Not All Intent is Intentional

Demand Generation
Intent Data
Sales Enablement
January 8, 2024

Remember “predictive analytics” … now more commonly referred to in B2B marketing and sales circles as “intent”?Well, that space has matured, and today there are more than a handful of companies touting intent capabilities.But not all intent is actually intentional when it comes to real interest in your solution.Yes – there are plenty of signals that each of these vendors collects that COULD indicate real interest – but ask any sales person if content interest is enough and you’ll hear that interest needs to be accompanied with fit and opportunity.Intent signals emanate from many sources including viewed content, job postings, press releases, earning statements, funding rounds, etc. But they are what they are … signals.  Each signal needs to be understood. If an intent vendor tells you a company has high intent to purchase your solution, you need to know what that really means. If you don’t, you’re buying a black box.

Third Party Content Signals

If a signal pertains to third-party content that was viewed, do you know the exact nature of that content – or did the vendor categorize the content into a broad content category that is appealing to many potential customers?   Can you see a link to that content? Was that content viewed by multiple people at a firm or multiple times by just one person?Was the person viewing the content the right person to influence the buying cycle?  When you are notified of the content consumption, do you know what stage of the buying cycle the company is in?The last thing you want to do is tell your sales team that a company has high intent when that intent is not accompanied by fit and opportunity or timing.  An example of this would be if you are targeting large enterprises, let’s say with an AI-powered data solution for data scientists. If you told your intent vendor you are interested in the content categories of “AI” or “data science” or “business intelligence,” you could be getting signals from people checking out articles on how data science is helping accelerate drug discovery, or how AI is helping reduce crime.   Over the weekend I looked at articles pertaining to email marketing best practices. Does that mean I’m in the market for a new email solution? You get the idea. Content as a signal is only as strong as knowing the detailed context and how finely it is categorized, and should always be augmented with other signals.

Technology Signals

If specific technologies correlate to your ideal customer profile (ICP), knowing that a target prospect has these technologies can be actionable.  But as with other signals, take a moment to look closely at the source. Most tech stack technology is inferred by scraping websites and is rarely validated as still being used.  Look at your own website. Odds are high you have not removed the code of technologies that you no longer use.Also be aware that just because a firm is leveraging a certain technology, doesn’t necessarily mean that the firm is happy with it.  Tech stacks are constantly changing based on the needs of the client, new incoming personnel responsible for technology decisions, and a host of other factors.  If your ICP contains technology signals, they should certainly be a part of your intent criteria for potential fit, but only if you have a high degree of confidence in the accuracy of the data.  Ideally, the web scraped data should be human validated to prevent sales from embarking on a wild goose chase or leading with false assumptions

First Party Hand-raising Signals

If your firm is leveraging a marketing automation solution like Marketo, Hubspot, or Act-On, you’re likely acting on signals of intent based on engagement with your website, whitepapers, webinars, emails, etc.  Unlike signals from some intent providers, marketing automation solutions can tell you specifically who is engaging. Lead scoring enabled by marketing automation helps identify the most interested people at prospects as well as fit.  But with enterprise sales, and long sales cycles you typically need multiple people interested in your offering. So it’s good to know if the engagement with your content stems from one person or from multiple people at your prospect. ABM solutions like Engagio can aggregate engagement at the account level to measure unified interest at the account level.

What about data decay?

Pay close attention to this one.  How long does it take you to act on your signals?  Opportunity or timing is a big part of B2B sales, so if you have a high degree of confidence in fit and true intent, acting quickly on the signals is key.    At LeadGenius we collaborate with very progressive B2B firms leveraging intent providers, marketing automation and ABM solutions to identify the right prospects to focus on.  The one thing we’ve consistently seen work well is acting quickly on the blend of signals from multiple sources. We’ve also seen that the highest level of intent indicative of a sale is engagement on the website.  The challenge, of course, is not so much revealing who is checking out the website, but actually getting additional key titles into the CRM and marketing automation solution quickly so those contacts can be nurtured and reached out to.

Rapid Account Coverage is Key

LeadGenius customers know that the sales team should be having sales conversations  – not sourcing additional contacts when that can be done more efficiently with outsourced resources.  When accounts meeting specific firmographic and intent criteria reach a defined threshold of awareness, LeadGenius researches are alerted to find additional key titles at target firms.  The automated flow of records being added to the CRM enables marketing automation to nurture and raise awareness in a way that is immediate, scalable and measurable. Think about it. If visitors are on your website, you have to assume they are checking out your competitor’s website as well.  So systematically and quickly getting coverage within target accounts is vital to shaping buying criteria and sales discussions.

Introducing LeadGenius Website Visitor ID

This automated process has worked so well over the last year that we’ve built a solution for it called LeadGenius Website Visitor ID.  It essentially enables you to define your firmographic and on-site behavior criteria, as well as key titles you are interested in connecting with.  As anonymous visitors check out your website, targeted contacts are quickly added to your CRM on a net new basis. This enables you to automatically gain the account coverage you need to penetrate interested accounts faster than your competition.

"What if I already use a content-based intent vendor?"

That’s great. However third party content intent is not the same as the intent of a filtered website visitor. With filtered website visitors, you can get closer to identifying fit. And from our work with many clients, we see that the majority of website visitors actually don’t appear on the radar of content-based intent vendors. Even if that vendor also measures website engagement, you still need to get additional contacts added to your CRM. That’s where rules-based alerts to LeadGenius researchers come into play.LeadGenius partners with a number of content-based intent providers to blend content engagement with website engagement. With so many different types of intent and nuances to consider, it pays to chat with folks who have seen intent data leveraged many different ways. Consider connecting with us here to see how LeadGenius can either augment your solution or put a process in place ensuring you automatically get the targeted account coverage you need.

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