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What’s the Best Way to Identify Buyer Intent?

Buyer's Intent

Too many marketing campaigns shoot in the dark. That’s not surprising since, whilst many organisations might be looking for your products or services at any given time, the challenge is to identify which ones these are. Unless they knock on your door, you may never know who’s looking right now.  So, what’s the best way to identify buyer intent?

Buyer Signals

Of course, there are signals. For example, recruitment patterns may suggest a gap in skills or resources that you may be able to fill. The recruitment of a compliance manager may herald a need for more compliance solutions. And, market drivers may trigger requirements in particular sectors. That could be changes in legislation (e.g. Data Protection rules or financial services regulation), economic factors (unemployment, inflation, growth or recession), environmental factors (i.e. the drive towards sustainability), and so on. 

Needle in a haystack

Nevertheless, actually pinpointing those individual buyers that are in the market right now, is tough. And, the task can be expensive. Where do these golden purchasers go for inspiration to find new suppliers? And, competitor activity is everywhere. Is your business visible and credible when it counts? 

It’s a real challenge. Yet, identifying buyer intent is crucial for the success of any lead generation campaign. Knowing what your potential customers are interested in and what they are looking for can help you create more targeted and effective campaigns. So where do you start? 

Ways to identify buyer intent:

Conduct Market Research: 

Conducting market research can help you understand the needs and pain points of your target audience. You can use surveys, focus groups, and customer feedback to gather insights into what your current and/or potential customers are looking for and what their pain points are. This can help you shape your marketing outreach efforts in terms of proposition and channel choice.

Analyse Search Trends: 

Analysing search trends can give you an idea of what topics are currently popular among your target audience. You can use tools like Google Trends or SEMrush to identify keywords that are trending and create content or campaigns around those topics. Whilst organic reach can take a considerable amount of time, getting your content right to attract buyers that are in the market to you, is vitally important.

Monitor Social Media: 

Social media can be a great source of information about what your potential customers are interested in. You can use social listening tools to monitor conversations and mentions of your brand and industry to identify common pain points and interests. You might just pick up an immediate need, and be able to engage in conversation that turns into a valid sales lead.

Track Website Behaviour: 

Tracking website behaviour can also give you insights into what your potential customers are interested in. You can use tools like Google Analytics to monitor which pages on your website are most popular and which content is getting the most engagement.

Some solution providers purport to tell you who visited your website. That’s fine, but the challenge is that whilst they may claim to tell you that a particular company visited a particular page on your site, there is little value in knowing that Microsoft is interested in the products you offer if you don’t know where and who. 

Intent Data Suppliers: 

Real intent data is the holy grail but probably the most difficult area, and probably the most expensive. If you’re considering committing to a tech solution in this area, it’s important to consider factors such as data accuracy, coverage, and pricing if you’re choosing a supplier that says that they offer intent data. 

In the past, we’ve found that some tools are better for certain locations, such as the USA, and not for others like Europe, or The UK. Likewise, some provide good coverage for high-level company details but are much weaker data on phone numbers for telemarketing. They can also deliver poor email data for the specific personas that are being targeted. What’s more, you should consider whether the provider’s data integrates with your existing marketing technology stack and whether their insights align with your target market and goals.

The best provider for your business will depend on your specific needs and goals. Below are a few of the top providers of intent data for marketing:

  1. Bombora:
  2. TechTarget:
  3. ZoomInfo:
  4. DiscoverOrg:
  5. Aberdeen:

Listening Tools

Perhaps a bit further removed from actual intent, there are also a few social listening tools available that can help you identify buyer intent, for example on LinkedIn. 

Below are some options:

  1. LinkedIn Sales Navigator: Navigator enables you to create lead lists, track leads and accounts, and receive updates on potential buyers. You can also use its advanced search filters to identify leads that match specific criteria, including the technologies used. 
  2. Hootsuite Insights: This tool helps you monitor social media channels, including LinkedIn, to identify keywords and phrases related to your business. You can set up alerts for specific keywords and track mentions of your brand to identify potential buyers.
  3. Brandwatch: This is a social listening tool that helps you monitor social media channels, news sites, blogs, and forums to track mentions of your brand, competitors, and industry. You can use its filters to identify potential buyers based on their interests, behaviours, and location.
  4. Mention: This tool allows you to monitor social media channels, news sites, and blogs to identify mentions of your brand, competitors, and industry. You can also set up alerts for specific keywords and track trends to identify potential buyers.
  5. Owler: This tool provides insights on companies, including their financial information, leadership team, and competitors. It can help you identify potential buyers based on their industry, size, and location.

Events and Exhibitions

Events can be perceived as somewhat ‘old school’, and expensive. Yet, buyers do congregate at exhibitions, and conferences. Therefore, if the event is well-targeted, having a presence that acts as a lead magnet may be beneficial. What’s more, it’s a more direct way to establish buyer intent. But, watch out for the tyre-kickers that attend every event! And, make sure that you don’t fail to follow-up swiftly and until there’s an outcome so you maximise your event investment.

Old-fashioned Cold-Calling 

Like event exhibiting, telemarketing can be an expensive way to identify buyer intent if that’s your only objective. But, it’s personal, and direct. Along the way, you will almost certainly pick up immediate business opportunities rather than having to wait for them with other channels. However, establishing future buyer intent (i.e. building your sales pipeline) takes time and can mean that ROI can be slow. Hence, this works better as part of a long-term lead generation strategy, and where your value of sale is higher. 

Regular Customer Service Calls

Keeping in touch is important. Buyers change. Requirements change. And, if you don’t keep on top of customer and prospect data, you will lose any foothold with customers on the fringes that don’t get much attention. Therefore, effective database management is key. This includes picking up the phone perhaps every 6 months to every target or existing customer on your database. By doing this, you can refresh the contact information, in addition to being able to identify contract renewal dates and emerging requirements. Whilst this may, again, be a more traditional approach, it cannot be ignored as a direct means of gauging byer intent. 


Identifying buyer intent is crucial for the success of any lead generation campaign. It can be challenging and expensive to pinpoint individual buyers who are currently in the market for products or services, especially when there is intense competition. Ultimately, the best approach depends on your company’s specific needs and goals, the importance you attach to the task, and the available budget that you devote to the exercise.


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