B2B Intent Data
The Ultimate Guide to B2B Intent Data 2021
Intent-based marketing is a staple of any marketing strategy, both B2B and B2C. Marketers are constantly looking for ways to accurately calculate intent so that they can anticipate purchasing behavior. Today, thanks to technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, there’s more high-quality B2B intent data than ever, which is just waiting to be utilized by businesses. With B2B intent data, companies can see in real-time exactly what prospective clients are showing an interest in - and so predict what they’ll purchase next. B2B intent data ensures that you’re ahead of the game in the most competitive markets.
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What is B2B intent data?
B2B intent data tells you about the products and services which prospective clients are searching for online. Their online behaviour indicates their ‘intent’ as buyers, and B2B intent data will show you exactly what they’re interested in by reviewing the content they consume. The data enables companies to track prospective consumers and whether they are actively considering whether to purchase their goods or services. This data can then be utilized by businesses to tailor their advertising and marketing efforts and make informed and timely campaign decisions. It can also reduce the collective noise in the marketplace, as good B2B intent data marketing will only market a product or service when the data suggests that there is an audience receptive enough to deliver a high conversion rate.
And there’s more and more information out there which indicates how receptive an audience will be: according to Statista, in 2019, e-commerce sales accounted for 14.1 percent of all retail sales worldwide and is expected to reach 22 percent in 2023; Nasdaq reports that by the year 2040, it’s estimated that 95% of all purchases will be through e-commerce. What does this mean for B2B intent data? That there’s a growing amount of online consumer and business prospect behavior reports, which can be analysed and used to reveal buyer intent.
As a result, the market for B2B intent data has grown dramatically over the past few years. Targeting Marketing Magazine found that only about 25% of B2B companies are using buying intent and monitoring tools, but reports that 35% of companies expected to use them within the next 12 months. All signs point to the implementation of B2B purchase intent data rapidly increasing in 2020, which means it’s all the more important for businesses to get clued up about it. Whether to enrich the data-led B2B campaigns you’ve already got in place, or to launch a new product in the certainty that there’s a market for it, investing in B2B intent data is proving itself to be one of the smartest moves a marketer in 2020 can make.
What are the intent data attributes?
B2B intent data attributes are type, signal strength, and timeliness. The intent type places the priority on the kind of product or service being investigated. Meanwhile, the intent signal strength focuses more on the context of the intended purchase, based on the ‘signals’ sent out by the prospective audience’s online behavior, so you can weigh up intent versus interest. Finally, intent timeliness evaluates how recent the intent was signaled and whether there remains time to actively engage with the consumer to capitalise on that intent. The focus is either on predictive measures or on reacting to buying signals as soon as possible to prioritize the intent qualified leads.
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B2B intent data measures whether online interest culminates in a purchase. Examples of interest include viewing product details online, browsing and comparing different product offerings, or abandoning their cart altogether. In fact, according to the Baymard Institute, sixty-nine percent of online shoppers abandon their carts. Reasons cited in the Baymard study for their cart abandonment found that 58.6% of U.S. online shoppers have abandoned a cart within the last 3 months because “I was just browsing / not ready to buy.”
To be classified as good buyer intent data, the insights must capture the decision-making process which the buyer goes through, from the first signal of interest to eventually making the purchase. Knowing the steps of their purchase journey lets you see exactly how strong their intent is and when it peaks and falls. These behaviors and resulting data points can be categorized into static data, observed data, and inferred data. They are all elements of B2B intent data that aid in shaping the understanding of the client generally.
Static Data – Static data encompasses information that is unchanging such as demographic information.
Observed Data – Observed data measures both online and offline behaviors as they take place.
Inferred Data – Inferred data is analyzed from static and/or observed data while being based on increased context.
How is B2B intent data collected?
B2B intent data is collected with both internal and external B2B intent data collection methods including online research activity and content consumption metrics such as page views, email opens, and white paper downloads.
Internal data collection, or first-party data, is garnered through existing channels such as view of the company’s website, length of time spent on an online product page, or social media engagement. Specifically, internally collected B2B intent data reviews website visits, case studies, lead information, product comparison pages as well as registration and attendance of webinars. Internal buyer intent data comes from these signals that can help companies operationalize that intent into sales.
