Home Marketing The Worst Kept Secret in B2B Marketing: Intent Data

The Worst Kept Secret in B2B Marketing: Intent Data

by Olufisayo
The Worst Kept Secret in B2B Marketing

You run a B2B, but you don’t know who your clients are or what they want.

You run a B2B, but your marketing isn’t bringing in clients and your sales team isn’t closing.

You run a B2B, but for whatever reason, you aren’t running it as optimally as you hoped. Here’s the answer to all your woes: intent data. If you own a B2B, but you don’t know about intent data, you can let this post be your guide to a fabulous new resource you’ll never let go.

The Worst Kept Secret in B2B Marketing

What Intent Data Is

At its most basic, intent data can be defined as information that explains a customer’s intentions when communicating with a B2B. Most often, intent data explains what an individual is interested in, which in turn informs how they are likely to act in the future.

There are two types of intent data: topic data and context data. It is important to understand (and gather) both to receive a fuller picture of client behavior and draft a targeted sales plan.

Topic data consists of searching for and consuming content related to a certain topic. For instance, because you are reading this post, you are displaying interest in the topic of “B2B intent data,” which businesses might capture and use to sell you products and services related to this topic. Of course, there are different types of topic data, to include:

  • Anonymous first party behavioral. People who visit your website can only be identified by their IP address, but you can use services to map this to their company name.
  • Known first party behavioral. People who visit your website might fill in a contact information form, allowing themselves to be known.
  • Anonymous third party behavioral. People who visit other websites that are somehow relevant to you, like Forbes or HubSpot.
  • Known third party behavioral. People who visit other websites but fill out contact forms across the web, which website owners might make available to marketers like you.

Context data, meanwhile, is less about identifying prospects by the topics that interest them and more about understanding your individual clients as people and businesses.

For instance, if your contact is a marketing professional within a business, they will likely behave differently than an executive officer. Context data ranges from general information, like what kind of company they work for and what role they have, to granular insights, like how familiar they are with technology, whether they qualify as an influencer and how much they understand about your products.

It is important to collect both types of intent data to gain a full picture of your contact and avoid wasting precious time and resources selling the wrong way to the wrong prospect.

How to Gather Intent Data

Intent data is produced whenever anyone within a business interacts with anything online. The best sources of intent data include gated content, like webinars and white pages, that require users to provide contact information for access. Additionally, your content should be tagged with metadata, which allows machines to track consumption which you will use to infer intent.

You must rely on technology to assist you in tracking individuals, gathering useful data and analyzing that data. Most often, tracking is done with browser cookies, which let you know where site visitors have been, who they are, how to contact them and more. Once an individual is cookied, you can use bots to track the metadata of content they interact with, so you can build an “interest profile” that will reveal their intent.

3 Ways to Use Intent Data

Once you have some intent data in your pocket, here are a few ways you can make good use of it:

  • Personalize your website experience. Anonymous visitors will behave differently than known visitors. You should try to make your anonymous visitors feel welcome with a personalized experience, based on how most anonymous first parties drift around your site. Ideally, they will enjoy this experience and transition into known visitors.
  • Nurture known leads. Once you know a visitor, you can show them extra-special attention through nurturing campaigns. Lead nurturing typically includes a series of emails that generate greater interest and engagement with your business and products, but these emails should be highly personalized to your lead’s needs.
  • Prioritize leads based on engagement. Leads that show more engagement with your website and related content likely have greater intent to buy. You should focus more of your sales efforts on these leads, who have a greater chance of rewarding you.

You aren’t the only one new to intent data, but you better bet your competitors are beginning to harness the power of prospect intentions. The sooner you do the same, the more optimized your B2B will be.

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