A Date with Intent Data

June 14 2019 By Joanna Mills

Marketing should not be a blind date - some considerations on how to leverage intent data to maximise marketing returns.

Imagine a blind date where you knew the other person's likes, dislikes and hobbies before the aperitif. Would this prior knowledge help the conversation flow and increase the likelihood of a successful date? Even the most out of practice first-dater would surely answer with a resounding YES.

Now imagine this same scenario in B2B. If you knew a prospects area of interest, online behaviour, favourite hangouts and even the competitive landscape, how would that shape your storytelling?

We’ve all been through the exercise of auditing and curating content libraries, mapping content to personas and buying stages, designing a kick-ass lead nurture journey and building it all out in our marketing automation platform. But how do you know if it will hit the mark with your prospects?

With 68% of the B2B buying cycle now being completed anonymously online before you ever talk to a prospect, the old right message / right time / right audience adage is now more important than ever, and the B2B tech vendors know it. As a result, there are now over 7,000 solutions on the market that claim to help you identify businesses that are actively researching your products and services, signalling when and what they want to hear from you.

Intent data is a hot Martech topic and has been for some time, but in our experience, there is some confusion about how to use it to best effect. Here’s my take on the key use cases:

  • Focus your content strategy – identify keywords and topic areas your prospects are searching for and engaging with. For example, your target accounts may be engaging more with videos for one product or topic area but showing an interest in infographics for another. Serving up content around the right topics and in the right format means a prospect is more likely to engage with your content.
  • Target your audience – find out if your target accounts are in market for your products and services and adjust segmentation accordingly. Just because you have a target account list, it doesn’t mean there aren’t other ‘look-a-like’ accounts in market that you should consider including in your segmentation. Would you rather put your effort into an un-engaged target account or an engaged account that is not yet on the list?
  • Personalise every interaction – tailor the journey and your storytelling around what your prospects are actually interested in. If your prospect is showing interest around security related products, hold onto the awareness content and skip straight to product content – a simple action which could help accelerate the sales cycle.
  • Enable your Sales Team – provide actionable insights on target accounts to help Sales teams prioritise leads for follow up and arm them with a conversation starter. Another example of how intent data can help to reduce the length of the sales cycle.
  • Adopt an ABM strategy – identify accounts that are in market for your products or services and broaden the insights across those accounts. These are the first building blocks of your ABM strategy.

The Martech purchasing process can be complicated and with an ever-expanding market, you’re probably wondering where to begin your discovery and research. To give you a head start, vendors CRMT work and partner with include Bombora, Cyance and Uberflip. Each of these solutions have different strengths and will apply to particular use cases. Once you have defined your use cases and key objectives, running a comparison between the solutions is a good place to start - it’s likely the results will differ which in turn should help you to work out how they can solve for your use cases.

Get in touch to make a date to shape your intent business case or scope out a proof of concept.

Written by Joanna Mills – Account Director, CRMT

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