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As a curious marketer, you've likely stumbled upon at least a few articles highlighting how businesses, large and small, are deploying first- and third-party intent data in tandem to identify and target ideal customers. And though intent data is one of the buzziest buzzwords in the B2B marketing industry today, only 25% of businesses are actually deploying it (DemandGen Report).
As with any new tech investment, intent data has barriers to entry. Getting in the intent game typically requires specific skills, supporting strategies and tactics, and some budget (though, freemium intent data solutions are available).
However, unlike most tech solutions, intent data can fuel the entire B2B marketing ecosystem, increasing the ROI of just about every system in your tech stack while improving your team's operational efficiency and overall program performance.
Simply put, investment in intent data pays off in stronger overall marketing performance.
Here are seven ways intent data can drive greater ROI for numerous marketing (and sales) efforts, making everyone's life a little easier in the process.
1. Know which accounts to call or email first
Growing organizations don't have the time to fully audit their account database, scoring accounts while simultaneously prioritizing leads. This is intent data's core competency: predicting which accounts are most likely to buy so marketing and sales can allocate time, resources and budget to the accounts with the highest likelihood of conversion.
You're likely already using marketing automation tools to aid the lead-scoring process, but third-party intent data enables you to score accounts based on their recent researching behaviors. A good intent data provider integrates directly with your CRM, marketing automation platforms and lead generation tools, providing a 'north star' against which you can direct all outreach decisions holistically. A scoring system identifies and prioritizes the accounts actively researching your solutions (or similar solutions); from there, marketing and sales can coordinate and personalize outreach activities more effectively.
2. Expand and refresh your target-account list with timely data
One of the biggest mistakes teams make in account-based marketing (ABM) is relying on a static target-account list that was built primarily from demographic data (or sales team preferences). The result is repeatedly marketing to a number of accounts that aren't actively in buying mode.
Doing that only serves to annoy potential audiences while wasting your budget. A better approach is to dynamically update account lists to keep your database fresh with accounts more likely to purchase in the near term.
With intent data, your team can construct audiences similar to the prospects in your existing database and identify accounts you may have initially missed when building your account list. But, unlike other tools, intent data goes beyond demographic or lookalike criteria to ensure the accounts you add are actively seeking solutions in your market, today.
Ben Howell, head of demand generation and paid digital at Salesforce said it best: "We hear them [companies] sneezing and we want to go and offer them a Kleenex."
3. Improve the efficiency of demand generation campaigns
Accurate targeting is vital to any demand generation strategy, but precision is absolutely critical to growth-stage companies. Rather than segmenting audiences based only on static demographic data or limited first-party engagements, intent data enables you to target and personalize messaging based on extremely recent signals across the Web.
Once you're targeting more strategically, the efficiency of your inbound and outbound demand generation tactics will increase: Website traffic and engagement, email open and conversion rates, paid social media engagement, webinar registrations, and programmatic display advertising click-through rates should all go up.
You'll have the data you need to reallocate your marketing budget more frequently and more intelligently.
4. Dial-up the precision of ABM campaigns
"Spear-fishing" ABM campaigns may look great on paper, but in reality many growth-stage companies struggle to find the budget and resources to justify highly personalized one-to-one ABM efforts, often because there is uncertainty about the quality of the target-account list and concerns that the investments won't pay off.
With intent data, marketers can identify the ABM prospects that are most likely to purchase in the near term, and they can prioritize personalization for those precisely selected accounts. Moreover, insights gleaned from the intent data can help shape messaging that's relevant to specific target accounts' wants and needs.
Once accounts are prioritized by purchasing intent, you can more confidently invest in nurture activities, such as direct mail, video, email, and programmatic display.
5. Increase consumption of content marketing materials
With the overwhelming amount of content available today, the resources that get read first are those that answer a prospect's questions. So instead of wasting resources creating content that you "think" audiences will engage with, use intent data to create content that prospects are actively searching for. Cloudera used this strategy to increase on-site engagement 66%.
6. Shorten sales cycles
The B2B buyer's journey is more complex than ever before, and sales cycles span upwards of 12 months. Strategically nurturing and engaging with prospects who are actively looking for your solutions eliminates cold outreach tactics that delay conversions and reduce energy spent on accounts that are not in a buying cycle.
A shorter sales cycle reduces the cost of acquisition, helps you beat competitors to the line, and makes everyone happy—from salespeople to investors to the buyer themselves!
7. Decrease customer churn and identify cross-sell opportunities
This one's for the customer marketers: By monitoring the online behaviors of your customers, intent data enables you to uncover churn indicators and cross-sell opportunities faster.
For instance, you'll get real-time visibility into customers who are researching competitive products and/or services before they slip through the cracks. On the flip side, if your customers are searching for additional solutions you offer, you'll be able to proactively cross-sell.
Don't overlook your existing customers when building your intent data strategy! You've already put in the effort to win them as customers; keep them by helping them find the tools they need next.
Maximize marketing spend with intent data
When intent data is used correctly, your overall marketing and sales efforts, from top-of-funnel awareness to post-sales, become more precise and impactful. Start leveraging intent data to bolster your marketing investments and get a leg up on your competitors. Even if budgets are really tight, get started with a freemium intent data solution to dip your toe in the intent data waters before diving into the ocean.
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