What is Sales Intent Data & How Sales Teams Can Use It

By: Jack Reamer |
 March 24, 2024 |

Most prospecting tools let you build a list of potential customers that match your target audience.

But… imagine you could identify the decision makers who were actively researching your competitors and looking to make a purchase decision soon.

Your outreach messaging would have higher reply rates.
Your sales cycles would speed up.
Your conversion rates would increase.

In short, your sales team would be far more effective.

This is the power of sales intent data. 

And it can give your B2B sales team a serious advantage. Especially, if they’re taking an account-based marketing approach.

But before you can use it to transform your sales outreach strategy, you need to understand what intent data is and how to leverage it for maximum results.

In this article, we will share what intent data is and how to use it for more effective b2b lead generation. 

What is sales intent data? 

Sales intent data/B2B sales intent data shows you which prospects are interested in buying your product or service – right now.

Bombora, the leading provider of today’s intent data for sales teams, defines intent data as: 

“Data that tells you when buyers are actively researching online for a solution, and which products and services they are interested in, based on the web content they consume.”

It’s a form of digital intelligence that captures an individual’s online activities and shows you the “intent” of a specific individual or business.

For example, if your ICP visits a pricing page on your competitor’s website, they’ve just signaled their purchase intent – and tools like Bombora collect and resell this information to B2B sales teams like yours.

Or another example:

If a company is researching “The best CRM tool integrations” Or “Which is the worst CRM on the market.” you know that this company is actively searching for a CRM tool.

B2B data zooms in on the online behaviors of potential decision-makers and prospects. It’s like a spotlight on what companies are looking for in their buyer journey to find solutions or products that solve their pain points

This could include things like researching industry trends or comparing different vendors in their buying journey

It also allows you to figure out the level of interest a prospect is showing.

How is intent data collected?

It’s collected through different data sources, such as:

  • Website visits
  • Search queries
  • Content interactions
  • Social media engagements

Intent data providers also partner with a number of sources across the internet to figure out which IP addresses are interested in certain topics and then deduce the company name from the said IP address.

The two most common types of intent data are:

  • First-party intent data

Some of it is collected directly from your own interactions with prospects and customers, like website visits, social media engagement, or email responses.

It also includes data collected in your CRM, offline surveys, questionnaires, and forms.

  • Third-party intent data

Other times, it’s gathered from external sources, such as intent data providers who aggregate data from across search engines like Bombora

These methods include:

  • Behavioral data, individual actions, and interests are shared across websites and apps.
  • Bidstream data that originates from a publisher’s website or app that passes some site visitor and page-level data  during the real-time bidding process for programmatic advertising”
  • Behavioral data that has been collected by a publisher-owned network of websites and apps.

It’s important to use a trustworthy source that’s transparent about how this data is collected.

Some misconceptions and worries about how this kind of data is collected

Some people think intent data is all about spying on personal information, which might raise privacy concerns. 

Another mistake is thinking that intent data gives a complete view of what a customer wants, which can lead to wrong assumptions, and in turn,  the wrong kinds of lead-generation strategies.

Others might also worry that the information from intent data isn’t accurate or reliable. (Which we noticed was the case in the past, but it is definitely improving.)

Plus, some think it’s too complicated to use intent data in their lead-generation strategies. 

Intent data is becoming more accurate.

In the past, we noticed that intent data wasn’t as accurate, but we have seen a change in recent months.  


We started a client campaign, and we were looking for specific signals that we just couldn’t find. 

But with the help of intent data, we were able to create and write LinkedIn outreach messages that were very specific for the target audiences.  

The messages were a lot more direct and straightforward, and even so, this campaign outperformed what we had in the past.

So to break it down in simple terms, intent data helped us find (for example) people who were interested in Cisco hardware because they were searching for articles on Cisco hardware. This shows us that they are clearly interested in this.

In order for this to work though the data needs to be fresh and we need to look at specific signals such as:

  • Frequency
  • Intensity
  • Recency

So if a potential customer or target account is on a page where the H1 header is “Cisco Hardware Providers” the intensity for this term is going to be a 10. 


Because this person is actively looking for providers. 

They have purchase intent

Meaning that if you go after these people the chances of greater conversion rates will be so much higher. 

Whereas if someone was searching for “Tips on Maintaining your Cisco hardware” the intent signal would be less, because they might not be interested in buying the product, but rather maintaining it. 

Next is frequency

This means that we will look at how many times an individual visited certain pages. If they only visit one, it might mean they aren’t that interested yet. Whereas the score goes up if the prospect has visited multiple pages. 

When it comes to recency, Bombora can go back several months, but they do a week-by-week report. They even have a real-time update as new data comes in. 

Obviously, for intent campaigns, timing matters. 

You want to strike while the iron is hot, if they were looking for a product/service 4 months ago, they might have found a solution to their problem already. 

What are the benefits of utilizing B2B buyer intent data and who benefits from using it? 

Using intent data in marketing and sales offers a number of different benefits, from targeted marketing and sales to better personalization. 

Stats show that 55% of sales leaders saw an increase in lead conversions when using intent data and that intent-based ads had a 220% higher click-through rate according to Foundry.

Below are some of the most common benefits when using intent data:

Targeted Marketing and Sales outreach

Intent data helps identify prospects who are actively researching or showing interest in products or services, this means that your company can tailor their marketing efforts and messages accordingly. 

For example, imagine knowing that a prospect is actively searching for a specific service, like “The best appointment scheduling software”. 

You can tailor your outreach messages to their needs and mention how your software can solve their pain points and why you might be the best option. 

It’s a slam dunk in the world of lead gen. 

