Understanding Buyer Intent: A Key to Closing More Deals

Denis Shatalin
Founder of SaaS Camp
In the competitive world of software services, closing deals can be a bit tricky. In fact, 79% of marketing leads never turn into sales.

But here's the deal: understanding buyers' intent can make a huge difference.

How? When you understand their intent, you can tailor your approach to meet their needs more effectively. However, 53% of marketers said their biggest challenge is understanding buyer intent.

Are you, too, finding it difficult? Join SaaS Camp to get my proven strategies to make the process of closing deals smoother.

Now, in this blog, I’ll dive deep into understanding buyer intent. I'll also talk about:

  • A detailed definition of buyer intent
  • Types of buyer intent
  • Steps to set up tools
  • Proven tips for using buyer intent

Let's get started!

What is Buyer Intent?

In the world of sales, knowing buyer intent is like having a map to your customer's heart. But before we jump into the hunt, let's break down what "buyer intent" really means.

Imagine buyer intent as your customer's decision-making GPS. It's their way of saying, "I'm curious, tell me more!" But buyer intent isn't the same for everyone; it comes in different types, and knowing them is crucial.

On one side, you've got "Informational Intent." This is when your potential customer is just curious, gathering info, and exploring without a specific buying urge.

Then, there's "Navigational Intent." These folks are more like, "I know what I want, help me find it on your site."

Now, let's hop over to "Transactional Intent." These are the true bargain hunters, all set to take out their wallets and make a purchase. They've done their homework, compared choices, and now, they're eager to buy.

Lastly, we've got "Commercial Intent." Think of this as the exploratory phase.
These customers are checking out different brands, considering their choices - just like someone scanning book reviews before making the final pick.

Why Understanding Buyer Intent Matters?

Now that we've got a grip on what buyer intent is, let's talk about why it's such a big deal, especially in the world of SaaS.

Think of the SaaS sales journey like a road trip with different stops:

  • Awareness,
  • Interest,
  • Consideration,
  • Conversion.

Buyer intent plays a role at each of these stops, guiding you along the way.

Awareness: In the awareness phase, knowing what potential customers are curious about (Informational Intent) helps you create the right content to grab their attention.

Interest: As they move into the interest phase, understanding their specific needs (Navigational Intent) allows you to offer solutions tailored to their interests.

Consideration: When someone is ready to make a purchase (Transactional Intent), you can step in with the perfect pitch, sealing the deal.

Conversion: Finally, in the conversion phase, buyer intent helps you determine if it's time to close the deal or if they need more information (Commercial Investigation Intent).

Studies show that companies that grasp buyer intent see a 9% boost in their sales conversion rates. But it's not just about the numbers.

Understanding buyer intent isn't just a sales trick; it's the secret recipe for happy customers. When you know what your customers want and need, you can deliver exactly that.

This leads to satisfaction and builds trust, which is the foundation of long-term relationships. Happy customers are more likely to stick around, renew their subscriptions, and even become advocates for your product.

Types of Buyer Intent

  • Informational Intent

Let's dive into one of the flavors of buyer intent - Informational Intent. Think of it as the first step in the SaaS buyer's journey, the "I want to know more" phase.

Informational Intent is when potential customers are in discovery mode. They're like explorers, seeking information but not quite ready to buy. They might be curious about what your software does, how it solves problems, or its benefits.

But how do you recognize it? Well, you can be a bit of a detective here. Look for a couple of clues:

  • Keyword Research: When someone starts searching for general terms like "best project management tools" or "how to make work easier," it's a hint. They're on an information hunt, not shopping for products.

  • Content Consumption: Keep an eye on what content they're consuming. Are they reading blog posts, watching explainer videos, or downloading whitepapers? These actions show they're in the learning mode.

So, when you spot these signs, you know it's Informational Intent at work. And here's the opportunity: provide them with the info they're hungry for. Offer value, answer their questions, and be their guiding light in this phase of exploration.

  • Navigational Intent
Now, let's shift gears and talk about Navigational Intent, a key player in the SaaS buyer's journey. This is when your potential customers have moved from the "I want to learn" phase to "I know what I want; help me find it."

Navigational Intent is like someone walking into a store with a shopping list in hand. They have a specific goal in mind. In the SaaS world, it means they're ready to explore particular solutions to their problems.

So, how can you tell when someone is in this mode? Look out for these signals:

  • Repeated Visits to Product Pages: If someone keeps coming back to check out your product pages, they're not just window shopping anymore. They're interested in what you offer.

  • Branded Searches: When they search for your SaaS brand name or specific features you provide, it's a clear sign. They're narrowing down their choices.

