How Intent Based Marketing Changes Your B2B Marketing Strategy


A quick start guide to intent based marketing

Throughout the history of B2B marketing, marketers have struggled to find the right audience, at the right time in their purchase journey.

For a long time, the only method of predicting whether a target was ready to buy today, the next quarter, the next year, or ever, was using firmographic data. This is explained below.

Firmographic Data is a set of characteristics related to firms or companies, grouped together as segments in the market. 

Firms started with this kind of segmentation, initially.

Years later when technographic data became available, things improved to some extent. Marketers realized that they could deepen their understanding of a company’s buying habits, operations, and future goals, if they found out which tools, technologies and applications were used by the company.

While technographic data gave more detailed insights into which businesses might be a good fit, it still did not provide any information about where prospects could be in the buyer’s journey.A further improvement was provided by predictive analytics software, which uses algorithms and mathematics to predict buyer behaviour based on previous experience. 

Using predictive analysis, it is possible to pinpoint the most likely prospects based on a lookalike of the prospects model. However, predictive analysis  still involves a lot of guesswork to reach the right prospects at the right time. Marketers realized that at the end, a great deal of time and effort was wasted on uninterested prospects while excellent prospects slipped through the cracks. 

Through the years, B2B marketers implemented cutting-edge tools that allowed them to make better use of the data available. Better CRM solutions provided them with the capability of monitoring conversations, with existing and prospective clients, across multiple platforms. 

With the help of marketing automation platforms (MAPs), marketers can automate routine tasks and build custom, personalised campaigns that automatically run based on inputs from different sources. 

Today a sales team’s productivity can be increased by integrating communication, content, and analytics tools. It is all well and good if the data you input into these tools is valuable. 

If you don’t capture the target’s interest level and position in the buyer’s journey, then even the most advanced marketing stack – firmographic, technographic, predictive analysis and marketing automation, cannot give you accurate results.

Now add one more nuance to the analysis.

Modern advances in artificial intelligence for marketing, now allow marketers to use intelligence in conjunction with other technologies. 

They now possess a new strategic weapon: an intent data set

Based on online activity around marketers can discuss topics related to their products, find previously unknown prospects and monitor behaviours within organisations currently on their radar. 

As part of this process, marketers can learn about the problems that prospective customers are attempting to solve, the methods by which they are trying to solve them, and the solutions that they may be considering implementing.

It is also possible to see spikes in activity that suggest a warm lead has unexpectedly become hot. These insights can then be turned into customised marketing and sales actions to put them in the best position when customers begin to show signs of being ready to purchase.

Example: A marketing team for a data security software provider can track online activity on topics related to their product, such as online security, data breaches, cyber attacks and other related topics such as ransomware. Their intent data platform is capable of revealing which IP addresses and ergo, the companies that are involved.

Through their intent data system, they are able to identify IP addresses associated with the activity and match them with organisations and locations. Once target organisations are identified, the marketing team can develop focused campaigns that include email, programmatic ads, and offline activities.

Despite the fact that intent data is extremely valuable, only a small percentage of B2B marketers have taken notice.

There might be a simple explanation for this. 

Marketing teams know about this powerful toolset, but lack the training to use it effectively. B2B marketers who are agile, forward-looking, and can put intent monitoring to work today will gain a significant competitive advantage.

In this article, we’ll briefly explore the basics of intent data – what it is, and what makes it different from other approaches.  

Next, you’ll learn how your organization can leverage intent analysis and explore 10 powerful tactics you can put to use right now to use intent data to your advantage.

Contents of this article 

  1. What is Intent Data?
  2. Categories of Intent Data?
  3. Power of Intent data in B2b Marketing 
  4. A Booster to Sales Team
  5. The 10 top successful factors why you should use intent data in B2B marketing

Let us understand what is intent data?

#1. What Is Intent Data?

As a behavioural dataset, intent data displays what an individual or business is interested in. 

It indicates whether a buyer intends to purchase your (or similar to yours) products or services. 

This is the next big step in analytics-driven marketing and sales. 

Marketers and salespeople can use it to make more effective and informed decisions.

If you are searching for information online or visiting a website, it indicates that you are interested in certain topics. 

As an example, readers of this blog post have wily nily expressed an interest in the topic of “intent data”, which is discussed in detail below. 

It is therefore reasonable to conclude that you are extremely interested in the topic “intent data” if you read a significant number of posts that address this topic.

Source: www.clear

This buyer journey is the foundation upon which intent data is built. 

For B2B intent data, factors such as the websites that a buyer visits, the products or services that they research, and the level of purchase intent that they display, can all be taken into consideration to determine intent.

Considering that most B2B buyer journeys are accompanied by extensive research, these content interactions can conclusively indicate buyer intent.

#2. Categories Of B2B Intent Data

It is important to know the various types of intent data if you wish to understand where it comes from. 

Intent data can be classified into two main categories: 

  • first-party (internal) and 
  • third-party (external)

B2B marketers and sales teams can utilise both data formats in order to obtain a complete picture of an account’s activity. 

