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The Buyer Intent Playbook: How Marketers Can Utilize Intent Data

September 2, 2021

The Buyer Intent Playbook How Marketers can Utilize Intent Data

Fact or myth: Great products don’t need marketing. 

Myth. While having a great product is undoubtedly important, nothing sells itself. This is especially true in today’s world where consumers are overwhelmed with online resources and presented with seemingly endless buying options.

Sixty-seven percent of the buyer’s journey is done digitally. To rise above the noise, your product has to address particular needs, provide benefits beyond the expected solutions, and establish trust between you and the buyer. Furthermore, your marketing team must effectively communicate all of this to your target audience.

The problem is, marketers have a lot on their plate. In 2021, the top marketing priorities for companies across the globe include increasing lead generation, the number of closed deals, customer satisfaction, brand awareness, and customer retention rates - a lot of pressure to put on one team.

But there is something that can help tackle all of those initiatives: buyer intent data

Intent data collects signals and data points from various sources to help you understand where a buyer is in the purchasing process, and whether they intend to buy from you. Better yet, the intent signals collected from this data can support marketing efforts from the top all the way to the bottom of the funnel. 

Your customers are utilizing online channels to make purchase decisions, and you should also leverage these platforms to gain critical insights into your buyers’ intent.

The role of intent data in marketing

In this playbook, you’ll learn how to leverage buyer intent data for:

  • Growth marketers to drive demand generation
  • Product marketers to craft personalized messaging
  • Customer marketers to increase account loyalty

Using buyer intent data to drive your marketing strategy

On the surface, the practice of marketing is about promoting and selling products and services. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find that marketers also have to learn to develop messaging that resonates with the customer while maintaining the integrity of their brand’s voice and core values. Needless to say, it’s not an easy task. 

So how can you create successful campaigns that speak directly to the needs of your audience? By understanding your buyer’s intent

Intent-based marketing focuses on crafting initiatives based on the buyer’s specific actions or behaviors. Buyers who show intent to purchase, whether explicitly or not, provide marketers an opportunity to guide them further down the sales funnel. 

But intent marketing isn’t just about knowing who to market to, but rather how you should speak to them based on their behaviors. This is especially important for B2B marketers, who find themselves needing to personalize their content to more than one decision-maker at a time. 

63%

of teams are composed of at least three decision-makers.

Source: Marketing Charts

Buyer intent data is not a nice-to-have but a must-have for marketers. Incorporating buyer intent data into your marketing initiatives will help you find more qualified leads and improve your success rates. 

Intent data is an incredibly powerful tool that can support all types of marketing initiatives, from customer acquisition and awareness to retention. Marketers use intent data to identify where buyers are in the journey so they can target their efforts and shorten the sales cycle. 

The various signals acquired from intent data help point marketing teams in the right direction. These intent signals also provide insights into the customer mindset, so marketers can refine their messaging and campaigns that push buyers all the way through the funnel.

How is intent data used in marketing?

Marketing teams use buyer intent data to:

  • Personalize the user experience: Intent data helps you identify what stage of the sales funnel potential buyers are in. When you understand your buyer’s intent, you can create highly specific pieces of content to help influence their purchase decisions.
  • Score leads and prioritize accounts: Gaining insights into your buyer’s intent can help you improve the lead qualification process. This can help you prioritize inbound leads based on specific behaviors for each account.
  • Engage new prospects: Buyer intent data helps you identify potential customers so you can craft outbound campaigns toward them. Using intent data, you can connect with new potential customers and start educating them on your solution.
  • Encourage customer loyalty: Intent data can uncover which current customers are at risk of churning. These insights can help drive your marketing efforts toward existing customers come renewal time.

Interpreting G2 Buyer Intent Signals

G2 Buyer Intent data gives marketers core insights into their buyer’s behaviors when researching potential solutions. Using these intent signals, you can learn which companies are actively viewing and researching your product, competitors, and category on G2. 

But what do the signals mean? Each G2 Buyer Intent Signal can have several implications, depending on where the buyer is in their journey. 