External data or third-party data is collected by a source outside of the confines of the company, and it’s this data which is making B2B marketing more streamlined than ever:
“With intent you can see 3x, 3.5x more leads that convert into sales - this is something we’ve seen across different organisations and verticals.” - John Clarke, Cyance
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Buyer intent data tools can see what prospective customers are doing across the Internet, and so provide insights which aren’t restricted to the business in question’s sites. External buyer intent data is typically collected at the IP level or through browser pixels/cookies and amassing B2B intent data first hand tends to require a lot of time and resources. It is for this reason that company decision-makers are increasingly outsourcing this task to third-party data providers.
So B2B intent data takes all of these online indicators into account, allowing you to assess the timing, context, and relevance of a marketing campaign and whether it’ll bring you the best outcome. B2B intent data does not predict buyer behavior. Instead, it monitors purchasing intent, with the aim of boosting conversions, generating leads, and increasing sales. However, when handling data, the “garbage in, garbage out” rule really does apply.
How can I assess the quality of B2B intent data?
The quality of B2B intent data can be assessed by affirming the source and method of data collection. Experienced B2B intent data vendors understand the need to fully vet their data sources by looking into what kind of content the intent signals are based in, the triggers for the signals, and the foundation of the signal strength. The timeliness of the data acquired is equally important as the recency of the dataset ensures leads don’t fizzle out prior to being utilized for intent-based advertising.
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How can I overcome potential challenges?
As with all data types, there are some things you should pay special attention to make sure you’re getting not only the highest quality data, but also using the data to its fullest potential.
Here is a quick list to help you with this:
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Who is using B2B intent data?
B2B intent data is utilized by sales and marketing teams to improve the success of their outreach to businesses they want to target as clients. When sales and marketing professionals can get an inside view of user intent, they can tailor and craft more targeted messages, website content, and online engagement tactics. In competitive B2B industries, marketers must create timely and relevant content to ensure that businesses purchase from them over competitors.
The decision-maker of any business - whether they’re a CEO, manager, buyer or outsourcer - completes a journey in which they determine what and when they will make a purchase. The stages in the decision-maker’s journey are awareness, interest, consideration, and purchase. B2B intent data comes into play at each of these stages. First, you have to know which products and solutions are already available that your buyer is aware of: if there’s a lot of competition in the area you’re targeting, then your strategies have to be calculated and flexible. Likewise, it may be that the business you’re targeting hasn’t come across the solution you’re offering. Before any purchase can be realised, you need to get your product on their radar. Next, and it may seem like a no-brainer, but consider: is your buyer interested in the product or service you’re offering? If your B2B intent data analytics suggests so, then you’re in a stronger position to secure a purchase. After comes consideration: is your buyer’s online behaviour suggesting that their interest is prolonged?
B2B intent data works in symbiosis with other data types here, like B2B firmographic and b2b contact data, to allow you to see what may be preventing them from purchasing, and how you can overcome this by adjusting your approach and talking to the right people in the company. Lastly - and most crucially! - is the decision to purchase.
B2B purchase intent data will show you at which point in the journey your lead was converted to a purchase. Knowing this, you can direct all of your data-driven marketing strategies with a clear idea of what your target audience is looking for and what techniques they respond well to.
Operationalizing buyer intent data shows you which signals indicate that a prospective buyer intends to purchase, which signals don’t. Being able to separate genuine leads from red herrings enables companies to more effectively advertise, market, communicate, and sell products and services to the right people, at the right time, in the right way , giving your company an advantage over your competitors.
An integrated, data-driven B2B marketing approach is necessary to compete with fast growing companies and sustain a healthy engagement with target audiences. Recent studies report that even a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to profit increases as high as 95%. Intent data is much more detailed means of keeping businesses on your books as clients than a conventional keyword search or an analysis of consumer feedback. Companies can tap into patterns in the behavior of their high value clients and track what they are most interested in, the type of content they engage with and what their favorite aspects of a product are.