Getting a holistic picture of the buyer’s journey with both internal and external intent data allows you to make informed decisions that convert more prospects into customers.

These two types of intent data are explained below.

First-party intent data

You can find this data in your company’s software and systems. The data can be gathered from 

  • website traffic
  • social media listening tools
  •  internal searches, and 
  • other sources

Tracking visitors on your website or using your prospective buyers’ online activity is essentially all about getting first-party intent data.

Marketers are particularly interested in first-party intent data because it provides strong buying indicators. 

Additionally, it’s easier to act in real time on first-party intent data. 

In a B2B context, first-party intent data can be more powerful than Google Analytics data, which will reveal interesting trends like which browser people use and which country they’re from. 

The result is that intent data indicates interest in your products or services based on behaviour, such as a buyer filling out a contact form or visiting a pricing page, repeatedly. 

Leaving first-party intent data off the table could lead to missed opportunities (and lost revenue). 

When you use intent data internally, you have control over what you collect, how you collect it, and how fast you act on it after it’s collected.

Most likely, your team is already collecting first-party intent data through website analytics tools, CRM tools, marketing automation platforms, or your website’s backend.

This process enhances your information on the buyer’s journey and helps turn unfiltered information into insight.

Third-party intent data

It is data that is external to your own system, or third party data. 

As external intent data does not consider the whole customer journey, it does not always indicate reliable purchasing patterns.

However, third-party intent data is still useful. 

It is uncommon for customers to make a purchase after only visiting a website once. 

They also read reviews and look at similar products. In fact, most of this research may and does occur before a buyer speaks with one of your sales reps.

You can get a better understanding of your prospects’ activities by watching their behaviour across the web using third-party intent data. 

You can find out which companies searched for your product, your competitors’ products, or your category of products on review sites like G2. 

You will miss the potential customers who are researching your competitors if you depend on data only from traffic to your site or content downloads.

Data platform providers and aggregators who gather data from multiple sources can provide third-party intent data to B2B marketers. 

Most of this data is also available for purchase and competitors can get access to the same information, so creating a distinctive audience and standing out becomes more difficult.

Another challenge is finding out which third-party intent data platforms (like G2 in software) offer quality data. 

If you are looking to find a reliable vendor of third-party intent data, do your due diligence and ask the right questions.


There are three types of intent data generated by both first-party and third-party sources: 

Anonymous: Anonymous intent data doesn’t include a name associated with a record of a website visit.

Identified: Identified intent data is derived from reverse IP lookup to identify the origin of web traffic. It reveals which organisations are visiting and consuming content on a particular website. 

Cookies allow marketers to gather information about visitors’ interests, which can provide clues about their work functions. 

Opted-in: Opted-in intent data is collected from leads who have expressed interest in a piece of content in exchange for their name, title, company name, and email address. Furthermore, these leads have given you permission to contact them, implicitly or explicitly. Initially, opt-in data may appear to be the only usable data set. 

However, many B2B prospects are hesitant to provide information, especially in the early stages of the buying process. In addition, opt-in data can produce a large number of false positives. 

You might, for example, offer a white paper that does a great job of attracting interest not only from your target audience, but also from casual learners, researchers, and even competitors. 

By incorporating anonymous and identified data in your assessment, you gain a more comprehensive picture of who your targets are and how they approach finding solutions to their problems.

#3. Power Of Intent Data In Marketing 

Intent data serves as a common ground, allowing teams to communicate clearly and effectively. This all-powerful combination is perfectly aligned to move prospects along the funnel, as well as ensuring efficient workflows, when you include an automated solution.

As a result, you save time by not having to manually enter data, analyse the results, and then wait for warnings to be triggered. Your intent database contains all the information you need.

But the benefits of intent for all teams don’t stop there. Sending emails at specific times within the funnel can be automated when you know where your consumers are in their buying cycle.

Intuitive, yet robotic, advertising!

Based on the data you have gathered, you can begin to develop a customised marketing strategy that is tailored to your specific target demographic.

It all depends on how far you want to delve into the world of data-driven marketing with intent data.

Emails can be automated for lead nurturing campaigns depending on the level of interest shown by the recipient.

  1. Do they require a more insistent call to action? 
  2. What will happen if I ask for a meeting straight away? 

It’s possible that they require some time to get to know you. This helps you meet their individual requirements. The best part is that all of this can be automated.

There is also the option of creating a unique landing page exclusively for each individual customer. 

With the help of staff that is well-versed in intent scoring, you can tailor your landing page to make it appear as if it were custom-made for your target audience – you can replace content variables based on keywords and intent data.

Another option is to unlock material you know that your customers would enjoy. 

The possibilities are limitless, and they all contribute to a positive customer experience overall.

#4. A Booster For Sales Team

When it comes to prospecting, intent data is a powerful tool because it gathers behavioural signals that reveal their intentions. 

Nearly 65 percent of B2B buyers prefer it when a sales representative understands their buying process and can meet their needs. Sales teams can use intent data to streamline the prospecting pipeline and increase the number of qualified leads that they receive. 

