Marketing Automation Buyer's Guide

Intent Data: The Tool Every B2B Company Needs In An Economic Downturn

Intent Data The Tool Every B2B Company Needs In An Economic Downturn

Intent Data The Tool Every B2B Company Needs In An Economic Downturn

As part of Solutions Review’s Contributed Content Series—a collection of articles written by industry thought leaders in maturing software categories—David Crane, the VP of Portfolio Marketing at Intentsify, explains why intent data is essential for B2B companies.

Generating revenue in today’s dynamic B2B market is more complex than ever, as go-to-market (GTM) teams at even the largest enterprises are only a fraction of their former size. While operational efficiency has always been top of mind for business leaders, it’s paramount to surviving ongoing economic turbulence, mainly when businesses operate with a growth-at-all-cost mindset. To drive results and remain profitable in this climate, enterprises must have the right processes in place to efficiently identify the ideal accounts—and engage each with the right messaging.   

As a result, business leaders are turning to data and integrated cross-functional processes to better align sales, marketing, and customer success efforts. Intent data, for example, allows businesses to reduce the cost of customer acquisition by enabling these teams to focus time and resources on the correct accounts—using the most relevant messaging and content—rather than wasting budget on the wrong targets.

What is Intent Data, and How Does it Work?  

At its most basic level, intent data is information collected about web users’ content consumption activities and research behaviors, typically at the account level. As we all know, the B2B buying process has become more complex, with most of the buyer journey occurring through independent online research.  This means companies require deeper insight into target accounts’ online research activities to focus resources on the organizations most likely to buy—and this is where intent data comes in.

Comprising various source types, derivation methods, evaluation models, and activation points, intent data solutions can provide insights into the entire customer lifecycle. This enables GTM teams to prioritize and hone their outreach efforts accordingly. But how exactly does this work for specific functions and use cases? Below are three intent data use cases that help marketing, sales, and customer success teams increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their respective efforts.  

Marketing: Synchronizing Digital Advertising Tactics 

The market has never been so saturated, and buyers’ attention has never been so splintered. To break through the noise and outshine competitors, B2B businesses must supply buyers with the correct information where and when they want it. And when buyers’ interests change, the targeting and messaging must also adjust to reduce waste and maximize results. While this sounds difficult for already-stretched GTM teams, intent data can help immensely.   

Intent data can identify which accounts are in-market to buy, where they are in their research journey, and the specific challenges, solutions, and/or products they’re most interested in at each stage. With the right solution, intent data acts as centralized intelligence, fueling traditionally siloed advertising tactics (such as display and content syndication) in tandem, ensuring messages are relevant, timely, and consistent across all channels. Some intent data solutions even ingest digital program engagements (e.g., display ad clicks, content downloads, etc.) as intent signals in their modeling, enabling channels to learn and optimize from one another continually. 

The result is a greater return on ad spend (ROAS), improved customer experiences, increased funnel velocity, and greater pipeline contribution from marketing.

Sales: Accelerating Pipeline 

Intent data delivers several significant benefits for sales teams, all of which help sellers increase the speed and volume of opportunity conversions.  

Account prioritization is the most well-known intent use case for sellers. In a market where time and resources are slim—and 50 percent of sales time is wasted on unproductive prospecting—sellers can’t afford to waste time and effort trying to engage the wrong accounts. Intent data solves this simple yet essential challenge by identifying which target accounts are actively researching topics (e.g., products, solution categories, challenges, brands, etc.) related to the sellers’ business offerings. Consequently, sales teams can allocate resources more efficiently, leading to more closed-won deals. 

Message selection and competitive intelligence are two lesser-understood intent use cases for sales teams. Armed with information about accounts’ specific research interests (e.g., specific solution features, value props, etc.), sellers gain an understanding of each account’s priorities and needs, with which sellers can hone the messages used in their prospecting calls, lead follow-up emails, and meetings.  

Similarly, intent data can surface competitive threats. Knowing when and which competitors a target account is researching enables sellers to preemptively supply prospects at those accounts with content that highlights the most relevant competitive differentiators.  

The benefits of more efficient, targeted efforts (i.e., account prioritization)  combined with delivering the right messaging at the right time (i.e., message selection and competitive intelligence) result in more meaningful engagements with prospects, which in turn result in faster sales cycles, more customers,  and even increased deal sizes. 

Customer Success: Expanding Current Account Investments  

It’s a well-known fact: Increasing existing-customer investments is easier and costs less than acquiring net-new customers. For organizations with multiple solution offerings, intent data is also incredibly helpful here. Seeing when a customer account is researching solutions you offer—but the customer hasn’t yet purchased—enables customer success managers (CSMs) and account managers (AMs) to identify cross-sell opportunities and develop effective strategies.  

Instead of ungracefully prodding customers about other solutions they hope to sell to customers, team members assigned to such accounts can formulate messages, content, and engagement activities that focus on those additional solutions and their benefits in a more helpful, organic manner.  

While the market may be experiencing ongoing turbulence for the foreseeable future, business goals are achievable if teams are equipped with the tools to collaborate and drive efficiency. When paired with the right intent partner, businesses can quickly uplevel GTM strategies and ultimately persevere in an economic downturn.


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