Increased Sales Efficiency

By focusing efforts on prospects that are showing purchase intent, sales teams can prioritize their outreach efforts, and strike while the iron is hot. This in turn will lead to higher conversion rates and improved efficiency.

We will discuss how to do this further in the article.

Better Personalization

Understanding customer intent enables businesses to deliver more personalized and relevant messaging and content. 

For example:

If you notice that a prospect is looking for a specific SAAS tool, you could mention how your tool could solve their pain points in your outreach messages

“Hey {name} I noticed that your company does {XYZ}. How have you been dealing with {pain point}? I’m asking because our Saas tool solves this issue. Would you be interested in hopping on a quick call? Would love to help you.”

Improved Lead Scoring:

Intent data provides valuable insights into prospect engagement and readiness to buy. This means that you can reach out to “hot prospects” and add others to different marketing campaigns at every stage of your sales funnel.  

Enhanced Account-Based Marketing (ABM):

Intent data helps identify target accounts that are actively researching solutions. This means that you can tailor your ABM strategies and personalized outreach to be more effective by reaching out to the right decision-makers

Optimized Content Marketing Strategy:

By understanding what your visitors are interested in, you can tailor their experience to match their needs. 

For example, if you notice that they enjoy reading content about SEO content marketing strategies, you can showcase relevant content on your home page, and social media pages, or suggest products and services they might be interested in. 

You could even use intent data to create a pop-up that you know your audience will be interested in. 

The image below is of Tim Ferris, a well-known influencer. He uses a pop-up that says he will share 17 questions that changed his life and made him successful.

You could also share relevant content through social media channels, webinars, and blog posts.

Reduced Churn Rates:

If you notice that a customer is shopping around for alternatives to your product/service, you can reach out to them and figure out how they are finding your product or service. You might then offer them a slight discount depending on their needs, or ask them what they would like to see improve with your product/service. 

Real-Time Insights:

Intent data provides real-time insights into customer behavior and preferences. For example, Bombora can go back several months, but they do a week-by-week report. They even have a real-time update as new data comes in. 

Timing matters. 

There’s no point in reaching out to a prospect who was looking at a service over a year ago. 

And who benefits from buyer Intent data?

Sales teams and sales reps can focus on the hottest leads because of purchase intent data, while marketing teams can tailor their messages to their customer’s needs in order to get a positive response. 

Content marketing teams can also leverage intent data to create content that resonates with their visitor’s needs. 

Intent data helps lead generation companies find refined potential customers and reach out to them in a personalized way. 

It’s also important to note that buyer Intent data is not cheap, (most intent data providers charge $1000 and up per month) and therefore, when it comes to who benefits from buyer intent data, you should keep in mind that this is only for sales teams that are selling high-value products in our opinion. 

Definitely north of  $5,000 US and above. Lower-priced products are going to make it difficult to ensure that intent data is actually paying. 

But sales teams can focus on reaching out to the hottest leads or companies most likely in a buying state of mind, while marketing teams can use this data to improve certain advertising campaigns. 

This article: Four ways to simplify marketing with B2B Intent data.  is quite helpful for B2B marketing teams who would like to use intent data.

And lastly, if you’re wondering how to send more high-quality sales messages that enjoy a higher reply rate without needing to send high-volume cold email outreach for example, you’re going to benefit from using intent data, because it will refine your list.

Here’s an example of how we use sales intent data at Salesbread

At Salesbread we know that intent data has its limitations and it’s not perfect. 


So, because of that, you have to help out the data and you do that by applying smart filters.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say that you want to find companies that have a high churn rate, and need some kind of HR consulting. 

You could then go into Bombora and ask it to show you a list of companies actively searching for HR consulting.

And you would have a list of a hundred firms, or maybe even over a thousand of companies that Bombora thinks are looking for HR consulting because of a high churn issue. 

But what we would do instead is go a layer deeper. 

We would say: “Okay, so Bambora thinks there are a thousand firms that are searching for HR consulting but I want to double-check this data.” 

We will then do some obvious basic things to triple-check this information to make sure that it’s accurate.

First, we will leave a company on this list if they currently have a type of HR structure that has an in-house recruiter.  


Because almost always companies with a high churn rate have to keep hiring, so they will most likely have an in-house recruiter. 

So of the list of a thousand companies that Bombora thinks are in the market for an HR consultant due to high churn, I’m going to then refine that list even more. 

We will say: “Of this list of a thousand companies, show me companies that have at least two in-house recruiters.”

This is an indicator that we know to look for to double-check if these companies truly have a churn problem. And this refining process will take the list down from a thousand companies to 200 companies. 

Therefore this new list uses both intent data, and “human-based” filters that the client and I have decided on. 

These filters are based on common patterns among companies that need help with churn.

We believe that you should be using intent data but be sure to have your own checkpoints in place. 

Who are today’s best Intent Data Providers?

These tools scour the internet for clues about buyer intent, gathering data from sources across the web. 

Some of the best data intent providers are:


Bombora doesnt offer pricing on their site, but you can book a demo, and contact them to find out more. 


You also need to contact Zoominfo in order to get their pricing, but they do offer various packages for you to choose from. 

Lead Sift (A Foundry Company)

In order to see pricing and packages you will have to reach out to Lead Sift. 

The pricing depends on data volume and use case.

Now that you know what intent data is, why not contact Salesbread to help your company utilize it for higher conversion rates?

Try the above tips. 

Or if you would like a more personalized approach to lead generation in your sales efforts, hop on a free 15-minute strategy call with Salesbread. We cover the cost of intent data plus, help you generate 1 qualified sales lead per day with our done-for-you lead generation service.