How to Use Purchase Intent Data to Score Leads

January 18, 2021
Contributor: Rupal Bhandari

Once a business nudges leads into the marketing funnel, the true task of converting them into customers begins. Purchase intent data can make this process more efficient by helping teams target leads the right way, at the right time.

Every B2B marketer knows that leads need to be nurtured and kept warm so they continue to engage with the business until they are ready to make a purchase. What every marketer might not know is that it is just as important to understand which leads to prioritize and keep warm as it is to nurture them with a marketing campaign.

A good way to assess and qualify leads is by scoring them. Lead scoring is a shared sales and marketing methodology that can help rank potential customers on multiple factors, including the interest they show in products, their current place in the buying cycle and their fit within a targeted buyer persona.

What criteria should be used to score leads?

Some of the frequently used criteria for lead scoring include the ability to achieve consensus, engagement with supplier content and budget (full report available to Gartner clients only). However, each business should develop its own lead scoring criteria to assess the most desirable or undesirable lead attributes. 

A good way to start is to look at all the historical lead attributes that converted quickly and explore the common traits between them. Similarly, assess the leads that didn’t convert at all to know the common factors to avoid.

An overview of some essential criteria that can be used to score leads:
Overview of essential criteria to score leads

Where does data for lead scoring come from?

Business websites, email campaigns and social media accounts (first-party data sources), as well as reviews websites and product catalog platforms (third-party data sources) are rich data resources. Information such as the size of the lead’s business, type or industry can be requested via landing page forms. Online behaviors such as other sites or pages they visited or the features they spent time on can be tracked via cookies.

How does purchase intent data improve lead scoring?

Purchase intent data is behavioral data about a lead’s or their company’s online activities. In other words, when the lead looks up a software solution online, researches competitors or reads reviews, all such activities indicate the lead’s purchase intent. Those activities can be recorded on a business’s website, as well as the broader internet (through publishing co-ops, advertising networks and individual websites). 

With developments in intent marketing over the past few years, lead scoring based on behavioral data has been gaining traction. Whether it is purchase intent data or buyer intent data from a sales perspective, intent signals from a potential B2B buyer can help businesses prioritize the right leads and optimize marketing and sales resources. 

Examples of lead behavior that may help gauge buyer or purchase intent:
Examples of lead behavior to gauge buyer or purchase intent

Once the behaviors are assessed, assign clear numerical values to each. Because the lead score is a numerical value depicting the lead’s purchase intent, assigning scores to each criterion should make it easier to calculate a cumulative number. 

Examples of possible points for each lead scoring criteria:
Examples of lead scoring criteria

How can purchase intent data help improve sales and marketing outreach?

The process of lead scoring essentially builds off what a business knows about the buyer’s purchase intent. Access to quality purchase intent data helps sales and marketing teams not only prioritize warmer leads but also reach them with the right content at the right time. It makes sales and marketing processes more effective and efficient while reducing the manual and budget resources required.

Buyer or purchase intent data-based lead scoring can also help businesses:
  • Identify high-demand product features to highlight in sales and marketing materials. 
  • Identify the actions leads take before dropping a software product from consideration and reach out to those leads with the appropriate communication.

Purchase intent data to score leads can help connect the dots between each lead’s behaviors and the behaviors that leads typically exhibit before making a purchase. With those dots connected, it is easier to optimize marketing strategies to prioritize high-value leads and increase conversion rates. 

Continue to leverage buyer intent data in post-purchase engagement, supporting retention and expansion, and even pinpointing signs of churn with this white paper, “Retain and Expand With Buyer Intent.


Rupal Bhandari

Rupal Bhandari covers sales and account management markets. She received her master’s degree from the University of Delhi, India, and has created content for some of the world’s leading technology products and companies. Connect with Rupal on LinkedIn.

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