What is Intent Data? - How to Use it in ABM | Punch! ABM

What is Intent Data? – How to Use it in ABM

As I’m sure you’re aware, tools like Lead Forensics have made it possible to track which companies are looking at your website via reverse IP lookup technology…however, what if you could track the online behaviour of all of your target accounts not only on your website, but across millions and millions of websites?

Well the truth is, you can! You now have access to information about your future customers that allows you to personalise your outreach and show how much you care, putting the emphasis on conversations at the right time during their buyer journey, and with the most relevant message to them possible, leveraging what they themselves are showing interest in online.

Cue Intent Data – your ABM team’s new best friend!

What is Intent Data?

Wherever you go on the internet you leave a digital footprint, in fact, you left one all over our carpet when you chose to read this blog… don’t worry we don’t mind!

Intent data takes advantage of this footprint by analysing your prospects online activity. This is achieved through monitoring the content your future customers are consuming online, enabling you to analyse their behaviour and establish where they are in their buying journey.

Intent plays a part in the Identify process for ABM, the first step is to start to develop your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and find your best ‘FIT’ accounts. You then segment your target accounts – using STEM – to determine how much of your resource should be applied to accounts based on their potential value.

At the same time as STEM segmentation, you analyse the INTENT data and discover where your future customers are in their buying journey. This allows you to differentiate between people who are looking for information that would benefit from educational content and nurturing and those people who are showing signs of being ready to buy! In other words, INTENT is one of the key factors that has enabled the shift towards a customer centric, ABM approach!

There are two types of Intent Data:

First-party data – Activity captured by a company from their own website or emails they have sent, using marketing automation tools such as Hubspot, as well as reverse IP lookup tools.

Tracking this activity shows buying signals based on which of your webpages a future customer has viewed, the time they’ve spent on each individual page, and the links they have clicked on whilst visiting your website (or potentially in emails you have sent them). To put it simply, it’s the process of utilising the data arriving on your doorstep! From these insights you can see which of your services a prospect is interested in…

To paint a clear picture, imagine you are in the business of selling cars (yes… I’m serious!)

It’s the equivalent of you, as a car salesperson, seeing a potential customer looking at a car in your showroom… of course you are going to want to speak to them!

Third-party data – Activity captured tracking online activity across the web

To do this, you need to create and track a comprehensive list of keywords that relate to relevant content.  Essentially, everything you can think of that if searched for, indicates that there is a potential business opportunity. Taking it one step further, you can then split those keywords into segments that represent both the stage of a buying journey and the different services you offer.

How to use Intent Data in ABM

Working intent data into an Account Based-Marketing (ABM) strategy allows you to personalise the approach further, on an account by account basis. You’ll have insights into what is valuable to them, and deliver with that knowledge in mind. Making your messaging and creative campaigns produced by marketing more relevant to each and every target account.

You can prioritise prospects that have a higher intent score as you know they are in the market for your product. Nurture them using creative direct mail, 1:1 personalised videos, personalised emails as part of your ABM cadence, as well as any other touchpoints you are implementing! You should also be linking content that you know will add value to your target accounts, helping you educate and accelerate their buyer’s journey and cementing you as a trusted source of knowledge and expertise.

There are a number of tools available that can analyse online activity and associate an intent score to each of your prospects based on the amount of intent they’re showing. The higher the number, the more interest the prospect has in your product or service. We recommend making your own scoring system, whereby companies consuming content that suggests the most buying intent, are given higher lead scores.

Intent Data at Punch!

To give you a better idea of what a scoring system might look like, here is how we do it at Punch! At the top level, accounts are segmenting into a 3×3 grid, see the image below!

The numbers ‘1’, ‘2’, and ‘3’ demonstrate how closely our future customers match our Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), companies that are a perfect FIT for Punch! are listed as ‘1’; accounts further away from our ICP will be flagged as either ‘1’ or ‘2’ accordingly.

The letters ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’ represent an accounts stage on their buyer’s journey! As mentioned earlier, our keyword lists are able to indicate which accounts are doing research, and which accounts are closer to making a decision; accounts that are close to going to market are labelled as ‘A’.

Punch! uses this to prioritise our efforts first and foremost on the future customers that are the best fit for us as a business, and the closest to making a purchase decision. The best part is, our target accounts tell us when the best time to open conversation is and exactly what to talk about when we do!

There is no time like the present, start using Intent Data!

