Shifting Your Focus to Intent-Driven Lead Generation
July 7, 2022
Successful businesses leverage intent data to fuel their B2B lead generation. It gives them a real advantage over the competition—stealing away in-market buyers before other brands identify them.
To level the playing field, you need to fight fire with fire. Here’s how to shift your campaigns to intent-driven lead generation.
What is Intent Data?
Intent data refers to information about prospective clients or customers, encompassing their behavior, interests, and closeness to a purchase.
Businesses can use buyer intent data to calibrate their marketing campaigns—ensuring resources are spent on high-quality, in-market leads. This can come from first-party sources (customer purchase history, website activities, previous conversations, etc.) and third-party sources (cookies, traffic analytics software, media brokers, etc.).
Intent-driven lead generation is the result of using intent data to supercharge the lead generation process.
Instead of targeting a long list of potential leads, B2B marketers analyze intent data to find in-market buyers who are actively searching for their brand’s products and services.
Why Use Intent Data for Lead Generation
According to intent data statistics, 55% of sales leaders successfully increased conversions using intent data. 50% also stated that intent data improved their sales and alignment as well as their account prioritization. Below are additional benefits of using intent data to drive lead generation:
Stop Wasting Resources on the Wrong Prospects
Intent data lets businesses zero in on B2B leads who are ripe for a sales pitch. They also avoid spending money on content that will go unused in conversion paths. This optimizes the business’s marketing spend while skyrocketing sales performance.
Improve the Buyer’s Journey
Businesses can use intent data to tailor marketing campaigns to in-market customer needs. It ensures leads receive relevant pieces of content that address their pain points, answer their questions, build their confidence, and give them the final push towards a purchase.
Find Lucrative B2B Leads on the Spot
B2B data solutions can provide you with intent-driven leads who are ready to buy.
Hiring such services is a straightforward and cost-effective way to leverage intent data. There are no guesswork, false positives, and intensive research process involved if you find the right partner for your intent data needs.
Boost Cohesion in Your Organization
Intent-driven lead generation campaigns require different departments to push towards the same goals. This hones your entire organization’s collaboration, communication, and brand alignment—all of which will benefit your business beyond intent-focused campaigns.
Get Past Diminishing Returns from Catch-All Marketing
Volume-based marketing is still an effective way to generate new B2B leads. However, past a certain point, a one-to-everyone approach to B2B lead generation will have diminishing returns.
Intent data can help you rise above that plateau. It allows you to reach the right lead at the right time—with the right content.
4 Proven Tips for Targeting Intent-Driven Leads
Here are four tips for adopting an intent-driven approach to lead generation:
1. Use Intent Signals to Define Your Ideal B2B Lead Persona
In intent-driven lead generation, understanding purchase readiness underscores priority targets from a list of prospects. This only works if you have that list, to begin with.
Who are your services for? What are their roles and how much buying power do they command?
Answer these questions to define multiple customer profiles for your intent-driven lead generation campaign.
Watch intent signals to understand your ideal lead’s content consumption, engagement, and communication preferences. These signals also shed light on your leads’ current goals and challenges.
Some examples of intent signals:
- Engaging in social media
- Using contact forms
- Subscribing to newsletters
- Joining message boards
- Downloading a free resource
- Watching a webinar
- Responding to a survey form
According to research from Gartner, businesses need to connect with six to 10 decision makers to sell a complex B2B product. Define those six to 10 profiles and plan personalized experiences for each.
2. Round Off Your Intent Data Streams
Document your internal and external intent data sources to track, analyze, and optimize performance over time.
Here are some examples of internal intent data sources:
- Website traffic analytics
- App user analytics
- Customer onboarding and registration information
- Email conversations and segmentations
For external or third-party data, some of the common sources include:
- B2B customer intelligence and intent marketing solutions
- Marketing platform reports
- Social media analytics
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) platform keyword analysis
- Industry reports and survey results
Don’t focus on a single source of intent data. Take a balanced approach between internal and external intent data sources for a more holistic view of your ideal B2B buyer.
3. Combine Intent Data with Account-Based Marketing
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) centralizes marketing efforts on select leads. It goes hand in hand with intent data, which lets you identify the top prospects to pursue.