  • G2 Profile Visit signals tell you when a buyer visits your company’s profile page on G2.com. There’s an array of reasons why a buyer may visit your profile page, whether they’re a current customer or a prospect just shopping around. 
  • Category Visit signals alert you when a buyer visits your product’s category page. Both prospective and current customers visit category pages to see how products rank and explore the various solutions currently on the market. 
  • Alternatives Visit signals inform you when a buyer visits the Alternatives page for any product in a category where you are also included as a solution. This signal is a strong indication of unhappiness with a current provider. 
  • Comparisons Visit signals notify you when a buyer runs a comparison between your product and up to four competitors. Buyers who run comparison reports generally understand the product landscape and are shortlisting solutions.

Growth marketing: Turning intent data into demand generation

Marketing efforts at the top of the sales funnel are focused on crafting campaigns that spread awareness and generate interest in their product. For data-driven teams like growth marketing, buyer intent data plays a critical role in gaining insights so they can produce highly targeted, successful campaigns. 

Although top-of-funnel initiatives are critical for growth marketers, they must also consider the rest of the buyer’s journey when creating strategies. These demand generation campaigns should not just spread awareness, but ultimately influence customer retention and loyalty. 

79%

of marketers say generating quality leads is their main goal.

Source: eMarketer

This is where buyer intent data fits in with demand generation. Intent data can uncover exactly what prospective buyers are looking for and provide insights into their unique needs. So instead of implementing a spray-and-pray approach, growth marketers can target buyers with specific, tailored messaging to help move buyers down the funnel. 

Intent data plays a  key role in growth marketing’s efforts to spread awareness, drive pipeline, and support revenue growth.

G2 Buyer Intent Signals for growth marketers

Nearly every intent signal can benefit top-of-funnel marketing in one way or another. However, signals that can help marketers decipher intent or create a personalized story are especially valuable.

  1. G2 Profile Visit
    • Prospects without an existing provider: This buyer may be scoping out your solution and deciding whether to request a demo.
    • Customers with a current provider: This buyer may be weighing other solutions in place of their current provider. Multiple visits to your site could indicate that you’re a strong contender for their business.
  2. Category Visit
    • Prospects without an existing provider: This buyer may not be familiar with the landscape of your category and is on the hunt for information.
    • Customers with a current provider: This buyer could be looking to make a switch to another provider. 
  3. Alternatives Visit
    • Prospects without an existing provider: This buyer may be considering alternatives and could be in the process of contacting competing solutions. 
    • Customers with a current provider: If this buyer is researching the product they currently use, they may be considering other options to explore. This indicates the buyer is potentially unhappy with their current provider.

Tip: Are there buyers exploring your category page but have yet to visit your profile? Get on their radar for consideration with an automated drip campaign or targeted social ads! 

How to use intent data in growth marketing

Now that you know how to decode your buyer intent signals, it’s time to turn that data into actionable campaigns. Create a list of companies within your ideal client profile (ICP), including other potential buyers and current customers discovered through intent data. 

If you haven’t had interactions with a company and they’re actively visiting your category page or a G2 profile page or alternatives page, this indicates the buyer is currently researching the product landscape. At this point, the buyer knows they need a solution and are taking time to research options. 

Your list could be made of: 

  • Companies in your ICP 
  • Companies that are not one of your open opportunities or current customers 

The list could also include all associated contacts who fit one or more of the following criteria:

  • Have more than two views across a chosen category in the last 30 days 
  • Have more than two views across your G2 profile in the last 30 days 
  • Have more than 1 view of an Alternatives page in the last 30 days 

After you build your list, it’s time to get in front of these buyers. The following strategies will help you establish trust and credibility and position your product as a strong contender in your category.

The 'Trusted Advisor' email campaign

This type of campaign helps position your brand as a trusted thought leader in your category. You can automatically trigger these contacts to be added to a light email drip campaign. 

Use the following touchpoints to kick off your campaign:

  • Email 1: These buyers are on the hunt for information and guidance at this stage, so give them an asset that will move them down the funnel. Highlight your favorite and most relevant thought leadership piece (or use G2 Content!) related to the problem you’re looking to solve for the potential customer. 
  • Email 2: Invite these buyers to an upcoming webinar or share one on-demand. Better yet, if you have a webinar calendar already planned out, send an email with upcoming webinar topics with a call to action encouraging them to save the dates in their calendars. 

