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Why Working Intent Accounts is Frustrating Sellers

The Big Idea

Prospecting accounts based on intent alone is frustrating Sellers because intent signals don’t consistently mean that:

  • The prospect is ready for a conversation with Sales,
  • The prospect fits your Ideal Customer Profile, or
  • The prospect has a “why” that connects with your product.

Why It Matters

With the new focus on efficient growth, Sales teams are focusing on a smaller set of accounts. Some companies are picking this smaller list of accounts based on intent alone.

Unfortunately, we often hear from frustrated sales teams that have prioritized accounts purely on the basis of Intent, who after investing a lot of energy realize that the buyers are not really interested in buying their product.

If not addressed, this can lead to sellers missing their numbers along with issues of burnout. 

Going Deeper: Why Intent is Challenging for Prospecting

Lacks Context

Intent data alone lacks context about “why” the prospect is looking at your solution. The missing pieces of context are around the key initiatives, needs, and pains of the prospect. The captured intent data is frequently too broad to provide real actionable insights. Knowing a prospect visited pages on “security software” or “HR systems” lacks the specificity needed to determine if and when sales outreach would be impactful. 

To have real relevance for a sales team, intent data needs to be enhanced with firmographic, technographic, and other digital body language signals. The more context around intent the better, as long as privacy guidelines are followed.

Not Buyer Committee Contacts

Intent signals are at the account level and are not based on the job function or the seniority of the person showing the intent. In B2B sales, there are often multiple stakeholders involved in the decision-making process. It can be challenging to identify and engage with the decision-makers, and even when you do, their intent may not align with the rest of the group. 

The Goldilocks Problem

Intent often suffers from the problem of there being too many or too few matching accounts. If you are in an established category, you have to dial in your intent signals carefully to avoid being overwhelmed with a lot of false positives. On the other hand, if you’re creating a new category, there’s typically a lack of any intent data at all. Getting it just right requires a lot of work and a fair amount of luck!

Not Always Timely 

Just because someone visited your website or a review site does not mean that they’re ready for a conversation with Sales. We’ve heard many stories of intent signals being flagged because of visits from job applicants, students doing academic projects, or even junior people at a company doing research for a side project. Even if it is the right person, they might be early in the buying journey when they’re not ready for a conversation with Sales.

Competitor Frenzy

Intent data is shared with your competitors at the same time that it’s shared with you. This means that the buyers at the matching accounts are swamped with messages from a host of vendors at the same time. Is it a surprise that your response rates are not high enough when you reach out to these prospects?

This is not to say that Intent signals cannot be valuable when combined with the right ICP and account context signals. In our next post, we break down how using a True ICP definition, which captures context at the prospect level can help you get the best ROI from your Intent data.

Do you know your True ICP? Would you like to find out? Drop us a note here and we can do a session to help you and your team focus on your highest-value prospects.

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