Using Intent Data For Lead Generation

What if you could find companies that are looking for your solution right NOW? How cool would that be?!

Well, you don’t have to wonder anymore. B2B intent data is available for marketing teams that want to connect with potential customers that are moving into ‘buying mode.’

Best of all, this powerful tool is increasingly affordable for small and medium businesses that want to reach out to ideal clients at the right time.

In this article we’ll look at how to use intent data for lead generation. So you can grow your company as quickly as possible, without overspending on marketing.

What is B2B Intent Data? 

B2B intent data refers to online behaviours that reflect interest in a topic. And potentially suggest an intention to make a purchase in the near future.

This is important because more and more buyers are connecting with companies later in their buying cycle. They’re educating themselves BEFORE reaching out to sales reps. So they can make a better, more informed decision.

So you need to contact them at the moment when they’re ready to pull the trigger.

Sounds impossible? It’s tough, but research leaves clues.

For example, an active buyer might download a whitepaper from an industry association. Or they will visit several large publications and view information on related topics.

The thing is, all that information can be aggregated. Individual activities don’t paint much of a picture. But combined, you can see who is looking for a specific solution.

Consider your own website. Different visitors generate unique contextual signals. For example, someone coming from Google to view a service page probably has more buying intent than someone visiting an informational blog post.

Intent data is about parsing behavioural signals to identify prospects that are in the ‘sweet spot’ of their buying journey. And will be most open to connecting with your sales team.

As you’d expect, the better you are at identifying high probability buyers at the right time, the higher return you’ll see on your B2B marketing.

The Role Of Intent Data in Lead Generation

You don’t have to swing hard to hit a home run. If you got the timing, it’ll go. – Yogi Berra

When it comes to sales, timing is everything. 

A few years ago I needed to purchase some insurance. I did some online research and found a company that met my needs. Then I dropped by their offices and purchased insurance. 

The very next day an insurance broker called me…

They were a day or two late. If they’d just reached out earlier I’d have happily taken advantage of their expertise.

When it comes to making a big purchase, timing is everything. Which is why marketing firms put so much emphasis on identifying sales triggers.

And that’s the main appeal of B2B intent data. This information helps you figure out who is most likely to need your solutions, based on their online behaviours. 

Buying Intent

Here are some ways B2B intent data can impact your lead generation efforts:

  • Finding prospects with a high likelihood of buying.
  • Improve marketing spend through accurate channel attribution.
  • Better, more relevant content for high-converting prospects.
  • Better sales intelligence about the prospect and where they are in the buying journey.
  • Improved ‘lead scoring’ and prioritization.
  • Optimization of ads and other marketing campaigns.
  • Advanced personalization opportunities. 

Two Types Of Intent Data   

B2B intent data is described in lots of different ways. You’ll hear marketers describe it as ‘predictive data‘ or ‘behavioural data‘ or ‘contextual data.’ 

But at the end of the day, most intent data can be divided into two categories – First-Party Data and Third-Party Data.

First Party Intent Data

This refers to insights that you collect via channels that you own and control. And because it’s YOUR internal data, you’re probably already using it to some extent. Here are some examples of first-party data. 

Website Traffic: Where are your visitors originating from? What search queries bring them to your website?

Pages Visited: What pages did they land on? Did they navigate elsewhere? What topics generated interest? Are they looking at pages with high commercial intent?

Dwell Time: Did they bounce off certain pages quickly? Or did they stop to absorb the content? Someone who spends a long time on a service page might be a very good prospect.

Heat Maps: Where do visitors spend the most time looking? What’s important in that area?

Form Completions: What topics resonate? Are they high intent topics with good potential to convert?

Email Outreach: Does your message get strong response rates? What triggers contribute to a warm reception?

Customer Interactions: Your customers are very happy to share their goals, frustrations, and experiences. What have you learned from them?

Ad Engagement: Some ads perform better than others. Why the difference? What insights can be learned from customers that prefer one ad over another?

Social Media Engagement: Are prospective clients just being social? Or do their interactions reflect they’ve begun their buyer journey? 

Email Newsletters: What subject lines are most likely to get opened? How about topics that drive engagement?

Chatbot Interactions: What questions do prospects ask your chatbot? These queries often have high purchase intent. Otherwise they wouldn’t be spending time communicating with a chatbot.

Other ideas include conducting surveys, checking website search queries, or gathering event feedback.

You’ll never run out of first-party intent data. It’s sometimes hard to access. And it can be difficult to translate it into actionable information. But it’s built into your company’s DNA.

And more importantly, it’s data that you OWN. No one else can replicate it

Second Party Intent Data

In case you’re wondering, second party B2B intent data refers to when you receive or purchase data directly from another company or website, without a middleman. 

