This is part 3 in a 4-part series on B2B buyer intent data. See also Part 1 (InsideView Takes Buyer Intent Data to the Next Level), Part 2 (All Intent Data Is the Same, Right? Wrong!), and Part 4 about how marketers use intent data to drive pipeline (coming soon.)
It’s no secret that B2B buyers do a lot of research online before ever connecting with potential providers. In fact, according to a study by CSO Insights, more than 50% of buyers make purchase decisions based on their own research before contacting a salesperson. If you’re a seller and you don’t reach those buyers before they’ve made up their minds, most likely you’ll lose your opportunity to engage with them at all; even worse, those dollars will likely be spent with your competitors. That’s why having access to buyer intent data is so crucial. It empowers you to join the conversation earlier with the right buyers.
What is buyer intent data? It’s information about web users’ behavior and content consumption that suggests they’re “in-market” to buy particular products and services. What salesperson doesn’t want to know that?
For example, InsideView offers data management solutions, so any account that fits our ideal customer profile (ICP) and has multiple employees currently searching the web for “data management” (or related) topics would be an excellent prospect for us to pursue…now!
Using buyer intent data can have a massive impact on your sales success. It increases your productivity by pointing you to your best prospects, shortens sales cycles by reducing research time and interjecting you into the sales conversation when your prospects are ready to buy, and that in turn increases your win rate. The bottom line is that buyer intent data helps sellers increase the company’s bottom line, and isn’t that what sales is all about?
In previous posts, we discussed what buyer intent data is, as well as the different data methodologies used to derive intent data. In this article, we’ll get practical. We’ll go over five ways you can leverage buyer intent data to accelerate your sales, win more deals, and build better relationships with your customers. To make it concrete, we’ll use InsideView’s buyer intent data as the example of how intent data can help you:
- Find and prioritize prospects
- Personalize your outreach
- Reach buyers before the competition
- Identify cross-sell opportunities
- Head-off churn
1. Find and prioritize prospects
There are nearly 30M businesses in the U.S. alone that B2B companies could potentially sell to (not counting the millions more branch locations). Sellers need to wade through that massive universe to find (at most) a few dozen companies that are ideal customers for their products and services. But being a good fit isn’t just about a company being in the right industry or located in the right country. Your ideal customers also need to have a compelling reason to buy what you’re selling right now. Prospect intent data offers you insight into what your prospective customers are searching for, so you know what business initiatives they’re prioritizing and when they’re ready to make a purchase.
For example, are you a seller with an assigned territory? Great! Here’s how you could use InsideView’s integrated intent data to accelerate your sales. You can build lists of accounts in InsideView based on characteristics of your ideal customer profile (ICP), such as company size, industry, and geography. Then overlay that with buyer intent data to narrow down the list to show only those companies who are looking to buy now. Imagine how many hours you’ll save that you might have spent chasing prospects who will never buy.
Are you a seller with a list of named accounts? Awesome! Then you can upload your account list into InsideView and overlay buyer intent data to whittle down the list to those prospects who are currently in-market. Then you can prioritize further based on which accounts are showing the highest propensity to buy now.
2. Personalize your outreach
While discovering and prioritizing the right prospects requires concerted effort, the real challenge often comes when you try to engage with your buyer. Nobody likes a cold call and nobody wants to read a generic sales pitch from a stranger. Crafting a personal and unique message that will capture a buyer’s attention may feel elusive and can be time consuming, but intent data can help you personalize your outreach, as well as reduce your research time.
When doing an account deep dive in InsideView, check out the Intent section to see all of the intent topics your prospect has been actively researching. The “intent surges” indicate that there is a higher than average amount of research being conducted by employees at that company, meaning that you’re getting a glimpse into your prospects’ potential business initiatives and near term priorities.
Is the account showing intent surges on multiple topics related to what you sell? Super! Your outreach can briefly touch on the many relevant problems you can solve for them. Being able to call out all of their top priorities will show buyers that you’ve done your homework and will earn you instant credibility.
If the account is surging on only one topic related to what you sell, you can create hyper-focused messaging that speaks concisely and directly to what your buyer cares about at this precise moment. You may even see intent surges on topics you hadn’t previously considered, but that are also relevant to your products and services. You can use these, as well, to craft the perfect message.
And, if you use sales engagement tools like Outreach or Salesloft, you can create email templates based on likely combinations of intent topics. That way, you can save time on your outreach efforts while still crafting personalized messages that speak to your buyers’ needs.
3. Reach buyers before the competition
Timing is one of the most important factors in determining whether or not you will successfully engage with a buyer and win their business. As mentioned earlier, if B2B buyers are making up their minds about which products and services to buy before they reach out to a salesperson, you may be missing out on a lot of opportunities (and a ton of revenue) without even knowing it.
Instead of waiting for marketing to funnel qualified leads (MQLs) to you, use intent data to identify potential buyers when they’re early in the buying process. With 35-50% of contracts awarded to the vendor that makes first contact, reaching buyers early can ensure that you not only have a seat at the table, but it also allows you to shape the conversation and edge out the competition. After all, wins are that much sweeter when they’re competitive wins.
4. Identify cross-sell opportunities
If you’re an account manager (AM) or customer success manager (CSM) with an existing book of business, you can use intent data to proactively identify cross-sell opportunities.
Simply upload your list of accounts into InsideView and use intent data to see if your customers are searching for products and services you offer that they have not yet purchased. In that case, you’ve identified the perfect time to reach out to your key stakeholders to begin discussing specific business initiatives that you can help with. Without intent data to help you proactively identify your customer’s needs, they may have started looking at what your competitors have to offer and your renewal could be at risk.
5. Head-off churn
Speaking of competitors, here’s another way intent data can help you steer your customers away from your competitors. We’ve talked about intent data mostly in terms of identifying topics related to products and services you sell. However, InsideView’s intent data can also help you identify when your customers are researching your competitors. Leveraging this insight can be crucial to heading off churn and maintaining close relationships with your buyers.
Just like the other workflows, if you’re an AM or CSM, you can upload your list of accounts into InsideView. This time you’ll want to search on topics tied to your competitors’ brand names. Any account that has intent surges for your competitors may be conducting research to make a vendor switch.
Better yet, overlay your account lists with intent topics related to both your competitors AND products and services you offer. That way you can identify the specific needs your customer may be looking to solve via competitive solutions. In either case, now is the time to engage with your buyers and ensure that they know all of what you and your company have to offer and solidify your relationship with them as a trusted partner, not just a vendor.
Whatever your role in sales, buyer intent data can help you save time, sell more, and close faster. Combined with company and contact data, news and social insights, and connections, intent data is another important arrow in your quiver to help you zero in on your best targets and win more deals.