Implement a comprehensive lead qualification strategy to bring quality leads to your ABM funnels.
You also need to reinvent your content marketing strategy and adjust your messaging to your ideal target profiles. That’s what your lead personas and intent data streams are for—put them to work.
Use emotive messaging to engage accounts on a deeper level. Tap into their emotions in each funnel stage, such as curiosity, doubt, desire, or even greed. This lets you fine-tune content across the marketing funnel to resonate with your intent-driven leads.
4. Use Firmographics and Technographics to Identify Lookalike Audiences
The more you use intent data, the better you identify in-market buyers. This provides you with more firmographic and technographic data about your customers.
Use these pieces to create lookalike audiences and expand your lead generation.
Firmographic data refers to “the demographics of organizations.” It tracks organizational behavior like their purchase process, buying committee, budget, and size.
Technographics refer to the segmentation of prospect organizations based on their technology use. This covers aspects like technology adoption rate, implemented solutions, and the organization’s challenges in using their technology stack.
Analyze your target account’s firmographics and technographics to identify unique challenges. Personalize your marketing on your findings to make reaching out more impactful.
Intent Data Pitfalls to Avoid
Intent data is an indispensable asset that can elevate your lead generation and sales performance, but it’s not a plug-and-play solution.
Avoid the following intent-driven lead generation pitfalls to maximize intent data:
Giving Up Competitors’ Clients
Another way to use technographic data is to launch competitor displacement campaigns.
These campaigns have a single goal: To convince your competitor’s customers to switch to your solutions.
An effective competitor displacement campaign includes the following elements:
- Competitor research:Who are your competitors’ customers? What are the verifiable weaknesses in their solutions?
- Product advantage discovery:How are your solutions better than your competitors? What are issues from your competitor’s solution that your product solved?
- Customer churn intent:Which of your competitor’s customers searched for alternatives? Did they publish any bad reviews?
- Changes in the competition:Did a competitor recently make management changes? Did they announce solutions or features that will be discontinued?
Competitor displacement and intent data are a powerful combination. You find weaknesses in your competitor’s solutions and ruthlessly seek to replace them—landing yourself in-market leads who already purchased similar services.
Measuring Intent Data Too Soon
Don’t measure intent data, especially from traffic analytics, if you don’t have enough content on your website.
Using traffic analytics is effective in revealing your audience’s content preferences and the topics they care about. Without enough content, users will have limited options when it comes to the pages they can visit and interactions they can participate in.
This leads to unreliable intent data that could misinform you on what your audience really wants.
Lack of Communication Between Sales and Marketing
Intent data is wasted without alignment between your sales and marketing teams.
Marketers should keep salespeople “in the know” about interactions, intent, and messaging used in the lead qualification process. That will help salespeople execute reach outs and follow-ups that match the account’s intent and journey.
Salespeople, on the other hand, should help marketers learn what a winning prospect looks like. Analyze previous sales and highlight intent signals that are often found on the conversion path.
Only Using Data for Sales
Intent data offers a massive advantage in lead generation and nurturing. Unfortunately, some businesses only use it to personalize sales experiences—motivated by the desire to bolster sales figures.
Remember that there’s more to the buyer’s journey than the purchase decision.
Don’t get tunnel-visioned on purchase intent and also serve those doing research. Personalize the experience by thoroughly answering their queries, be it on search engines or social media.
Failing to Keep Up with Evolving Buyer Journeys
Intent data alone won’t save businesses that can’t adapt to the ebbs and flows of B2B buyer behavior.
Always stay up-to-date with the latest trends, strategies, and facts about the B2B buyer journey. Use third-party data sources to compare and validate your intent-driven lead generation strategy.
Some of the must-know statistics about the B2B buyer journey in 2022:
- 84% of buyers want to feel prioritized
- Over 75% of buyers want to do self-guided research
- The majority of B2B buyers find it hard to research and purchase a solution
They Want to Buy, It’s Time to Sell
Honing intent data to build a well-oiled lead generation machine takes time. Competitors are pulling further away—catch up by getting in-market leads delivered straight to you.
Reach out to DemandScience and connect with purchase-intent B2B leads today.