7 Ways to Use B2B Intent Data to Boost Your Marketing Strategy

Author's avatar Marketing Aug 9, 2022 16 minutes read

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    Peter Caputa

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    Data about your buyers’ intention to purchase is key to better marketing.

    After all, the better you know the buyer intent of your prospects, the better you can personalize their experience with your business.

    Also, having this data at hand helps you increase sales and grow brand advocacy and customer loyalty as you personalize your messaging and marketing.

    Want to learn the different ways you can gather and use intent data? We’ve got the answers for you in this guide. We also talked to 52 experts already leveraging intent data to bring you real examples of how other businesses use this type of data for marketing purposes.

    42.31% of these folks are from the B2B products or services industry, 32.69% are in the B2C field, and 25% either work in or work with agencies in the marketing, media, or digital line.

    Here’s what we’ll cover:


    What Is Intent Data

    Intent data is behavioral data used to help businesses determine their target audience’s interest.

    Studying it helps you understand whether your target businesses or individuals are ready to purchase, are close to purchasing (but need a gentle push), or are in the problem and product discovery phase.

    Having this information allows you to improve your marketing by better targeting your audience and personalizing your content and messaging.

    Most of all, experts use intent data to grow sales. According to nearly 80% of our contributors.

    71.43% also use it to deliver precise, tailored, personalized messaging, 59.18% use it to improve ad targeting, and 57.14% use it to inform and enhance account-based marketing.

    Lastly, 53.06% use intent data to drive revenue.

    intent data usage

    How Is Intent Data Collected?

    Intent data can be collected both internally and externally.

    When you collect data internally, you collate and study internal data gathered from sources like your website, mobile application, customer conversations, and other marketing and sales channels you use.

    Sources that help collect data internally include:

    • Google Analytics. This tool assists you in tracking website visitors — who they are, where they are coming from, and how long they’re spending time on your site.
    • Hotjar. Helps you see the way website and mobile app visitors’ interact with your website and app by providing you with recordings of their sessions on your site. It also helps you host on-site surveys asking visitors questions about their intent. 
    • Native social media analytics tools. These tools help you dive into customer insights from social media marketing channels that you use.
    • Customer conversations. This is the data gathered from the chats your customer-facing teams have with your customers.

    Similarly, you can gather data from external sources — either yourself, using a third party, or by pairing up with a third party to conduct research on intent data.

    An effective way to gather external data yourself is by using a social listening tool. It assists you in understanding what conversations your target audience is having with its peers.

    You can also buy behavioral data from trusted sources like HubSpot, Salesforce, and Adobe.

    Lastly, you can purchase intent data from third-party sources that don’t collect and gather data from their customers (like Adobe and similar companies do) but collate data from different outside sources.

    But you don’t have to rely on one intent data source only. Instead, you can use all of these or a combination of two.

    Take it from Shifting Shares’ Michael Taylor, who pairs gathering internal data with third-party external data. “I primarily make use of our first-party intent data that we collect through our customer and audience interactions and email sign-up list.”

    “We run various pop-ups on our landing pages asking people if they are interested in certain investing tips by requesting the input of their email address. This has proven to be of huge value to me as I use media channels like email, Twitter, and YouTube as supplemental information hubs where I can release additional investing tips that act as additional content to my primary product, an online investing education course,” explains Taylor about how they gather first-party data,” Taylor explains.

    “When I collect data from our information offers, I can then customize my marketing emails to specifically advertise to those individuals who communicated their interest by entering their email. Occasionally, if I want to run a far-reaching advertisement, I will use third-party intent data, such as investor demographics, to help build my target audience.”

    Types of Intent Data

    There are three types of intent data based on the data’s source. These are:

    • First-party intent data. Data that you gather straight from your target audience.
    • Second-party intent data. Data that another organization collects from its audience and sells to others.
    • Third-party intent data. Data gathered from data aggregators or companies that collect and sell data from other companies.

    The majority of experts, 60%, lean on internal data. Approximately 30% of respondents rely on all sources of intent data, including internal and second-party and third-party external data. Only one respondent shared they don’t use intent data.

    Types of Intent Data

    7 Tips for Leveraging B2B Intent Data in Your Marketing Strategy

    Now for some incredible, real-life ways to use intent data to improve your marketing and revenue generation.

    Here’s a quick list, followed by the details:

    1. Improve the ROI of your social media ad campaigns
    2. Boost conversions with personalized content and messaging
    3. Inform product development
    4. Improve your site navigation
    5. Personalize users’ website experience
    6. Segment your audience
    7. Match sales leads more accurately

    1. Improve the ROI of your social media ad campaigns

    The most effective social media marketing campaigns depend on how relevant they are to the audience. And the best way to be relevant? Knowing your audience inside out — something that intent data helps you with.

