WTF is Intent Data and How Can I Leverage it to Drive Sales

The estimated reading time for this post is 8 minutes

67% of marketers say their number one challenge with intent data investments is making intent data actionable.


Are you struggling to identify potential customers who are interested in your products or services? Do you feel like you’re wasting time and resources on cold calls and generic email campaigns? 

Utilizing a powerful form of Sales Data known as intent data can help you identify sales opportunities and target potential customers who are actively searching for what you have to offer.

By understanding the intentions of your potential customers, you can tailor your sales approach and increase the likelihood of closing a sale.

So let’s go down the rabbit hole called Intent Data.

Understanding Intent Data

Only 39% of organizations leverage buying signals to select target accounts and prioritize how to deploy marketing tactics against those accounts.


At its core, intent data refers to the actions that potential customers take online that indicate an interest in a particular product or service

Intent data is a critical tool for marketing, sales and business development folks, as it enables them to identify potential customers who are actively seeking solutions or services related to their industry. 

Buyer Intent Statistics, Trends And Facts 2023

Intent data includes a wide range of activities, such as searching for relevant keywords, engaging with content related to your industry, and interacting with your website or social media channels. By analyzing these activities, sales and business development professionals can gain valuable insights into their potential customers’ interests and needs, allowing them to tailor their approach and messaging accordingly.

One of the primary benefits of intent data is its ability to help sales and business development professionals identify and prioritize high-quality leads. By analyzing a potential customer’s intent data, sales professionals can determine how far along said prospects are in their buying journey and what type of solutions or services they are most interested in. This information can be used to tailor sales pitches, develop targeted marketing campaigns, and prioritize leads for follow-up. Ultimately, leveraging intent data can help sales and business development professionals increase their efficiency, close more deals, and drive revenue growth.

For example, if a prospect has been consistently engaging with content related to a specific solution or product on review sites, social media and competitor sites, it may indicate that they are close to making a decision. Sales and business development professionals can use this information to prioritize follow-up and tailor their approach to better address the prospect’s needs and interests. By leveraging intent data to identify buying signals, sales professionals can improve their conversion rates and drive revenue growth through fine-tuned messaging.

Companies can leverage intent data to fine-tune their messaging by analyzing the behavior and activity of their prospects and customers to gain insights into their interests, preferences, and buying behavior. By understanding the specific needs and pain points of their target audience, companies can tailor their messaging to speak directly to those needs and position their product or service as a solution. 

This can be done through personalized messaging, targeted offers and promotions, and relevant content that addresses the specific concerns of the prospect or customer. By using intent data to fine-tune their messaging, companies can increase engagement, build trust, and ultimately drive revenue growth by converting more prospects into customers.

Building an Ideal ICP

In their seminal work on marketing segmentation, Stull, Myers and Scott describe the process to help identify your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) (Tuned In, Wiley & Sons 2008).  This analysis refers to the characteristics of the ideal customer for a business, including factors such as industry, company size, geographic location, and more (commonly referred to as firmographics).

One of the ways that intent data can be leveraged to build a more detailed ICP is by analyzing the online behavior of current customers and identifying commonalities in their behavior patterns (there are a number of tools that provide that data, but we’ll save the topic for another post). 

By analyzing the websites they visit, the content they engage with, and the keywords they search for, sales teams can gain valuable insights into the types of businesses and individuals that are most likely to be interested in their offerings. This information can then be used to refine and update the ICP, making it more accurate and actionable.

There are a number of methods that are commonly used to analyze this data:

  • Use a third-party data provider: You can work with a data provider that specializes in intent data to get insights into the online behavior of your current customers. They may use a combination of tracking cookies and pixels, as well as other sources of data, to build a profile of your customers and identify patterns in their behavior.
  • Implement tracking cookies/pixels on your own site: You can use tracking cookies and pixels to collect data on the behavior of visitors to your website. This data can then be used to identify patterns in the behavior of your current customers and help you refine your ICP.
  • Use a combination of both: You can work with a data provider to get insights into the behavior of your current customers, and also implement tracking cookies and pixels on your own site to collect additional data on the behavior of your visitors.

