The B2B marketing and sales world has changed dramatically over the last several years. Marketing teams can no longer bank on display ads to source qualified leads. Content marketing is more than creation; it’s about distribution to actually reach the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) when they are ready.
What is the biggest change from typical digital marketing? Purchase intent. When someone researches a topic or industry, as they look into pricing, product comparisons, and reviews, these interactions are intent signals to reflect the attitude.
When buyer intent data is thoughtfully applied throughout the buyer’s journey, the results can redefine your account-based marketing (ABM) program. It’s less about the specific roles decision-makers hold but more about their influence on potential customers.
This guide will take you through a few relevant ways to leverage B2B buyer intent data, such as identifying high-intent accounts to receive prospecting gifts. As a result, it doesn’t only focus brand awareness on the right audience but also generates measurable pipeline and undeniably achieves revenue attainment.
- What Is Intent Data?
- First-Party Data vs. Third-Party Intent Data
- How To Use Intent Data to Drive B2B Sales
- Gifting Tips to Engage Potential Buyers
- Scale Your Outbound With 6sense + Alyce
- Intent Data FAQs
What is Intent Data?
Buyer intent data is the method of identifying people with a likelihood they will make a purchasing decision around a given product or service. This behavioral data is then surfaced to sales and marketing automation platforms to identify who is in-market.
A one-off interaction performing casual research is less valuable. But when an organization is researching a topic across numerous sources, it becomes an actionable indicator of interest among B2B marketers and salespeople.
What makes intent data valuable for B2B brands is that you reach out and appear at the right time. It could be in the middle of a vendor evaluation or even earlier in the sales cycle. These various “pings” relate to the account/organization level so salespeople can reach out at the right time.
So, where does intent data come from?
Intent data is sourced through various business partnerships with content publishers through cookies and other technological means of identifying users. While cookies and IP addresses are subject to change, intent data providers like 6sense and Bombora leverage AI and predictive scoring to maintain digital profiles of website visitors.
... Okay, if that didn’t answer your question, I have an example for you.
Let’s say you want to purchase a new project management tool for your company. You might ask your team to create a shortlist of recommendations.
As your team scours the web for the best project management software, they will surely land on the following:
- Review pages like G2, TrustRadius, and Gartner
- Industry publishers that cover project management
- Blog posts that educate about the best way to use PM tools
- Vendor pricing pages and buying guides from bloggers
- Affiliate links pointing to the top/best project management tools
- Engagements from paid ads on video and PPC
Before a form is ever filled out, your team has left various breadcrumbs (I suppose cookie crumbs are a better analogy here) regarding your company’s interest in project management software.
All the various web visits around the web and content consumption from your brand create buyer intent data.
Assuming all goes well, you will have decided on the vendor. But, unfortunately, it’s too late to reconsider vendors — which is precisely why timing is crucial to intent data tools like 6sense.
Types of Intent Data
There are a few types of intent data to keep in mind. Here’s an overview:
- First-party data: Information about your visitors that you solely compile. Examples include product features, content consumption, and the sales cycle stage. The size of this is relatively small.
- Second-party data: Customer or prospect data shared between a partner or business associate. Examples include emails, phone numbers, software integrations, and more. This data is more significant than first-party data but less expansive than third-party intent data.
- Third-party data: Data about an organization’s online visits from thousands of publishers and apps. While not personally identifiable, specific segments blend with your CRM data, so your sales team gets notified when accounts give off intent signals. This data is vast, continuously updated, and refining its scoring models.
For this guide, we’ll focus on using intent data within 6sense to qualify and prioritize the sales and marketing efforts to engage the right contacts ready to hear from you.
How To Use Intent Data to Drive B2B Sales
As a part of a successful B2B marketing strategy, buyer intent is your friend. At the 6sense Breakthrough conference in Phoenix, dozens of high-profile companies were unrestrained about how 6sense fueled their outbound strategy. Don’t take our word for it — see for yourself:
Unlike conventional lead scoring, audience intent is based on real-time behavioral data from events happening throughout the organization. This offers more insight than in-house metrics like webinar leads or case study downloads.
Salespeople have the same eight hours a day to hit their quota. So why not give them the accounts that are most likely to win? Intent data can be used to augment prospecting campaigns and to know whom to reach out to first on their target accounts. Integrating your intent data platform with your sales, marketing automation, and CRM tools is the first step to running a formidable B2B sales campaign.
Step 1: Define Your Target Audience from Ideal Buyer Personas
Analyze your existing customers and think about what makes them successful. Is it your onboarding or their experience with similar solutions? Land on a few core audiences so you can target companies with their firmographics (company size, revenue, industry, etc).
Your target audience may differ from your buyer personas — for instance, Asana is used by 1.5 million users from 93,000 accounts. There’s a limit to the influence users have versus administrators.
6sense lets you start from a clean slate and provides many options to sync data in real-time across your marketing automation platform, CRM, sales tools, or a manual list file upload.