For example an events company might share data with a travel company to personalize the client experience and enhance their enjoyment of the event.

Third Party Intent Data

Third Party, or external intent data refers to information collected and compiled by a data aggregator. These companies collect data from multiple businesses. Then they use that information to create a 360 degree picture of where a potential buyer is in their buying process.

Then they make the information available for purchase by marketing and sales teams.

Which is pretty cool…

… albeit a bit creepy. 

Say you are thinking about investing in a new CRM. Before you talk to anyone, you’ll probably start doing some independent research. You’ll visit various comparison articles on the web. And maybe sign up for a couple of whitepapers.

If the data aggregator has access to multiple sites that cover these topics, they’ll see you are a serious buyer. They know who you are because they matched your white paper registration against your website cookie on other websites.

And they know where you are on your CRM buying journey.

Which is information CRM companies will gladly pay for. So they can reach out to you at the appropriate time.

As you might expect, there are a couple of concerns about this sort of data. 

Privacy: While not illegal, tracking activity across multiple, unrelated websites is a bit chilling. So use tact when reaching out to prospective clients.

Broad Availability: If you can purchase external intent data, then so can everyone else. Your data has probably been resold to multiple vendors. Which could diminish its value to your sales team.

Accuracy: Data quality is always a consideration. And it’s difficult to verify the accuracy of 3rd party data. Is that company looking to invest in 3D printers? Or is the general manager doing some Christmas shopping on company time? Some searches may look like buying intent. But in reality they won’t make a purchase any time soon.

How Much Does Intent Data Cost? 

Intent data can be prohibitively expensive, depending on your needs. An annual subscription can easily go well above $30k a year (per seat) for enterprise-level data.

That’s the bad news.

But there’s some good news, too. The cost of intent data is on a downward trend. And some forms of intent data are quite affordable. Let’s look at some different types of intent data pricing.

First-Party Intent Data Pricing

There are several types of tools you can use to generate first-party intent data. For example a heat map will show you where people are focused when they use your website.

But the most common type of tool in this category is an IP matching tool. The software matches anonymous visitors to your website against known IP addresses for their company.

Using this information you can figure out what companies are visiting your website. And contact decision makers to see if you can help them out.

Examples of these account resolution tools include Lead Magic and Factors.ai

Most of these tools cost less than $200 per month. And almost all of them have a free tier or free trial.

You’ll see what companies visited your website, and what pages they visited. The tools will even ‘score’ the opportunity so you can focus on opportunities most likely to convert.

They’ll also show you the top decision makers you may want to connect with.

That’s a lot of intent information for a very low price.

3rd Party Enterprise Intent Data

At this level B2B intent data gets a bit pricey. The costs will vary depending on your requirements. But you should expect a price tag of at least a few thousand dollars a month, or more.

Bombora is one of the best known data providers in this space. They promise to help you identify buyers who are ‘surging’ in interest in real time. They also help you segment their intent topics so you can connect with the most relevant information possible.

Given the high monthly cost of enterprise account data it’s best used by companies with significant lifetime client value to offset the relatively high cost.

Affordable B2B Intent Data

These days you don’t need to be a large, exchange-listed company to afford intent data. Some forms of data are becoming accessible to everyone.

At the time this article was posted, Clodura.ai costs just $49 per month. It’s a robust contact search tool that includes several forms of intent data you can use to target your ideal customer.

For example, you can identify companies that have received funding, announced expansions, or are hiring for a specific role.

Clodura Sales Triggers

You can even search for companies that appear to have a specific buying intent. Though some of the results don’t appear to be ‘real time’ yet. And the data quality is probably still better in higher priced solutions.

Clodura Intent Search

Now that intent data is affordable for everyone, there’s no reason not to incorporate it into your marketing stack.

Generate More B2B Leads With Intent Data

Buying intent is everything when it comes to B2B marketing. 

Look at Google search ads. Years ago they were pretty inexpensive. But the cost per click keeps going up and up. 

And there’s a reason pay per click is so bloody expensive. Someone is actively searching for a solution. So most businesses are willing to pay as much as they can to grab that person’s attention. Search intent is king!

So how are you using B2B intent data to generate more sales leads? Is your marketing team finding it easier to get in front of your target audience?

I’d love to hear about your experiences and use cases. You can contact me on Linkedin or send a note on our contact page.

Matthew Murray

Matthew Murray

Matthew Murray is the Managing Director of Sales Higher. He knows any company can THRIVE with enough qualified sales leads. So he’s spent the last decade helping companies meet engaged prospects and win new deals.

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