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3 Ways Social Intent Data Can Improve the Sales Process


We all know that saying “knowledge is power”. And as B2B marketers, we’re all hungry to get more information on our potential buyers.

At this point, it’s easy to buy a list of contacts that comes with lead qualifying data such as technographic and firmographic information. The challenge isn’t that we don’t have enough data. It’s that we need more actionable data. Data that helps us determine whom to contact, when and what to say.

Even once Marketing has passed a qualified lead to a sales rep, the rep typically has to spend a non-trivial amount of time on gathering lead intelligence to figure out how to draw the lead into a conversation.

Traditionally, marketers have relied on intent data collected on their own websites to make critical decisions such as when a lead is considered a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). But by the time buyers have left enough clues on your website (i.e. by downloading content, visiting key pages), it might be too late.

Instead of waiting for your audience to come to your website so that you can begin to understand their intentions, leveraging third-party intent data gives you insights into which prospects are in a buying cycle and what they are interested in much sooner.

What is third party intent data?

Third party intent data is information on what leads are reading, searching for, and talking about on the broader web outside of your owned digital properties.

Social intent data includes any relevant social media activities that lets you know that someone is entering a buying cycle. This data includes things like when someone tweets about an upcoming event or conference in your industry, follows one of your competitors’ Twitter Handle or Company Page or talks about a hot topic or technology in your space.

In a recent post, we discussed the types of social intent data that are most valuable to your sales team. Now, here are three use cases for that intent data that can help organize and inform the sales process, and give your reps key insights to use when connecting with leads.

  1. Lead Score Social Actions to Pass More Marketing Qualified Leads to Sales


Traditionally, third-party intent data can’t be used for lead scoring because most third-party intent data providers rely on domain level insights and don’t offer information on individual users.

By collecting intent data through social media, you get information on each specific prospect and the actions they’ve taken. Most importantly, this data can be delivered to you in real-time.

Last year, Socedo implemented a new lead management strategy and expanded the types of intent data we incorporate into our lead scoring model.

Prior to making the change, Socedo was already lead scoring first-party intent collected by our marketing automation system, such as website visits and email clicks. But we found that only about 20% of our database had taken these kinds of actions.

To figure out how to prioritize the leads in our database, we needed more insights.

Fortunately, a significant portion of our leads have taken actions on social media, such as tweeting about relevant topics and conferences/events in our space, or following our competitors on Twitter.

We found that over a 30-day period, a lead took an average of 6.4 social actions, but only opened 1.4 emails and visited 3 pages of our website.

These social media activities gave us an additional layer of insight on who is ready to hear from our SDR (sales development reps) team.

Once we incorporated real-time intent data from social media activities into our lead scoring model, we were able to pass more Marketing Qualified Leads to our SDR team. By the end of the year, 77% of all Marketing Qualified Leads delivered to our SDRs came from real-time activities.

The result of our new lead management strategy was a 300% increase in our SDR’s appointment setting rate! This was in large part thanks to the lead scoring model that passed leads to our SDR team at the right time.

  1. Provide Sales with Contextual Intelligence

Now that you’re passing leads to sales at the right time, you can provide your sales team with more context on the leads to enable more relevant conversations tailored to their pain points.

Scott Fingerhut from Elastic says that “with good intent insight you strive to make every interaction more relevant and every relationship stronger.”

Most sales reps understand the importance of adding context into their sales process and will do some degree of social research before engaging with a lead. However, as deals can often take months to come together and the symptoms of the problem may have existed for even longer, reps would need to comb through months of social updates and engagement to find the information most relevant to them.

Instead, you can bring this intent data directly into the sales reps’ natural habit (the CRM system) to give your reps the intelligence they need to customize their message.

“The more comprehensive view you can create, the easier it is to tailor your follow-up messaging.” Matt Heinz, Heinz Marketing

Here at Socedo, for each lead we send to our sales reps, we provide additional context on them including their social media activities as an Interesting moment in Salesforce.

  1. Guide and Track Account-based Marketing Strategies


One of the values of social media intent data is that it gives you insights into the activities of individual leads. Integrating those individual user actions with an account-based marketing strategy can give you a more complete view of your target accounts. You can use this information to:

  • Gain more insights into key contacts or individuals at your target accounts
  • Monitor activities from high-value targets
  • Learn what concerns are top of mind across the target’s entire organization
  • Develop new campaigns based on surging topics of interest
  • Integrate intent data with your existing campaigns

Once you’ve collected this information into your ABM strategy, you can use it to help measure and improve. Understanding which marketing campaigns and content sources are creating real engagement with your target accounts and which need to be revamped can help you optimize your entire sales process.

Getting the timing and context aligned to close a sale can be a tall order. According to Gleanster Research, 50% of leads are qualified but not yet ready to buy. Of course, when they finally are ready, 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first.

Waiting around for your leads to reach out to you to indicate their readiness is a dangerous game. Most leads will convey through social intent data their needs and intentions long before they fill out a web form or request a call from a sales rep. Being able to collect and interpret these social media cues – in real-time – can make all the difference.

What have been your experiences using intent data, either first- or third-party? Does your sales team use social media to prospect, lead score or provide context during the sales process? Now could be the time to start.

If you want to see how you can find your target audience with social intent data, go ahead and take spin or our free trial.

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