According to McKinsey, 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions.
And 76% get frustrated when this doesn’t happen.
Modern buyers have come to expect—no, crave—personalized experiences in their buying journeys. Being able to meet those expectations could mean gaining an edge over the competition, creating more deals in less time.
One way to gain that edge is through buyer-level intent data.
But capturing the data you need can be challenging enough.
Actioning it without a strategy can be even harder.
In this post, we’ll explore how B2B sales professionals can harness the power of intent data without crossing ethical boundaries.
The Man Who Knew Too Much
Before we go on, we need to acknowledge the elephant in the room.
But there’s a catch to this data.
If it’s not used correctly, some people might interpret intent data as being…creepy.
Granted, you’re not picking through prospect’s trash (right?) or following them every time they get in their cars (stalker) – but people still have hang-ups when it comes to technology that seems too good to be true.
While we, collectively, know that it’s not, (rather, it’s simply an aggregation of data that helps sellers engage the most invested that accelerates sales outcomes) it’s still a major issue for some.
For example, NetLine’s INTENTIVE platform is powered by first-party data.
This means that the information that we have on prospects was willingly shared with us. There shouldn’t be any surprises.
Still, this is a caveat that needs to be addressed.
With this acknowledged, let’s get to the good stuff.
How to Use Buyer Intent Data Without Being a Creep
Intent data is like a double-edged sword.
Some wield it masterfully. Others swing it recklessly. (See the section above.)
The key lies in how you approach your prospects.
Instead of bombarding prospects with generic messages, start by acknowledging their interest.
For instance, if a target buyer registers for your content, begin your conversation by thanking them and asking if they have upcoming projects related to the content topic.
“Hey, Mark! Thanks very much for requesting How to Not Be a B2B Creep! I hope you’re enjoying it and please let me know if you have any questions.”
A message that’s short, sweet, and to the point shows that you value their time and interest.
This is precisely how our own sales team is using buyer intent data.
They were even kind enough to share more of what’s needed to use intent data effectively.
The Importance of Personalization
“I made this just for you!”
How awesome does that make someone feel? We already know the answer.
Research from Epsilon shared that the appeal for personalization is high. Very high.
- 80% of its respondents indicated they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences
- 90% indicated they find personalization appealing
Essentially, those who WANT to hear from you want to get personal.
The same applies to our work in #B2B.
Not every prospect is the same, and their pain points vary.
Whether you’re speaking to a CMO or a Director of Marketing, tailor your conversation to their specific needs and interests. For example, C-level executives are fixated on the bottom line. Focus on revenue impact and the bottom line.
Marketing professionals must delve into engagement, conversions, and outcomes—basically, anything they need to be assured that they’re providing everything sales needs to succeed.
The key is to make every interaction about them, not you.
Breakdown the Silos
Using buyer intent data correctly goes beyond your own efforts.
To gain a comprehensive view of your prospects, make sure you work with your marketing, product development, and client services departments.
By pooling insights and expertise, you can deliver a more holistic and impactful experience to your prospects.
This type of knowledge sharing is a powerful way to refine your outreach strategy and ensures that every interaction adds value to the buyer’s journey.
Plus, who knows – there might be context you’re missing that one of your colleagues can shine a light on.
Sharing is caring. Don’t keep the data to yourself.
The Art of Nurturing Relationships
In B2B, relationships matter—a lot.
By building a rapport and placing the customer at the center of your interactions, you can create a customer-centric experience that fosters trust and loyalty.
As consumers in the B2C world, our affinities and loyalties to a given brand might seem strong. But these connections are mostly transactional.
For example, if you can get the same name brand shoe from Amazon for $19 cheaper than you could at another name brand outlet, guess which seller will get your business.
B2B transactions get much deeper.
The sales cycles are longer because the deals are more complex. There are more questions to be asked across entire organizations. But ultimately, you’ll likely make a final decision based on who you like more.
It’s irrationally rational.
Rather than adhering to a rigid, one-size-fits-all outreach process, focus on nurturing relationships at every step. Reference past conversations, show genuine interest, and consistently provide value.
Transparency is Key
Transparency is the linchpin of ethical intent data usage.
People are quite likely to ask:
“Hey, how do you know this about me?”
“Where did you get this?”
When reaching out to prospects, it’s crucial to phrase all of your communication with the impression that you haven’t been eavesdropping on their private conversations.
Because you haven’t!
Instead, approach them with open-ended questions, seek feedback, and actively listen.
By doing so, you’ll convey that you respect their privacy and are genuinely interested in their success. Transparency fosters trust, which is essential in B2B relationships.
The Pitfalls of Overzealous Outreach
Buyer intent data can be a game-changer.
Despite its power, it’s essential to avoid overzealous outreach tactics.
Sometimes, the excitement of having valuable data at your fingertips can lead to misguided actions.
For instance, promising extravagant incentives for a meeting might yield short-term success but damage your brand and relationships in the long run.
Remember, success in B2B is not solely about numbers; it’s about sustainable, ethical practices that build lasting partnerships.
Using Intent Data Responsibly Can Yield Big Results
Buyer-level intent data offers valuable insights but must be handled with care.
Avoid the “creepy” factor by emphasizing the “who” in your conversations. Understand your prospect’s journey, pain points, and readiness.
Construct your dialogue around their needs, demonstrating your genuine interest in helping them achieve their objectives.
It’s not about tracking your prospect’s every move—it’s about understanding their needs and crafting personalized, valuable interactions.
By putting the customer at the center of your approach, nurturing relationships, and collaborating internally, you can use intent data to improve meeting rates and bookings without ever crossing the line into the realm of “creepy” sales tactics.
Remember: Ethical sales practices are not only more sustainable but also more effective in the long run.
Here’s to ethical buyer intent data!