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Understanding intent data for sales and marketing professionals

Fiona O'Connor

Intent data promises different benefits depending on how it is made, sourced and used. Companies are adopting it for different reasons, and solution providers are promoting it heavily. Certain forms of intent may just help make your ads more effective. Due to impending renewals, personnel changes, or similar indirect indicators, others may give you advice on who may be considering a purchase. A few can provide meaningful access to a multitude of undiscovered needs and even more real opportunities for your pipeline. While many users have embraced one or more of these signal types, many organizations are unaware of the key differences that may be important to them for maximum benefit.

We created this guide to help you use intent data to accelerate your own journey—no matter what stage you are in. It describes how purchase intent data can help support every area of ​​your organization, from sales to ABM and marketing – and we’ll provide additional resources to further expand your knowledge.

What is true intent data?

As originally coined, “Purchase Intention Data” is a class of behavior Data (data created by analyzing people’s behavior) that provides a strong indication of a product or service that is about to be purchased. More recently, however, the term has not only been shortened to the word “intent,” but some vendors have made efforts to expand its meaning to include any “signal,” whether or not it can reasonably be associated with an impending purchase.

When we use this term, purchase intent data must be able to first lead the go-to-market (GTM) team to more active demand than they can see, and then, be very accurate Target specific people whose behavior indicates an interest in purchasing a given product. Simply put, it’s about getting the most out of your current market needs and then optimizing the focus and precision of your actions based on the insights available. Among the many different types of data or data sources that are now labeled “intents”, our definitions are very specific. Depending on the sources and methods involved, a given resource will have very different characteristics and, therefore, its usefulness in supporting GTMs.

For a clear framework you can use to evaluate the intent data source and type, read Understand B2B purchase intent data and put it to work .

with any data Like sources, intents add more value to your GTM if you can effectively use them to support multiple use cases and groups of users. Next, we’ll look at how real purchase intent data can be useful to specific GTM teams in various ways. From strategic optimization to one-on-one sales personalization, the right source of intent can quickly provide the necessary guidance to generate meaningful competitive advantage.

Intention data for sales development

Although sales development is particularly popular among enterprise technology companies, it is still a relatively immature discipline in many of them Subject. Sales development organizations often come together in a hurry with the expectation that they will mature as they grow. But the reality for many companies seems to be that the build process leaves many important gaps that can easily become long-term points of failure. Today, we still see this disparity in many sales development organizations continuing to cause their companies to underperform their sales development capabilities. While the majority of these teams’ time is designed to better serve the needs of more effective sales follow-up, in a recent survey of sales development organizations, a majority of companies reported that their teams still fell short of their goals. While there are a number of issues that contribute to this, the quality of the data resource is a critical point of failure.

While intent data has not yet become a major content team in sales development, its usage is growing. (Of course, as mentioned above, the intended utility of these use cases depends heavily on the data source and the insights available to it). During the study period, less than 25% of technical sales development teams used intent data in a rigorous manner, despite the fact that the right type of intent source can significantly improve conversations, meetings, and opportunities. When sales development teams are trained and able to use the appropriate sources of purchase intent data, they are able to execute better outreach and deliver meetings through the pipeline more effectively.

For more insights on the challenges sales development teams face and how purchase intent data can help, read How does your sales development plan measure up?

sales intent data

For a long time, strategic account executives have relied heavily on only two There are fairly blunt tools for prospecting in their territory: “qualified” lead tracking (small and imprecise) and cold prospecting (less efficient). Both of these methods can lead to a lot of dead ends for sellers. They held out their hands and there was nothing. When the person is right, it’s usually the wrong time. In terms of capturing more of the full revenue potential in their area, the reality is that AEs still tend to allocate too much time to a few of their clients and too little because they cannot prioritize more effectively. time allotted to their few clients. many people. While these simple “tools” as an effective way to proactively optimize customer reach are still not effective for sales professionals, account executives hunting for inefficiencies haven’t received much direct attention from management or suppliers.

Better priorities clearly represent a real opportunity for sales managers and salespeople. Even consistent quota-achieving performance (though the tool is suboptimal) provides less revenue from these regions than it should. To raise quotas even further (on the road to maximizing and better capture of all harvestable demand), sales managers also need a better way to see the real opportunities that are forming within their team area. Then, in order to drive increased capture, they need to be able to inspire their AEs to take advantage of this foresight.

