No marketer or sales professional wants to spend all of their budget and time targeting someone who isn’t interested.

But that’s the reality for many of us today.

As B2B marketers, we struggle to resonate with the right audience, particularly when there is so much competitive noise in the market.

Similarly, sales professionals lack insight about buyers, making it difficult to know who to reach out to, when and how.

These challenges essentially make it harder to sell.

Intent data helps overcome that issue. It makes sales easier.

Intent data is information collected about a company’s digital activity to provide insight into their buying intent and research behaviour.

This helps marketers identify prospects that are in-market for a solution like theirs and pinpoints where in the buying journey they might be.

For sales, it helps Reps understand the when, how and why a prospect is looking to purchase.

In addition, intent data can be used by Account Managers to identify possible upsell or cross sell opportunities from existing customers and inform them when to reach out and with what message— this is highly beneficial during long sales cycles or repeat purchases.

Intent data is by no means a new phenomenon. It’s been around for a number of years but the sheer amount of data now available to revenue teams presents a new problem— that is, acquiring the most relevant data to make informed campaign and outreach decisions that help create opportunities and revenue for the business.

However, looking into intent in more detail, the perfect opportunity presents itself to leverage intent data, specifically intent leads as a way to prioritize marketing campaigns and sales prospecting, helping to make an immediate impact on the bottom line.

What is an intent lead?

Intent leads are prospects who:

  • Visit your website
  • Show buying intent (look at product or pricing pages)
  • Fit your ideal customer profile ICP (firmographic attributes such as number of employees, location, revenue, tech stack etc).
  • Are in the anonymous buyer research stage (they didn’t convert through inbound, reach out to sales or fill out any contact details your marketing automation system could have picked up on).
“Where intent data could be a massive pool of information on people who are in-market for a solution, an intent lead draws closer attention to fit + intent + buyer journey stage, offering detailed insight on which accounts to prioritize.”

When you see accounts who match your ICP and show high buying intent, you’re able to narrow that prioritized list of companies in-market even further, giving your revenue teams the focus they need to take action and qualify leads.

How do intent leads differ from inbound/outbound leads?

What’s important to understand is that intent leads are different from both inbound and outbound leads.

They aren’t technically inbound because they haven’t explicitly expressed interest by requesting a demo or signing up for a free trial (they haven’t converted through your inbound stream).

However, they can’t be considered an outbound lead either because they have shown some level of interest by visiting your website. They know who you are. They’re not completely cold.

These ‘in between leads’ are what we refer to as an intent lead.

Adding an IP-to-company mapping solution into the mix allows you to identify intent leads. A solution such as this will reveal the companies visiting your website and help you acquire contact details for the decision makers at those companies. In essence, this helps you turn insightful information into actionable data.

Intent leads present a fantastic opportunity to capture the demand you’re already driving on your website, with the budget you’re already spending rather than investing additional money to get more inbound conversions.

Ultimately, you’re getting the most bang for your buck. PLUS, you’re setting a process to separate the good leads from the bad, which tells you where to focus your follow up efforts.

Having this prioritized view is essential, particularly when it comes to following up with intent leads.

If the maximum lead response time is 3 hours, following up in a timely manner could be the difference between converting a lead into an opportunity and losing out to a competitor who got in touch straight away.

Intent leads distribution

Intent leads need a hand off process. Just like every other type of lead.

They’ll either be sent to your marketing automation system to be distributed into nurture campaigns until they convert into an MQL or they’ll be sent directly to your Sales team for prospecting.

Intent Lead Handling Process

While intent leads are more likely to become qualified since they hit your pre-qualification criteria (ICP fit + intent + buyer journey stage), they still need to be nurtured in the same way as any other lead.

There is still work to be done. These leads need warming up. And preferably it will be SDRs/BDRs that handle these leads (if you choose to send them to Sales for prospecting immediately).

Don’t send your Account Executives intent leads because they’re bound to come back with ‘These leads are too cold. They aren’t worth my time.’

Intent leads are best enrolled into outbound sequences whereby SDRs/BDRs can create meaningful experiences with prospects who you know are in-market for a solution like yours but have not yet reached out.

There’s a distinct opportunity to make the outreach highly personalized based on the prospects behavioural activity on your website. For example, a prospect could have visited a particular product page which gives Sales insight into the pain points the prospect might be experiencing, making it easier to tie a hypothesized challenge with a targeted value proposition.

Similarly, understanding content consumption on your website (if the lead viewed a particular ebook/blog or infographic provides Sales with a topic of discussion for future sales conversations).

The bottom line

Intent data is not new. However, the rise of the intent lead gives marketers and sales teams the focus they need to nurture and prospect more effectively than ever before.

It accelerates demand capture without the requirement of further marketing dollars and promotes efficient prospecting.

The considerable amount of data available to revenue teams might appear cumbersome at first, but leveraging intent leads, with the right tools in place, can be a game changer in revenue generation.

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Oskar Hägglund

Oskar Hägglund

Head of Product

Oskar J. Hägglund is Head of Product at Albacross, with previous experience as a founder, designer and developer.