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The data game: 5 steps to using intent data in ABM

If sales is the numbers game, marketing is the data game.

In recent years, the utilization of account-based marketing (ABM) by B2B organisations has boomed. A 2021 HubSpot report found that over 70% of companies now utilize ABM, growing at around 15% per annum. With the success of ABM dependent on personalization and going one step further than your competition, data has become an increasingly critical weapon in the ABM arsenal. One of the most powerful forms of ABM data is buyer intent data.

Buyer intent data signals which prospects are actively researching your market or product/service category. In other words, it can give you insight into when someone is ready to buy. Buyer intent data can provide information on what potential accounts are looking for, how far they have progressed in their buyer journey, and who is involved in their decision-making process. All great pieces of information for a sales professional, helping enhance lead qualification and lead scoring.

Buyer intent data can be gathered through your website or marketing platforms, or bought through a specialist provider. With all, data quality plays a crucial role in the success of any ABM data strategy, with data accuracy, recency, and relevancy all considerations.

In this article, you will learn 5 steps to using intent data in your ABM campaigns to generate better returns.


1. Source data

There are 3 buyer intent data types. Budget, data available, and market opportunities may dictate which option is best for your business, and you may wish to select one or multiple sources:

  • First-party data collected by your company through website, web forms, surveys, customer interviews etc. This data is valuable as it is high-quality, first-hand, and not publicly available information.
  • Second-party data collected direct from first-party sources, usually sourced through partners, affiliates, and data providers or researchers that gather the data themselves.
  • Third-party data collected by an external provider through ads, cookies, IP addresses, databases, web crawlers, chatbots, media and web mentions. Third-party data is often multiple sources aggregated and provides information about a much wider audience.

Several practical considerations for sourcing data are listed below:

  • Data protection - ensure that data is collected responsibly and does not violate consumer privacy rights.
  • Data relevancy – if you find companies interested in your product/service outside your target market, it could be a growth opportunity or an unnecessary distraction. Unless you are looking for new markets, make sure you are collecting data for your target market.
  • Data structure – plan out your data transfer and run through the process of making the data available in your sales and marketing systems. The more simplified and well-oiled this process, the more sales and marketing will use it and the more impact it will have. 
  • Source reputation - there are great data providers in the market, with most offering a variety of approaches to data collection and management, resulting in variations in quality, accuracy, recency, and relevancy.

Once you have collected or acquired your buyer intent data through a second or third-party, you are ready to move on to the next step.


2. Identify high intent prospects/in-market accounts

With access to your buyer intent data, it is time to identify high intent, in-market accounts. This will involve analyzing the information to determine the factors that represent genuine intent. Factors may include data collected from target accounts attending sector events, specific interactions with independent third parties, and target accounts reading articles on your website.


3. Research and monitor high intent prospects/in-market accounts

Once in-market accounts have been identified, it is time for action. The current in-market accounts should be prioritized, with the research required to understand their information and buyer requirements. With buyer intent information, you should be able to produce highly targeted and personalized communication with information around solutions to all identified pain points.


4. Build sales support content

If the desired buyer intent signals are present and further information is required, it may be worth considering performing a short round of primary research to optimize the communication performance. With experience and research, developing content that attracts prospects earlier in the research process should be a realistic goal. This should improve sales conversion rates and shorten the sales cycle, giving your team time to make more sales.


5. Target prospects through multi-channel marketing

As B2B buyer journeys become more complex, buyers can expect to see personalization across more marketing channels. Perform multi-channel ABM, and build dynamic audiences, delivering personalized content to automatically nurture target accounts throughout the buyer’s journey. This will help you create more sales opportunities and close more sales.


How we can help

If you are considering investing in buyer intent data or account-based marketing, get in touch. We offer a full-funnel marketing solution that includes buyer intent insights and ABM expansion - both of which  use our unique data to improve the performance of ABM campaigns.