What kind of year will 2022 be?

With the ease of COVID-19, people are starting to work back in the office and more off-line sales activities are coming back – events, fairs, and face-to-face sales meetings.

Does this mean that buyers will decrease their online research when comparing different providers?

Not exactly.

68% of B2B buyers prefer to research online independently. And 62% of B2B buyers can make their purchase selection solely based on digital content.

(Source: LinkedIn, 2020)

This trend will continue in 2022.

To meet ideal buyers earlier in the journey and make an impact before your competitors do so, B2B companies need to craft company-wide strategies to dig deeper into the unseen buyer journey.


uncover your unseen website traffic and demand with Albacross Intent Data

Most marketing and sales enablement software is cramped in the known intent – after the accounts have raised their hands and become a “lead”, these tools help your team to engage and retain them better.

Few of them aim to convert anonymous intent by advertising.

But none of them touch upon these questions:

  • Audience: What are the companies you are targeting?
  • Message: Which topic sparks the right reaction?
  • Timing: When is the best timing to reach out personally?

intent data help sales and marketing know more about the audience message and timing

Intent data helps to tackle these 3 problems all at once – from the acquisition of first-time customers to retention of existing customers, and further to obtain cross-sell and upsell opportunities.

Businesses with advanced data-driven strategies are 3 times more likely to achieve double-digit growth than organizations that are not.

(Source: Forrester, 2021)

You might have heard about intent data before, but chances are that you are still missing out on efficient strategies to act on it.

In this article, we will cover every aspect of intent data and guide you through the process of how to use it to give the insights needed for the revenue team to accelerate the growth.

The Fundamentals: What is Intent Data?

Intent data is a collection of behavioral data points.

It indicates WHO is interested in your products, WHAT they are interested in, WHERE they are on the buyer journey, and WHEN they are ready to buy.

Buyers are searching for your products before they come inbound – reading a blog post, downloading a white paper, and checking similar use cases online. Such activities are signaling their interest in a topic, about a product, and reveal what their most urgent needs are – but you can’t see them.

Buyers are usually 57% down the buying journey when they reach out to the sales reps. And only 5% of the buying time is spent with the sales reps – making it increasingly harder for you to stand out from your competitors.

(Source: Gartner, 2020)

If your revenue team only contacts the hand-raisers that come inbound, you are way too late to make an influence.

However, there is hope.

Intent data can capture and record these activities, and remove roadblocks throughout the buyer journey:

77% of the buyers think the purchase journey is complex and hard. Customers who received helpful information in the buying process were 2.8 times more likely to make a quick buying decision.

(Source: Gartner, 2020)

  • Prospecting: Reach out to the right accounts, with the right messages, at the right (and the best) time.
  • Engaging: Write more content about topics that interest your ideal buyers most. And distribute it in the channels they are active in.
  • Closing: Provide them with educational materials to guide them through the tough decision-making process, minimizing potential objections and closing more deals.
  • Upselling: Find out the latest status of current customers. Reach out to them when new buying signals are captured.

What Types of Buyer Intent Data Do You Need?

Based on the sources, Intent Data can be divided into 3 categories: first-party, second-party, and third-party.

  • First-party Intent data

First-party intent data is activities that you can directly collect from your own website, CRM tools, and any other methods you use to engage with users.

For example, it can be behaviors tracked by website cookies, interactions within Intercom, data from Google Analytics, and recorded engagements in Salesforce.

  • Second-party Intent Data

Second-party intent data is collected by another company and then purchased by you.

For example, users fill in their information on Platform A and grant permission to share/sell their contact details and online behavioral data. Then you purchase this data from Platform A. This data is second-party Intent Data.

  • Third-party Intent Data

While first-party intent data collects activities from your own website and CRM tools, third-party intent data collect online activities on external websites that are not owned by you, like social media channels and review sites.

Intent data – no matter if it’s first-party, second-party, or third party – gives you direct insights about your audiences to help you know them better and craft better revenue strategies.

But to unleash the power of the intent you’ve collected, you need to understand it, refine it, and utilize it in the way you want.

In the next sections, you can find out HOW to add them to the playbook of your revenue team.

How to Make Your Intent Data Actionable?

Not all “leads” are created equal – Some have a higher potential deal value than others, some are already actively researching your products, while some others don’t even have a buying intent.

Can your revenue team tell the differences?

IICP (In-market Ideal Customer Profile)

While firmographic data helps you draw a picture of your ideal customers, intent data helps you select which ones have the intent to buy or are actively searching for solutions like yours.

By combining intent data with firmographic information, your revenue team can quickly identify your in-market ideal customers, what they are searching for and then prioritize outreach to them.

Intent data also tracks the online activities of your ICP accounts that are not in-market just yet and captures the buying signals when they are ready.

Knowing who your in-market ideal buyers are and what they’re up to gives your revenue team more control over the unseen buyer journey.

Here’s how to define your IICP with intent data:

1. Match Intent to the Right Accounts

Tracking online behavior is not a new thing – marketers have been using Google Analytics, Keyword Planner, and other search engine-related tools to get a hold of what everyone is up and about on their pages, for a long time.

Feel free to categorize the overall on-site activity as “intent data”, but bear in mind that this data is anonymous – It doesn’t give you any valuable insights until you link the data points to certain companies.

Matching captured intent data to certain companies gives you a more full and comprehensive view of the entire buyer journey – you can identify which behavior is from your ICP and understand which stage of the buyer journey they are in.

