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12 proven steps to hit the ground running with Bombora’s Intent data

So you've seen the benefits, and you’re ready to integrate Bombora's Intent data into your marketing and sales process. Awesome!

...now how do you actually get started?

We thought you might ask, so we compiled the following 12 best practices we’ve learned as we’ve helped hundreds of businesses successfully leverage Intent data to take their sales and marketing to the next level.

1. Take a deep breath

The results most businesses get with Intent data are incredible, so it’s easy to want to jump in and start integrating it everywhere right away.

The problem is that a flurry of activity without a solid plan under it can lead to a lot of wasted energy without the results to justify it.

Hands down, the most common mistake marketers make when implementing Intent data is taking on too much at once, so keep things simple - Don’t overhaul your entire marketing and sales processes! Start with the first 1-3 actions from this list and gradually add more as you get comfortable.

2. Start with a plan

As with every other marketing initiative, it’s much easier to get started and be successful when you have buy-in from the rest of your organization.

The most successful teams start their Intent data journey by first building a list of sales and marketing processes that could benefit from integrating Intent data and then prioritizing these options with internal stakeholders, ranked against the business goals and pain points.

While the ultimate goal is to incorporate Intent intelligence throughout the entire funnel, starting with a few high-impact projects that can show quick results will help you get the internal support and momentum you need to be successful with bigger Intent projects.

3. Spread the word

You’ve researched Intent data and have seen the impressive results it can bring - but remember that the rest of your org likely hasn’t.

So, while you’re excited to start checking off the boxes on your Intent data plan, it can serve you better, in the long run, to set aside some time to educate the other stakeholders on the basics of Intent data that you’ve learned in your research - Like what Intent data is, where it comes from, and how it can be used to understand which businesses are actively in-market for your product or service.

Once everyone in your org understands how Intent data can increase your win rate and shorten your sales cycle - all while saving you marketing and sales effort - it will be much easier to gain their support for your initiatives.

4. Nail the basics

Intent data builds on and multiplies the results of your current efforts, so it’s important to make sure you have a strong foundation in place before you start layering on Intent data.

This means it’s important to spend some time revisiting your strategies for:

  • Defining your buyer personas and decision committees
  • Grouping the decision committee by product or sales motion
  • Aligning buyer personas to a content journey
  • Creating relevant content for follow-up
  • Instituting an email or nurture sequence, and
  • Establishing benchmarks and calculating conversion rates between marketing and sales funnel stages

Once these critical elements are refined, you’re ready to begin adding in Intent data to make each of them more effective.

5. Pick relevant Intent topics

Intent data is only as good as the Intent topics you select, so don’t pick them in a vacuum!

Work with your Customer Success Managers (CSMs) to curate a list of relevant Intent topics and Intent topic clusters related to your products, customer pain points, brand, and competitors.

  • Activity in the brand and competitor Intent topic clusters shows existing awareness in your target audience, so you can tailor your messaging to how much they already know about your business.
    • If any of your existing customers are showing interest in competitor topics, it could mean that they’re at risk of churn.
  • For non-brand or competitor topics, conduct an audit of the Intent topics relevant to your business to understand if there are any topics you should add.

To identify additional topics, work with your sales team to understand the topics that their ideal prospects are searching for and collaborate with your CSM to build supporting content to support this Intent topic creation.

For additional help, download the Bombora Intent topic selection guide to map Intent topics to your business strategy.

If you're interested in Intent topics that are not included in the Bombora taxonomy, send an email to topics@bombora.com with your suggestion, a short description, and any related content links, so we can assess getting them added!

6. Keep your topic clusters tight

It may be tempting to lump all of your Intent topics into a single cluster, but this can cause issues in the long run -

Your intent topic clusters should be composed of more granular, related topics around a specific product or service, where interest in multiple of these topics is a strong indicator of Intent and more indicative of a trend around the subject of your Intent topic cluster.

Putting all of your topics (around product, brand, competitors, etc.) in a single cluster means you’ll have too broad of an audience for meaningful targeting and personalization.

So, keep your topic clusters tight. (You can learn more about how Intent topic clusters work in this information sheet and video).

7. Don’t engage too soon

How interested should your prospect be before you reach out?

We got this question so often that we created a feature - The Intent topic threshold.

An Intent topic threshold specifies the minimum number of topics a business should show interest in before you reach out.

From our experience, you have much greater odds of outreach success when a business shows interest in about 25-30% of your topics. (For example, if you pick ten topics to track, then select an Intent topic threshold of three (25-30% often) to ensure these target accounts are relevant to the campaign).

You can also adjust your Company Surge® score to change the size of your active market - Set your score to 60+ to show an increase in intent within an account, or dial the score up to 70 to reduce the number of your qualifying accounts.

8. Let your prospects lead your targeting efforts

Do you lean on your salespeople to provide a list of target accounts?

Using buyer Intent is a great data-driven method for finding new, interested accounts (including accounts your salespeople may never have discovered on their own).

Here are the 2 best methods to use Intent data for targeting:

  1. Create a campaign list by using the Bombora database to align target industry, business size, etc. with the Intent topics related to your campaign.
  2. Send the right messages to the right prospects using Intent data to segment your list for you - Send a product-focused message to accounts who are already showing increased Intent, and send a more general brand awareness message to those accounts who aren’t actively researching your products or services.

9. Know who to call

Most SDRs are handed a prospecting list with no weighting - When every name looks the same, who do you call first?

Adding each account’s Company Surge® score and relevant intent topics next to their name can help speed up the sales cycle and warm up cold outreach by showing your SDRs which accounts are most active and what specific topics they’re interested in.

Now your SDRs can focus on the accounts that are most likely to convert and avoid spending time on accounts that aren’t quite ready to engage.

10. Keep your prospects close and your competition closer

Get an early warning signal on potential churn by setting up a weekly Company Surge® report monitoring your active customers against a list of competitor topics.

Acquiring a new customer is anywhere from 5-25% more expensive than keeping an existing customer, so, if any of your current customers start showing serious interest in your competition, it’s time to alert sales!

Start off by sharing this list of high-risk customers with the account management team in an Excel file, then mature this report into a dashboard by integrating Bombora data into your CRM.

11. Connect and integrate

Intent data works best when it’s fully integrated into your sales and marketing stack.

This prevents you from having to juggle piles of excel sheets and paves the way for combining Intent data with other data sets for deeper intelligence.

Bombora has seamless integrations with all of your favorite tools (like Hubspot, Marketo, Outreach, Salesforce, and LinkedIn), and ABX Platforms (like 6Sense, Terminus, Rollworks and DemandBase), so you can leverage Intent data across the whole funnel.
Find the full list of our integrations here!

12. Grow sustainability

Marketing is a long game, and Intent data is no different.

Knowing which businesses are actively looking for your product or service is invaluable, but it’s important to remember that this knowledge doesn’t eliminate your sales cycle (even if it does have the possibility to greatly reduce it).

Look for quick wins in the short term (Increased CTRs, email open/reply rates, etc.) to ensure you’re on the right track and stay the course to see the full benefits.

Start off with monthly or quarterly data pulls until you have more Intent data integrations and automation set up and then increase the frequency of your pulls as you become more comfortable.

You got this. And remember, the Bombora Team is here to help.