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The Buyer Intent Playbook: How to Make the Most of Intent Data

July 8, 2021

how to use buyer intent data

Quick - jot down everything you know about your prospective buyers. 

You probably know which industry they work in and have an idea of their job title. Your existing customer database might even help shed some light on potential buyer behavior. But beyond the basics, do you know what your buyers are specifically searching for and comparing you against?

If your answer is no, then you should be incorporating buyer intent data into your sales process. 

Buyer intent data helps companies identify in-market buyers and collect important insights into the buying process. This data also helps teams establish qualified prospects so they can be quick to engage with prospective buyers. 

In this playbook, you’ll learn how to get buyer intent in front of your revenue teams, ways to make sense of the data, and practical tips for putting buyer intent to work in your organization. 

How to use buyer intent data

The goal of this playbook is to learn the three I's of buyer intent:

  • Integrate: The best approaches for getting buyer intent in the hands of your sales reps
  • Interpret: Recommendations for interpreting intent at each point in the sales cycle
  • Inspire: Content and resource ideas that you can produce to support your revenue teams

What is buyer intent?

Buyer intent is a set of signals or data points collected to indicate if someone is in the market to buy from you and where they are in the process. There are various types of tools that capture research around actual buyer journeys and signals of their purchase intent. 

The goal is to use this information to help drive efficiency in the sales process and ultimately gain more revenue by taking the guesswork out of understanding a specific buyer’s purchasing intent. Buyer intent aims to provide you with data to help you reach out to a potential customer at the perfect time with the perfect messaging.

This playbook will focus on how to use buyer intent throughout two parts of the sales cycle: the prospecting and closing phases.

  • Prospecting: The goal of this phase is to utilize buyer intent to book meetings with buyers who likely don’t know who you are and qualify those prospects.
  • Closing: The goal of this phase is to utilize buyer intent to showcase your product to qualified prospects, overcome potential objections, and close deals.

Types of buyer intent

As a sales or marketing leader, you’re likely already using buyer intent in some capacity. Marketers often use buyer intent data to drive marketing campaigns. Sales teams utilize intent data throughout the sales funnel to reach out to prospective buyers.

Buyer intent data can be sourced from various sources that fall under the following categories:

  • First-party: Data collected by you through your own digital properties, including website visits, email interactions, content downloads, and form fills. 
  • Second-party: Data collected from another company’s first-party data, which is then purchased for use by you. 
  • Third-party: Data collected from activities, events, and intelligence across multiple sources, aside from your website.

All of these data points, from first- to third-party data, help signal an intent to purchase. The secret weapon to buyer intent is how you incorporate this data into your sales playbook. 

G2 Buyer Intent Signals

Buyers on G2 are doing a lot of research. G2 Buyer Intent data helps you understand their journey. 

G2’s buyer intent is the most powerful data on the market. Buyer intent data tells you the companies currently viewing and comparing your G2 profile so you can nail your outreach. Learn which companies are researching your product, category, and competitors on G2 - then find the right person at those companies to contact. 

Below are the types of buyer intent signals captured on G2:

  • G2 Profile Visits: A buyer visits your profile page on G2
  • Sponsored Content Visits: A buyer visits a competitor page that’s displaying sponsored content
  • Category Page Visits: A buyer visits a category page on G2
  • Competitor Page Visits: A buyer runs a comparison between you and other vendors
  • Alternative Page Visits: A buyer looks for alternatives to your solution or you are an alternative for another vendor

All of these signals provide critical information to every part of your organization. Marketers utilize this data to personalize and target messaging. Customer success teams use it to keep customers who may be researching alternatives. And for sales, buyer intent data helps drive efficiency and revenue. 

54%

of buyers say that the B2B purchasing cycle is getting longer.

Source: DialogTech

Integrating buyer intent data in the sales cycle

Buyer intent data is invaluable to sales teams. When incorporated into your sales cycle and playbook, intent data can help you get your product into the hands of buyers more quickly and effectively. 

Therefore, you need to meet your sales team where they are and make it easy for reps to access and utilize your buyer intent data. 

So how do you get valuable buyer intent data in front of your reps? There are a handful of ways you can make the process seamless:

  • On account records: Directly within CRM tools, such as Salesforce
  • Direct notifications: Through messaging channels, such as Slack or email
  • Pre-set cadences by scenario: In sales engagement tools, such as SalesLoft or Outreach
  • Weekly reports: Send round-ups directly to reps via CSV files or from tools like Salesforce

The key is to make sure intent data is accessible wherever your reps live day-to-day. The more accessible this information is, the more likely your reps are to incorporate it into their playbook. 

Interpreting buyer intent throughout the sales cycle

Now that you know how to get intent data in front of your sales team, you need to know how to map and leverage it - from the prospecting phase to closing the deal. To do this, you need to first understand the buyer mindset at each phase. 