2. Identify Buying Intent

The intent you’ve collected usually falls into 2 categories:

  • Buying Intent: accounts who are interested in your products and ready to buy.
  • Learning Intent: accounts who are doing research to learn more about the solutions or people who find your blog post interesting and helpful. They can be potential buyers or just people who like to read a lot.

To achieve a higher conversion rate and a more efficient revenue team, you need to define which key activities are signals of buying intent (e.g. checking the pricing page), what qualifies a learning intent (e.g. only reading your blog pages), and how to act on them differently.

3. Capture Buying Signals

When it comes to buyer readiness, not all the activities should be weighted the same. You can start by building an intent scoring system by checking the following:

  • Recency: when is the last time that they visit your website.
  • Relevancy: which pages and type of content they have checked.
  • Frequency: how often they visit your website.

For example, accounts that visit your blog posts, newsletters, and eBooks have a higher learning intent or are not in-market yet while those that visit your pricing page, product pages, and demo pages are more likely to buy.

By scoring and monitoring the buying signals, you can move from targeting your ICP to focusing on IICP (In-market Ideal Customer Profile).

You can also use this diagram to diagnose conversion barriers and learn how to act on them using intent data:

reasons why your leads are not converting – grow with Albacross Intent Data

Why Intent Data is a Must-Have in 2022?

When planning for your revenue growth strategies in 2022, nothing is more important than insights about your audience.

With the deprecation of third-party cookies and the implementation of stricter data privacy regulations, marketers must develop a company-wide focus on first-party intent data in 2022.

(Source: Forrester, 2021)

From awareness to retention, intent data equips your customer-facing teams with insights to enhance engagement and increase conversion.

1. Intent Data for Sales

The average length of a sale cycle is 84 days. But it can extend to 170 days (around 5.5. months) if your ACV is higher than $100K, requiring more effort from both sales and marketing to close a deal with bigger companies.

(Source: Hubspot, 2021)

With a well-defined set of qualified intent data, you can put the account-based sales process on steroids, easily:

  • Cut down the research time: Instead of finding your prospects manually, your sales team can take a deep dive into the revealed website visitors, pick their in-market ideal customers, and prospect them using personalized info.
  • Meet your ideal buyers earlier in the journey: Intent data helps you get in touch with your ideal customers when they are still doing their research.
  • Execute on buyer readiness and shorten the sales cycle: When your ICPs are in-market, you can reach out instantly and put them into your pipeline before your competitors get their chance.
  • Increase working efficiency by knowing who the ideal customers are, when to reach out to them, and what messages sales should use to personalize their outreach.
  • Higher average deal value: Intent data uncovers in-market accounts and their firmographic data (revenue, company size, etc). This way, your sales team can allocate more energy to engage and convert accounts with a potentially bigger deal size and higher lifetime value.

2. Intent Data for Marketing

A big part of marketers’ job is centered around getting closer to the external audiences and providing the sales team with high-quality accounts internally.

73% of B2B executives say customer expectations for personalized experiences are higher now than ever. To convert them, B2B marketers need to deliver consistent omnichannel experiences.

(Source: Accenture)

Intent Data helps marketers excel in their role:

  • More impactful personalized campaigns and messaging: Intent data gives more insights to marketers about which pain points they need to emphasize when engaging ideal buyers in different buying stages, from varied industries, and with different employee sizes.
  • More precise targeting and retargeting: Instead of targeting demographics and behaviors, intent data allows marketers to target certain industries or more specifically – certain accounts. It can drastically increase your CTR and reduce your CPA.
  • Remove the guesswork from your ABM campaigns: With a better picture of companies who fit your ICP and are showing their interest in your product, you’ll be presenting your ads to familiar faces and making the conversion rates soar.
  • Refine your content strategy: Intent data helps you figure out which topics drive more attention and reaction of your ideal buyers. This allows content marketers to take the right direction and create related content to increase engagement at each stage of the buyer journey.

3. Intent Data for Customer Success

When it comes to revenue growth, it is not a secret that retaining existing clients is more cost-efficient than prospecting new customers.

  • Reduce churn and enhance upsell

When existing customers are checking your product pages or pricing pages after they have been using your service for a while, they are most likely considering buying new services.

And intent data captures such signals and helps your customer success managers grasp upsell or cross-sell opportunities.

By knowing which products the clients are checking, your customer success team can also have the chance to offer new features to fill in the gap between customers’ increasing needs and their current services.

Editor’s Note: So What’s Next?

Intent Data is trendy:

As the buyer behavior becomes more anonymous and digital-based, your revenue teams either adapt it fast or fail – and this need puts Intent Data in the spotlight.

But when you start to learn about Intent data, it’s so easy to go down the rabbit hole and be overwhelmed by the information.

(Google has 438 000 000 results about Intent Data – wow).

This article gives you an overview about “What” and “How”: from “What Intent Data means in plain English” and “What type of Intent Data suits your current needs best” to “How it benefits my revenue teams” and “How to use it to accelerate revenue.”

It is just an introduction – We’ll dig deeper into different use cases of Intent Data and how the latest Google’s Cookie Policy can influence it.

Stay tuned.

Yutong Nan

Yutong Nan

Content Marketer

Passionate about MarTech trends, Yutong is on the mission to help marketers understand the benefits of Intent Data and how to use it to achieve better results.