How to use B2B intent data?
B2B intent data can be leveraged by organizations to ascertain whether there’s a viable market for your product or service, establish brand awareness, map the client’s journey from inception to purchase, implement a personalized digital experience, gain real-time results, and locate patterns in buyer behavior. Deciding to buy B2B intent stats opens up a realm of data-driven solutions which you may never have contemplated before. It’ll give you marketing and sales insights about where to allocate time, energy and resources in order to drive sustainable revenue growth. This could prove to be extremely valuable for growth-stage companies, whose resources are more limited.
Specifically, B2B intent data can aid companies in prioritizing accounts and buying groups. Marketing qualified leads (MQLs) typically don’t provide enough information to help drive sales. Despite their prominence in traditional demand generation, MQLs don’t provide much insight into account activity, potentially leaving sales teams unclear on whether they should increase their focus on an account or buying group.
In contrast, by providing companies with quality purchase intent data, their marketing and sales teams are better positioned to deliver both the account-specific and the individual contact-specific information necessary to justify an increased focus on a specific opportunity. After all, without insight into the entire buying landscape, it’s possible to make inaccurate judgments, which wastes both time and resources.
Marketing automation platforms often struggle to collect information about entire buying groups. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems fall short when it comes to capturing buying group demand status. These issues are apparent when you look into new opportunities. Instead of limiting visibility and understanding by identifying only a single individual on each opportunity, contact-level intent data can be used to add multiple active contacts within a buying group. Beyond buying group identification, it can mobilise sales teams by allowing them to look at exactly what their key accounts are researching.
Understanding the collective buying team’s readiness as well as the relevance, recency, and velocity of their activity is a critical input for determining how you should shape and prioritize your outreach. The activity of these contacts matters because that’s what gives companies clarity on where they are in the buyer’s journey and what topics of discussion will resonate with them. When a salesperson understands where their prospective client is at in terms of intensity, content interests and buying stage, they can become much more efficient in their time allocation and effective in their messaging.
Traditionally, marketing’s ability to drive prospect awareness and build consideration levels has largely been a first-party endeavor. Companies build traction without much insight into how ideal accounts are interacting with competitors. But your own market research can only get you so far, especially if your business is in the early stages of growth! By expanding beyond first-party data and acquiring third-party B2B intent data sources, practitioners are now able to monitor accounts at all stages of commerce and especially within the active pipeline. When these insights include the actual individuals involved and their interests in your competitors, sales teams can much more effectively personalize their conversations to address competitive threats.
All too often, stalled opportunities fall off sales and marketing teams’ radar. When they face pressure to deliver fast results, slow-burning but promising leads may be abandoned. By monitoring stalled accounts using third-party intent, marketers can unmask the critical, long-term activity that can’t otherwise be seen without looking at the bigger picture. Businesses can re-engage with previous leads if their B2B intent data shows that there’s renewed interest in their product or service. This is where B2B intent data enrichment comes into its own: you can consult your first-party firmographic and contact data to understand the account you’re re-approaching, and then provide them with relevant, detailed examples of how companies similar to them have solved pain points with your product or service. In the longer term, by improving re-engagement strategies with stalled opportunities, sales teams can drive down the average time wasted during the decision-making process.
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What are the key B2B intent marketing strategies?
B2B intent data marketing tactics include:
Lead Prioritization – B2B intent data signals help to identify buyer readiness; a strong signal, with additional context cues, will highlight priority leads. This use allows leads to be ranked according to several different tiers, based on their match potential for specific products and services. By using intent data in this way, B2B marketers can easily distinguish between low-potential and high-potential leads, and can filter outreach lists for accounts that show an active interest.
Automated Outreach - B2B intent data can inform a type of scoring model that attempts to quantify the intent of the visitor based on a culmination of activities. These models can predict if a consumer is likely to start exhibiting buying behavior. They can also determine, with great accuracy, the time and context of when this will occur.