This is an important first step because it allows your organisation to concentrate its time and energy on companies that are currently in the market for your products, rather than spending valuable resources on companies that are not currently in the market for your products. 

Intent data is used by both marketing and sales teams to personalise their communications.

#5. The 10 Top Successful Factors Why You Should Use Intent Data In B2B Marketing

  1.  Outsourced Lead Gen: If your company is interested in using intent data, but lacks the resources to do so in-house, consider outsourcing the development of a solution.

    Importing primed leads generated by an intent monitoring platform might be a better alternative.

    Always inquire about the use of intent data when looking at potential lead generation partners, such as content syndicators and tele-prospecting sources, and pay attention to their answers.

    Marketers of all stripes are using the word “intent” in their marketing campaigns, even if they only use it in the loosest possible sense of the word.
  1. Prospecting: Quality prospects can be delivered week after week, month after month, with the help of an effective intent monitoring platform.

    Intent data, alerts you to organisations that have shown interest in keywords indicating a potential buying cycle for your products – before they even visit your website or opt-in to your marketing programmes.

    That means your team spends less time on leads which aren’t even close to being in the market for your product.They can focus on those who have, by their online activity, given you a head start in the qualification process.
  2. Account Prioritisation: Intent monitoring lets you determine a baseline level of online activity around your selected topics.

    It alerts you to ‘spikes’ that indicate a buying decision could be forthcoming. With this tool, you don’t need to wait for lead scoring or other qualifying thresholds.
  3. Ideas for Content Marketing: To make use of existing content and assets, most marketing automation platforms use user-defined lead scoring. This makes it difficult to determine what other topics your target audience is interested in.

    The majority of nurturing programmes still use a ‘one asset fits all’ nurturing model, which does not take demographic or firmographic segmentation into account when creating dynamic content.

    But what if your target isn’t interested in the asset at all?

    To fill this gap, intent data shows you which topics your target audience is researching, particularly the long-tail search terms that are so crucial to your SEO, content marketing, and lead generation efforts.
  4. Improved ROI on digital campaigns: Using intent data to improve the performance of your ABM campaigns, you can watch for spikes in the activity of current prospects and use this intelligence to retarget.

    This could indicate that the prospect has had a breach or that they have discovered holes in their current security system, for example, if your company sells data security software.

    Display ads, programmatic marketing, social media ad campaigns, and other approaches can be used to retarget the organisation by offering whitepapers and other educational content on data security best practices.

    If you’re looking to generate new leads and gain subscribers to your opted-in content, consider using contact lists compiled through intent monitoring campaigns as your primary audience in your social media marketing campaigns.
  5. Enhanced Nurture Channels: Many B2B marketing teams take a “one size fits all” approach to lead nurturing.

    With intent data, you can create a more customised approach based on what your data tells you about the target. Leads that move through your funnel faster, and better campaign ROI.
  6. Retention and Competitive Dynamics: Leads and prospects are only one aspect of intent data. Additionally, you can monitor and set up alerts for your own customers’ activity.
    This means you can focus on the names, products, and solutions of competitors rather than your own category or customer account list.
    Renewal may be at risk if you notice an increase in activity from one of your customers in any of these areas.

    For example, account managers can be alerted via email or text message so that they can contact customers to find out what’s wrong and come up with a solution that keeps them on board.
  7. Sales Analysis & Cross-Selling: Monitor current customers’ activity to see if there are any spikes in product and service categories that are similar to the ones they already use.

    Increased upsell and cross-sell opportunities could be generated by observing these spikes in customer activity.

Account-specific intent intelligence can assist your sales staff in spotting new business opportunities and preparing for important client meetings.

Campaigns on other solution categories that a prospect may be researching could indicate that they have a budget to spend, which can help you figure out if an account has a budget available.
And knowing what an account’s interests are can make the difference between a well received pitch and one that doesn’t go over well.

Market Discovery: Using intent data to identify and size your target market is another way you can improve your marketing strategy.

  1. You can save money and frustration by conducting a little market research before launching a marketing campaign in a new industry or market segment.

    You can quickly discover untapped markets ready for development using the same concepts and campaigns you created in Prospecting.
  2. Competitive Insights: Aside from discovering when potential customers are ripe for the picking, you can also use intent data to keep tabs on your competitors’ internet habits. An acquisition, infrastructure upgrade, or a new category may be in the works if competitors are exploring specific companies, technologies and subject areas.

It’s a wrap!

There are virtually no limits to what you can achieve if you build an excellent intent monitoring platform and train your team on how to use it. 

It is possible to address the age-old problem of how to get in front of potential buyers at exactly the right time by integrating intent data with marketing automation.

Accelerate your leads with Intent based marketing today!

Digitalzone puts your B2B leads and sales on steroids. 

Using a global B2B database of 71 million companies, we have created and managed 46,872 successful campaigns for companies based in the USA.

We help B2B companies, just like yours, with Account Based Marketing, Content Syndication, Intent Based Marketing, Lead Generation, Demand Research, Content Creation and List Building.

Get in touch with us today, to accelerate your sales.

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