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3 Reasons Why Intent Data Is Not Enough

Oct 20, 2022
Photo of Cody BernardCody Bernard

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(And How To Really Know When Someone Is Ready To Buy)

How do you know when you’re ready to buy?

Think about the last time you bought something. I’m talking about tickets to the big game or maybe a trip somewhere new (not a pack a gum at the store ).

For anything that makes you think twice about opening your wallet, you probably do some research like going to a website or looking at reviews. But even then, you might not be ready. Because the truth is, it’s never that simple. There needs to be a driver behind how and when you buy.

It’s the same in business.

You’re ready to buy when the problem you have becomes big enough that you’re willing to throw money at it to get it fixed. Money can also be time or resources. So over the last few years, we’ve seen sales and marketing teams use intent data as a go to indicator to identify which accounts are most likely to buy, and then going all in on closing them.

The problem is that intent data only tells us that someone is researching or interested in a certain topic. Not that they’re ready to engage in a sales cycle. Don’t get me wrong, intent data is very useful in figuring out behavior throughout the buyer journey or referencing certain topics in your outreach. But only looking at intent data can send you down a path of prioritizing the wrong accounts and wasting your time.

Here are 3 reasons why

The intent could be from the wrong persona.

Targeting the right people is key to moving a deal forward. For example, the person that expressed intent could be an intern doing research or someone in marketing trying to understand a buzzword. This person may not have the power to make a buying decision or even understand the problem your product solves.

Interest can also be fleeting and temporary. Just because someone is interested in a certain topic now, doesn’t mean they’ll actually follow through with purchasing something related to it. They could simply be gathering information for their own personal knowledge.

The intent does not reflect budget or timing.

Even if the intent signals are coming from the right persona within an account, there may be a lack of budget or other roadblocks. For example it could be a consulting company trying to learn about your product rather than actually someone interested in buying.

Also, interest does not always reflect timing. Timing is crucial for purchasing decisions. Maybe a company has expressed intent in the past but their priorities have shifted and they’re no longer interested.

The intent might not even exist.

Let’s say you’re pioneering a new category or breaking into a new region. Interest in your product or service doesn’t always just exist, ready for you to capitalize on. Often times, you need to create it which takes time, money, and resources.

The reality is that intent data has its limitations and shouldn’t be relied upon as the only indicator for sales readiness.

So what should you be looking for?

A new way to know if someone is ready to buy.

Sales and marketing teams need to look for stronger buying signals than just intent data. A few key drivers behind real buying behavior include:

  1. Pain indicators: Most successful products are those that solve a particular pain for their buyers, and pain indicators can give a seller a great opportunity to position their solution. For example, accounts hiring for customer support or escalations management could indicate customer service pain points that you can highlight in your outreach.

  2. Budget and resource allocation: Many companies are very public about their new project plans and showcasing large initiatives. You can find this in blogs, press releases or even job postings. Accounts actively funding new projects are more likely to buy than those passively researching.

  3. Decision-making authority: Sometimes the strategic focus you’re looking for is embodied in key people in positions of authority to make bets. Presence of these types of decision makers adds the next level of potential to any “interest” type of activity.

  4. Adjacent technologies: Knowing which products solve adjacent problems is a huge advantage. For example, let’s say you sell cloud migration software and you’re targeting businesses that are looking to make a move to the cloud. Wouldn’t it be helpful to know which companies today are still on-prem? Of course it would.

It’s time for sales and marketing teams to turn on the light and stop searching in the dark. Traditional intent is only one of the signals you should be looking for. But imagine if you could do a lookup of all the accounts that meet your pain, budget, decision maker and adjacent technology criteria. The use of all of these buying signals to prioritize which accounts to go after will help sales and marketing teams drive higher quality pipeline and bring in more deals.

Ready to fill your pipeline with the right opportunities?