Intent Data for Sales: The Untapped Opportunity

November 20, 2019 Paul Lee

In my role I have to wear many hats, probably like many managing directors in small fast-growing companies. One of the big rocks is sales development and deciding where to spend my time productively, targeting companies that are a good fit for our agency services and identifying those that are showing some level of interest in what we provide.

Over the past few years in my current and previous roles, I’ve been wrestling with how best to use intent data for both marketing and sales purposes. For marketing, it’s well documented - ABM campaigns, programmatic ad targeting, social marketing and the like - and hence intent is fast becoming an essential part of a demand marketers tech stack. For Sales it’s less obvious and the use cases are probably less well known. However, in the right hands and with the right mind-set, I’m finding intent data to be a very useful tool and one I would rather have in my back pocket than not.

As a small business, time is precious so too are budgets and resources. Secondly, everything has to be easy and avoid adding yet more clutter to my day job. I need simple solutions that can provide quick insight and promote action.

Platforms like Nexus from Cyance and their dashboards enables us to keep a close eye on which of our strategic accounts are actively showing increasing or decreasing signs of intent over time and who is potentially in-market now to approach. The grouping of accounts using the three-by-three scoring grid is particularly useful allowing us to pinpoint the right accounts to approach week by week. So too is the ability to create custom filters within a dashboard to fine tune the audience we're looking for. The same can be said when we want to evaluate “look-alike” accounts, those that have a similar profile to our strategic accounts but are less familiar brands but have the right profile, that I wouldn’t necessarily know.

A Nexus dashboard from Cyance

From a sales perspective, Bombora’s dashboard functionality is not as useful however, the plug is great especially when we want to view intent by account in an environment that’s familiar. We also like the ability to extract and manipulate the data. A simple data extract with a uniform data structure, enables our team to very quickly and simply, export and synchronise with a pre-built MS BI dashboard. [Wooh, those that know me might think I’ve gone a bit nerdy but honestly, it’s been easy and a weekly refresh takes less than 30 minutes.]

Bombora Data in MS BI

We can use filtering to see which accounts are doing what and which topics are "surging" in a given timeframe or how behaviour has increased or decreased over time. Data filtering makes it simple to fine-tune and group together accounts with multiple interests (content marketing + conversational commerce + Drift + Uberflip) for example. These we can approach with a true solution-orientated proposition and programmatic advertising (syncing the segments with a DSP such as Avocet). Having data in MS BI also enables us to easily share and distribute data analysis amongst our consulting teams so they too can see whether their clients are surging on certain topics of interest.

A simple report in MS BI makes analysing Bombora intent data easy.

Having honed my sales craft in the marketing automation space where person-based “digital body language” has been the secret sauce, as we move into more buying unit decision making, an account view and insight into topics or keywords of interest, has quickly become a vital aspect of our commercial teams everyday tasks. As mentioned, the value proposition for using intent data for marketing is strong, however don’t under-estimate how useful it will be for Sales. It’s also has a very positive impact on sales and marketing alignment. Contact us at for more details.

About the Author

Paul Lee

For over a decade, Paul has been supporting sales and marketing leaders across a variety business sectors to help them understand how their activity drives revenue and customer engagement for their businesses.

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