Keith Fowler

What is Intent Data for B2B Sales?

Imagine how much easier your job would be if you knew exactly when a prospect was searching for your product or service. That’s the promise of intent data, which monitors key search terms in order to collect and collate information from a wide range of digital sources. Since only a small proportion of your market will be actively searching and ready to buy at any given time, you can dedicate your efforts to reaching them at the right time.

We are all bombarded by constant messaging, ads, and pop-ups when we’re online, and so your advertising has to cut through the noise of the internet. When you know exactly when your target clientele is searching for your offering, you can offer highly targeted messaging that is catered to their buying stage and pain points.

Remember – your prospects will often follow a non-linear path to their purchase, searching for a few minutes here and there before committing to the sale. This is especially true with big-ticket items or costly service packages. As you try to compete in the marketplace, getting in front of them at the right time is more critical than ever. This is called the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMoT) – if you catch them during their ZMoT, you’ll see your sales dramatically increase.

What is the difference between predictive data and intent data?

You may have already heard of predictive data, in which platforms pull information from sales data, customer behaviour, and historical information to predict what will happen in the future. While this date can be useful, it is not a reliable predictor of what will happen in the future. As mentioned above, sales are not always linear, and you need to catch the buyer at their ZMoT.

In contrast, intent data assesses actual online activity instead of trying to predict what will happen in the future. It helps you understand when your prospects are showing active signs that they are ready to buy and allows you to address them with highly specific and targeted sales strategies at that exact moment.

Two Types of Intent Data

There are two main types of key intent data: First-party intent data, and third-party intent data. You track and capture first-party (or internal) intent data on your own website, monitoring who looks at what, when they look at it, and for how long they look at specific things.

Third-party (or external) intent data is collected by third-party programmes, including cookies and your IP. External intent data offers a broader assessment of a prospect’s interests and their journey across the internet.

Ideally, these two forms of intent data should be combined to provide a comprehensive picture of your prospects’ desires and ZMoT.

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