At 6sense, intent data is a core strength that we highlight as a consistent game-changer for B2B sellers. By harnessing the power of artificial intelligence and intent to spot accounts that are actively searching for solutions, you can massively lift sales velocity, deal flow, and ROI.
However, intent data has its limitations. It only captures potential customers that are already in-market. It doesn’t capture details about companies that are primed to buy but haven’t started their buying journeys quite yet.
These customers are ideal targets for brand awareness campaigns — but first you have to be aware of who they are.
That’s where pre-intent data comes in. AI can spot intent signals that indicate when companies are likely to be receptive to your offerings. With a little nudge, you can set them on a buying journey.
Pre-intent data uncovers more revenue opportunities by empowering sellers and marketers to create and shape demand. By combining historical information about your company’s past deals with key characteristics of buyers, you can find potential fits for your services that were previously flying under the radar.
Let’s take a more detailed look at the differences between intent and pre-intent data, and how pre-intent data helps your teams capture every revenue opportunity.
The Differences Between Intent and Pre-intent Data
Intent Data Reveals a Buyer’s Activities
Intent data reveals the behaviors and activities of potential customers that are in-market for your services — meaning they are actively searching for solutions. Because so much of the buying journey now happens anonymously, sales and marketing teams are often left in the dark about which prospects are ready to buy. Intent data shines a bright light on those prospects so you can focus on them.
Intent data can be broken down into three different categories: first-party, second-party, and third-party. Collecting information across those three segments gives you a clear picture of a buyer that is actively researching topics related to your business.
Here’s what is encompassed in the different types of intent data:
- First-party: Channels owned by your organization. This includes your website, email marketing, sales engagement, events, and other resources that you control. This data will generally be tracked through platforms like a CRM and MAP.
- Second-party: The sites that you don’t own, but which discuss your company and products. For example, sites like TrustRadius and G2 offer users the ability to compare and review different services, and can provide a rich source of information about which companies are comparison shopping.
- Third-party: The activities and research being done elsewhere on the internet that signal a buyer’s interest in products or services like yours.
Intent data helps you spot sales opportunities you would otherwise never know existed. The vast majority of buyers either never visit your site or never fill out your form. Only roughly 3% of website visitors fill out a form, instead preferring to perform research anonymously. Intent data fills in the missing puzzle pieces to reveal who a buyer is, what they’re interested in, and how much they engage with your brand.
Intent data is also valuable because it allows you to reach potential customers early in their buying process. If you don’t know a prospect has started their buying journey, you forfeit your opportunity to influence them until they choose to reach out to you — if they choose to reach out to you. By then, other sellers may have shaped the buyers’ mindset, putting you at a severe disadvantage.
Pre-intent Data Finds Your Perfect Fit Buyers Before They’re In-Market
Whereas intent data uncovers buyers who are actively in-market and looking for a solution, pre-intent data is used to discover which accounts are likely to be on the hunt for your services in the future.
Your revenue team has probably already defined an ideal-customer profile (ICP) — a list of attributes that indicate when an account is a good fit for your solution. Things like number of employees, annual revenue, location, and industry are used to create a list of companies that match those criteria.
Pre-intent data takes an ICP to the next level by incorporating historical context plus more insightful information about your potential buyers.
Pre-intent data incorporates the following types of information:
- Technographic: The technology a business uses, revealing possible synergies between your products and their tech stack.
- Psychographic: AI can pick up on trends about your buyers across thousands of different data points and reveal their unique characteristics.
- Market updates: New rounds of funding, acquisitions, hiring sprees, or new product launches can all indicate that an account has a budget and need for your services.
All of this information acts like a spotlight to reveal the buyers and accounts who might soon be in the market for your products or services, and lets you get a jump by building brand awareness with these accounts while your competition is still in the dark.
Pre-intent data is an incredibly powerful tool that can help you identify demand before it exists and optimize your efforts so you’re ready to capture the demand once buyers begin their journey.
Intent data is a powerful tool that reveals which of your buyers (or even new ones you weren’t aware of) are currently in-market for your services.
Pre-intent data examines a step earlier in the process to reveal which accounts and buyers might be a good fit for your business based on their unique characteristics and your historical deals.
Combining these sets of insights allows you to own the entire buying process from the most nascent stages, to early in the buyer’s journey, all the way to the signature on the bottom line.