It’s important to note that there are legal and ethical considerations to collecting and using this type of data, particularly in light of privacy regulations like GDPR and CCP (Look out for our upcoming series uncovering these type of privacy issues). You should consult with legal counsel and follow best practices for data privacy and security when collecting and analyzing customer data.

It’s also important to note that there are some limitations to pixel tracking at present like those on IOS. You can read about it here.

Analyze This!

Another way that intent data can be used to build a more detailed ICP is by analyzing the behavior of potential customers who are in the early stages of the buying cycle. By identifying patterns in their online behavior, sales teams can gain valuable insights into the types of businesses and individuals that are most likely to be interested in their offerings, even if they have not yet made a purchase. 

Using these methods will  help sales and marketing teams build a more detailed and accurate ICP, which can then be used to guide their outreach efforts and ensure that they are targeting the right audience with their messaging and offers.

Overall, leveraging intent data to build a more detailed ICP can help sales teams improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their outreach efforts, leading to increased revenue and business success over time.

Applying Intent Data to Sales: Cross/Up Selling

Intent data can also be leveraged to identify opportunities for cross-selling or upselling to existing customers. By analyzing the behavior of current customers, sales teams can identify which products or services they have shown an interest in, or which complementary offerings they may be likely to purchase in the future.  It’s like reading your customers’ minds before you’ve even had a serious conversation.

This can help sales and customer success teams create targeted messaging and offers that are tailored to the specific needs and interests of each customer, making it easier to upsell or cross-sell additional products or services. 

For example, if a customer has recently purchased a certain product, intent data can be used to identify which complementary products may be of interest to them, and a sales team can then reach out with targeted messaging highlighting these options

Another benefit of using intent data to identify cross-selling or upselling opportunities is that it can help sales teams build stronger relationships with existing customers. 

By proactively reaching out with personalized offers and messaging, sales and customer success teams can demonstrate that they understand the unique needs and interests of each customer, and are committed to helping them achieve their business goals. This can help build trust and loyalty, and ultimately lead to increased revenue and customer satisfaction over time. 

Additionally, by identifying cross-selling and upselling opportunities, sales teams can uncover new revenue streams, increase stickiness thereby increasing the lifetime value of each customer, contributing to the long-term success of the business.

A Tale of Intent

A bit over a decade ago, I was a sales leader for an online marketing company that specialized in providing solutions for the senior living industry. I had always been passionate about helping these operators increase their occupancy rates and improve digital brand awareness, but I struggled to connect with potential customers in a meaningful way.

That all changed when I began utilizing intent data. By analyzing online behavior patterns using Google Trends and Heatmaps, I was able to gain valuable insights into what senior living consumers and operators were searching for online and what problems they were trying to solve. With this knowledge, I could tailor our team’s sales pitches and marketing messages to address their specific pain points and offer solutions that met their unique needs.

For example, I discovered that many senior living operators were looking for ways to improve inbound lead management and streamline their administrative tasks. Armed with this information, I was able to showcase our solutions as a way to automate routine tasks, reduce paperwork, and enhance patient interactions. This approach resonated with our target audience and helped us win more business.

Over time, I became a master at leveraging intent data to drive sales. By staying up to date on the latest trends and constantly analyzing customer behavior, I was able to anticipate their needs and offer solutions that truly addressed their challenges. As a result, our company’s sales numbers soared, and we became a trusted partner to many healthcare providers around the world.

In the end, it was the power of storytelling that truly set us apart. By crafting compelling narratives that spoke to our customers’ pain points and aspirations, we were able to build meaningful relationships and win their loyalty. And it all started with a simple insight – that intent data could unlock the key to selling more effectively in the medical profession and as I have noticed for many years, beyond.

By utilizing intent data to identify sales opportunities, you can save time and resources by focusing on potential customers who are actively interested in your products or services.

What type of sales data are you using to target your customers? We’d love to hear. Feel free to reply in the comments section.

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