B2B customers don’t make snap decisions regarding purchasing. While impulse buys might be common in the B2C sector, they’re incredibly rare when selling directly to other businesses.
That’s because business purchases are typically significant and must pass through multiple decision-makers before any money changes hands. That’s why your B2B sales reps need to know where to focus their efforts.
It all comes down to one important factor—intent.
Have your leads showcased behaviors that indicate they’re in the decision-making process or intend to decide soon? If they are, then the time to strike is now. If they’re not, then it’s best to keep the lines of communication open with gentle touches without hard selling.
Enriching intent data through lead scoring can help fill the gaps and create a more informative and effective system. That’s why so many turn to lead scoring solutions like Breadcrumbs to maximize audience insight and allocate time and effort better.
In this article, we’ll discuss how you can apply data enrichment and lead scoring to intent data. We’ll also go through how to create a truly efficient and profitable lead management system using both.
What is intent data?
Intent data is behavioral information that could indicate a prospective customer wants to make a purchase. This immediately solidifies a prospect as a hot lead to follow up with.
Plain and simple: Intent data shows whether they’re actively searching for a solution that your service provides. It also cements their location in the customer journey.
We gather intent data by analyzing the online behavior of prospective customers. For example, someone searching for information on tax write-offs for businesses isn’t necessarily in the market for business accounting software. However, someone who’s filled out inquiry forms on accounting software as a service (SaaS) websites is clearly in the market.
By analyzing these behaviors, B2B organizations like SaaS companies can identify immediate opportunities and predict future behaviors as the market shifts.
The end result? A strong understanding of your leads. This opens up opportunities for personalized marketing plans and better customer segmentation efforts.
Strong intent data comes from multiple channels and platforms. When determining intent, businesses analyze what’s known as intent signals.
Some common intent signals include:
- Website visits
- Online searches
- Content engagement
- And much more
By compiling these signals, a quality SaaS platform can deliver detailed customer profiles for your specific company and your industry as a whole.
Understanding data enrichment
Data enrichment is vital to the lead scoring process. It occurs when companies use first-party data or third-party data sources to enhance the existing data they’ve gathered from potential customers.
Why do this?
Sometimes, the information we gather isn’t complete.
Data can be falsified or missing if you’re creating CRM profiles from intake forms. Even B2B buyers are wary of providing too much information for fear of spam emails and aggressive marketing tactics.
Additionally, many people are tired of constantly entering their name, company email address, and business information into multiple platforms. That’s why single-sign-on protocols like SAML and OAuth are growing in popularity. They provide a break in the monotony of information gathering, helping B2B users fill out forms with a click of a button, using Google or other credentials.
SAML and OAuth protocols can also prevent higher bounce rates, as they give users one less thing to do when inquiring about a product or service.
But still, there’s only so much you can ask for in an online form that even single-sign-on protocols may not be able to fill out entirely.
Because of this, we sometimes need to fill in the blanks regarding customer data. That includes pulling data on these organizations from several online sources to round out details like:
- The size of a company
- Geographic location
- Service area
- What industry a business is in
- What social media accounts the company has
- And more
By combining data enrichment processes with intent data, B2B sellers can gain a lot more information on prospective customers. That data can then lead to more closings and higher profits.
The role of intent data in lead generation
When trying to ease a prospect toward a purchase, there are two things to consider.
- What message are you delivering?
- Are you delivering it at the right time?
For example, someone who hasn’t shown a lot of intent can be put off by aggressive marketing urging them to close. These high-pressure sales situations only push that potential customer away.
Someone who hasn’t shown a lot of intent could instead receive messaging offering additional information that creates value around your service. These prospects want you to showcase the customer experience and gently nudge them forward in your sales pipeline.
If you’re working with third-party data, knowing customer intent can help you when initiating a cold outreach. If you know that the prospect has been engaging in intent-driven online behaviors, you can warm up that outreach. Speak to them in a way that reflects their current place in the buyer’s journey.
Simply put, intent data enriches lead generation efforts by identifying high-intent leads with a high likelihood of conversion.
Integrating intent data with lead scoring
Lead scoring is when you assign a numerical value to specific actions or attributes of prospective customers. For example, customers from certain external sources that have historically provided quality leads might score higher than others.
The size of a prospect’s company could also be a huge indicator of whether your service is right for them. Then there are factors like budget, engagement, whether they requested information, etc.
By factoring intent behavior into the lead scoring process, you can create a more accurate gauge of a prospect’s place in the customer journey. That shows what kind of urgency to place on follow-ups.
With lead scoring tools like Breadcrumbs, you can incorporate intent data and use it to keep your team’s efforts focused. You can lock in on high-quality leads with a strong likelihood of conversion. This will ultimately increase the efficiency of sales teams along with overall conversion rates.
Best practices for using intent data in lead scoring
When using intent data in your lead scoring process, you need a quality lead scoring platform like Breadcrumbs. This platform will ensure the process is accurate and simple. Without such a tool, you’d be constantly gathering information and updating your database manually.
When Breadcrumbs generates lead scores, it provides a detailed breakdown of what intent data went into that score and why it’s relevant.
Aside from placing your trust in a quality software platform, let’s look at a few best practices for incorporating intent data into your lead-scoring efforts.
Select relevant intent signals
When setting up your lead-scoring criteria, make sure you’re choosing relevant intent signals backed by hard data. Don’t simply guess and go with your “gut feeling.”
Examine past success and compare that with industry averages and norms to get a solid idea of what behaviors indicate a strong purchase intent. It’s also important to identify behaviors that indicate low purchase intent.
Breadcrumbs can help with this. Our system analyzes contact information and picks out behavioral data that can be an indicator of intent. These could be intent signals that you never even considered. They can then be incorporated into the lead scoring system to generate more accurate results.
By basing your intent signals on data, you can rest easier knowing that you’ve left nothing to chance.
Update scores constantly based on new intent data
Your lead scores should be constantly updated based on new intent data. As soon as a customer exhibits any kind of behavioral shift, for better or worse, it should be reflected in their score.
That’s why Breadcrumbs works in real-time, changing scores as new behavioral information comes in. You’ll never have to wonder if the scores displayed within the system are accurate.
All lead scores are accurate up to the minute.
This feature grants peace of mind to sales representatives who need to know where they should be concentrating their efforts daily.
Create specific marketing campaigns for audience segments based on intent
Use lead scoring and intent data to segment your audience. Then, design personalized marketing campaigns and email lists for each segment with different targeted messaging.
For example, someone with high purchase intent should receive messaging pushing a conversion. In contrast, someone in a segment earlier in the customer journey should get more educational, value-driven content.
Future trends and considerations
As time passes and technology continues to evolve, intent data will become an even more integral piece of the lead scoring and customer marketing processes.
As artificial intelligence and machine learning become more widespread, platforms will use AI to create predictive analytics from intent data. That means you’ll be able to accurately predict shifts in customer needs and behaviors, keeping well ahead of the ball when crafting ongoing marketing plans.
With predictive intent analytics, you’ll also be able to change your lead-scoring model to more accurately reflect shifting tastes and behaviors in your audience.
Intent is important when generating new clients for a B2B sales organization.
Armed with a proper lead scoring solution like Breadcrumbs, you can develop deeper insights and keep track of the intent behaviors of your customers. As a result, you’ll dedicate more valuable time to hot leads ready to make a purchase decision.