How To Reach The Buyers That Matter With Intent Data
26th May 2017 Will Humphries
Earlier this week we discussed how to get the best results from b2b content syndication. So let’s talk about amplifying the value of your content syndication by integrating intent data.
Intent data can help identify higher quality leads by assisting you to understand when, where, and what topics your prospects are interested in.
It goes beyond the basic demographics, geographics, and firmographics by helping you to target customers who are searching for products and services that your business (or a competitor) offers.
And let’s face facts here. What sales person wouldn’t want to be in contact with those accounts? Why waste precious time prospecting companies that you are hoping will be looking for a solution that you provide? Wouldn’t you rather be speaking with the accounts actively researching topics related to your products and solutions?
So let me introduce you to the role of intent data within content syndication, along with insights on how to leverage it for optimal results for your sales team.
What Is Intent Data?
In the simplest terms, intent data demonstrates when a prospect or account is exhibiting the most propensity to buy.
As business people, we all research topics that are of interest to us. B2B buyers and decision makers do the same.
Intent data comes in two forms: internal data and external data.
Internal Intent Data: Your ‘Contact Form’ on your website is one example of internal intent data. It is called first-party data because it happens on your website. The person contacting you is openly revealing their intent – that they want to know more about your products & services.
Also, the customer data you have on your CRM or marketing platform that your marketing team uses to score leads as they move closer to becoming sales-ready is also internal data.
External Intent Data: This type of data is only available through third-party providers. It is whereby large publishing companies collect data at the IP level or via shared cookies, curated from millions of visits to hundreds of thousands of websites. For example, it can be used to see how many times a white paper was downloaded, a video was watched, an infographic was clicked, or a search was requested for a particular term.
Connecting Intent Data To Content Syndication
Traditionally, the goal of building a target market profile or buyer persona was to understand the traits and interests of the audience. With this knowledge, it is easier to create content that aligns with the market’s respective needs and preferences.
B2B external intent data allows you to go a step further. Providers of this type of data help customers achieve this by identifying which accounts are showing surging interest surrounding a particular keyword or topic.
By informing you of the surging topics being searched for and aligning that surging interest at an account level, you now know what accounts are researching what topics.
In essence, this data eliminates the guesswork or the necessary step of trying to connect your content to the buyer’s interests. Instead, you know the prospect’s intent based on the frequency and volume of searches from that particular account.
What Are Surging Topics?
Surge data, combined with intent data, creates a powerful synergy.
Surge data identifies which companies are actively researching your services, signalling when and what they want to hear from you. Many companies have buying committees, meaning there are many decision makers across an organisation. The average number of decision makers on a buying committee is 5.4 people.
By recognising a “surge” on a particular topic from that specific account helps you know that many people within that company are searching for services like yours.
This data tells you which companies are most engaged in searching for content based on a list of intent topics.
An Example Of How To Use Intent Data In Marketing
Let’s consider a business that sells accounting software. Naturally, your target market is companies that could use the software for accounting processes.
So your marketing team decides to do an email marketing campaign targeting all of your finance contacts in your database. Fingers crossed that they click they link sending them to the landing page where your new eBook is about the latest accounting practices.
If they even open the email in the first place.
Now think about this: what if you knew in advance that certain accounts were searching for information about cloud-based accounting software? You could now target a number of people (the CTO, Finance people, compliance people) within each set of accounts showing intent for that surging topic – using that topic as the hook.
Intent data enables you to engage with these potential clients, plus craft topical content that more precisely addresses these desired features with the top benefits your solution offers.
Strategies To Effectively Leverage Intent Data
To leverage intent data, you have to go against the current flow. Only 17 percent of companies are advanced in behavioural marketing analysis, including the use of intent data. However, recognising the benefits of a more direct correlation between your buyer’s motives and your content sets the stage for a huge competitive advantage.
To maximise the collection of intent data, correlate it with other demographic, firmographic, and geographic data that you collect. Otherwise, it is difficult to know which behaviours match with particular customer profiles.
Create and Pinpoint Content – When you understand the intent behind buyer persona research, you are in a better position to create content that is relevant and useful. Develop articles that speak to the background of your target market, address their business problems, and the particular interests signalled by their intent data. When you do these things effectively, you establish authority and credibility as a provider.
Finally, distribute your content to expand your reach, including execution of a targeted content syndication strategy as shown in my earlier example.
All the pieces of content marketing are now in place. Develop content that matches prospect intent and achieve optimum value from it through syndicated distribution.
Competitive Advantages Of Intent Data
These should be fairly obvious by now. There are numerous competitive advantages to utilising intent data. But one of the most important is the ability to target different buyers across an organisation. In some cases, you have distinct target markets or personas under the same company roof. What is important to an executive in one division or department is often very different than what matters to a leader in another.
Therefore, you can tailor content specifically made for each person involved in the buying process. Multiply that by hundreds of companies searching for similar keywords, and you now have a very targeted content marketing campaign.
Intent data makes you better equipped to present your solutions and content to prospects with a more precise customer profile match.
A lead generation plan using content syndication and the latest technologies as outlined above gives you a competitive edge in B2B sales.
To set yourself apart from competitors, and to increase your chances of becoming an industry leader, leverage intent data in your content marketing and syndication. Build a more direct and seamless content strategy that matches with the intent signals your targeted prospects put out when they conduct searches related to their business problems.
Not only will this help your marketing efforts to generate better quality leads, but it will also impact your bottom line. Your marketing campaigns will be more successful, which in turn means your sales teams will spend more time with the right accounts and close more deals.
And that is what marketing is about – creating demand and supporting your sales teams to help close more deals.