As key drivers of the revenue team, marketing and sales are constantly looking for the next innovative method to get a competitive edge—particularly in generating revenue for the business.
One method that continues to pique interest is intent data.
Having created numerous products that leverage massive volumes of data in the marketing and sales space, we get asked many questions about how to best leverage intent data. In this blog, I’ll walk you through what intent data is, how to use it to drive revenue, and how to evaluate a vendor:
Intent data is behavioral information collected about an individual’s online activities, combining both topic and context data, which I’ll explain in more detail below.
Topic Data: When you search for something or visit a website, you are expressing an interest in that topic. For example, people who read this article are expressing some level of interest in “intent data.”
There are several different categories of topic data:
However, topic interest alone is not all that actionable without knowing the context of the individual.
Context Data: Context is all about gaining insight into whothe person is that’s taking the action in question. For example, if the person reading this blog is a marketing professional, it’s possible they are in the process of evaluating a product that leverages intent data. But if the person is an industry analyst, it may be more likely they are writing a report and looking for more information on the subject.
Levels of context range from higher-level, more general information (e.g. Which company does this person work for? What is their official role within the organization?) to really granular, personal insights (e.g. Does this person have expertise in using technologies or best practices associated with my product? Does this lead and company match with my ideal buyer or could they be an influencer?)
Without this context, you’ll be wasting your time and budget engaging with prospects who may be making all the right behavioral signals but will never become customers (e.g. trying to sell your product to the industry analyst).
Now that we’re clear on what intent data is, let’s go over some specific scenarios in which you can use it to drive revenue.
When people visit your website before they fill out a form, their activities are considered to be “anonymous.” This term is a bit misleading because the visitor is not, of course, completely anonymous. With the right technology, you can identify the company and/or industry a visitor represents based on IP address alone. However, that visitor is still considered “anonymous” on a personal level. You don’t know who they are or where they fit within their given company or industry. They could be the CEO or CMO—but they could just as easily be an intern or a student.
After you identify visitors “anonymously” on your website and track the pages they view, you can use web personalization to serve customized content to incentivize them to take a specific action. In most scenarios, anonymous personalization is a means to encourage visitors to identify themselves via a form fill so marketing and sales can engage with them (or not).
With the wide adoption of marketing automation, many companies are already using 1st party behavioral data (i.e. context of the individual) to optimize their lead scoring model.