    At Atlanta’s Social Media Superstars, in particular, the team uses intent data to increase their ROI from investments made into social media advertising.

    Caitlin Cascade notes, “Intent data can be the make or break for a successful social media campaign. Due to the latest changes on social media network’s advertising from privacy advocates, many organizations have found that their campaigns aren’t as effective anymore.”

    “Overlaying intent data on top of providing social media targeting options is a great way for your ads to become significantly more effective once again,” Cascade advises.

    “Intent data is useful to providing your targeting with increased bidding budgets for those individuals more likely to actually convert, rather than only click. I have found that purchasing intent data, while costly, has made my organization’s social media advertising dollar bring far more results for every dollar spent. I wouldn’t consider running a social media ad campaign without it.”

    Related: 16 Ways To Measure Social Media Engagement Using Only Google Analytics

    2. Boost conversions with personalized content and messaging

    As a rule of thumb, the more personalized your content and messaging, the better it attracts, engages, and converts prospects.

    Thankfully, intent data helps with this. At Resolute Technology Solutions, for example, Colton De Vos shares, “We use intent data to increase conversions through customized messaging and content offers.”

    Here’s how they do it: “We’ve taken a deep dive in Google Analytics and Search Console to see what search queries people use to arrive at our site. Then, when possible, we’ve packaged up new content that meets those search queries”

    “For example, website visitors were searching for ‘templates’ and ‘walkthroughs’ in a particular service area. We added a downloadable PDF to the page and set up our website live chat with prompts specific to that service,” De Vos explains.

    “That way, we can guide the conversation by delivering site visitors exactly what they are looking for with the chance that they’ll engage with us further as they have questions and allowing for follow-up opportunities.”

    At Digimiles too, the team uses intent data to improve their content marketing. Says Mudassir Ahmed: “First off, we use Ahrefs to identify the topics our target group is looking for on search engines. The next step is establishing trust and credibility with our prospects by presenting them with relevant content.”

    “We use Hotjar to collect user behavior data on our website, blog, and sales landing pages and based on their level of purchase intent, we send them helpful and thought leadership material that helps them with the information they want,” Ahmed adds.

    “If they have strong purchase intent, we send them immediate solutions like a ‘free trial,’ ‘view plans,’ etc. The key is to be relevant to the prospects to drive maximum conversions.”

    Evelin Georgieva from Resolute Software talks about using intent data to improve their content marketing too. “We use intent data to get more insights on what’s the persona’s needs, interests, and goals.”

    “For example, we observe behavior on our website monthly. Having insights on what blog posts are interesting, what types of articles have performed well, what keywords people are using, what content and CTAs they are engaging with, or what is their user journey gives us the information we need to build the architecture of the website and the content strategy as well as to answer the needs and expectations,” Georgieva highlights.

    “This way, we know how to boost our marketing efforts — what articles to write, where to add CTAs, and how to warm up leads in the funnel.”

    Related: What’s the Right Content for Each Stage of Your Content Marketing Funnel? 40 Marketers Share Their Advice

    Note that the aim of content marketing is to provide helpful content that prospects are searching for in various stages of their buyer’s journey. Having your hands-on intent data helps you with this.

    For your audience that isn’t product-aware yet, you can use educational content for demand generation. For on-the-fence prospects, create and share middle-of-the-funnel content such as ‘Our tool versus Y tool’ pieces. And for leads that are ready to convert, create case studies to show how other businesses like them are using your product/service.

    3. Inform product development

    Another way to use intent data is by using it to understand which service or product offering your target audience is looking for. Then meet that need.

    Eric Quanstrom from CIENCE says they’ve used intent data for this very purpose.

    “We are so into intent data that we have developed our own tools: CIENCE GO Data is a third-party data intelligence platform that offers over 300 million lead records from all industries to its users, and CIENCE GO Show uses tracking pixel technology to generate a detailed profile of all your website visitors, perfect for first-party data collection,” writes Quanstrom.

    The CIENCE team, however, hasn’t been using intent data in one way only. Instead, they’ve been leveraging it in multiple ways to generate more revenue.

    Quanstrom elaborates, “Here at CIENCE, we firmly believe that intent data has the power to improve nurturing and personalization workflows to the next level. Our marketing reps work with it daily to integrate high-quality data into our remarketing campaigns, inbound content, and follow-up strategies.”

    Summarizing Quanstrom says, “Applied intent data insights have boosted our prospecting methods, improved our ROI, and enabled more organic account-based marketing campaigns, just to mention a few examples.”

