Over the past year, much of my research focused on the biggest challenges B2B marketing and sales teams are facing when using intent data. In blogs, I’ve helped companies understand how to choose an intent provider and covered the biggest mistakes we’ve seen when leveraging intent data. For Forrester Decisions clients, my colleagues and I provided an introduction to the market, described the provider landscape, and produced our first Forrester Wave™ evaluation dedicated to intent.

The latest report in the series approaches these questions from a different angle, asking end users how intent is actually being deployed by their B2B marketing and sales teams — and what kind of results practitioners are seeing. The report, available to both Forrester Decisions for Revenue Operations and Forrester Decisions for Demand & ABM clients, breaks down the findings of Forrester’s Q1 2023 Global B2B Intent Data Survey and offers recommendations for how to increase the impact of your intent spend.

The survey results showed strong adoption of intent data across a number of common use cases. They also showed consistent benefits while exposing a few gaps between expectation and reality. Highlights from the report include the following:

  • Over 85% of companies using intent data have achieved business benefits. The most common benefits reported among respondents include increased response rates from outbound marketing and more successful sales prospecting.
  • Over 70% of companies using intent data are now leveraging multiple providers. Most organizations leveraging intent data are pursuing a mix-and-match approach, combining data from multiple providers with different collection methodologies or coverage areas. Almost half are currently receiving data from three or more sources.
  • 30% of companies investing in intent data plan to increase their spend. On the flip side, only 10% have plans to reduce their investment.
  • Most companies using intent data have applied it to only a handful of use cases. One of the key opportunities for intent users to capture some low-hanging fruit from their investment is to begin leveraging the data they are already purchasing for use cases beyond account targeting and demand generation, such as pipeline acceleration and customer retention. Only half of the companies in our survey are leveraging their intent investment for pipeline acceleration and less than a third for any customer use case.
  • When asked about specifics, more companies expected benefits than achieved them. While we saw impressive data on companies achieving business benefits, there were also gaps between the number of companies anticipating specific benefits and those that achieved those results. This was true across all benefits surveyed and especially in relation to sales use cases and overall revenue growth. While the report discusses several causes for these gaps, one common issue I’ve seen among Forrester clients is a lack of reporting capabilities to track the impact of intent data investments deeper into the B2B Revenue Waterfall™.
  • Most respondents report difficulty in identifying appropriate decision-makers. Not surprisingly, identifying specific contacts to target within accounts demonstrating intent was cited as the top execution challenge facing intent users, as few intent providers are able to deliver signals from known contacts.

For a more in-depth breakdown of the survey results and insights into best practices for leveraging intent, Forrester clients can read the full report here or reach out to your account team to schedule a guidance session with myself or another analyst in your service.