There’s no doubt that intent data can be a powerful tool for your sales and marketing teams. With the right source or platform, it’s easy to find your best fit customers and accounts, grow your pipeline, improve close rates and – most importantly – hit your revenue targets. Yet even with all this potential, it’s important to understand that not all data is created equal. Here are a few key questions to help you in your search for an intent data provider that is right for your business.
How do you collect or source your intent data?
Intent data providers usually collect one or more of the following:
- First-party data: This is information collected from websites you own and includes data in your CRM or visitor and subscription data.
- Second-party data: Essentially, this is first-party data collected from other companies or aggregator sites such as G2 or TechTarget.
- Third-party data: This refers to data collected from a broader ecosystem of publisher networks or data aggregators.
Why is this important? Because the value of intent data depends on how wide the net of data collection is cast. How many websites does the provider track, and how often? Is their reach large enough to get the best view of user behaviour? Does it cover the geographies that you want to target?
A reputable B2B intent data provider is one that is transparent about their process, so don’t be afraid to ask for as much detail as you can here.
How accurate is intent data?
Accuracy is incredibly important and depends on how a platform works. Many providers – such as Bombora – base their intent data on set topics or keyword groups. This might be around subjects such as HR software, for example, or employee wellbeing solutions. The signals that are used to build out the data here are fixed – they can’t be customised.
This lack of flexibility can be a real problem. Every business is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to uncovering the right intent. This is why it’s worth asking your intent data provider if they allow you to create a custom list of keywords and topics to track intent signals specific to your organisation. This is where you will see the best results.
An intent data provider must be able to show how their data is of value to you. For example, if you are looking to enter the European market, then your intent data provider must have strong coverage across Europe (and not simply mirror information from the US). It would also be of significant value if it tracked both English and European languages, or offered local language support. Asking your provider to show you their reach and keyword uptake in different geographies and languages can really set certain brands apart from others.
Do you sell the same data to my competitors?
This is a direct question, but one definitely worth asking. Some intent data providers define data topics in a fixed way which therefore makes them more sellable as units. Due to that, it’s easy for them to take their results for “HR software” or “employee wellbeing solutions” and sell them to multiple buyers. This means that you and your competitors might be viewing and acting upon the same data.
It’s also worth saying that Bombora’s data is used to fuel a number of other platforms, such as Demandbase and 6sense. This means that if one of these solutions faces an issue, then the others will have the same problem.
Ideally, what you want is a provider who offers a good degree of customisation. If they do, then you can pick keywords to build your own topics of intent, which means that data you see is unique to you, and relevant to your ideal customer profiles and accounts. This is data that can’t be sold to competitors because it is so highly personalised to your business. This is the real power of intent.
What support do you offer?
While this is a broad question, it does allow you to touch upon a number of important points. First and foremost, will your intent data provider set up the platform for you and conduct an onboarding programme, or will you be left to figure things out by yourself? Building an effective intent data campaign takes time and expertise, and it is important that you get the help you need to make it work.
Secondly, are they constantly refining and optimising their platform? Keywords should not be static, so will your intent data provider offer support to help you stay on top of emerging trends and spot new opportunities?
Another vital question to ask your intent data provider is whether their platform can easily integrate with your existing tech stack. Are exports from the platform done as a one-off, or can it be set up so that the latest data insights are automatically pushed to your CRM or used to build audiences for display advertising? Intent changes from week to week and therefore requires customisable data that is up to date.