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Intent signals: The difference between signals and high intent

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Posted by Intentify Demand

Today, nearly all businesses rely on intent data in some shape or form, and for good reason. Intent data is the gateway to hyper-personalised, highly targeted marketing campaigns that deliver actual results. It's no surprise, then, that 65 percent of B2B companies plan to invest more in buyer intent data to overcome their lead generation challenges.

But, in the face of third-party data depreciation, understanding a prospect’s “intent” with your business requires more than just understanding their Google Search activity. Much more.

In this blog, we break down the difference between intent signals and high intent. We also show you the best practices to consider when identifying high-intent leads.

High intent vs intent signals: what’s the difference?

There is a stark difference between “high intent” and “intent signals”. The former relies upon multiple inputs to determine the true intention behind a prospect’s engagement with your business. The latter speaks only to one piece of the larger puzzle.

Defining “intent signals”

Intent signals are the various data points collected about an individual and their behaviour. You can use these to indicate whether a person is a prospective customer of your business.

We say again: Signals indicate intent. Much like someone’s Google Search activity, it tells you whether a person is actively looking for your product or service. And like any radio signal, it can be clean and clear, or it can be distorted and garbled.

Beyond Google Search activity, there are many other types of intent signals, including:

  • ICP data like job roles, geographic location and decision-making status.
  • Search activity beyond Google, including YouTube, social, and other browser searches.
  • Indirect engagement activity, like reading reviews on third-party sites like Capterra and G2.
  • Direct engagement signals, like filling in a form to download your content or booking a product demo.

Defining “high intent”

“High intent”, on the other hand, is like digging for gold buried in a mountain of rocks. You have to survey the land and analyse the various levels of sediments (or, in this case, signals). Once you get to the gold and excavate it, what you’re left with will pay you dividends.

Short of saying, “I am looking to buy that product”, you can only identify high-intent leads through behaviours. And it’s these signals that imply action.

Our best practices for identifying high-intent leads

According to a 2023 Demand Generation Benchmark Survey from ON24, intent data is the top priority for B2B marketers. Why? Because highly targeted marketing campaigns based on high-quality, human-verified intent data deliver the best ROI.

But how exactly can you identify high-intent leads? Here are a few of our best practices:

1. Go beyond demographics and identify technographic and firmographic data

Firmographic data – like a prospect’s company size, current product offerings and total revenues – is vital for qualifying lead intent. Beyond this, you should also know exactly what tech stack each prospect relies on and what adoption rates they see. This technographic information allows you to qualify leads whose infrastructure aligns with what you have to offer.

Say you’re a procurement platform provider. You'll want to know which vendor management and accounting software your leads rely on. then you can target those with integration capabilities. And you can prioritise your product development in line with tools your ICPs commonly use, but you can't yet integrate with.

2. Rely on AI and natural language processing tools to score intent signals

In today’s digital realm, there is a plethora of signals you need to capture and sieve through. Leaning on natural language processing (NLPs) and artificial intelligence (AI) tools to help score these signals is a great way to streamline analysis and automate early lead qualification.

With a tool like Pelago you can rely on AI and NLP technologies to trawl through a lead’s associated assets and extract the key themes, topics and keywords. And this gives you the power to align your lead generation efforts for maximum engagement.

3. Understand online behaviour

Scroll velocity, asset downloads, dwell times, time on page. There’s a variety of data “signals” you can capture to help you better understand someone’s online behaviour.

Top-of-funnel asset downloads, for example, could signal an intention to learn more about solving a specific problem. A prospect downloading product guides and watching demo videos, however, could signal an active intent to make a purchase.

Monitoring the content consumption of your leads is a great way to understand and qualify their intent. And once you have a pool of targeted leads, you can use this list to inform your content outreach campaigns. And knowing where their interest lies, you can create personalised messaging to improve engagement.

True intent data is the gateway to successful lead generation

Intent signals provide excellent waypoints on your journey to identifying high-intent leads. Ultimately, one lonesome signal (like Google Search activity) provides little insight into the true intent behind someone’s engagement with your business.

By capturing and analysing an extensive database of intent signals, you can begin to paint a clear picture of a lead’s true intent. Armed with this, you can maximise your marketing efforts, increase your lead conversion potential, and deliver a consistent return on investment.

To learn more about how Intentify Demand can help you identify high-intent leads, contact us today.