How to Use Buyer Intent Data to Grow Industrial Sales to the Other 99%

Jul 30, 2019 | Author Ed Marsh

The Other 99%

Don't worry — this isn't a political post. In this case 99% means the volume of searchers whom you're missing.

sales fracking™ buyer intent data drives revenue growthHere's the simple (and conservative) calculation that gets us there (note — this is for industrial manufacturers, not SaaS or other products):

  1. If you've done a great job of SEO and are ranked 1-3 in non-branded organic search results, AND you've optimized title, URL and meta description to merit a click, you probably have a CTR (check yours in Google Search Console) of about 20% - that means 80% are not clicking through.
  2. If you've really optimized your site for conversions using well-placed, simple forms and even chat and pop-ups, you probably convert at a 5% rate visitor to lead, which translates to 1 out of the 20.
  3. This means 1 out of 100 people who search the term for which you've worked so hard to rank actually become a lead. Sure, you may capture anonymous data for 19, but there's not much you can do with that aside from observing surges from target account IP addresses and hoping that your ABM is working.

Kind of discouraging, isn't it? Especially when you consider how many search terms you have to pursue given multiple personas, stages in the buying journey, impact of team buying, etc. Even when you really nail it (e.g. a top three listing) you're still only going to harvest 1% of the leads.


Snap out of it!

OK. Pity party over. You signed up to deliver results, not just post twice a week.

But here's the good news: The inexorable evolution of marketing technology has an answer. It's called buyer intent data.

G2 Crowd calls buyer intent data the ultimate marketing conversion tool. They're wrong — it's the ultimate revenue growth conversion tool; as powerful for sales as it is for marketing. 

Here's how it works:

The power of buyer intent data is to introduce you to the other 99% (or a substantial portion of them).

What if you knew the contact details of anyone who fit your target profile (title, size of company, region of the world) and took actions online after an activity like:

  • searching for one of your target search terms
  • downloading a competitor's content
  • following, commenting, liking or sharing an influencer or important social media profile
  • reading specific industry news

buyer intent data allows you to use marketing automation beyond your leadsCloseup portrait young annoyed angry woman with bad attitude giving talk to hand gesture with palm outward isolated grey wall background. Negative human emotion face expression feeling body language.jpegIn other words, the power of digital body language and marketing automation, which can make you incredibly effective in nurturing and selling known leads (the 1%), is now potentially available for the whole rest of the total addressable lead universe.

Instead of the statistically fruitless challenge of randomly uncovering someone with interest from the 3% of a potential market considering any given product or service at any given time, now you'll work with triggered leads.

These are people who have taken action beyond your digital properties — action that directly demonstrates their interest in your product/service.

And that translates into an 82% acceleration in sales cycle and 50% close rate in lead to sale conversion.

Seriously! Read enough? Then get started here.

Wondering how you'd use it? Read on.

Scratching the surface: Simple use cases for buyer intent data

What could you do with that data? Check out these compelling use cases, and then imagine how you could build on them with your team and tools.

  1. Account-based marketing (ABM)
  2. Building custom audiences
  3. Reducing churn/fostering loyalty
  4. Boosting search
  5. Insight into competitive prospects
  6. Sales intelligence

Let's take a quick look at each one.

Supplement ABM

It's a cool concept but devilishly hard to execute. This lets you build a real view of who on the buying team is engaged and how. What would you do with that info?

Custom audiences

Have you begun to tap the power of Facebook Ads and Messenger for B2B sales? No? That's problem No. 1. But beyond that, sometimes the connection to other interests is just a bit tenuous. And the tracking pixel is obviously limited to those who have been on your site. But imagine a new audience weekly that includes everyone who's looking and you didn't already know!

Stop the bleeding

Whether you manage subscription renewals or long-term loyalty and reorders like in capital equipment sales, there's always a point at which your "customers" are considering default. It hurts, but it hurts even more once it happens and you didn't know. How many could you stop? And you know what they say about the cost of acquiring a new account vs. keeping an existing one.

Boosting search

You work so hard to boost those rankings and drive those organic visits. And if you're doing well, you're still only capturing 1%. This one doesn't need much more explanation — know who else is searching!

Competitive prospects

If you knew who was downloading competitors' data sheets, whitepapers, etc., wow!

Deal insights

You know that deal you lost recently to a competitor even though you were sure you had it all locked up? How would you have sold differently if you had known how your champion and her colleagues were actively researching further options? 

Not all buyer intent data is created equal!

Here's the rub: Whether you've looked at buyer intent data in the past or this is your first introduction, it's important to understand what you get.

Providers are understandably loathe to share the details of how they compile information. But in simple terms, most services watch targets (news, search terms, competitive sites) for surges of activity from a known IP address. In other words, if traffic from a certain IP address (which happens to match the Minneapolis office of XYZ Corp, for instance) starts to show an increase in incidence of activity around targeted topics, people, sites and competitors, then they infer there's some intent.

That's a reasonable conclusion.

But is it relevant? You can only determine that by the actual role of the folks searching. That's where most buyer intent data breaks down. The services take the inferred intent from the surge, and cross reference known contacts from other data sources (just as you could do using LinkedIn Sales Navigator) with certain titles and job positions which you've asked them to target. Then they provide a list of hypotheticals — sourced contacts who MAY happen to be the ones with that intent at that location of that company.

Sure, there's a reasonable suspicion, but the data is tenuous at best. Does that list of five people with interesting job titles happen to be the five out of 700 in the building that were searching? 

Our Contact-LevelTM Indent Data is different. We give you the actual person - their first and last name, title, company, email, phone and what action(s) they've taken that triggered the intent engine. 

Instead of a finger in the wind, best-guess gussied up as a lead, we give you a real lead that can be put into a variety of nurturing, engagement, paid ad or sales workflows.

Already boiling over with ideas about how you could use this? It's exciting for sure. Let's get started.

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