Account-based Marketing – This approach categorizes account data (e.g. contact databases), contact data, data platforms, and third-party data and insights.With the incorporation of B2B buyer intent data, it’s now possible to prioritize engagement and resource allocation on the best-fit accounts, based on the levels of intent interest being displayed. Messaging, content, and resources can be better adapted and personalized to align with target account intent.
Personalization of Outreach and Targeted Advertising - Third-party intent data can add a level of customization to your outreach. Being able to determine the customers interested in a product or service can not only aid in tailoring advertising efforts but also increases ROI when disseminating those strategies. Similarly, targeted ad campaigns have improved target accuracy when buyer intent data is utilized to inform decisions.
Analyzing and Retaining Customers - Knowing that a lead is interested in a topic isn’t very useful unless that lead is also qualified to buy. That’s why intent data is often paired with firmographic, technographic, and B2B contact data that narrow the list of accounts to just those that are in a likely position to make a purchase and you know you can contact the decision-maker of the business you’re targeting. Specific use cases include creating real-time, intent-driven email campaigns, lead score relevant social actions to get more marketing qualified leads to sales, and enable sales with contextual intelligence.
So, B2B intent data lends itself to endless marketing solutions - and these solutions are getting more sophisticated and innovative as competition between data vendors increases. The good news for those looking to buy B2B intent data is this: the growing number of integrations and partnerships between data and platform vendors is enabling intent data to be directly injected into various workflows that support numerous use cases throughout the marketing-and-sales funnel. The best intent data providers have integrations with CRMs, marketing automation platforms, programmatic-advertising, and lead-generation vendors. For businesses, making intent data actionable is now a seamless and simple task.
What are the challenges of B2B intent data?
As with most data types, the most significant challenge associated with B2B intent data is quality assurance. Only with high-quality intent data can companies expect maximum gains from their investments. To overcome the challenges posed by inaccurate data, prevention is always better than cure: ensure that you ask your prospective B2B intent data vendor all of the questions we discussed in the data quality section. If your vendor can prove that their data is regularly and stringently verified, then you’ll avoid investing in bad data.
In addition, B2B intent data doesn’t guarantee a quick-fix solution for all businesses. Sometimes, its success comes after a bit of time, and there may be false positives on the way, for example, when a lucrative client develops an interest in your product or service which it hadn’t previously. Companies who buy B2B intent data can become frustrated by this and stop their initiatives before they’ve really had a chance to fulfill their mission. An inability to see the underlying data points that roll up into intent scores is a major challenge for analytic teams that need to test and prove the validity of intent signals. The solution to this? Ask for a B2B intent data sample. That way, if you’re not convinced by the results of the vendor’s dataset, you can consider switching your provider.
For larger companies specifically, integration can cause issues. Such companies often have their own internal predictive analytics teams that have built predictive scoring models based on discrete attributes and regression modeling. Intent data is a near-continuous variable that must be modeled against behavior across the internet, not just against one company’s data set. This makes it challenging for intent data to be incorporated into existing predictive models. However, as we saw earlier, vendors are facing increasing pressure to make sure that their B2B intent data can be picked up effortlessly and immediately by businesses.
As data becomes a more and more valuable tool in B2B commerce, integration is a teething problem which becomes less significant by the day. In fact, vendors recognise that external B2B intent data is uncharted territory even for some of the most seasoned B2B marketing and sales professionals. So, partnering with a data vendor or provider who knows how to use intent to activate campaigns will help you mitigate error - while fast-tracking your results and investment return.
The most often cited challenges of B2B intent data that encompass these pitfalls are whether they are a good fit, and the expiration timeframe of that data.
The Issue of Fit
It is important to ensure that the B2B buyer intent data collected is appropriate to evaluate the buyer’s intent of a specific good or service. Third-party B2B intent data vendors tailor which data attributes to prioritize based on the company seeking the intelligence.
The Ticking Clock
Reaction time and speed are a factor when utilizing B2B intent data because buyer intent is fluid and can change rapidly. No one can predict infallibly how the market will change with so many factors, both digital and physical, which influence a client’s readiness to purchase. Thus, it’s important to try to stay one step ahead and fresh, up-to-date B2B intent data insights aid in doing just that.
