the previous step.
Use this window of heightened interest to maximize conversions, especially when you’ve got real-time data on hand.
How to refine lead scoring and prioritization with intent data
When it comes to lead scoring, intent data is a double-edged sword.
1 – Used in lead scoring:
Intent data can augment traditional lead scoring metrics like demographic information, company size, or past interactions with your brand.
For example, if a lead is showing high engagement with specific types of content, or has been researching solutions similar to yours, their lead score can be adjusted upward. You can then respond with the right emails and campaigns, or prioritize them for sales outreach
2 – Generated through lead scoring:
Your email lead scoring system can also generate new intent data by analyzing patterns of engagement or behavior, offering yet another layer of insight. Email metrics represent a first-party source, which is a really credible data input.
Summary: Using and creating intent data with emails
What the strategy means: Using intent data to respond quickly to targeted segments or informing email lead scoring, and also generating intent signals from email interactions.
Best types of data used: Readership signals and email metrics such as clicks and conversions.
These strategies enable businesses to distinguish between high-interest and passive leads, ensuring optimal resource allocation for your email marketing strategy.
Strategy 4 - Prospecting and sales
Prospecting and sales are where the rubber meets the road in B2B marketing and sales. Here, intent data acts like a map, guiding your sales team to the right doors to knock on, and also to the right things to say.
It’s not just about finding any leads; it’s about finding sales-ready leads and understanding their unique needs for a more personalized pitch.
How to identify sales-ready leads with intent data
So how exactly can you use intent data to pinpoint those elusive sales-ready leads?
Working with your intent data sources or an intent data provider, look for signals like:
- Increased content consumption around solution-related topics
- Recent budget approvals
- Inquiries into similar services
These behaviors indicate a high likelihood of readiness to make a purchasing decision.
But if you want to identify new leads and take the guesswork out of intent signals, consider leveraging ViB’s Deal Intent. It goes beyond surface-level data, offering explicit and zero-party sourced intent data including their:
- Interest within the next 6 to 12 months
- Role and other personas in their buyer committee
- Stage in the decision-making window
- Goals and challenges
- Budget for your solution
- Competitors they’re considering
- Their explicit interest in being contacted by you
My favorite part — they’re ready to hear from you. That’s a game-changer for your sales team’s efficiency.
Tailor sales pitches with intent data
Once you know who’s sales-ready, the next step is to craft a tailored pitch. Yup, no segmentation is needed. We’re talking about preparing for a highly personalized 1-1 appointment.
The more info you have, the more powerful your pitch. And again, that’s where Deal Intent can really help. As opposed to making a guess that an account is interested in a topic because you’ve seen a readership surge, deal intent data gives you the full story.
ViB’s deal intent data can inform you about a lead’s specific pain points, and prepare the best pitch that does a little bit of all of these:
- Match the account’s timing: If the intent data shows interest within the next 12 months, you can focus on building trust and rapport without being too pushy.
- Address the buyer committee: Use their role and other personas in their buying committee to tailor different aspects of your pitch to resonate with each stakeholder.
- Highlight your lead’s concerns: Use the explicit intent data you have on their goals and challenges to discuss how your solution can directly address these.
- Pitch a budget-sensitive package: If the intent data indicates a particular budget, tailor your pricing options to align closely with their budget constraints.
- Outshine their alternatives: Knowing the competitors they’re considering allows you to position your solution as the better choice, hitting on unique selling points that set you apart.
Armed with this information, your sales team can create personalized pitches that directly address each lead’s unique needs and concerns.
Summary: Deal intent data for sales and conversions
What the strategy means: Using precise, reliable and explicit intent data to identify the right sales-ready leads, and planning an effective pitch
Best types of data used: Explicit and zero-party sourced data, especially data points related to subjective pain points, budgets, timelines and competitors.
There you have it. Deal intent data helps your sales and prospecting by honing in on sales-ready leads and personalizing your outreach.
A solution like ViB’s Deal Intent can be incredibly beneficial here. Deal Intent provides the most reliable data, sourced directly from leads on demand.
Their insights go beyond the usual data points to help you not just identify prospects who are not just interested, but also convert them into customers.
Discover everything you need to know about ViB Deal Intent, including how it works, the challenges it solves, and its success stories so far, through our comprehensive video walkthrough.
Mastering intent data marketing for business success
By now, you should have a solid grasp on how to use intent data to fuel various facets of your business. It’s not just about who your customers are, but understanding their real-time needs, challenges, and decision-making stages.
With the market being so competitive these days, intent data isn’t just a ‘nice-to-have’. Its edge can be the difference between an engaged customer and a lost opportunity.
If you’re looking to get more strategic with your marketing and sales but are unsure where to start, we’ve got your back!
Get more specs about ViB Deal Intent, or schedule a free consultation. We’re here to help you nail this.