Social media campaigns

Drive even more brand awareness with this audience by launching complementary social ads. These campaigns can be targeted to address specific pain points or behaviors based on the insights uncovered with your intent data.

From HubSpot to Metadata, there are a wide variety of G2 Integrations you have at your fingertips to leverage intent. For instance, you can leverage the G2 + LinkedIn Matched Audiences integration to supplement other touchpoints and highlight your product as a top contender in your category. These ads can display recent G2 Leader Badges or call out a relevant piece of content, like a G2 Compare Report. 

Remember, you and your buyer are just getting to know each other. You don’t have to push too hard on requesting a meeting - instead, let them come to you. Focus on establishing your brand as a source of authenticity, trust, and knowledge with relevant content your audience can’t ignore.

Product marketing: Using buyer intent insights to craft messaging

As buyers move down the sales funnel, they become more aware of their needs and how they want a potential solution to benefit them. Product marketing is essential here as they set the tone for how, where, when, and why a company’s products and services are promoted. 

Product marketing is in a unique position where they must fully grasp how the product works and translate its capabilities into specific selling points that directly address the buyers’ unique needs. Some product marketers even assist sales teams with messaging to help reps differentiate themselves from the competition and close deals at a higher rate. 

88%

of marketers say the biggest driver in personalization is to deliver a better customer experience.

Source: Evergage

These efforts feed into and play off of growth marketing’s initiatives. Both teams are focused on spreading awareness, sharing core values, and engaging buyers at different stages of the funnel to create a loyal customer base. 

Gaining insights into the buyers’ preferences is essential for these marketers as they collaborate across departments to determine messaging and positioning. Strategic teams like product marketing find incredible value in buyer intent data to nail their messaging and give the buyer what they need, when they need it.

G2 Buyer Intent Signals for product marketers

Product marketers need to have precise data in order to define target audiences and craft value propositions. While each intent signal holds merit, product marketing should pay close attention to those that specifically imply a buyer is considering solutions. 

Intent signals uncover what the buyer is doing online. But what do these signals tell you about what’s occurring in their mind? 

  • Comparison Visit: This buyer is comparing different solutions and may be looking for specific value props and differentiators. 
  • Alternatives Visit: This buyer may be unhappy with their current provider and is seeking another solution to better fit their needs. 

Tip: Keep an eye on which competitors your customers compare you to. This will help you prioritize and adjust talking points for sales reps, so you can arm them with the information your buyers need to make a decision.

How to use intent data in product marketing

Buyer intent signals provide product marketers an opportunity to gather valuable intel about their ideal client profile. These signals can also uncover other untapped audience segments marketing has yet to hone in on. 

If product marketing is responsible for determining the correct messaging and positioning that resonates with the buyer, then tapping into intent data is a no-brainer. And not only that, product marketing can leverage these signals and refined messaging to develop and run effective campaigns to support their sales teams.

The 'Go-To Knowledge Guru' email campaign

Provide your sales reps with final air cover with an automated email campaign that positions your company as the go-to place for knowledge. This campaign will assure prospects that your company will continue to share relevant and valuable content throughout the life of your relationship - even after they become a customer. 

You can use the following to craft your campaign: 

  • Email 1: Create a G2 Reference Page and when a contact is added to any of the lists, send an email that links to that Reference Page.
  • Email 2: Create an email encouraging customers to sign up for your company blog or newsletter. Set up a trigger that automatically emails anyone who views your G2 profile.

Tip: Interested in how sales teams can effectively leverage buyer intent data throughout the sales cycle? Check out the first installment of The Buyer Intent Playbook series.

Customer marketing: Applying intent data to retention efforts

While a big part of marketing is customer acquisition, marketers’ efforts don’t always stop when a potential buyer finally makes a purchase. Customer marketing teams almost exclusively focus on engaging existing customers to increase customer loyalty. 

Loyalty and retention efforts are incredibly important functions of any organization. In fact, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is just 5-20%. Failed efforts to increase retention rates and engage your community can hinder revenue growth and business expansion.