Prospecting and qualifying

During the prospecting phase, buyers have realized they have a problem that needs to be solved and start to explore and research potential solutions. Sales teams often make the mistake of focusing on why their product is superior to others at this stage, but keep in mind that might not be where the buyer is on their journey.  At this point, competitive differentiators are likely not even on the buyer’s mind. 

Focus on offering support at this stage. Research your prospect’s business and find ways to stand out during outreach to book a meeting. 

Tip: G2 Category Signals will let you know who is visiting your category page.

Proposal, negotiation, and closing

The buyer’s mindset has shifted quite a bit by the time you reach proposal and negotiation. At this point, the buyer is committed to spending a lot of money and wants assurance that they’re making the right decision.

The buyer has likely short-listed their options and is seriously vetting and comparing possible solutions. They’re focused on finding the best fit for their problem and business.

To win the buyer, you must dig into value propositions, highlight differentiators, and overcome objections. Remember, you want to make it easier for them to buy, not harder. Focus on earning their business - don’t just try to close the deal.

Tip: G2 Comparison Page Signals tell you when buyers run a comparison between your product and up to four other products.

Inspiring your team to use buyer intent

Buyer intent data isn’t just useful for finding the right prospects. It can also be used to help you craft highly targeted messages to those buyers that will influence purchase decisions. 

Below are various campaigns, content, and resource ideas you can produce to support your revenue teams at all stages of the sales cycle.

Crafting messages for prospective buyers

During prospecting and qualifying, your messaging should reflect your knowledge of the buyer’s business and the problem at hand. The right messaging at this stage will help position you as a trusted advisor. 

Subject: How to find the best [solution]

Hi  [First Name],

I know companies like [Prospect Company] struggle with [pain point]. I read an interesting article that speaks to [pain point]: (link to thought leadership piece). 

[Company Name] can help you with [pain point] but don’t listen to me!  [Name], a fellow [title]  at [company],  left us a review about their experience with our product: [insert review text]. 

Are you available [insert date] to discuss how [Company Name] might be able to do the same for [Prospect Company]?

The above email example acknowledges the prospective buyer’s problem, highlights a customer similar to the prospect, and opens the door for further discussion. All of these factors are in line with where the buyer is in their journey, making the message even more impactful.

Other resources helpful during the prospecting and qualifying stage include:

  • Category landscape information: Third-party reports, best in software lists, blogs, white papers, and similar assets 
  • Relevant customer stories: User reviews, testimonials, customer videos, and mini case studies 
  • Pre-set cadences by scenario: SalesLoft, Outreach, or other sales outreach tools
  • Marketing air cover: LinkedIn Matched Audiences campaigns, re-targeting, and simplified nurture campaigns 

68%

of B2B prospects are lost because of indifference or perceived apathy, not because of mistakes.

Source: Gallup

Creating messages to close the deal

The negotiation stage is all about building trust and speeding up the sales cycle so buyers can make confident decisions. Your messaging must be closely aligned with the buyer’s core needs and values. This means you must confront more uncomfortable topics, such as acknowledging your competitors head-on. 

Subject: [Company Name] vs. [Insert Competitor] - How do you decide?

Hi [First Name],

It’s no surprise that [Company Name] and  [Insert Competitor]  are the two most commonly-known vendors in the [Category Name] space, but when it comes down to making a decision on which one is best for [Prospect Company], it’s important to have the full story.

Wish you could hear from their customers? Well, good news - you can! Our customers come to G2.com to report their unbiased and honest opinions of why they picked [Company Name]: {INSERT REFERENCE PAGE}. 

This email shows prospective buyers that you are transparent and trustable. Don’t be afraid to talk about your competition. You already know the buyer has looked into other solutions, so don’t be afraid to acknowledge them. 

Other resources helpful during proposal, negotiation, and closing include:

  • Relevant customer stories: Share testimonials, reviews, customer videos, and traditional case studies
  • Competitive landscape info: Comparison reports, comparison landing pages, and prepared differentiation talking points
  • References: Traditional reference calls or reference pages
  • Marketing air cover: Email or retargeting with G2 Best Software badges, thought leadership access, and upcoming events 

Swap intent signals for sales

It’s not a question of why sales teams need buyer intent, but rather a question of how they should utilize it. 

Buyer intent has the power to completely change the way sales teams approach buyers. But if you want to reap the benefits of buyer intent data, you need to first get into the hands of your sales reps and enhance their processes. 

Knowing how to capitalize on intent signals at every stage of the sales cycle will make the process quicker and more effective. 

Learn how to use Buyer Intent to enable your reps to book more qualified meetings, close deals more efficiently, and stop churn in its tracks from experts Megan Miedema (G2) and Maggie Taylor Aherne (KickFire). Be sure to check out our webinar Rev Up Your Rev Org.

buyer intent data
Sell smarter. Close faster.

G2 Buyer Intent Data connects you with prospects actively researching your product and competitors.

buyer intent data
Sell smarter. Close faster.

G2 Buyer Intent Data connects you with prospects actively researching your product and competitors.

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