Step 2: Create Segments That Align To Specific Use Cases
Map out the real-world needs and particular topics (keywords) a qualified audience cares about. Are they trying to scale up and need a new enterprise-grade lead generation tool? Or are they looking for a way to ramp up their customer success team with training software? Connect those dots for a genuine buyer on the other side.
Get clear on the roles of your audience, level of influence, and important stakeholders who get involved later in your sales cycle. And don’t be afraid to venture out from your inbound model. For example, if the CFO typically comes in toward the end, involve them earlier to see how it improves the close rates.
Roles matter because you need to have someone with purchasing authority recognize the value of the use cases and either convince them directly or rally their support to get their decision-makers on board.
Step 3: Connect with a Personal, Relevant, & Thoughtful Gift
In this stage, this is where you drive action. Rather than simply send a cold email (or gift card), make the outreach personal and thoughtful. Try to look at each new opportunity from the recipient’s lens. Do they love hitting the snow? Are they training for a marathon? Use these cues to make your initial message land — and connect the dots to your conversation.
Shameless plug here: Alyce is the best corporate gifting platform designed for sales and marketing teams. Instead of figuring out and chasing down the logistics, you provide an email address, and your team sends a personal, relevant, and thoughtful business gift every time. We give the recipients a leading gift and a choice to exchange or donate to a worthy cause. This approach is the highest form of marketing as it makes people feel great to get it from you.
➡ Download our free Outbound Love Playbook for fresh ideas, examples, and templates to use in your outbound marketing plays.
Gifting is a powerful method to turn your typical outreach around. Rather than a paltry 1% conversion rate, you could be building millions in pipeline and crush your goals every quarter. But you must carry it out effectively.
Step 4: Deliver Relevant Content To Address Pain Points
Now that you forged a new business relationship or rekindled an old one, stay involved. Get familiar with the company’s industry and package up your best type of content for it. This could be as comprehensive as an in-depth report or can be as simple as a visual indicator of their industry (e.g., stethoscope for healthcare).
The best sellers make outreach personable. When you share ideas around a particular topic, make it about an idea or accomplishment they shared. Or relate to them with a knock-knock joke because that never fails on anyone — we’re kidding, of course.
At this point, you should have a champion who’s your eyes and ears on the deal. With trust established, your check-ins can be brief and to the point, but you’re always giving something like a link to a whitepaper or Cliff Notes summarizing online research about your industry. Help them prepare their business case; eventually, that pipeline will close. We know it, and we’re rooting for you.
Step 5: Invest In Customer Success To Flatten Churn
The buyer’s journey is just one-half of the customer experience. The customer journey is essential to any B2B company. Ensure that new customers are onboarded smoothly with plenty of help, self-service resources, and lifelines available if they feel stuck.
As customers complete onboarding or approach their anniversary, send them a gift that is all parts personal, relevant, and thoughtful. Doing so elicits more candid conversation, making them less likely to dodge your check-in calls.
And, of course, for the B2B salespeople:
Check in on past deals about 3-6 months down the road. This simple tactic will help you stay connected with the voice of the customer, suggest relevant content to make them more successful, and ask for referrals. These days many senior marketing and sales leaders are involved in various communities, and they likely know someone else who could benefit from your solution. Mention if you have a referral program or send them a generous gift card after they send a prospect your way to show your appreciation.
Gifting Tips to Engage Potential Buyers
When you invest in a tool like 6sense, you’re actualizing account-based marketing from plan to reality by letting intent — not only company size — be the deciding factor for your ABM program.
Rather than having your sales team cast the widest net possible, which we all know doesn’t work, 6sense enables your team to focus on the accounts at the optimal moment in their buyer’s journey to have a conversation. The intent data provider offers insights into what that account has been searching for to have relevant discussions and ultimately save your sales team’s time by giving them more at-bats with accounts ready to have a conversation.
When you power that with Alyce’s personal gifting platform, you’ll be able to have your outbound efforts turn heads at those moments by blending the 9-to-5 data from 6sense and the #5to9 data Alyce captures to create deeper relationships and inevitably drive action from those accounts quickly to create and close pipeline for your business.
Let’s dive into how to get the most out of 6sense Revenue AI and Alyce’s gifting platform to fuel your revenue and demand-generation teams.
Share Gifts Thoughtfully Along the Buyer’s Journey
When you think about the customer lifecycle, and when it would be appropriate to send a gift, you want to make sure your recipient knows you in some capacity.
Gifting isn’t a replacement for a tactful introduction or a firm handshake. But it can help enhance those campaigns at any point along the customer journey.
Being proactive, personal, and pertinent (I couldn’t help myself with that alliteration) will keep your company top of mind and displayed in a positive light for your prospective customers.
So once you’ve identified the accounts you want to engage with, knowing whom you should send a gift to comes next.
Identifying The Right Contacts To Message
Gifting is best used to help facilitate conversations that take accounts from the Decision stage to an open opportunity.
There should be contacts in your existing marketable database or contacts in existing sales sequences that interact with the content in your emails and show more intent than others. 6sense surfaces which personas are most engaged and how valuable they are to your sales cycle, allowing you to orchestrate contact purchase orders for key personas to build a more robust target audience.