Intent data, like any data, cannot account for every single mover and shaker out there on the market. If used, intent data will invariably exclude some businesses who are interested but who are not captured by the intent data provider’s model. For example, some high-value prospects may conduct research on out-of-network sites or might be registered under the wrong IP address. The best way round this? Ask your vendor about the scale they offer. The wider their net, the better your understanding of business intent.
In general, the best advice we can give if you’re looking to purchase B2B intent data is to do your research. Intent data providers vary widely in their capture mechanisms and ability to deliver accurate, actionable data. You’d look into any product or solution before investing in it; data should be evaluated just as seriously. It’s how you choose and activate your B2B intent data which determines its true value and enables a cohesive approach across all channels and campaign use cases, from advertising to messaging, to outreach and beyond.
How is B2B intent data priced?
The cost of B2B intent data can vary greatly. As intent monitoring is still a relatively new field, vendors differ in their approaches to pricing. Some base pricing on the number of topics a company wants to monitor, while others charge by the number of accounts they monitor, and still others offer a monthly or quarterly subscription with a yearly commitment.
Because the intent monitoring market is still evolving, navigating the landscape of intent data providers and understanding the options available can be a challenge. As with most big decisions, knowing the right questions to ask is the first step. By going into the process knowing the key facts, companies’ decision-makers can find the perfect B2B intent data partner, one that can help build an intent data program that optimizes sales and marketing results.
The price tag on intent data has dropped significantly. Efficiencies in the way intent data providers collect and aggregate their data have allowed them to both decrease pricing and offer packages and products better suited for the needs of businesses. And with the rising number of data integrations, which allows users to generate greater value from their existing tech investments, the business case for intent data has strengthened.
The following are pricing structures you may come across as you browse B2B intent data vendors:
Data licensing (monthly, quarterly, yearly) - Gain access to the aggregator’s data pool by paying a subscription fee.
CPM/CPC/% of Media - Pay per usage models offer you more control and are easily implemented into your ROI calculations.
CPL (Cost per lead) - Pay per lead models offer an easy way to benchmark the costs of data acquisition to the performance of your sales funnel.
Customized - Many data providers also offer custom solutions based on their customers’ needs. Just get in touch with them!
So that’s everything you need to know for you to go out and find the B2B intent data that’s best for your company. Intent data is a tool that can help you at every stage of your business, whether you’re launching a company, or looking to transform the B2B marketing strategies you’ve already got in place.
Keep in mind the awareness, interest, consideration and purchase journey we discucced. How a buyer gets from one stage to the next all lies in their intent: B2B intent data will demystify exactly what’s going on at each step. Take a look at some of our B2B intent data providers, refer to our quality assessment advice when you contact them, and get in touch with any questions.
Who are the best B2B Intent Data providers?
Finding the right B2B Intent Data provider for you really depends on your unique use case and data requirements, including budget and geographical coverage. Popular B2B Intent Data providers that you might want to buy B2B Intent Data from are FrescoData, Rocks & Gold, True Influence, Knowsis, and IT Central Station.
Where can I buy B2B Intent Data?
Data providers and vendors listed on Datarade sell B2B Intent Data products and samples. Popular B2B Intent Data products and datasets available on our platform are Slintel B2B Intent Data: Worldwide Coverage, 17M+ Companies by Slintel, True Influence B2B Intent Data USA & Canada for Lead Generation - 7000 B2B topics matched to contact intents by True Influence, and Intent Based Contact & Email Data B2C & B2B (USA) - HubioID by HubioID.
How can I get B2B Intent Data?
You can get B2B Intent Data via a range of delivery methods - the right one for you depends on your use case. For example, historical B2B Intent Data is usually available to download in bulk and delivered using an S3 bucket. On the other hand, if your use case is time-critical, you can buy real-time B2B Intent Data APIs, feeds and streams to download the most up-to-date intelligence.
What are similar data types to B2B Intent Data?
B2B Intent Data is similar to B2B Leads Data, Firmographic Data, Technographic Data, Business Ownership Data, and Job Postings Data. These data categories are commonly used for Marketing and B2B Intent Data analytics.