Intent data: The game changer in B2B sales

Having the perfect timing is essential in B2B sales. If you succeed in contacting a company exactly when they want you to contact them, the chances of closing a deal are high. In this article, we show you what intent data is and how you can use it to fine-tune and perfect your outreach timing to ensure you’re making contact with the right people, at the right time, with the right message.

Why do certain sales teams succeed more than others? Why is it that some businesses always seem a step ahead and find successful sales leads? Of course, experience, persistence and a certain instinct play a role. But in the end, it’s always about leveraging data and information, taking a data driven sales approach. Forrester says use of data and insights is a key factor in B2B sales success.

And ever more important are behavioural data points — especially intent data. It provides insights on what your target group is currently doing, what topics they’re doing searches on, and what their needs are. Marketing and sales organisations that employ intent data use it to detect currently existing sales opportunities. They know which companies need their products now.

That’s the best time to start the conversation. Because these companies’ decision-makers want to hear from you right now.

So, we’ll be answering the most important questions on intent data, starting with a definition of the term.

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What is intent data?

Intent data is behavioural data. It shows when and if companies are active on the Internet searching for solutions, and which products and services they’re interested in. Intent data is based on web content that companies research and consume from the Internet.

What types of intent data are there?

There’s a distinction between first-party and third-party intent data. In principle, it’s the same data and information. It tells you what is occupying companies and decision-makers on the Internet.

The big difference between first- and third-party is that with first-party data you get the data from your own channels. It can tell you what content visitors to your website or other channels are engaging with. Whereas third-party intent data comes from a provider. This information can tell you what companies are engaging with on websites and online channels of third parties (such as your competitors).

First party intent data

First-party intent data is information that you collect from your own channels about your target audience or customers. Examples include participation in campaigns, content downloads or filling out contact forms. An example: A prospect visits a product page and gets pricing information. This is a good indicator of concrete interest and that the company should be contacted immediately.

Third party intent data

Third-party intent data is made available by specialised providers. In contrast to first-party intent data, it shows you behaviour of companies not only at your own sites, but also on other external websites. For example, if you want to know who has been getting information from specific technical pages or online forums on products you offer, third-party intent data delivers exactly this information.

It’s important to choose a trustworthy partner. Some key considerations include their compliance with data protection regulations, ability to provide transparent information on survey and data collection methods, the cooperation they have with meaningful external websites and that they collect data from.

Why is intent data important to B2B sales?

Intent data enables you to qualify sales leads. Qualification is a key element of lead management for identifying those companies that currently have major sales potential, high closing probability and a short sales cycle. Intent data helps sales organisations contact leads at the right moment. That means exactly when they’re browsing for the products or services that you or your competition offer.

An example: You sell CRM solutions. You’re interested in any prospect companies that are researching CRM solutions from forums or competitor websites. Intent data gives you exactly that information.

Are the benefits of intent data measurable?

Intent data providers Bombora and Forrester Consulting investigated this question and did a study* to measure the business benefit and ROI. The results show that the benefits of intent data are effectively measurable and positively affect operating results and sales efficiency.




Illustration: Companies that use intent data have an 18% higher conversion rate in B2B sales, 30% faster sales (more sales wins within the same time frame) and 10% fewer cancellations.

An example in the study shows that the increased revenue from using intent data can far exceed the cost. In one specific case, the ROI for the first three years was 342%.

Where can I get intent data?

Intent data from Bombora is available as a new add-on to D&B Hoovers. Our product page shows you everything about the D&B Hoovers sales intelligence platform and includes a free trial.

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*Source (The Total Economic Impact™ of Bombora)