It’s hard to find many yes-or-no emotional states and decisions in people. When you ask someone, “Do you like Burmese food?” or “Is Taylor Swift’s album any good?” it’s usually a little complicated.
“Well, most of the time I don’t like that food, but once in a while, I don’t hate it.”
“I didn’t like most of her album, but I actually liked that one song.”
This is how it goes with prospects and buying signals. “Do you want to buy this?” “Well, I want to, but. . .” “I know we need it, but. . .”
The bottom line, is they want to buy, but it’s not just a simple yes-or-no answer.
There are degrees of their buying Intent.
When a prospect is interested in your product or solution, they haven’t committed to actually making a purchase. They have to do research, look for information, compare capabilities, and make a decision. Sometimes they’ll buy your product, sometimes they’ll buy a competitor’s product, and sometimes they’ll decide they don’t actually need the product at all. Or can’t afford it.
There are ways to measure and classify prospects and their level of buying Intent. In fact, it’s something we just released to the EverString platform, and we’re absolutely thrilled about it.
Discover companies actively researching your solution. Take a customized intent assessment.
When we calculate an Intent score, we look at the many different Intent topics that are surging, and calculate a score based on that. With each of our customers, we recommend they break up their topics and priorities into three tiers. Wherever your prospects fit will tell you what your reaction should be and how you should prioritize them.
These are the very best topics, the ones that relate to your company the most. They’re the ones you cover in your marketing and education, the ones your competitors focus on.
If you sell large scale commercial HVAC systems, and a building manager is doing research on the performance of new HVAC systems or researching how to replace old systems, that’s a Tier One Intent, because that topic is related specifically to what you do.
By identifying the Tier One Intent, salespeople can clearly identify which prospects are so deep in the sales funnel, they should essentially drop everything they’re doing to call each of these accounts.
These topics are anything corollary or tangential to your company’s primary categories. They indicate prospects that are good, but are not necessarily someone you would drop everything for immediately.
For example, the commercial building manager looking for “reducing cooling and heating costs” or “energy-efficient commercial buildings,” might be a good fit because your HVAC services can still help with their needs. They’re someone to offer your white paper on how new HVAC systems can improve energy efficiency, or maybe a free consultation on their HVAC performance.
But don’t assume Tier Two search topics are an indication of a lower Intent prospect. Sometimes someone searching for three or four Tier Two topics can indicate someone at the Tier One level. These searches can indicate someone is looking for something similar to what you do, but they don’t have the business knowledge or industry vocabulary to understand it at that moment, so they get to your company through a less obvious path.
That means this is your chance to educate and guide the prospect, and teach them about their chosen topic. That makes you a valuable resource and ally to that prospect, which puts you in a better position to reach them when they increase their Intent.
Tier three topics are anything that simply add color to a prospect’s search; it could be interesting to know that a prospect is researching them.
For example, the corporate building manager might be looking at “green roof technology” and “Low-E windows.” It’s not something you offer through your corporate HVAC company, but it does tell you that the prospect is looking to save money or improve their building’s efficiency. This could inspire you to create additional content that would educate building managers with similar concerns.
For EverString, when we see a prospect surging on account-based marketing (ABM) solutions on its own, that might not trigger our attention. But someone who is searching for ABM and is researching one of our competitors, that can give us a better idea on what that prospect is looking for.
Maybe we should pay closer attention to them, or maybe they’re looking for something completely different. But at least we can know if they’re about to enter our sphere of influence, and we can get a more holistic view of what they’re trying to do. This gives us the opportunity to show them the kinds of resources they want, as well as complementary resources and solutions.
How to Understand Intent
So if a prospect is looking for “marketing add-ons for CRMs” and surges on topics like “Salesforce” and “email marketing,” an EverString user would (hopefully) understand that while none of these terms are perfect, when they’re combined, it means the prospect uses Salesforce as their CRM and they want an email marketing tool that easily integrates with it.
That means each of these terms on their own probably aren’t super valuable. Someone searching for “email marketing” is not doing a definite, yes-or-no search for email marketing solutions. Instead, when you combine that with other search terms, you can get a better picture of what’s going on inside the business and what their Intent actually is.
If you’re interested in learning more about Intent, and what it can mean for your marketing and sales teams, request a free intent assessment.