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AnteriadOctober 23, 20174 min read

How to Use Intent Signal Data Effectively

Advances in technology have made more data readily available to B2B marketers than ever before. We can track with pinpoint accuracy a host of factors; however, not all data is created equal. The key is to focus on information that helps us target companies effectively, and builds trust among contacts with specific needs, that our products and services can meet.

That’s where intent signals come in. By identifying the right companies, and by targeting the right contacts within those organizations and monitoring their online behavior, we can laser-focus our efforts on activities that get the best results.

What Is Intent Signal Data?

The task of figuring out what potential customers are thinking about, and what they’re intending to do, has challenged B2B marketers ever since the dawn of marketing itself. We’ve tried guessing. We’ve tried using past results to determine future activity. We’ve tried just about every predictive model ever created. Now, finally, we have real, current, relevant insights in the form of intent signal data.

Intent signal data is defined as information about a user’s online behavior that aggregates two elements:

  • Topic data: What users are searching for
  • Context data: When, where, how they search for it, and what they do next

By tracking intent signal data, we can see not only visits to our own websites, but also visits to any page across the web. This approach to audience monitoring offers two unique advantages over other methods:

  • Scale: Through large-scale data aggregation and processing, we can monitor millions of companies, hundreds of millions of websites, and thousands of keywords — all day, every day.
  • Benchmarking: Once we identify our target companies, we can monitor them continuously over time, and identify spikes in certain behaviors that may indicate an intent to purchase.

Intent Signal Data in Action: Choosing the Right Platform

Of course, understanding intent is only the first step. It’s what we do with that information that makes a difference in the bottom line.

A robust intent monitoring platform will gather relevant data from a massive range of sources, including information on:
● Pages;
● Keywords;
● Companies;
● Locations;
● Current activity;
● Historical activity;
● Relevant individuals; and,
● Contact specifics.

Armed with all of this information — neatly packaged and delivered in real-time — marketing and sales teams can reach out to potential targets, with personalized communications, at exactly the right time. Because they’re able to do so with laser-sharp focus, the sales cycle is shortened, and deals can close more quickly.

Why Marketers Love Intent Signal Data

Because intent signal data offers real-time insights based on actual online activity, sales and marketing teams can track targets over time, and identify spikes in tracked activity. If, for example, a team notices increased activity around a particular topic — say, related to a new regulation or a major development in a targeted industry — they can capitalize on that surge by:

  • Triggering outreach marketing campaigns to selected groups of targets;
  • Having the sales team trigger one-to-one outreach campaigns; or
  • Retargeting individuals at target companies who have responded to prior campaigns.

In many ways, marketing powered by intent signal data is the exact opposite of the old “batch and blast” approach … and it avoids the related pitfalls. Marketers can actually achieve better results by sending fewer emails, because those communications are based on a context created by signals that:

  • Incorporate human insights into the targeting process;
  • Convey the purpose behind the online activity (for example, a purchaser looking for a product versus a technical writer researching a white paper); and/or,
  • Apply a scoring system so that when a target contact becomes qualified, an outreach message is automatically sent to the sales team.

One Tool, Many Uses

As you can see, intent signal data is an invaluable tool for triggering targeted campaigns to prospects who've shown signs of readiness to buy. And that’s just the beginning. Here are a few of the other ways you can tap into intent signals to grow your bottom line:

● Personalize your website experience for visitors from targeted companies based on their IP addresses;
● Track the progress of specific targets;
● Cut through the “noise” and see who is actually thinking about purchasing specific products and services;
● Incorporate the data into persona-based scoring to identify which leads are ready for a 1-to-1 outreach;
● Create highly personalized campaigns which address the specific needs and interests of certain groups of targets;
● Find new targets based on users who have a “digital body language” similar to that of your ideal client;
● Retarget prospects you may have approached before but who weren’t quite ready to buy;
● Grow customer loyalty by delivering valuable content focused on their needs, interests, and challenges; and/or
● Increase lifetime value of customers through personalized upselling and cross-selling campaigns.

Intent signals and the tools that capture them are changing the game of B2B marketing as we know it. Instead of trying to guess what’s on the minds of our prospects, or looking at the past to try and predict the future, we can tap into real data, based on real, current online activity.

Our sales and marketing teams waste less time courting low-value prospects, and for the short list of companies we do target, we can create engagement campaigns focused on their expressed needs and interests. The sales team is happy because their sales cycle is shortened, and they spend less time chasing dead ends. The marketing team is happy because they have data-based insights to guide their work. And those targeted prospects are also happy, because they receive communications and valuable resources that are relevant to their situation at any given time. With intent signal data and the right tools to manage it, everybody wins.