Having that insight into contact behavior can help you determine who from your accounts in your funnel’s Decision and Purchase stages should be on the receiving end of your gift.
Don’t forget that you’re not limited to just email — you can use unique Alyce gift links to deliver your special gift message directly on social media, such as a LinkedIn InMail or Twitter DM.
What Gift Should I Send To A Prospect?
Now is the fun part. It’s time to send your prospect a gift. Now, with other “sending” or “offline marketing” vendors, you may have to stress over what gift to send that will resonate with your prospect, but Alyce works differently.
Once you’ve decided whom to send a gift to, you can upload them into Alyce, and our AI model will research their social presence to find three sales prospecting gifts in our marketplace of 35,000 vendors that suit their interests. Of course, you’ll have a say in which of the three gifts or another gift you find in the marketplace should be sent to your prospect.
We’ve done the hard part for you! Now all you have to do is craft a gift message that is relevant, relatable, and respectful that allows you to create a connection with your prospect and book that meeting.
What Should I Say When I Send A Gift?
In most cases, when you gift through Alyce, the experience is digital-first. Whether you send a physical or a digital invitation, sales prospects receive a gift invite where they’ll be able to accept, exchange, or donate the value of their gift.
To start, you’ll want to create that personal connection by referencing the gift and the research that Alyce brought back to you with the gift suggestions.
You’ll want to introduce the power of choice and then relate to the information about the company that 6sense informed you of based on their funnel stage, keywords they’ve been searching for, and how your solution solves their problem.
Bad Idea: “I see you’re in the market for compliance software. We have a webinar ...”
Better Idea: “Congrats on your recent expansion in the EU! I know that shoring up compliance can be monumental effort when setting up here. I’ve helped brands like X, Y, and Z avoid costly litigation with our cloud-based compliance tracking tool. Can I tell you more?”
In the end, you’ll wrap up your ask with a CTA that drives conversions, sets the right expectations, and book that meeting. The main idea is that you want to serve as a timely “a-ha!” resource to help them solve a real problem.
Want some help crafting your gift invitation message? Check out our gifting email templates!
What Should I Do After The Gift Is Not Yet Accepted?
Following up with your corporate gifting campaigns is just as important.
Sending a gift to a prospect is the first step in ensuring they see it, like it, and act on it.
Use that first week after hitting send to reinforce your value prop, remind your prospects about their gift, and encourage the next steps through email, social media, and phone call follow-up.
And if you do so, you’ll stand out from the crowd.
Consider this: 58% of sales reps give up after a single attempt to connect. The reps who go that extra mile to follow up with their prospects are the ones who book more meetings.
There’s data behind why follow-up matters as well. Typically it can take eight days for a prospect to claim their gift, even with the rise of digital gifting.
Leveraging the Alyce gift link and the channels at your fingertips, you can create a follow-up cadence that captures attention and drives action to see the most out of your gifting campaigns.
When you think about crafting your follow-up cadences, cross-channel communication is your superpower.
If your prospect isn’t responding to email, reach out on Linkedin, try calling, reference the gift in your new outreach to switch up your messaging, and re-attract your prospect to your offer.
As much as we all wish that we could sit back and relax as prospects come to us, the reality is that most customers aren’t proactively reaching out to sales reps. B2B buyers are far more educated than ever and initiate contact with prospective vendors later in their purchasing cycle.
A well-thought-out follow-up strategy is a differentiator for high-performing sales reps.
What Should I Do After The Gift Is Accepted?
There’s nothing worse than getting ghosted. You put all this work into grabbing your prospect’s attention, it finally works, and you book a meeting, and then… you’re alone in the Zoom room for 15 minutes.
We’ve all felt that sense of dread, finally ending the Zoom and making the “no show” note in the activity in your CRM.
Rather than have this happen to you after your gift is accepted, there are a few ways to ensure your prospect shows up to that meeting so you can lead it confidently.
First thing first, continue your follow-up until the meeting occurs. We put together some meeting email reminders that can help you maintain interest and continue to drive value for your prospects before they even get on the phone with you.
Now, to make sure your account executives show up to those meetings prepared and ready for action, Alyce will send your AE an email an hour before the meeting is held with information on the company as well as the gift information. This way, they are prepped with talking points that facilitate real conversations and build trust.
Scale Your Outbound Sales With 6sense & Alyce
The world of prospecting no longer has to be a guessing game. With rich account insights and buyer intent data from 6sense, sales teams can better understand who to reach out to so they can spend more time crafting the perfect message that will resonate.
Marketing campaigns can finally be tailored around a narrow segment. Want to go after a green technology target audience? The best marketing leaders craft an end-to-end marketing and sales experience that crushes the competition with originality, relevance, and thoughtfulness.
That’s where Alyce comes in. Adding personal gifting to the prospecting cadence your sales team uses can act as an accelerant to creating deeper relationships with prospects. When you drive more action from your outbound, you create more successful sales teams, and they can render a more delightful buying experience for tomorrow’s customers.