Quality intent data can significantly change this equation. By combining the insights it provides with the right guidance, sales managers can more dynamically match the coverage behaviors they represent with active opportunities in a given territory and overall potential across territories. This is actionable precisely because high-quality intent data can provide reps with a better “peripheral view”—precise, easy-to-understand, and actionable insight into actual demand activity, regardless of initial account rank. By understanding what’s in intent data, sales managers can better work with AE on a more flexible coverage model—one that captures more demand as it’s formed.

To learn more about how strategic sellers can use intent data to achieve more revenue growth read Accelerate strategic customer revenue with the right intent data .

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Intent Data

Sales success is critical to account-based marketing (ABM), as any such targeting strategy can only truly succeed if it generates more revenue from targeted customers. Any ABM implementation begins with sales and marketing, working together to create an agreed-upon list of very specific customers who deserve special attention and treatment. These accounts usually “deserve” this extra attention because they share characteristics that suggest that each account has a lot of potential to provide more revenue than it has so far. The salesperson’s role in ABM is both focused on capturing more of the existing opportunities that arise in these accounts and working harder to create more of them. Complementary to this, in ABM, Marketing works to increase Sales’ visibility into where the target customer’s buyer journey (and real opportunities) are taking shape, and to optimize what’s necessary to assist Sales in developing new opportunities there.

So, an important part of marketing in ABM is to create the type of interaction with the target customer to better lay the groundwork for the sales account team to create opportunities more effectively . The challenge that marketing has to embrace is identifying and implementing strategies that do drive better, deeper customer engagement over time, giving sales a better chance at creating opportunities. To gain consistent engagement with the procurement group to more easily generate opportunities, ABM teams need to deliver unique value to clients that differentiate their inputs from the status quo and those of competitors. Success here depends on finding a combination of content and format that brings meaningful ideas together with members of the potential buying group. Strategies like High Value Offers (HVO), purpose-built webinar series, and others that focus on exploring a topic in depth and providing very prescriptive guidance have proven particularly effective for this.

The right source of intent data helps marketers address ABM challenges: better identifying existing opportunities in target customers for salespeople to pursue immediately, and better Identify the needs and interests of potential buying groups within target customers so that more effective engagement strategies can be effectively implemented to create opportunities where active buyer journeys have not yet been incorporated.

For more information on how to use purchase intent data to better engage the buying team, please read ABM 2.0: 3 Paths to More Productive Income in a Changing Interactive Environment .

Marketing intent data

For teams that use a hybrid ABM model, or still rely primarily on classical requirements generation techniques to provide the bulk of marketing’s contribution to the pipeline, the right choice of intent data source Can significantly improve performance. Until recently, most B2B demand-generating organizations focused solely on lead volume as the primary lever to influence pipeline health. But thinking about how best to optimize this process has changed significantly over the past five years, and it has been shown that external data—especially high-quality second-party intent data—can help requirements generation teams Improve opportunity identification and conversion in general, and especially the link between marketing and sales development.

For marketing teams that use leads and needs as a key strategy, quality intent data can do much more than just improve the efficiency of brand advertising efforts. Armed with real purchase intent data, members of the GTM team can actually see a buying group and associated buyer journey taking shape, as individual members generate a variety of signals. Instead of simply treating MQL as discrete individuals and relying solely on the qualification/disqualification of a single person to determine how a given situation will be handled in the future, the senior team now evaluates the behavior of multiple people in the same account and conducts more thoughtful meetings .

For more insights on how to sub-optimize classic demand generation in your organization and how to use purchase intent data to improve demand generation performance, read Today’s market realities require new demand generation strategies and check Billion Dollar Blindness and more on how real intent data supports GTM end-to-end.

Mapping your purchase intent data journey

When integrating end-to-end t in your GTM team, real purchase intent data multiplies revenue growth effect. In this short guide, we’ve taken a high-level look at some of the key use cases we’ve helped clients of all sizes and maturity implement. To maximize the potential from the highest quality intent data sources, your vendor selection should be based on a clear understanding of how far you want to go and what steps your organization will involve. To learn more about how we can support and collaborate with you on your own intent data journey, read How

Crawling, walking and running using Intent data .

How we can help

As a leading innovator in intent data with over two decades of experience helping enterprise tech companies optimize their revenue engines, TechTarget Having capabilities and more knowledge that teams like yours rely on every day to guide, implement, execute, and optimize.

To learn more about the topics covered here and to start or improve on your own intent data journey, speak with a TechTarget representative today.

b2b sales intent data, intent data, ABM intent data, marketing intent data

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