How to Benchmark Success for Third-Party Intent Data

March 11, 2021
Contributor: Rupal Bhandari

Software and SaaS providers need to use third-party intent data as strategically as possible and should use benchmarks to ensure intent data success.

Technology providers using third-party intent data for digital marketing are 2.09 times more likely to have an impression to form-fill conversion rate of 10% or more (full research available to Gartner clients). What that means is if a technology provider can successfully use third-party intent data, its chances of getting website and page visitors to fill request forms and turn into potential buyers increase significantly.

That increase happens because intent data enables a B2B marketer to send website visitors to pages relevant to their needs, as opposed to generic pages that cater to a broad audience. 

But how does a technology provider ensure that it is accessing and utilizing third-party intent data to the fullest potential? Ensure quality and alignment of intent data, set data utilization methods and compare current processes against these best practices. 

Ensure quality and alignment of intent data

B2B marketers are increasingly relying on intent data for more precise targeting and personalized messaging. They are using it to prioritize buyers to target via email marketing, social media marketing, content marketing and digital advertising, as well as to score inbound leads. Various customer relationship management (CRM) tools, sales tools and marketing tools have also started providing direct integrations with intent data sources. 

That demand has led to every intent data provider creating new technologies to track the websites buyers are visiting to research products and services. Even when a buyer chooses to remain anonymous and doesn’t have visitor cookies enabled, an intent data provider with bigger pools can still track them with the help of an Internet Protocol (IP) address. 

For a technology provider looking to utilize intent data, it is important to ensure that the data provider being used has a high volume of quality traffic. Websites such as Capterra, Software Advice and GetApp that together make up over a million verified software reviews as well as millions of monthly visitors can be a good example of quality intent insight. 

Technology providers also need to ensure that the data point provided by the source is aligned with the kind of intent signal data needed. For instance, if the technology provider needs data insights on a city-wise breakdown but the available B2B intent data does not offer geographic information to that level, it will not be a good match. 

Set utilization best practices for intent data

Intent data can help technology providers understand where in the buying journey each prospective buyer is. It answers questions like What technology has this buyer been recently researching? Has this buyer been looking at the competitors? or Are there any current business challenges that need immediate attention?

Technology providers can use the intelligence gained from intent data to segment buyers and potential customers on the basis of their purchase intent. They can then target these prospective buyers with personalized content, demand generation strategies or in-person outreach such as calls and meetings. For instance, a healthcare provider viewing case studies on human resource (HR) software implementation can be targeted with an email campaign highlighting the benefits of HR technology for the healthcare industry. 

However, such an endeavor to target buyers based on intent data would not be successful unless the content is appropriately aligned with the buyer’s intent. A good way to ensure alignment is to use intent data to understand what kind of content buyers are looking at on third-party platforms and create outreach campaigns accordingly. 

Buyer's content journey based on intent data

Measure current outreach strategy against best practices

Intent data best practices can help technology providers get a reality check on their current outreach strategy. The two important things to measure are: Are there any content gaps in the current outreach strategy? and Is the right kind of content being shared with the buyer at the right stage? 

Technology providers can also use intent data to understand the content types and the marketing funnel stage of the content buyers are checking on third-party platforms. They can then directly compare these against the content types they produce. 

For instance, according to Gartner research, value assessment tools, implementation guides and e-books are high-demand content types for technology buyers. But several leading technology providers do not produce enough of these content types (full research available to Gartner clients). 

Similarly, buyers often look for postsale content to ascertain the overall customer experience, ongoing support and other postsale needs. However, technology providers might not be sharing such content with late-stage buyers and instead reserving it for postsale engagement. 

By the end of 2022, more than 70% of B2B marketers can be expected to utilize third-party intent data to target buyers (full research available to Gartner clients). That means, simply using third-party intent data would no longer be enough; it would need to be utilized in the best ways possible. That makes it all the more important for technology providers to ensure that any gaps between the current outreach strategy and intent data benchmarks are plugged on priority. 

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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