Intent Data Astronaut Training: 103

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Navigate intent data by mastering the stages your buyers are moving through on their journey towards conversion. Intent tiers help marketing pass only the most qualified leads to sales, and then watch their close rates skyrocket!

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away… (Umm… actually, it was a week ago, and it was on our blog, but c’mon… a campy Star Wars reference is hard to resist ;). Anyways, we explored a corner of the Intent Universe, Fit+Intent, underlining how mission critical it is to include fit data when analyzing intent, so marketing doesn’t qualify a lead before it’s actually ready to buy.

But intention to buy can mean a lot of things. Are we talking “approaching-the-landing-pad”, or are they “still-orbiting-the-atmosphere”? That’s a considerable difference for a sales rep.

On one hand, you have a consumer ready to spend. The other is still searching for more information or answers to questions. Sorting your accounts into the various tiers of a buyer’s intention, can help sales and marketing teams skyrocket.

‘Tiers’ of the sun

(Well, in our case, not really “of” the sun… more like “from”, but we couldn’t resist that cringe-worthy movie reference either ;-).

Ahh, we digress. So, back to B2B data analytics… Think of intent tiers like concentric rings around the sun: the closer you are to the center, the hotter things get.

Each ring, or tier represents a step your prospect is taking to get closer to being decision-ready.

Once you understand your customer’s tiers (or stages) of buying intent, you can develop a marketing strategy that puts your dollars to work where they’re likeliest to pay off.

Marketing and sales funnels are nothing new. They’re even being replaced by a more customer-centric model. You may hear them referred to in various synonymous terms, including Awareness-Consideration-Decision, and or HubSpot’s well-known Attract-Engage-Convert-…(which is now)…-Delight model.

In each case, you’re basically reviewing search behaviors, patterns and terms and trying to identify trends that show you when target accounts are showing signals they’re ready for sales to engage (and perhaps equally important, when they’re NOT ready yet).

Measuring B2C intent is more straight-forward than B2B intent. That’s because with an organizational decision, there are often many people in various roles that research, evaluate, and decide based on several different factors.

With account-based marketing (ABM), identifying the constellations between intent, fit and the tiers in a buyer’s decision making process can get complex quickly. Now that you have an understanding of intent tiers, let’s explore the categories of each:


INTENT TIER #3: Outer Limits

When an organization identifies a new problem or takes on a new strategic direction, they typically start searching around to educate themselves more on the challenges, or at least to connect with others experiencing a similar scenario.

This can be considered the outermost ring, where the colder leads hang out near cold planets like Neptune and Pluto. In this frigid tier, it’s all about marketing nurturing and education, as consumer search phrases typically include ancillary terms, or ones that are fairly open ended and serve to gather knowledge about a particular topic.

Sometimes at this stage, searchers don’t even know they have a problem yet, they are typically conducting general research about broader issues.

INTENT TIER #2: Middle Ring

As a team continues browsing, they warm up and move into the second tier, where they are learning more about the problem and potential solutions. They are moving closer towards a decision point, but not quite ready to take the plunge.

At this point, you will notice general keywords and industry terms, as the buyer becomes more aware of the problem at hand, and different options available. You may also notice comparison-based searches, as they begin to consider alternative paths to take.

INTENT TIER #1: Inner Circle

When you start to see search terms on your company name, your competitors, and products you offer, then you know you’re approaching the hot spot, enjoying much warmer planets like Earth, Mercury and Venus.

This is prime-time to engage your sales team and pass them a white hot MQL (marketing-qualified lead) that is ready for follow-up.

Pinpoint ideal companies that are signaling ready-to-buy through their search patterns

Accounts closest to the decision point have the highest-close probability to close decision, so it only makes sense for marketing to continue nurturing and following that lead until they’re ready to engage with sales. And all along the way, the relationship between a prospective account and your brand has been cultivated through various, perfectly-timed online engagement properties.

You tell us! What’s your experience with intent tiers and buyer stages? How do you organize your buyer’s journey when it comes to analyzing their intent? Comment below, we’d love to hear from you.

If you need help discover companies that are actively researching your solution, check out this free Intent Assessment, which shows you who to target, why they’re a good fit and when they’re in the market for your products or services.

And be sure to watch this blog for our next Intent Data Astronaut Training Course, where we’ll provide an Intent Data Pre-Launch Checklist. We like to think it’s pretty #bookmarkworthy. 🙂

Download the Intent Data Universe e-BookIntent-Data-Universe-eBook-Cover

Learn what intent data is (and isn’t), and how to make it work for you

The team at EverString created this eBook to help you understand what intent data is, when to pair it with fit data, and how to use it as part of a successful and high-yield engagement strategy.

Get your copy of the Intent Data Universe eBook >>

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