Understanding the online behaviour of your target accounts allows you to tailor how you interact with them online. Using targeted advertising and personalised content means you are targeting the companies you care about, in the spaces they care about, with the information you know they are looking for, bargain!  You may also discover that accounts and users from a market you’ve not yet considered targeting start showing intent, so keep an eye out for the chance of targeting a new market.

Alternatively, if you have any questions around Intent Data or thoughts on this blog, you can email us at hello@punchabm.com or leave a comment below and we will gladly discuss with you!


In order to get started with Intent Data, it’s essential to have a clear vision of your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). To find out more about building your ICP, check out our blog:

THREE TYPES OF ABM.
WHICH IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

One-to-one, one-to-few, one-to-many, programmatic, lite…it’s understandable why account-based marketing can seem daunting at first! But regardless of the ABM terminology being used, the basic principles are the same. Putting more resources into fewer target accounts who are more likely to convert, and provide a greater ROI. Which kind of ABM approach you should adopt depends on a number of factors. In this blog you’ll find out what the 3 types of ABM are, and which is right for your business.

the three types of ABM

So you’ve decided that adopting an ABM strategy is right for your business and that’s definitely a wise choice.

 

It’s understandable that you might have some concerns, running an ABM programme requires a shift of mind-set. It takes sizeable marketing ‘balls’ to shift resources from more typical marketing strategies to account-based marketing.

 

But that’s exactly what organisations are doing – the number of companies with an advanced ABM programme doubled from 2017 to 2018. And why?

 

Simple – because in a recent study, 97% of marketers reported a higher ROI from ABM than other marketing campaigns. Any successful ABM campaign is one that balances these three measures –

 

  • The likelihood of a given target account buying
  • The resources required to acquire them as a customer
  • The potential ROI to your business if they convert

The differences between the 3 types of ABM are driven by a need to align these factors, so let’s look at exactly what each approach involves and what factors should inform your ABM strategy.

One-to-one ABM

The original and probably best known of the 3 types of ABM, and the approach you’re most likely already familiar with.

One-to-one ABM is a strategic approach that treats your most valuable target accounts as their own individual markets. This means engaging with each of them in a specific and bespoke way.

 

A typical one-to-one campaign would involve targeting 5-10 key target accounts, the ones whose business would make your year or even change the direction of your company.

The resources required to engage with each account in a one-to-one ABM campaign are significant. With that in mind, it’s vital that you have deep insight into how likely the target account is to buy. Intent data is a great way to choose your target accounts based on whether they’re starting a buying journey.

 

By focusing on 10 accounts that you know are likely to buy, you can allocate more resources to engaging with each, knowing that they are more likely to convert and provide you with a great ROI.

You should consider one-to-one ABM as your strategy of choice if –

 

  • You can research the accounts in detail and gather detailed insights on how likely they are to buy
  • Your products and solutions are high-value and high-consideration
  • You’re selling into a mature or even saturated market
  • Your opportunity to close rate is high
  • You have clear and genuine points of differentiation from your competitors
  • Each account has a large number of key stakeholders from whom you need buy-in
  • You have the resources available to create content bespoke to each account
  • You have the available people resources to engage and nurture each target account

One-to-few ABM

One-to-few ABM, or ABM Lite as it’s also known, is a way of using the one-to-one ABM principles and applying them at scale to a greater number of target accounts.

For example, you might be dedicating 40 days per month to your top 5 accounts in a one-to-one strategy.

 

If you then wanted to reach out to your top 30 accounts, you most likely wouldn’t be able to scale up the same approach unless you have 240 days worth of resources available to do this. So what’s the answer?

 

Your best strategy would be to focus on small groups of target accounts, rather than individual accounts. These groups can then be treated as their own individual markets, in the same way as individual accounts were with one-to-one ABM.

 

The most common way to organise accounts into groups of 5-10 is by sub-sector. If you’re targeting the retail sector, your sub-sectors might be fashion, groceries, DIY and homeware.

You can then build specific content that will resonate with that sub-sector, identifying trends and solving their challenges.

Consider one-to-few ABM as your strategy of choice if –

 

  • You have a small addressable market of target accounts
  • You’re selling high-value, high consideration solutions or products
  • You have to get buy-in from 3-4 key stakeholders at each account
  • You’re able to gather insights into the challenges facing each target sector
  • You have the resources available to create sector specific content
  • You have the available people resources to engage and nurture each target account
  • Your product or solution has clear points of differentiation from its competition

One-to-many ABM

One-to-many ABM takes the ABM approach and scales it so the principles can be applied to a larger number of target accounts.

