Hints Of Desire: B2B Brands Use Only A Few Of The Many Intent Signals

B2B marketers are using only a fraction of the many intent signals available to them. 

Of 18 identified buying signals, five or less are used by 65% of marketers, according to Tracking Intent Signals: How Are Marketers Really Identifying Their In-Market Buys?, a study by 6sense. Another 23% use between 5 and 10. 

And 55% do not think their signal mix is close to ideal, although 24% feel theirs is and 21% say it is close to ideal.

Given this usage, most respondents rank spend for about only about five signals. And there is no strong consensus on which five are worthy of budget.

Here are two more signs that may reflect dysfunction (and we quote): 

“Only 61% of practitioners surveyed respond differently to accounts presenting with more than one qualified lead.

“While 97% of buyer activity on supplier websites is anonymous, only 26% of B2B revenue teams de-anonymize that anonymous web-traffic determine which accounts are demonstrating interest.” 



The most preferred buying signal is demo requests. But it is used by 41%, the same percentage that utilizes email opens/clicks 

The most used metric, although not the most favored is ad clicks, which are cited by 41%. Score-promoted leads (MQLs) are studied by 41%, as are form-fill leads.

The least-preferred metric is syndicated content leads, used by 27%. However, the least used—cited by 16%--is Freemium product usage.  

Most marketers are not measuring visitor engagement to any great degree. They examine: 

  • Asset content (topic) — 39% 
  • Time with asset — 39%
  • Intensity (Visits to asset per period of time) — 27% 
  • Visitor scroll depth — 9% 

The study notes that “Anonymous, Group-level, Acquired, and Raw signals ranked higher in spend.” 

This reflects “the high cost of signals such as third-party intent and other derived signals that require substantial data processing to produce or acquire.”  

6sense Research surveyed 168 marketers from B2B organizations. In North America, 34% were from tech & software companies and 13% from professional service firms. In addition, 12% work at business services firms, and 8% at financial services organizations. 

The paper was written by Kerry Cunningham and Sara Boostani. 



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