Four Secrets to Harness the Power of Intent Data

James Landry

Marketing Program Manager

Many B2B organizations aIntent data adoptionre beginning to harness the power of intent data to optimize their go-to-market strategy and reach buying teams in ways they have never been able to before. However, many businesses are seeing break points in their intent adoption journey. These gaps often end up alienating critical team members and can cost your organization valuable resources as you try to get back on track.

To get a better understanding of where these breakpoints occur and how you can avoid them, we tapped into the expertise of TechTarget’s Codie award-winning Customer Success team. This team works with our clients each week to ensure their initial intent adoption journeys go smoothly, and to help marketing and sales leaders maximize the power of intent in their ongoing campaigns and outreach. Read on to hear their four secrets to effective intent adoption that will help you make the most of your intent data. 

Secret #1: Establish KPIs and build a framework for your goals. 

Setting KPIs and establishing a framework are key to the success of any intent data program, no matter the size, because it enables the organization to track progress and measure its success across key milestones. 

Before setting specific goals, it’s important that all key stakeholders have a clear understanding of what intent data is, and what “good” intent data means for your organization. Intent data, at its core, is a category of online behavioral data that provides a strong indication of an individual or account’s interest in buying in a particular solution category. Various types and sources of intent data have unique characteristics and therefore can be used differently across GTM teams and strategies, and result in a range of possible outputs. To identify the best use cases for intent data within your organization, it’s also important to understand the source of the data. Additionally, defining what “good” intent data means for your organization will provide more insight into key attributes such as context (research environment), content (keywords vs. real buyer engagement with content on subject matter) and contacts (going beyond account-only insights to deliver hyper-personalized outreach). 

Once these sources have been identified, organizations need to set specific KPIs that will help them measure their progress towards achieving their goals. That may include improved open/click-through rates, volume of engaged accounts or leads, contacts supplied from ABM accounts and others. It is also important to establish milestones that will help track progress over time and provide guidance on how success looks regarding your organization’s experience. 

Secret #2: Put the data where you have the highest likelihood of using it. 

Intent data has the potential to help you build more pipeline and revenue by prioritizing the right accounts and individuals at the right time. But organizations will only see the impact of intent data if their marketers and reps actually use the insights from that data in their day-to-day activities. The key is for an organization to evaluate their technical stack and take steps to ensure the data is accessible and actionable. To identify the best options for intent data storage and enablement, businesses must first analyze their current data storage systems – how are their tools connected, which teams will use the data and how do contacts move through their system today?  

Among TechTarget customers, we see the most success when intent data is flowed through standard reporting systems such as Salesforce or Marketo. This enables key stakeholders to easily track ongoing performance and teams can continuously leverage intent data insights to adapt and optimize their activities accordingly. With clear guidelines in place from the start of any project or initiative, businesses can maximize the value of intent data while ensuring successful customer experiences throughout every step of their journey. 

One way that teams can ensure intent data users are actioning quickly on insights, particularly when it comes to Sales actioning on strong buyer intent, is to enable automated alerts within their existing tech stack. That way, reps don’t have to adjust their workflows to incorporate new data or systems, which makes intent adoption in their day-to-day more seamless. These alerts help get valuable data into the hands of your sales execs in real-time, thus helping ensure that no revenue opportunities are left on the table. Overall, putting intent data where you have the highest likelihood of using it increases efficiency and effectiveness while driving positive customer experiences. 

Secret #3: Make sure all stakeholders are aligned on the strategy necessary to achieve success. 

When implementing intent data in your organization, alignment is critical. Be sure to gather key stakeholders to discuss the priority use cases, goals and rollout plan. This includes Marketing, Sales, MOPs, SOPs and any others who have a part in driving implementation. The project lead should put guidelines in place so that each team knows how they’ll be involved and the shared expectations along the way. If your teams are not 100% aligned, it can be a recipe for disaster.

To avoid confusion and slowdowns, organizations should educate their teams on how intent data really works and how it can help solve their specific challenges. This can be done by showing the value on a smaller scale before expanding to other use cases. Once one team achieves their goals, they can now educate others in the organization on intent data advantages and build from there. A “crawl, walk, run” approach ensures there are no surprises or false expectations. Additionally, we recommend scheduling regular meetings with all team members involved in your intent initiatives to keep stakeholders up to date on adoption successes and future plans.  

By taking these measures, businesses can bypass some of the commons challenges that can often slow down the rollout, adoption and acceleration of intent data across Marketing, Sales, Product and other functions.  

Secret #4: Optimize and adjust your strategy as you go. 

As businesses grow and evolve over time, it’s important to continually re-evaluate what “success” looks like as well as how it is measured. The same is true when evaluating the performance of your intent data program. Ask questions like: Is this still a realistic measurement or should it have been adjusted due to strategy shifts? What data is going into our systems, and where is it going? Where are things breaking down? Answering these questions will help you honestly evaluate progress and identify opportunities for adjustment before too much time has gone by. Intent shouldn’t be thought of as a “set it and forget it” program!  

If certain elements of your intent strategy aren’t producing the desired results, it’s helpful to dig a bit deeper to find out where things are breaking down. For example, not all sales reps are leveraging intent data to help them prioritize account outreach. If you take a closer look at their workflows, you may find that alerts weren’t set up to notify reps of in-market buyers, or it may simply mean that a bit more training and enablement is required.

You’ll also want to ensure all stakeholders have access to real-time, accurate reporting on key metrics (like usage reports, lead and account engagement and reply rates). With clearly defined reports, your organization will be better equipped to understand performance and make optimizations or adjustments going forward.

Tying it all together

A successful intent data program can help your organization identify more in-market demand and deliver a more personalized buying experience to give you a competitive advantage in an often-crowded market. To achieve this, all stakeholders must be aware of the established program goals, have easy access to necessary data, align on implementation and adapt and optimize as the program progresses. For more insights on running a successful intent data program at your organization, watch Secrets of Successful Intent Adoption: Insights from Customer Success Superstars from TechTarget’s virtual event, Reach.

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