  • Trial Sign-Ups: If they're signing up for a free trial or requesting a demo, that's a big green flag. It means they're serious about your solution.

Navigational Intent signals that your potential customers are on a mission. They want to see if your software fits their needs. It's your opportunity to guide them along this journey, provide clear information, and help them find the perfect solution.

  • Transactional Intent
Transactional Intent, the phase where the SaaS buyer journey transforms into the conversion phase. This is where things get exciting because someone is ready to say, "Yes, I want this!"

Transactional Intent is like someone walking up to the cashier with a product in hand, ready to pay. In the SaaS world, it's the phase where potential customers have done their homework, compared options, and are itching to make a purchase.

They're at the finish line, and your job is to help them cross it.

Here are some signs that someone is in a transactional state of mind:

  • Cart Abandonment: When they've added your SaaS product to their cart or started the subscription process but didn't complete it. This signals a high level of interest and intent.

  • Pricing Page Visits: If they're frequently checking out your pricing page, they're likely crunching numbers and getting ready to buy.

  • Trial Conversion: When they transition from a free trial to a paid subscription, it's the ultimate transactional move.

Transactional Intent is the golden moment in the SaaS journey. These folks are just about to become your customers.

So, make sure you offer a smooth and user-friendly experience, address any last-minute questions, and get ready to celebrate a successful conversion. It's where all your efforts really pay off.

  • Commercial Investigation Intent
Commercial Investigation Intent is a critical phase in the SaaS buyer journey. It's like the moment when you're standing in front of a buffet and checking all the delicious dishes before making your choice.

This intent is when potential SaaS customers are in research mode, actively comparing different options. They've gone beyond just looking around or wanting info; they're eager to make an informed choice.

To spot this intent, watch for these behaviors:

  • Cross-Comparison Content Consumption: If they're reading articles or watching videos that compare different SaaS products or features, it's a strong indicator. They're weighing pros and cons.

  • In-Depth Feature Exploration: Look for signs of them diving deep into specific features, functionality, or compatibility with their needs. They're getting down to the nitty-gritty details.

  • Demo Requests with Questions: When they request a demo and come armed with questions about how your product stacks up against competitors, they're definitely in the Commercial Investigation phase.

Recognizing Commercial Investigation Intent is vital because it's your chance to shine.

Offer clear, unbiased information about your product's strengths, and be ready to address their specific concerns. Show them why your SaaS solution stands out in the buffet of options they're exploring.

How to Setup and Use the Tools Effectively: Step-by-Step

Understanding buyer intent isn't just about having the right tools; it's about using them effectively to guide your strategies. Here's a step-by-step breakdown of how to do it:

  • Choose the Right Tools

Start by defining your goals. What do you want to achieve with buyer intent analysis? Whether it's boosting conversion rates or improving content engagement, your goals will help you pick the right tools.

Also, consider your budget. While some tools can be pricey, there are budget-friendly options that can give similar results.

  • Set Up Tracking

Once you've selected your tools, it's time to get them working. Follow the setup guides provided by the tools. This usually involves adding tracking codes or scripts to your website. These codes collect data on how visitors behave on your site.

  • Define Your Goals

Be clear about what you want to achieve with your tracking and analysis efforts. Are you looking to increase conversion rates, enhance content engagement, or something else? Having clear goals keeps your efforts focused and ensures the data you collect is relevant.

  • Regularly Review Data

Don't let the data pile up. Regularly check the info collected by your tracking tools. Look for patterns, unusual things, and opportunities.

  • Are there specific pages where visitors tend to leave?
  • Do certain types of content get more attention?

The goal isn't to be overwhelmed by data. It's about using it as a powerful tool to understand your audience and meet their needs throughout their buying journey.

  • Act on Insights

The most crucial step is using the insights to make data-driven decisions. For example, if you find that many visitors abandon the checkout page, it's time to improve that process. It's about making meaningful changes that enhance the customer experience and deliver better results.

Do you want more ideas on this topic? There's an easy way to get the trends in your fingertips. You can get the subscription to our newsletter and accelerate your path to $3M in annual recurring revenue.

Key Strategies for Leveraging Buyer Intent

Now that we have our tools in place, let's talk about how to make them work like a charm. Leveraging buyer intent is all about delivering the perfect message to the right people at the right time. Here are some easy strategies to make it happen:

  • Content Personalization
Use the data you've collected to tailor your content to different stages of the buyer journey. For those with Informational Intent, offer informative blog posts and guides. For those in the Transactional phase, showcase case studies and product demos.

  • Dynamic Messaging
Bring some magic to your website and emails with dynamic content. Show different messages and offers based on what the visitor is up to. It's like having a chat that changes with each guest.

