Tactical guide to leveraging intent data for high-quality leads
Kacper Staniul, Growth Marketer and Maker of Scrapbook
Your potential customers are doing lots of research on the best ways to solve their problem before visiting your website. Reading industry articles, comparing different solutions on the market, and analyzing product reviews.
What if you could see which companies are looking for a solution like yours before they even hit your website? What if you could know about their interest before your competitors do?
That's what intent data allows you to do.
What is intent data
Intent data is all the behavioral signals indicating that a consumer or company is underway the buying cycle.
There are two types of intent data.
First-party intent data (intent shown on your website)
These are all hints the prospects give on your website that they're interested in your product or service. Product pages they've visited, blogposts they've read, videos they've watched—all the data from your analytics tools and CRM.
You can (and should) use them as an indication as to what problems they need solved and what products or services of yours they're interested in. And, of course, to estimate their level of intent.
Third-party intent data (intent shown outside of your website)
Data that you collect on your website is just a small piece of what's possible with intent data. Most user activity and predictive signals happen on other websites.
When your prospects are researching on the Internet, they're leaving footprints behind in the form of cookies and IP addresses.
Intent data providers collect this data through data-sharing partnerships with thousands of B2B and media websites. This way, they gather behavioral data such as the topics users consume, when they consume it, how long they stay on given pages, forms they submit, and many other indicators. Then they aggregate them, create baseline levels of content consumption for a given IP (which are backtracked to a company), and look for spikes above these levels for a given topic. The larger the spike and the more recent it is, the better of an intent signal it produces.
Other sources of signals come from tech changes, new job openings, new hires, funding announcements, new partnerships, product launches, awards, expansions to new markets, and more.
Let's go through some practical examples of leveraging buyer intent data.
Intent data use cases
Two areas where intent data can be especially effective are outbound and churn prevention.
Intent data for outbound
The key to effective outbound is making it relevant and contextual to the recipients' current situation and needs. And intent data provides you with this context.
Here are some of the signals you can use to enhance your outbound strategy:
New job openings & new hires. A company hiring in a given department is a sign it's in a good position to invest more in this area of its business. This creates an outreach opportunity for products from that field (job descriptions offer extra insights on the specifics). After a person switches jobs, they're likely to introduce new products into their new company - either adopting new ones or replacing existing ones because of personal preference (especially if they're in leadership roles).
Tech changes. Dropping a product from a company's stack opens up the opportunity for a replacement. There's a chance they weren't satisfied with their previous solution and are willing to try another one. Adopting a new piece of software is a signal that a company may need a complimentary one. Based on your technographic research of your customers, find out what other software your product is most often used together with.
Product launches. Launching a new product means that a company is looking to grow market share in that area. If your product can facilitate that, there's a chance they'll need it.
Funding announcements. When a company gets funding, they usually say what the money will be spent on. This gives you a good signal about the potential fit for your product.
Researching other products. Premium plan of G2 (formerly G2 Crowd) lets you see which companies visited either your product listing, competitors' listings, or a given product category page. These are some very strong intent signals you don't want to miss out on.
Visiting your website. Identify companies that visit your website by using tools such as Leadfeeder or Clearbit Reveal. The ones that show enough engagement but don't convert are prime candidates for an outbound campaign.
What's left for you as you have these intent signals is to find your target companies' emails and reach out to them. Some data intent providers even provide you with their contact details.
If you're using account-based marketing strategy and have a defined list of target companies, you can upload them to an intent data vendor and get notified when any of them shows buying intent. Combining precise targeting of ABM with intent signals results in an incredibly high-value audience ready for you to reach out to.
After you've validated this approach and learned that it can be a sustainable acquisition channel for you, then you can automate and scale it. MadKudu has a great writeup on how they were able to do it.
Intent data for churn prevention
If your customers start reading reviews of your competitors, there's a high chance they're at a churn risk.
But you can prevent it.
Premium version of G2 lets you upload a list of your customers and get notified whenever any of them starts researching other solutions in your space.
What can you do to retain them? Reach out as soon as possible and learn why they're unsatisfied with your product. Then do what needs to be done so that they get the value they expected when choosing your solution - help them with setup or offer extra training.
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Intent data providers
PredictLeads. Identify prospects based on hiring intent, tech changes, new partnerships, expansions, product launches, financing announcements, awards, and other signals that allow for highly contextual outreach. Starts at $5,900/year.
ZoomInfo. Provides you with data on companies whose activity within a specified topic has surged, as well as contact info of the person that interests you. Cost: $10k+/year.
Bombora. Get notified when companies’ matching your customer profile interest in a given topic peaks. Pricing plans start at $22k/year, but you can sign up for a free weekly data sample.
Leadfeeder. Learn which companies visit your website, how they found it, and what they're interested in. Prices start at $69/month.
Leveraging buyer intent data lets you tap into a new stream of high-quality prospects before your competitors even learn about their interest. You're cutting down time on prospecting for your sales team and creating more targeted and relevant sales outreach, which results in higher conversion rates than if reaching out to companies showing no intent.
One thing to keep in mind though is that IP lookups won't work for identifying users working from home unless they're connected to a company VPN.
PS: If you want more growth inspiration, I've collected over 250 tactic ideas used by the fastest-growing companies into an easily searchable database. You can get lifetime access here.