7 Tips: Operationalize Intent Intelligence Across Marketing and Sales

There’s growing buzz in the marketing ecosystem about intent data, and for good reason. It helps accelerate sales cycles and leads to better close rates. Marketing and sales teams worldwide rely on intent data to find active buyers to nurture into qualified leads. But sometimes companies overlook other aspects of intent data that could be applied across marketing and sales. 

No worries. This article will give you ideas on how to leverage intent data to its fullest potential.

How is intent data changing the B2B marketing landscape?

Intent data empowers organizations by showing segments of a potential market that are more likely to be active buyers. This of course helps marketers leverage their resources more wisely and effectively. 

Organizations that have been using intent data for a minute often gather intent signals from multiple sources. Some intent partners can provide a near-360-degree view that fuses topic interest with purchase intent and other information.

Why is third-party data so important?

Among intent data types, third-party data finds insights from actions actually taken by B2B buyers across different digital channels. Third-party data comes from sites and sources that you don’t own,and may include things like demographic information, firmographic data and buying signals. It complements other types of Intent data, which include:

  • Zero party data – what a customer intentionally shares with a brand
  • First-party data – User insights from your website and digital marketing channels
  • Second-party data – Leads from another first-party data source, largely publishers

The Problem: Data Shortsightedness

Some B2B sellers just associate intent data with account-based marketing strategies. While that’s an excellent application, it’s just one of many. When you look at intent data as specific to a particular marketing strategy, you might limit its use-cases. Limited implementation doesn’t tap into full intent value across and organization and that can lead to: 

  • Skeptical salespeople
  • Incomplete activation
  • Not fully operationalized data

Marketers and sales teams are learning that restricting intent data to a specific revenue strategy leads to missed opportunities across the customer life cycle. Why stop with ABM when you can also use intent intelligence for demand generation, retargeting, event marketing, competitive intelligence, upselling/cross-selling, content syndication, programmatic advertising or account targeting?

7 Tips for Operationalizing Intent Intelligence

To apply intent data in more use cases, take the whole customer life cycle into account and look at various journey access points and analysis views. For most organizations, it’s possible to leverage intent data in more ways. It starts with doing more than just subscribing to data. An intent partner who’s experienced in other services can be a good route to faster launches of new intent applications.

Consider these seven tips to help operationalize intent data intelligence across marketing and sales teams and processes:

  1. Activate data for multiple use cases – Though data is often bought, keeping in mind what you’ll need for a particular use case like demand generation. Can you leverage the same data for ABM, remarketing/retargeting, paid social and display ads, event marketing, competitive intelligence, target account sales, churn reduction, and other purposes? A marketing cloud is one solution to help normalize and ready data for different purposes. 
  2. Highlight data to the right people (and systems) – One of the biggest problems today is data overload. The value of certain intent data could be lost amid too much information. Share intent data thoughtfully via reports and alerts. Regularly notifying sales of target account activity and helping success teams with upsell suggestions are some examples of getting intent data in front of the right people to help them do their jobs. 
  3. Treat data as a valuable asset – Data is a raw, but valuable asset. Volumes of data are difficult to analyze, and at times, too much of it can overwhelm and conceal essential signals. We miss out on important insights at the intersection of third-party data with first-party data. Fully exploring the potential of intent data requires well-designed and secure data practices. 
  4. Alignment and collaboration around data – Make efforts to align teams by collaborating around data proactively. One of the most overlooked benefits of working with data is that it breaks the silos and brings departments together. Sales teams can share insights from their interactions with customers with the marketing team to create better marketing strategies. 
  5. Find C-suite support – Getting C-suite support is critical for operationalizing intent data intelligence across marketing and sales. Having support from top leadership who view the full potential of data will ensure it’s adopted across processes with less resistence.
  6. Keep an eye on competitors – You can monitor if current customers as well as note in-market buyers engage with competitors’ content.
  7. Setting the process is not enough – Intent data is a valuable asset, but it takes motivation to unleash its full potential. Intent intelligence activated and analyzed via a marketing cloud brings B2B sellers closer to their goals faster, especially when combined with the support of an involved intent partner. 

However you expand your use of intent data, don’t hesitate to just get started. Try a pilot program for one of your demand generation channels like content syndication or programmatic, and then decide where to go next. This piece, “Sales and Marketing Cloud for the New World of Digital Engagement” could be a good place to start.

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