  • Lead Segmentation by Intent
Divide your leads into segments based on their intent signals. Create specific groups for Informational, Navigational, Transactional, and Commercial Investigation Intent. This allows you to tailor your communication to their specific needs.

  • Tailored Sales Pitches and Product Recommendations
For those showing "I'm ready to buy" intent, keep your sales pitch clear and focus on the good stuff—what they'll get from your product. But for those in the "I'm checking out options" phase, give them the full scoop with comparisons and real-life stories.

Use what you know about their intent to suggest the right products or features. If someone is into a specific feature, highlight it when you chat with them.

  • Timely Follow-Up
Set up automatic follow-up messages based on what they're up to or what they've shown interest in. For example, if someone is looking at prices, shoot them a follow-up email with all the price info and answers to common questions.

When you reach out, mention what you've noticed about their interests or where they are in their shopping journey. It shows you're paying attention and makes them feel special.

Remember, the secret sauce is making your potential customers feel like you get them and care about what they want. By serving up personalized and on-point content and chats, you can up your chances of winning them over and building solid, lasting relationships.

Challenges in Understanding Buyer Intent

While tapping into buyer intent is a real game-changer, it brings along some challenges and important ethics to consider. Let's dive into these hurdles and how to handle them like a pro.

☑️ Transparency: Keeping it real is key. Customers need to know what data you're collecting and how you'll use it. So, be crystal clear with privacy policies and give them the green light to say "no" if they want.

☑️ Consent: Make sure you've got the green light from folks before you snag their data. Make it super simple for them to say "no thanks" if they're not feeling it.

☑️ Data Security: Lock it up tight. Invest in top-notch security to keep customer info safe and sound. Nobody wants their data doing a disappearing act or ending up where it shouldn't.

☑️ Cultural Know-How: Keep cultural vibes in check. What's a super clear intent signal in one place might be a tad more subtle somewhere else. No jumping to conclusions based on your own cultural lens.

☑️ Data Governance: Watch out for sneaky biases in your data collection. You want a balanced and true picture of your audience, not a skewed one. So, keep things unbiased and represent your peeps right.

Bonus Tips for Implementing Buyer Intent Analysis to Close More Deals

Ready for some extra tips to supercharge your buyer intent analysis and close those deals? Let's do it!

  • Ensure the accuracy and quality of your data. Garbage in, garbage out. Reliable data is the foundation of effective intent analysis.

  • Get your sales and marketing teams on the same page. Marketing should provide sales with valuable intent data, and sales should give feedback on the quality of leads.

  • Create detailed buyer personas based on intent signals. These personas should guide your sales and marketing strategies.

  • Segment your leads based on their intent signals. This allows you to tailor your communication and approach for different groups.

  • Use intent data to create personalized messages and content for each segment. Address their specific pain points and needs.

  • Train your sales team to interpret intent signals effectively. They should understand the significance of various signals and how to use them in their sales pitches.

  • Follow the Trail. Set up auto-follow-ups based on those intent signals. If someone's hot to buy, make sure they get the info they're after.

  • Cultivate a buyer-centric culture within your organization. Emphasize the importance of customer needs and intent in decision-making processes.

  • Encourage a mindset shift towards data-driven decision-making. This involves cultural changes where data insights play a significant role in strategy development.

Moreover, regularly check if your buyer intent game is paying off.

  • Are you sealing more deals?
  • Are customers happier?

Use this feedback to tweak your approach. Be flexible and stay on the pulse of changing buyer behaviors and tech to stay ahead in the game.

Ready to Close More Deals?

Understanding buyer intent is like having a superpower in the world of sales.

It's like you can read your potential customers' minds, connect with them on a personal level, and offer them exactly what they need, when they need it. That's what decoding buyer intent is all about.

But here's the kicker: it's not enough to just know what buyer intent is. You've got to roll up your sleeves and put that knowledge to work. It's about tweaking your strategies,
using the right tools, and making sure your whole team is on board with this buyer-centric mindset.

Don't let this game-changing knowledge go to waste. Start applying the strategies we've laid out here.

Do you need more insight on this? You can join my SaaS accelerator program to get a more indepth grasp on that aspect.

Also, if you still have questions on this topic, feel free to DM them to me on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/denisshatalin/) or Twitter (@denis__shatalin).
+240K ARR Playbook
How you can add $240K ARR to your B2B SaaS in less than 6 months using a Hybrid Customer Acquisition System (without increasing your marketing budget)
*Currently still available for download; file access may be restricted at any time
✋ Hey, it's Denis! Thanks for reading :) If you want my help with your startup, the quickest way to reach me is at denis@saascamp.com. I upload my best content on YouTube. Let's connect on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.