How B2B Marketers Can Solve the Intent Data ROI Conundrum

intent data for lead generation

Intent data has become an increasingly important element of the B2B marketing stack in recent years. But despite 99% of companies reporting to use intent data in some way, it also poses significant challenges to marketers looking to integrate it into their lead generation strategies.

One of the biggest obstacles is the issue of measurability. Only 28% of marketing professionals know how to leverage intent data in a measurable way, according to a recent study from Ascend2. And, in another round of a DemandScience benchmark report on intent data, more than 50% of B2B sales and marketing leaders from across the United States admit the biggest challenge with it is getting an accurate view of its ROI.

Despite this common struggle, there are simple strategies B2B marketing teams can adopt to better ensure they have a clear picture of how intent data impacts their bottom line.

How to Measure ROI from Intent Data

Measuring the direct impact of intent data on your B2B marketing efforts doesn’t have to be complicated. With a little forward thinking and a strategic approach to intent data integration, B2B marketing teams can leverage all the benefits of intent data to optimize the entire sales cycle. Here are a few examples.

how to leverage intent data
  1. Understand Your “Before” Profile

If you’d like to maximize the potential of B2B marketing campaigns with the use of intent data, the best way to start is with an objective eye. Pick a past campaign or initiative you’d like to enhance using intent data and review its existing performance analytics. This data will act as your “control” subject, so you can measure any future performance metrics against it to get an acute understanding of intent data impact.

For instance, if you plan to use buyer intent data to better identify target accounts for your ABM campaigns, make sure to get an accurate picture of ABM efforts before adding intent data to the mix. This “before” snapshot can then be used as a point of comparison to uncover whether the inclusion of intent data has influenced campaign performance in any way.

In this example, you might discover your MQL to SQL conversion rate hovered around 24% before integrating intent data. After implementing intent data and refining your target accounts, your find your conversion rate has increased to 31%. That’s definitive proof of impact.

It may sound like something straight from the pages of a self-help book, but without knowing where you’ve been before, you won’t be able to appreciate how far you’ve come.

  1. Set Your Intent Data KPIs

Once you’ve got a clear view of current performance, set the KPIs you wish to achieve, adding intent data to the equation. This will require you to have a clear expectation of what an acceptable return on investment looks like for your business, so make sure to pinpoint exactly what KPI metrics you want to use as benchmarks. Don’t forget that ROI doesn’t always have to refer to dollars and cents added to the bottom line; it can also encompass qualitative impact, so it’s important to identify those metrics that best reflect what success means to you. Setting those clearly defined KPIs will make it easy to analyze whether intent data provides positive impact on campaign performance.

  1. A/B Test Your Intent Data-Enriched Campaigns

Even if you’ve already reviewed current campaign performances and set appropriate KPIs, determining an accurate measure of intent data ROI can still be a challenge for most B2B marketing teams. That’s why A/B testing is an excellent option for marketers looking for direct comparative proof. A/B testing enables teams to compare performance data of a particular campaign before and after the application of intent data. However, keep in mind that running an equitable A/B test requires that no other variables exist between the two sets of data—it should be an apples-to-apples comparison. Otherwise, it’s not a true A/B test. With both sets of data sharing the same variables, you’ll more likely gauge improvement and marketing attribution.

The concept of A/B testing can be applied to most marketing initiatives in which intent data is included. For example, if you plan to use buyer intent data to fuel personalized marketing campaigns, you might try running identical sets of paid ads: one with an audience bolstered with intent data, the other without. You’ll be able to see the difference immediately.

buyer intent data

B2B Intent Data in 2022

Despite its challenges, intent data remains an increasingly popular element of the B2B marketing stack. To explore this topic a bit more, DemandScience recently recommissioned a January 2021 survey, asking over 600 B2B sales and marketing professionals from across the United States about their experiences using intent data. In the spirit of taking our own advice, we went ahead and compared respondent data year-over-year, discovering developing trends, opportunities, and additional challenges that intent data now poses to today’s B2B marketing teams.

Want to find out what respondents have to say about intent data in 2022? Download our free benchmark report Intent Data Trends Survey: 2022 Edition.