Sales

What Is Intent Data & How to Use It For Sales Engagement

September 22, 2022

Written byRita Melkonian

What Is Intent Data & How to Use It For Sales Engagement
  • What is intent data?
  • Different types of intent data
  • Top intent data providers (pros/cons)
  • Benefits of having access to intent data
  • How to leverage intent data to improve sales engagement
  • Intent data in a nutshell
  • Enhance sales engagement with Mixmax

“Sell me this pen.”

If you’re familiar with the film The Wolf of Wall Street, you know this classic sales line. It’s where Leonardo DiCaprio, as Jordan Belfort, is trying to teach his sales team how to sell anything to anyone. 

And the answer is always the same: find out what they need and give it to them.

Now, while Jordan Belfort and his team were peddling penny stocks and taking a crazy amount of narcotics, they were on to something. 

In order to sell anything, you need to know what your prospect wants. You need to understand their needs, their desires, their intent.

Knowing what your prospect wants is essential to sales, but figuring it out is like attempting to figure out the ending to Lost. 

Were they dead the whole time? Is the island purgatory? What even is the smoke monster?!

 

Lost

Just like we were never going to figure out Lost without watching hundreds of YouTube explainers, without some help, we’re never going to be able to read our prospect’s minds. 

But that’s where intent data comes in.

Intent data is a crystal ball for salespeople.

It’s the difference between cold calling and warm outreach. It’s what tells you that a prospect is interested in your product before they even know they’re interested.

If you’re looking to boost your sales pipeline and close more deals, this post is for you.

Here’s what you can expect to learn from this post:

  • What is intent data?
  • Different types of intent data
  • Top intent data providers (pros/cons)
  • Benefits of having access to intent data
  • How to leverage intent data to improve sales engagement

What is intent data?

A customer’s journey begins long before they ever interact with your brand. 

They start by becoming aware that they have a problem or opportunity, conducting research on possible solutions, and then narrowing their options down to a select few.

It’s only near the end of this journey (up to 65% of the way through) that they finally reach out to sales.

By this point, they’ve already decided that your product is a good fit for their needs. 

All that’s left to do is finalize the purchase.

Intent data is made up of the digital breadcrumbs prospects leave behind as they travel along this journey.

It’s information like what keywords they search for, what websites they visit, and what content they consume.

This data provides valuable insights into a prospect’s interests, needs, and, well, intent. And it can be used to improve sales engagement at every single stage of the funnel.

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Different types of intent data

There are three main types of intent data: first-party data, second-party data, and third-party data.

  • First-party data is the intent data that you collect yourself, through your own website and channels. This could include information like newsletter signups, webinar registrations, or white paper downloads.

  • Second-party data is intent data that you collect from a partner or affiliate. This could be something like an email list that you purchase from another company in your industry.

  • Third-party data is intent data that you collect from a third-party provider, like Bombora. This is generally the most reliable and accurate type of intent data, as it’s collected through multiple sources and across the web.

When you’re looking to purchase intent data, it’s essential to consider the quality of the data. The best intent data providers will have a mix of first-, second-, and third-party data, ensuring that you’re getting the most accurate information possible.

Top intent data providers (pros/cons)

There are many intent data providers out there. Here are some of the top contenders who provide data-driven insights that help revenue teams close more deals.

Intent data provider Pros Cons

Zoominfo SalesOS

Provides data-driven insights and buying signals that reveal ready-to-buy companies

  • Customizable
  • Great adaptability to other platforms
  • Helpful training content
  • Not ideal for small companies
  • Expensive
  • Limited # of searches
  • Contact data inaccuracies

Bombora

Provides insight into which accounts are most actively researching what your company sells.

  • Historial analysis of accounts
  • Integration with ad platforms
  • Custom reporting and insights
  • Industry classification inaccuracies
  • Data export inefficient
  • Complex
  • User dashboard confusing

6sense Revenue AI

Helps B2B organizations achieve predictable revenue growth with AI, big data & machine learning.

  • Great onboarding
  • Easy setup
  • Ideal platform for ABX/ABM
  • Lagging/long loading times
  • UI not intuitive
  • Low update frequency (no real-time data)

Techtarget Priority Engine

Provides purchase intent insights to help you maximize what you have.

  • Robust data
  • Automated summary emails
  • Great export functionality
  • Slow loading
  • CRM integration issues
  • Complex

G2 Buyer Intent

Provides access to real-time intent data about category & competitor research.

  • Great onboarding
  • User friendly
  • Relevant data
  • Limited integrations
  • Data not detailed enough to make quick decisions
  • Industry classification inaccuracies

Based on online reviews from real customers

Benefits of having access to intent data

You can’t improve what you don’t measure. It’s as simple as that. 

If you want to know whether your sales engagement strategy is working, you need to have access to the correct data. Otherwise, you’re just shooting in the dark.

Let’s take a look at some of the specific benefits of having access to intent data. 

Cut through the noise and focus your outreach efforts

There’s a lot of noise out there. 

From the constant stream of emails in our inboxes to the never-ending barrage of ads we’re bombarded with online, it’s hard to cut through the clutter and get noticed.

Intent data can help you focus your outreach efforts by identifying when a prospect is actively interested in your product.

This way, you know that your message will be well-received, and you’re not wasting your time on leads who are nowhere near ready to buy.

Hone in on the prospects who are already interested in what you have to say, and you’ll be much more successful in your sales efforts.

Give account execs (AEs) and sales development reps (SDRs) more confidence

Confidence is key in sales. 

