With Halloween right around the corner, and like many of you out there, I’m anxiously awaiting all the pumpkin carving, corn mazes, and haunted houses that come along with my favorite holiday. The one thing about haunted houses I can’t stand is the constant feeling of being watched – as if the whole experience has been created for me and there’s someone watching every move I make and waiting for a skeleton to pop out at the right moment and scare the daylights out of me.
When it comes to utilizing buyer intent data in your sales and marketing campaigns, it is easy to make your prospects feel this way, too – like you’re sitting behind your website watching everything they do and waiting for the right time to pop out and say hello. This is exactly the kind of thing we want to avoid, so in this article, we’ll go through some popular use cases for getting the most out of your buyer intent data, and how to approach potentially interested buyers without making them feel like they are walking through a haunted house when browsing your site.
Use cases for buyer intent data:
Identifying in-market segments
One of the biggest benefits of utilizing intent data is access to unprecedented insight into what your website visitors are interested in. This extends not only to the accounts on your ABM target list but untapped potential markets as well. By looking at a firmographic breakdown of your high-intent website visitors, you can easily see which market segments are most interested in your offerings.
Prioritizing high-value, highly interested accounts
Lead scoring is the best way to prioritize which accounts are most likely to purchase your solutions (i.e., the ones your sales and marketing teams need to be engaging with now) and those that might need a bit more time or support to get them to that point. Once you have a lead scoring model set up, you’ll be able to gather a list of warm leads to reach out to.
Unfortunately, not all of your website visitors will convert on their own and become sales leads. In fact, only around 2% of visitors will actually fill out a form. Yikes! But when done correctly, ad retargeting is one of the most effective ways to recapture lost website visitors, get them back to your site, and get them to convert – the key here is “when done correctly.” By leveraging the account-level data from your website visitors, you can dynamically adjust your ad bids based on things like:
- If a user has been to your website
- How well the company matches your ICP
- Users searching high-intent keywords
- And more.
Using a dynamic ad retargeting strategy will allow you to stop spending your ad budget on out-of-market audiences and instead spend it on high-value accounts that are more likely to convert.
Personalizing sales and marketing outreach
- Based on company traits: Just like using first-party intent data to personalize your website, you can tailor your outreach messaging the same way. By segmenting your in-market audience into groups based on things like industry, revenue range, employee count, and even geolocation, you can personalize your outreach efforts with hyper-targeted messaging that will better resonate with their specific pain points. For example, the issues facing a medical device company could be drastically different than those facing an automotive manufacturer, so your messaging should reflect that.
- Based on the buyer funnel stage: Knowing where a prospect is in the buying cycle is the key to personalizing your messages to empathize and resonate with the pain points your prospect is experiencing. Looking at which specific pages and how many pages a visitor viewed as well as the clickpath they had while on your site, can give you insights into where they are in the buying process. Some visitors might be ready to close tomorrow, some might just be gathering information, and the rest probably fall somewhere in between. Understanding where they are in the buying cycle and personalizing your outreach to speak directly to their pain points will not only make you come across as more knowledgeable but also more empathetic to what their specific needs are.
Campaign monitoring and attribution
It’s been called ABM’s Final Frontier, often overlooked but nevertheless a critical part of any successful ABM strategy – campaign attribution. Good ABM strategies are constantly evolving and changing based on what’s working and what’s not. Buyer intent data gives you the ability to see which campaigns are driving the right traffic to your site and, once they are there, what content they are engaging with. This can inform which content on your site is converting more visitors into leads and what future content you might need.
So far, all seems well and good with intent data, right? But hold on, not so fast. The metaphor of buyers feeling like gazelles on a safari is actually pretty accurate – they spook easily, and once they’re gone, it’s unlikely you’ll ever see them again. Building trust, especially early on in the buying process, is key to developing a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship. Here are a few key things to keep in mind when you are putting your buyer intent data to use:
Don’t come on too strong
Many intent-based leads could (and probably should) be initially viewed as a level above top-of-funnel leads since they have not yet made the decision to reach out and request more information. These people may be in the market for your solutions, BUT an important distinction is that they have not taken the step to engage with a salesperson, so they must be approached very cautiously. You don’t want to open with something like: “Hey! I see you’re interested in Product X. Book a meeting with me, and let’s get you started.” This will have your website visitors running from your SDR team like they've just seen a ghost.
Instead, intent-based leads should be supported through their buying journey delicately at first. You might want to open by sending over additional resources similar to the ones they were looking at on your website.
- Pageviews matter: Just like the last point about coming on too strong, you wouldn’t want to email someone who looks at one page and bounces. Setting up a lead scoring model using your first-party intent data will allow you to spend your time reaching out to the accounts that are actually interested in your solutions and ready to engage.
Focus on their needs, not your wants
As we talked about in the personalization section, not all buyers are the same. They will often have different pain points depending on their industry, company size, use case, or even buying stage, so our messaging must change as well. Sure, we’d love to send over a meeting link and have them accept it, but unfortunately, many visitors are not ready yet. Instead, you can use intent data like how much/what content visitors are interacting with to shape your messaging to address their pain points and support them in finding the best solution.
Transparency is key
Flat out, people don’t trust salespeople; people trust other people. This makes sense; after all, salespeople have a vested interest in steering a prospect toward their solution over others. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, it doesn’t make them the most trustworthy source of information in the prospect’s eyes.
However, this lack of trust can be mitigated by *drumroll please* – being honest. By being upfront with your prospects and acknowledging the competition, you can frame yourself as less of a salesperson and more of an advisor in the task of finding the right solution for them. Sending prospects third-party reviews, industry comparison guides, or case studies can be good ways to acknowledge your competitors, but at the same time help them build the case for why customers choose you over others in the marketplace.
However, one note here is that this technique is geared more toward visitors that have shown a decent amount of intent already, which would indicate that they are a bit farther along in the sales cycle and thus knowledgeable enough to appreciate what makes your solution better.
Keep it fun, keep it light
This one is more of a personal preference than anything, so it’s up to you, but I can highly recommend using it. It’s no secret; sales outreach can be awkward. But it doesn’t have to be. Keeping the outreach fun and light will help put the prospect at ease and relieve some of the awkwardness of a sales outreach. A prospect might get spooked by you knowing exactly what they were looking at, but addressing it in a humorous way can ease any tension they might feel.
When used correctly, buyer intent data can be one of the most powerful elements of a B2B marketers toolkit to generate bigger pipelines and drive more revenue. By being conscious of where your buyers are in the buying cycle, being selective of which accounts to engage with, and being honest with your prospects, you can leverage your intent data to enhance almost every aspect of your sales and marketing campaigns, and make your prospects feel less like they’re in a haunted house, and more like that cool house that gives out full-size candy bars to the trick-or-treaters.
If you’d like to learn more about how to strategically use intent data across your sales and marketing teas, check out our webinar on-demand Rev Up Your Rev Org with the experts at G2!