Episode OneHundredFiftyFour

Harnessing the Power of Intent

Guest: Maura Brady, RVP of Sales at 6Sense

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About This Episode

As they say, “intent is everything.” 

Nowhere is that more true than sales. 

If you can’t capitalize on customer intent and convert that into actionable follow-up, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

But the customer is savvy today. They have more information at their disposal than ever before, and some studies have shown that as much as 70% of research happens before ever talking with a salesperson. 

So how do you harness intent? 

How do you capitalize on the work that is done before a customer ever gets to your door and turn that into a relationship? 

Maura Brady is the RVP of Sales at 6Sense and was a guest on the Sales Engagement Podcast recently. We talked all about women in sales, harnessing intent, what she calls “The Dark Funnel” and so much more. 

What Is Intent? 

According to Maura, “Intent is data that will help you better understand who is actually ready for a solution that you offer. Who is in market? What are their challenges? What are their pain points? And how can you use that data to personalize and adapt your outreach to more effectively open doors and close deals?”

Intent is typically utilized in a few different ways, the biggest 2 being: 

  1. Most folks are analyzing intent to figure out which of their prospects have the highest level of readiness to buy, or are most ready to move to the next phase in the buyer’s journey. 
  2. Intent can also be used to understand the competitive landscape. What are your competitors doing? Where do you sit in the conversations that are already taking place? 

The Dark Funnel

What is the dark funnel?

It’s not as ominous as it sounds. 

Most buyers today are anonymous. If it’s true that 70% of research is being done before they even engage a sales professional, there’s work to be done. 

Buyers are savvy, and they have a LOT of information at their fingertips. They’re forming opinions and evaluating your business before speaking with you, but in doing so, they’re leaving digital breadcrumbs. 

Maybe they’re doing Google searches for your competitors. Maybe they’re using sites like G2 or Gartner Peer Insights to evaluate you and your competitors. 

This is the dark funnel. 

It’s intent waiting to have a light shone on it. 

You can use that data to understand when somebody is looking for a new ABM, or looking into predictive analytics. And you can bring that data to your sales & marketing teams, and then use AI to tell when that sort of research is indicative of a new product buy. 

All of the pre-work being done is all dark funnel research. All of the Google searches, review sites, Forbes article clicks, all of it. 

Harnessing all of that data, putting it together, and pushing a signal to a sales rep, that’s how you wade into the dark funnel and start to make sense of the intent data. 

All Intent Isn’t Created Equal

Obviously, you deal with different types of intent differently. 

A visit to your website ought to generate a different type of follow up than someone merely doing a Google search or a G2 review of your competitors. 

There’s a fine line to walk. You want to personalize your outreach, but you want to do it in a way that comes across as useful, not as SPAM. 

At the end of the day, there are a lot of factors that go into harnessing your intent well. You want to make sure you’re making the best use of that consumer data, and getting those digital breadcrumbs that they’re leaving. 

If you can convert that into actionable follow-up? You’re well on your way. 

This post is based on a podcast interview with Maura Brady. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.


About The Podcast

The Sales Engagement podcast is the #1 podcast focused on engaging your customers and prospects in the modern sales era. This show features real-life stories and best practices from revenue leaders doing the job day in and day out, in a casual, radio-like talk show.

Each episode features modern tactics, strategies, hacks, and tips to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy and help you navigate the next generation of sales. You’ll find energetic talks that will provide you with real actionable value around building meaningful connections and creating a better selling experience through authentic conversations that you can measure.

The Sales Engagement podcast is here to help B2B sales leaders, customer success leaders, and marketing leaders innovate and usher in the next era of modern sales by building pipeline, up-selling customers, and ultimately generating more revenue with more efficiency.

Hosted by Joe Vignolo, Senior Content Managing Editor at Outreach, and Mark Kosoglow, Vice President of Sales at Outreach.

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