Although most AE and SDR confidence stems from their leaders, training, and, well, within, there’s more that can be done to better equip them on their sales quest.

Intent data can help boost AE and SDR confidence by providing valuable insights into a prospect’s interests and needs.

With this information, AEs and SDRs can tailor their sales pitch to the individual, increasing the likelihood of a successful sale.

When you reach out to a prospect based on intent data (for example, you know they were researching an alternative to your type of product, meaning they’re probably already using your competitor but aren’t happy with them), you can include a survey in your cold outreach email.

For example:

Add a survey in your gmail

Or, if you know they are just starting to research your type of product, you can tailor your message to them by referring to pain points they might have.

When you give your sales team the tools they need to succeed, they will succeed. 

“Warm” outreach is always going to be more successful than cold calls, and intent data can help you make your outreach efforts as warm as possible.

Beat your competitors to the punch

Remember the customer journey we talked about earlier? The one that starts with awareness and ends with a purchase?

Intent data can help you speed up this journey by alerting you as soon as a prospect shows interest in your product.

This way, you can beat your competitors to the punch and be the first to reach out.

Friends Gif

Your competitors are already using it to win business, and if you don’t catch up, you’ll be left in the dust. You need to be proactive about your sales engagement; it’s the only way to stay ahead of the curve.

How to leverage intent data to improve sales engagement

Now that we’ve looked at some of the benefits of having access to intent data, let’s take a look at how you can use it to improve your sales engagement strategy. 

Learning how to leverage intent data will kick your sales efforts into high gear and help you close more deals.

Prioritize high-fit accounts

Not all prospects are created equal. Some are going to be a better fit for your product or service than others.

Intent data can help you identify these high-fit prospects by tracking their online behavior and determining when they’re researching a problem that your product or service can solve

This way, you can prioritize these prospects in your sales engagement strategy and increase the likelihood of closing a deal.

Hitting your quota is all about prioritizing the right accounts. When you use intent data to identify high-fit prospects, you’ll be able to focus your efforts on the accounts that are most likely to close.

Use lead scoring

Lead scoring is a way of assigning a numeric value to each prospect, based on their probability of purchasing your product or service.

Intent data can be used to score leads by tracking their online behavior and identifying when they’re researching a problem that your product or service can solve

The more intent data points a prospect has, the higher their score will be. You can score prospects based on their level of interest and engagement, and prioritize the most promising leads.

Personalize your sales engagement strategy

A sales engagement strategy that is tailored to the individual is always going to be more prosperous than a one-size-fits-all approach. When you’re able to personalize your sales pitch, you’re able to better address the needs of your prospects. 

Tips for personalizing your sales pitch: 

  • Use the prospect’s name throughout the conversation.
  • Bring up common interests (based on their social media activity) to build rapport. But not in a creepy way.
  • Mention how your product has helped others in a similar situation.
  • Ask questions that revolve around their specific needs and pain points.

Personalizing your sales pitch shows the prospect that you’re interested in them as an individual, not just a potential sale. 

Identify cross-sell opportunities

Your current customers are a great source of sales leads. When you have a good relationship with a customer, they’re more likely to do business with you in the future.

Identifying cross-sell opportunities is a great way to generate more business from your existing customer base.

Intent data can help you determine when a customer is interested in a product or service that you offer, and then you can reach out with a personalized sales pitch.

Buyer intent will constantly change, so it’s essential to keep an eye on your customers’ online behavior. When you see that a customer is interested in a new product or service, reach out and see if there’s an opportunity to cross-sell.

Intent data in a nutshell

What is intent data? Well, you no longer have to wonder. We may have given you a lot to think about, but here are the key takeaways:

  • Intent data is information that’s collected about a prospect’s online behavior. It can be used to improve sales engagement by identifying high-fit prospects, scoring leads, and personalizing your sales pitch.

  • You can use intent data to identify cross-sell opportunities with your existing customer base. By keeping an eye on your customer’s online behavior, you can spot when they’re interested in a new product or service and reach out with a personalized sales pitch.

  • Intent data is a powerful tool that can help you close more deals and hit your quota. It’s easy to get started with intent data, and the benefits are clear.

While intent data may not be the only factor that determines whether or not you close a deal, it’s undoubtedly a valuable tool to have in your sales engagement arsenal.

Sales objections will always be a part of the sales process, but with intent data, you can be sure that you’re engaging with the right prospects at the right time. 

You can even fill up on valuable data points before hopping on a call, so you go into the conversation prepared with questions that show you’ve been paying attention.

If that still doesn’t work, hit them with some classic objection handling techniques, and you’ll be sure to close the deal in no time. 

Read our guide, 9 Common Sales Objections in Tech (& How to Respond to Them), to really step up your objection handling game.

Enhance sales engagement with Mixmax

Do you want to build more pipeline with engaging and personalized email sequences? Are you looking to increase customer retention with automated workflows? Does intent data play into your sales strategy? 

If you answered yes to any of these, Mixmax can help.

Our sales engagement tool integrates with Gmail and Salesforce, so you can work smarter (not harder). Intent data can be used to personalize your sales pitch, score leads, and identify cross-sell opportunities—all from your inbox.

We provide all the elements you need to get started, including polls and surveys, calendar sharing, email tracking, automation, and lead scoring, amongst others.

Crush your quota: land more replies, meetings, and deals from your inbox. It’s all possible with Mixmax.

See a Salefsorce Gmail integration in action

Use Mixmax to increase your reps’ productivity and achieve pipeline success.


Free demo