Intent Data: Its Value to Sales, Channel, Marketing and Business Development Teams

By Saurabh Rastogi, Chief Product Officer, BNZSA

Intent data, ideally enriched with technographic, firmographic and trigger insight, has widespread applications across the broad demand generation machine. Earlier this year, BNZSA launched our Intent Activation Engine to ensure that we and our clients can fully leverage these insights.

Here I look at how Sales, Channel, Business Development and Marketing teams can improve their effectiveness and enhance business results by leveraging rich intent insights. This is based on my experience leading data and predictive intelligence programmes at Oracle across EMEA as well as with a number of BNZSA clients.

Sales                  

Many sales reps have changing or evolving territories assigned to accounts they might be initially unfamiliar with.

A rep with, say, 40 accounts typically focuses heavily on two to four accounts to make their targets. The rest can be largely unknown or ignored.

Intent insight can act as a filter on all 40 accounts on an on-going basis and proactively identify the best account opportunities at any point in time. Reps can then leverage the broader sales support machine – business development, marketing, partners etc. – to nurture and develop these accounts until they are ready to progress to the opportunity stage. This leads to responsible and effective territory management which drives improved sales productivity.

Reps can also set up programmatic intent alerts on key accounts so they are on top of the evolving requirements within these accounts.

As proof, an Oracle rep told me, “I’m more successful now because I prioritise and focus on the accounts in my territory that I know are at the right stage of need and maturity. I know what to position and who to talk to”.

Channel

The Channel problem is the sales problem amplified. ISVs/vendors and partner organisations tend to be small with a relatively unsophisticated level of demand generation. They also have relatively large market segments to cover. Demand generation is largely sales-driven and advanced segmentation is usually not on offer. Intent filtered Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) accounts, with topics to discuss – augmented by rich firmographic and technographic data – makes the channel much more effective. Reps working the channel can now be laser focussed on a limited number of accounts for the best conversion. This data can be either sourced directly or indirectly provided through the larger product organisation.

Business Development

All of the out-bound campaigns executed by business development groups need quality account lists as a starting point. Historically this has been primarily firmographic data, which has contributed to campaign inefficiencies and indifferent results. For various out-bound campaigns at Oracle, I saw an uplift of three to five times when campaign lists were selected using intent. More leads were generated, lead-to-opportunity and opportunity-to-close conversion rates were better, deal size was larger and the time to close was shorter. All campaigns can be supported programmatically so that data driven account selection becomes the business norm.

Marketing and Advertising

For advertising the use case is quite direct by deploying intent signals for specific topics to target accounts digitally or on social media. This can be done programmatically, so digital targeting always leverages dynamic intent data.

For marketing, intent-based segmentation can help to identify the best accounts for event and webinar engagements and focussing on engaging these across the business, rather than to cast a wider net with inferior results. Account Based Marketing (ABM) can leverage intent insights on focussed key accounts to develop ABM plans, prioritise accounts and allocate budget. For the first time, marketing can bring data-based insights to Key Account leaders and have an account-specific viewpoint rather than rely entirely on inputs from sales.

Intent insights can also be used to inform topics for content development which can be used for campaigns, website, SOMO and sales outreach.

In summary, intent data enables all elements of the marketing and sales process to effectively align internally, to focus effort where and when it is best applied to deliver measurably improved results.