    4. Improve your site navigation

    Considering a lot of conversions depend upon how easy to use a website is, leveraging intent data to improve site UX is crucial.

    PhotoAiD, Natalia Brzezinska shares they used Hotjar for this. “Hotjar is one of the tools we use to gather and analyze users’ intent data. It provides heatmaps and session recordings that help us understand how users interact with our website.” shares At.

    “Based on this data, we are able to make changes that improve the user experience and increase conversions,” explains Brzezinska.

    “One example is when we noticed that users were having difficulty finding the most popular products we sell — passport and visa photos for US citizens traveling abroad. The problem was that these products were not prominently displayed on the home page, and users were having to search for them,” Brzezinska observes.

    “We made a change to display these products more prominently on the home page, and as a result, we saw a significant increase in sales of these items. If we had not had access to the data provided by Hotjar, we would not have been able to make this change and improve our results.”

    5. Personalize users’ website experience

    Not only is it important to improve your website user experience but it’s also crucial you personalize that experience.

    “At Better Proposals, we use intent data to personalize our website experience for anonymous users,” reveals Adam Hempenstall from Better Proposals.  

    “Based on their activities and the pages they view, we can serve them customized content to motivate them to take a specific action. Mostly, we want visitors to identify themselves via a form fill so marketing and sales can either engage them… or do nothing… in case they’re just passing through.”

    Hempenstall also adds, “Lately, we began identifying potential customers who haven’t engaged with us yet. We use predictive analytics and marketing automation platforms to sift through social media feeds and G2Crowd to identify topics that are currently relevant.”

    Related: How Bonjoro Doubled Trial Conversions with Personalized Video

    6. Segment your audience to target them better

    You can also use intent data to divide your audience into various groups such as highly qualified leads, warm leads, and cold leads. In doing so, you can improve both your marketing and sales.

    “Having access to accurate intent data helps us zero in on highly qualified leads,” Milo Cruz of Freelance Writing Jobs points out.

    “Not everyone who interacts with our business is on an active buying journey, so it’s important that we’re able to filter our audience to make the best use of available resources,” Cruz notes.

    “With intent data, we can more easily identify the segments of our user base with the highest conversion potential. This makes it easier to optimize our marketing efforts for maximum ROI, including better ad messaging and targeting for our PPC campaigns and more impactful lead nurturing tactics.”

    Nolimitstiming’s Jeffrey Nelson also outlines they use intent data to segment their audience by their interest in purchasing.

    Says Nelson, “We use intent data to identify and understand prospects based on their digital behavioral pattern.”

    “For example, we are an online store offering sports and exercise products. Some potential customers come across our website, watch a video, subscribe to our newsletter, or download our catalog.

    All these activities show interest in purchasing sports and exercise products. It gives us an understanding of what the prospect is looking for, their interest, etc. This way, we can develop and stimulate the prospect’s profile and create a better marketing strategy to achieve better results.”

    7. Match sales leads more accurately

    “Intent data has helped us reduce much of our wasted time in two departments – marketing and sales,” admits Ruben Gamez of SignWell.

    “We use intent data to match our sales leads more accurately to their position in the funnel so we can send more qualified leads to the sales team. With higher quality leads, the sales team can spend more time trying to convert them with regular follow-ups via email and phone,” Gamez explains.

    “Since our B2B customers are looking for convenience, they don’t want to have to seek us out — these proactive sales moves have helped us boost our conversion rate by nearly 15%.”

    The takeaway? Intent data can help not only close deals fast but also helps you create a rich sales pipeline.

    Related: How Healthy is Your Sales Pipeline? 8 Strategies to Make It Stronger


    Stay on Top of Your Marketing Performance with Databox

    To recap, intent data helps personalize your audience’s experience with you — whether that’s their experience with your content, your product, or your website/app.

    Use this essential data to win more loyal customers. The first step, however, is to track your performance in marketing reporting software so you can review how your marketing campaigns are doing and what results they’re delivering.

    To this end, create an easy-to-read Databox dashboard that helps you stay on top of your marketing.

    The dashboard visualizes marketing metrics important to your business in a visually engaging screen that features the metrics in real-time.

    The best part? Creating a Databox dashboard doesn’t require much manual work from you. All you have to do is to plug your data sources in Databox and the tool will put together a dashboard for you.

    It’s then up to you to customize the dashboard as needed — change its data visualizations, go for different colors, and resize or reposition the blocks.

    Ready to up your marketing game by accurately tracking your performance? Sign up for Databox for free now and create your performance dashboard within minutes.

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    Masooma Memon

    Masooma is a freelance writer for SaaS and a lover to-do lists. When she's not writing, she usually has her head buried in a business book or fantasy novel.

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