More Effective Targeting With Intent Data In SDR Workflow
Intent data has been pervasive in marketing for decades, but lately sales organizations, especially sales development reps (SDRs) have been buzzing about it.
Our SDR team here at Lattice Engines is no exception.
We’re not just excited about intent data, though — we’re actively using it to drive a dramatic increase in sales conversions.
In fact, we’ve found that companies with high intent signals were more likely to respond to our cold calls, and we were more likely to close opportunities with prospects showing higher intent.
In this article, I’m going to share with you what intent data is and how we are using it to speak effectively with our prospects about their pains, concerns and needs — and drive more meetings and sales as a result.
What is intent data?
In a nutshell, intent data is information collected about a person or company’s online activities and behaviors that determines the level of interest in purchasing a solution. This is done by using a combination of IP addresses and browser cookies to track online behavior.
We can break intent data down into two categories:
1. First-party intent data
First-party intent data has been used by marketers since the dawn of websites. This data comes from tracking website visits and is also referred to as engagement data.
Website visits can be anonymous or known. Anonymous first-party intent data comes from visits to your own website where there is no name attached to the visitor record. Known first-party data typically results from a form fill where the visitor has offered their information voluntarily. This could come from the visitor providing their contact information in exchange for content downloads, registering for events, etc.
Today, however, there are tools available (like D&B Visitor Intelligence) that can turn anonymous visitors into known leads using pre-existing user tracking data such as cookies. This is actually the secret behind remarketing and retargeting campaigns!
2. Third-party intent data
Third-party intent is the new data commodity piquing the interest of SDRs and marketers alike.
While most companies have marketing automation platforms (e.g. Marketo or Eloqua) collecting data from their own websites for first-party intent, there are analytics companies and vendors (e.g. Bombora, G2 Crowd, and Gartner) that also track behavior and activities on other sites and then sell that data to companies like yours and mine.
With this third-party data, you can see who is actively searching for specific topics on the open web — topics such as your competitors or the products and services you sell. We currently track between 25-30 topics that are relevant to our space and product offering.
Since you are likely already aware of the value and logistics of tracking and using first-party intent data, I am going to focus my attention on this third-party intent data for the remainder of this post —because that’s where the marketing rubber hits the sales road.
How Our SDRs Use Intent Data to Generate Meetings
Caveat: To use intent data in your sales processes, you’ll need a solution that can aggregate various sources of data for a more complete, holistic view of customer and prospect activities. Here’s a datasheet to learn more.
There are two primary ways our SDRs leverage third-party intent data:
1. Prioritize outreach
Using intent data, our SDRs prioritize their outreach to focus on accounts that are “in-market”or actively researching our products or competitors.
Our Ops team has set up for intent data to flow into SFDC on the account layout page. The SDR team also receives an alert report of accounts surging on various intent topics. Below is the Lattice strength indicator for each topic and account that is being tracked. From here we filter by topics ranging in strength from high to low.
For example, during my weekly 1:1’s with my sales directors, I preview a report in Salesforce containing third-party intent aggregated by Lattice containing all our named accounts surging in “high intent” for a set of preselected topics. For me, these topics include things like account based marketing(ABM), predictive analytics, and a list of our top competitors.
From that report I look for accounts surging in the greatest number of relevant topics. These are the accounts I actively prospect and reach out to for that week.
Another way I prioritize my outreach is through tracking intent activity on G2 Crowd. G2 Crowd sends me an alert when one of my named accounts has been comparing our solution to our competition’s solution (pictured below). In my experience, product comparison is a very strong intent signal, and this has personally led me to a few great meetings when I recognize activity surges and followup quickly.
2. Personalize messaging
We also use intent data to personalize messaging — and this has been a game changer for our SDR team.
However, since third party intent data is tracked at the account level, I’ve found it more effective to not be overly specific or personalized in my messaging. We won’t always know if our intended prospect was the person in their company who was doing the researching, for example, but if intent activities are “high,” it’s safe to assume more than one person in their organization has been actively researching that specific intent topic. So instead of using direct statements like “I noticed you were researching X,” I try to be more casual and vague by saying “If your company is looking for X.”
How Intent Correlates with Conversion
Intent data is the golden ticket to grasping our prospects’ and customers’ attention — and I bet it would work equally well for your company. When used correctly, intent data can dramatically increase engagement, more meetings being scheduled and sales conversions. At Lattice it’s helped us read our prospects’ minds! And that’s every sales rep’s dream, isn’t it?