 

How many? That’s up to you, as there are no hard and fast rules as to where one-to-few ends and where one-to-many begins.

 

Similarly, you might be wondering where to draw the line between one-to-many ABM and just ‘marketing’? Well you’re not alone, there’s not a clear agreement even among leading practitioners of ABM.

 

It depends on the lifetime value of those accounts to your business, the greater the value, the fewer you should go for.

 

The average number of accounts for a one-to many campaign according to the ITSMA sits at around 100. However you may choose to go for more than this and dedicate fewer resources to each, or use an approach closer to the one-to-few model, and dedicate more resources to engaging with each account.

You should consider one-to-many ABM as a strategy if –

 

  • You want to increase brand awareness whilst also creating engagement at key accounts
  • Your solution is new to market, or the market need educating on its potential
  • There is one or a couple of key stakeholders at each target account
  • You have the available people resources to engage and nurture each target account
  • Your pipeline to close rate is low and could be improved
  • You don’t have access to information on which accounts are starting a buying journey
  • You need some accounts to convert more quickly in order to see ROI sooner

FIVE TIPS FOR ACCOUNT SELECTION

In these times of uncertainty, making the most out of your marketing budget is more important than ever. In Account-Based Marketing you reduce the number of accounts you target significantly and then increase the amount of resources you spend on them. This makes the actual account selection process very important because you can’t afford for an account that receives significant resource to just fall by the wayside. So with that in mind, here a five tips for best practice account selection.

Have you thought about targeting different industries?

People are getting scared and more cautious about taking meetings and calls. So, who is engaging?

 

Some industries are booming at the moment such as:

 

  • Video conferencing technology
  • Project management tools
  • E-learning
  • Ecommerce
  • Gaming

With an influx in demand, they might just be looking for your solution. But for industries heavily effected, you need to rethink your GTM strategy to be as humane as possible; if your solution is something that would be deemed essential to these businesses – keep helping. If it’s more of a luxury, consider targeting different industries where an influx of demand means they might be on the lookout for your solution.

Sales and Marketing, Name a Better Duo

We always talk about the importance of sales and marketing alignment, but it comes into play with regards to account selection as well. A common mistake is allowing one department to select all of the target accounts for a campaign.

 

If the sales team are solely responsible then you run the risk of them giving you all of the ‘problem’ accounts that they have yet to achieve any traction with. As Jamie Hardin, Senior Marketing Manager of ON24 explains “ABM should be viewed as augmenting the current strategy, not a ‘Hail Mary’ initiative on an inactive account.” Similarly, it would be foolish for marketing to be solely responsible without using the information that sales already have on the accounts that they’ve been engaging with.

This could be information on which accounts are reaching a contract renewal date, previous positive conversations with the clients, or even contacts that could have used your services in a previous role at another company.

By combining the information marketing has alongside insights from sales, your account selection can lay the foundation for a successful campaign.

Are you intent on this?

Utilising intent data is the best way to select accounts. This helps you understand which companies are in a buying window based on the websites they’re visiting and the content they’re consuming. However, platforms such as Bombora and Nexus aren’t at everyone’s disposal, which is why a combination of the above tactics gives the next best chance of selecting accounts that are most likely to convert.

 

Account selection is perhaps the biggest factor in the success of an Account-Based Marketing campaign. Good accounts, that fit your ICP and are showing intent are bound to be successful, whereas accounts that aren’t selected on insight and reasoning are likely to fail. There’s never a sure fire way to pick accounts that are destined to convert, but by following these tips you’ll have a solid foundation for your ABM programme.

Do it early!

One of the most consistent mistakes we come across with account selection is doing it too late in the ABM journey. After first defining your ideal customer profile or ICP (link to other blog) and selecting your sector, you should be looking to choose your accounts. Prioritising selection early on in the process will give you ample time to gather insight into them, allowing you to really personalise your message that will resonate with the target DMU.

Make Sure They Fit Your ICP

Using an ICP to frame your account selection ensures that your target accounts are most likely to be a good fit for your business. It also ensures that you don’t fall for those ‘dream’ accounts that you may have put on the list because you want the logo on your website, or you’ve always dreamed of working with. If they aren’t right for the programme, you shouldn’t be targeting them. It’s not about if you want them, as much as it’s about if they want you.

So, you’re thinking about adopting Account-Based Marketing…

Fantastic! But there are three different types of ABM; one-to-many, one-to-few, and one-to-one. So, which one is right for you? Luckily, we have a handy little calculator that will tell you exactly that.