Intent Data: For Sales? For Marketing? For Both?

In the not-so-distant past, the term “intent data” was strictly held under the auspices of Marketing. This was also before the era of “marketing and sales alignment.” There was a time when the sales team grudgingly accepted a lead from marketing. However, the intrepid sales rockstar would much prefer their lead come from hour-after-hour of cold calling. Fortunately for us all, the days of three martini lunches has gone by the wayside along with leisure suits and pet rocks. Something else has also gone by the wayside: the belief that only sales is responsible for revenue, and that marketing isn’t accountable for their fair share of revenue distribution.

The term ‘intent data’ has evolved beyond the basics of demographics, geographics, firmographics and any other “graphics” that might be lying around. The term “intent data” refers to identifying a higher level of quality demand generation by assisting in understanding which topics are of utmost interest to your targeted prospect. (Hence the word “intent” in the actual phrase “intent data”.)

To be more specific, the term “intent data” is when a prospect or account demonstrates an interest in or a propensity to begin purchasing. Intent data takes its form in a variety of different ways, covering both internal and external data. “Internal intent data” refers to leads that are garnered from your website or landing page. This data is called first-party data because the lead was generated on your website. The person who filled out the contact form is revealing their intent. Another example would be the customer information you have accrued on your CRM or marketing platform. External data, on the other hand, is only available through third-party providers. The information is extremely valuable, as the data can be used to identify who is in-market.
intent data for sales

Connecting the dots from intent data to your demand gen strategy

Marketers frequently build a target market profile or develop a buyer persona with their sales partners to best determine the interests of their target audience. Once a set of personas are developed, it becomes easier to develop content that is reflective of the targeted prospects’ requirements and preferences. However, B2B external intent data takes a step further. Providers of this type of data identify the accounts that are “spiking” around a specific keyword or topic.

B2B external intent data allows you to go a step further. Providers of this type of data help their customers achieve this by identifying which accounts are spiking showing interest around a particular keyword or topic. By knowing the topics that are spiking at an account level, plus the identification of the specific person who is in-market, the sales team will be able to quickly target a prospect for their solution.

“Data science is not voodoo. We are not building fancy math models for their own sake. We are trying to listen to what the customer is telling us through their behavior.” – Kevin Geraghty, VP of Reporting and Analytics, 360i
intent data for sales

A marriage made in demand generation heaven

Watch the magic happen when spike alerts are identified and provide the specific contact that is interested in your solution. It’s important to note that large organizations have quite a few decision-makers. In fact, the average number of decision-makers on an average buying committee is 5.4 people. This point is important: you want to connect with the prospect(s) that would be most interested in your particular solution, and you want those prospect(s) to include the entire demand unit.

I like to call spike alerts “the two-fer effect.” It can help you in two distinct ways. The first advantage is that actual customer contact information of the person in-market is being verified. The second advantage is that you will be able to figure out a very effective demand generation strategy that puts you in front of the very prospects you need to reach.

“The world is being re-shaped by the convergence of social, mobile, cloud, big data, community and other powerful forces. The combination of these technologies unlocks an incredible opportunity to connect everything together in a new way and is dramatically transforming the way we live and work.”Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO, Salesforce
intent data for sales

How marketing benefits from leveraging intent data:

• Develop a correlation between your target prospects’ buying motivations.
• Create a demand generation strategy that is reflective of the interests of your prospects.
• Correlate intent data with other demographic, firmographic and geographic data.
• Develop buyer personas to heighten the results of your demand generation strategy.
• Write articles placing a high regard on the interests of your targets, potential pain points, and how your company has a cure for what ails them.
• A focused demand generation strategy will help define you as an industry expert or authority figure for your category of solutions.
• Take advantage of the multiple decision-makers located for a specific solution – different decision-makers have varying purchase autonomy, and you’ll want to hit all of them.

How sales benefits from leveraging intent data:

• Using intent data allows you to focus your sales efforts on a specific person at an account that is in-market.
• Depending upon your Average Sales Cycle Length (the amount of time from your first touch with a prospect to closing the deal, averaged across all won deals), it may take anywhere from six months to a year to close the deal, depending on the heft of your price tag. Intent data is critical to determine who is in-market as it reduces the overall time to revenue.
• Intent data can help prioritize sales efforts to uncover the solution of interest.
• A sales rep assigned to a large territory can use intent data to spot the businesses actively in-market and select who to go after.

After reviewing this blog, I hope you agree that sales and marketing alignment is alive and well (and thriving) at many major brands. The same could also be said of intent data.

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