Just because someone fills out a form, that doesn’t mean they intend to buy from you. There’s a big difference between someone who is showing buying behavior versus someone who is just kicking the tires. Marketing automation makes it possible to track and even score these interactions for the prospects in your database, and a good lead scoring model will pop them over to sales. But what about people who are looking for what you do and aren’t even hitting your website? How do you find the people who aren’t filling out forms, but are interested in your products or services?
When you think about buying intent, do you think of the moment someone is ready to buy a product or service? If so, you’re missing out on the rest of the funnel: people who are in the awareness and consideration phases of the buyer journey. You may be too late to the game if your focus is on people who are ready to buy, because these people have been educating themselves and comparing products and companies long before they are ready to purchase. If you haven’t been building that relationship with them as part of their educational journey, someone else has. This means you’ve missed your opportunity to be the lead player.
The question then becomes: How do you build that relationship? The process can be outlined below:
This is essential to keep on the radar. The more content there is, and the more diverse your content mix is, the better. 70% of the buying process involves decision makers consuming your content, according to Isoline Communications. Consumers will put their money where their trust is. But at the same time, don’t commit random acts of content. Keep your personas in mind. What kinds of problems do they face? What are they interested in? What are their behaviors? How is your content relevant to them?
There should also be a way of differentiating your thoughts. Make your reader think differently. Educate your reader. Be bold. Pique their interest and creativity. Flex your thought leadership.
In order to be able to create meaningful content for your personas, you need to learn about them first. Gathering intent data allows marketers to detect early buyer interests in specific topics. When a certain level of intent is detected, marketers can then trigger email reports/CRM to alert the sales team. The more information you collect, the better you can custom tailor your content and messaging to speak what your target buyer cares about the most. Sweat the details on this.
So how do you get that information? Buyer intent tools can capture research around actual buyer journeys and signs of their intentions. Here are three examples of tools that can uncover intent from your buyers:
Relationship Stage (Early) – For when you are looking for the people who are looking for your products, think of it as the ‘match.com’ equivalent to finding your next customer:
- 6Sense is a B2B predictive intelligence engine for marketing and sales. It uses its private network of billions of time-sensitive intent interactions, uncovers net-new prospects at every stage of the funnel, and determines which existing prospects are in the market to buy. It predicts what products prospects will buy, how much they will buy, and when.
Relationship Stage (Mid) – For when your prospects find your website, give them an interactive experience and treat them like your next customer:
- Drift has conversations with people visiting your website. Use the bot to pre-qualify and assist people in finding what they want. If they are looking to self educate, share a suggested piece of content, or looking to speak with someone, book a meeting. Virtual conversation converted to human conversation.
Relationship Stage (Late) – For when you are developing the relationship into something more:
- Conversica uses AI to supplement your BDR efforts. When you ask your reps if they would like to be handed MQL’s or conversations, I can almost guarantee they will pick conversations. Why? Because people who are ready for and want a conversation are showing intent to buy, they already know what you do (thanks to your incredible demand generation programs) and they are in the market for it. Your reps get pre-scheduled meetings with prospects that are ready to talk about their challenges and how you can solve them.
And now you’re done! Right? Wrong. Relationships are meant to last. Your tools should be constantly utilized to gather continuous, timely, and relevant data that will then reflect in your content.