So how can buyer intent data support marketers who focus on existing customers? The specific insights uncovered with intent data can put you a step ahead so you can focus on crafting campaigns that help your customers see the value of your partnership. 

46%

of inbound marketers and 45% of outbound marketers say that increasing revenue from existing customers is a top priority at their company.

Source: HubSpot

G2 Buyer Intent Signals for customer marketers

Initiatives focused on improving the customer experience have proven to be impactful on businesses and continue to be top priority for marketers. Luckily for customer marketers, buyer intent data can paint a clear picture of your existing customers’ sentiment. 

Below are the two most important intent signals customer marketers should pay attention to when building loyalty campaigns. 

  • Alternatives Visit: This customer may be unhappy and is considering switching to a new solution. This signal can help you stay a step ahead of churn and give your account managers and CSMs plenty of air cover. 
  • Comparison Visit: This customer is researching how you stack up against your competitors. This signal not only gives you insight into potential churn risk, but also which competitors threaten your ability to renew this account. 

How to use intent data in customer marketing

With buyer intent data, you have the opportunity to gain insight about a client’s intention to renew before your CSMs even start discussions. This means you can course-correct early and give your customer success team plenty of time to pinpoint challenges and prepare for objections. 

It’s best to cast a wide net when crafting campaigns focused on reducing churn risk and providing air cover for account reps. You can simply create a standard list with parameters that include customers that trigger Alternatives and Comparison signals. 

Your list should include the following:

  • All existing accounts with more than one Comparison signal view
  • All existing accounts with more than one Alternatives signal view 

To zero in on these accounts even further, segment your list by renewal date. This way you can mark your accounts as low or high priority, determined by their renewal date, and adjust the messaging to be more or less aggressive depending on those factors. 

Tip: Help your customer success team stay ahead of churn. Learn how to support CSMs from the second installment of The Buyer Intent Playbook series.

The 'Renewal Readiness' campaign

So you created a list using your buyer intent data. Now what should you do with it?

The best way to stay top-of-mind for your customers is to create an automated email campaign centered around thought leadership. This type of campaign will remind your customers that you’re a partner who provides invaluable content relevant to their business or industry. 

Use the following ideas to guide your renewal campaign:

  • Email: Take your list of accounts at risk of churning and share high-value content, like your most recent webinar or thought leadership piece. This will keep you top-of-mind for your customers and show them how you can add value. 
  • Webinar: If you have an upcoming customer-focused webinar (or any piece of content!) you can leverage it with accounts in the renewal cycle. Set up a list of customers who recently viewed Alternatives Pages, Competitors Pages, or Category Pages and adjust the messaging accordingly to address those specific pain points. 

Bonus: If you're looking for another channel to leverage, try using these lists in an upcoming LinkedIn Matched Audiences campaign or other paid efforts to stay top of mind to your customers.

Sync with customer success

Keep your customer success team aware of everything you learn through intent data about their accounts. This way, you can arm them with content and resources to make renewal conversations smoother with a relevant smart list. 

You can set up automated emails in your CRM or sales tool that asks customers at risk of churning to make time for a meeting with their account rep. This meeting should focus on providing value to the customer by sharing best practices or simply checking in to see how you can best serve their needs. 

Additionally, be sure to give your account reps plenty of resources they can use to combat doubt and solidify your brand’s value with the customer. Your resource repository should include assets, such as:

  • Your presence in a Best in Software List
  • Your G2 Leader Badges 
  • Customer satisfaction data from a third-party provider
  • Reviews and testimonials from customers similar to them 
Turning intent into action

Your buyers and customers are online, and you should be utilizing that data to drive strategic marketing campaigns at all stages of the funnel. After all, the most compelling marketing is highly targeted and distinctly personalized. 

Learn which companies are actively researching your product so you can produce effective marketing campaigns. Get started with G2 Buyer Intent today.

G2 buyer intent data
Personalize your marketing

See which companies are researching your product and craft campaigns that speak to their unique needs with G2 Buyer Intent.

G2 buyer intent data
Personalize your marketing

See which companies are researching your product and craft campaigns that speak to their unique needs with G2 Buyer Intent.

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