Two major factors make the pool of interested B2B buyers seem smaller than it truly is. They are anonymous pre-purchase researchers and multiple stakeholder purchase decisions.
Did you know that as much as 87% of pre-purchase research is done online? That is a significant amount of web searches and content consumption long before a buyer ever reaches out to a team for a purchase.
B2B purchases are not made in a void. The final buy is the result of meetings, phone calls, and other collaborative measures between two or more stakeholders.
That means that the pool of potential buyers you are aware of seems much smaller than it is. You have lots of buyers that may never reach out to your brand (without intervention) and those you do know about are researching solutions to their pain points with one or more members of their teams. After all, members of a team usually have similar pain points and a shared interest in a potential solution.
The potential pool of buyers is so much larger than simply tracking those that fill out a form for your content. How do you reach them?
A mix of intent data and ABM.
What is intent data?
Intent data is behavioral data collected about a user’s online activities. This can include both data about who the user is and what they do. These are categorized as context data and topic data, respectively.
Context data — who is the person taking the action? You might collect data on:
- Job role
- Company name
- Company size
- Influence in organization
Topic data — this is data specific to interest in the topic you create content about. You might collect data about:
- Webpages visited
- Content downloaded
- Emails opened
- Landing pages filled
- Display ads viewed
- Display ads clicked
What is ABM?
ABM stands for account-based marketing, which describes the process of acknowledging and targeting several stakeholders across a single company. Ideally, this works in the form of targeting all or most of the stakeholders involved in a purchase decision.
How do we combine these two concepts?
ABM and intent data are a match due to how they widen the reach of your brand’s offering well beyond the normal pool of buyers you would typically access. Intent data widens the definition of interest while ABM accounts for all the individuals involved in the purchase decision.
What types of data are classified as intent data?
Known vs. Anonymous
There are several forms of data that combine to create the most accurate picture of your audience of potential buyers. The first asks, do you know personal identifiers about this user or not?
That is the difference between anonymous and known. Anonymous behavioral data tracks the actions of a user on your website, but you do not have access to their identifying information. Known behavior data is data you can link with a name and/or email address as well as other identifying factors.
Source of Intent Data
Moving on, there is another differentiating factor for intent data. Where do you get your intent data from and where are the behaviors it measures collected from?
- 1st party — data that you collect about the behaviors of individuals that land on your website or interact with your content. This is data you mine and manage.
- 3rd party — data from an outside source. This data will usually be the behavior data of individual that another source has collected. That could be anything from impressions on a page that is relevant to your audience or engagement on an email campaign sent out on your behalf. You typically purchase this type of data.
You can have known or anonymous 1st party behavioral data. You can have known or anonymous 3rd party intent data. Each has their own advantages and a blend of both creates a solid marketing mix with a wider reach than just one or the other.
There is often a disconnect between the actions a user takes and their identities. That is one of the biggest struggles for companies collecting and analyzing their own behavioral data. How do you get these anonymous users to attach themselves to an identifying factor? Also, what about users that would be interested in your offering but never visited your website?
That can be one of the advantages of sourcing of intent data from a couple places. You can buy a mix of both known and anonymous identities. These are users you may have not reached without the extra audience reached on two or more channels. Imagine buying engagement data from email and display advertising, being able to connect and identify actions across those channels, and THEN being able to identify them by email address.
Combine that with ABM and you have a powerful tool to reach most stakeholders in a company on several channels. By bolstering your own homegrown intent data with the behavioral data from another organization, you enrich your understanding about those you are selling to and persuade several stakeholders at the company to become advocates for your brand.