Intent Data Vs Sales & Marketing Data


From first-party to third-party data sources, how do you know if you’re making the right decisions when it comes to implementing a data-driven targeting strategy? And which type of data should you be using in your sales and marketing efforts? This month we look at ‘Intent Data Vs Sales & Marketing Data.’


Intent Data


We’ll start with the basics of Intent Data. You most probably already collate 1st party intent data, by tracking visitor behaviours on your website, email CTR’s and social media insights and if so, then you should if not already, be using this information to drive your sales & marketing activity, as this data is king. Engagio is one the most complete tools to turn 1st Party Data into actionable insights.


2nd party intent data is basically the same as 1st, but you acquire this from other sources like B2B publishers that sell data directly. It’s a powerful way of being given access to contacts and behaviour activity from various companies outside of your own but it’s rare to find providers in EMEA. Tech Target is one of them. 


3rd party intent data is often when you’re provided with a list of anonymous contact actions that form account-level insights. These are collected from bidstream or a cooperation of B2B Publishers and blogs that allow data providers to access their data and package it up for you and/or incorporate it in their services. Aberdeen and Bombora fall into this category.


Sales & Marketing Data


What about other data that is not intent-based, but provides valuable insights for sales and marketing teams? 

We refer to this as “sales & marketing data” because there is no mainstream definition but generally, you see companies falling into this bucket supplying four main types of data: Contact Databases; Firmographics; Financials; and Technographics. 


A way to understand this data is by looking at what you are using it for. If that’s Account-Based Marketing (ABM) a good visual diagram to look at is Engagio’s 2018 Data and Insights Map. They categorised providers based on capabilities to“select target accounts, fill contact whitespace and identify insights”.These are fundamental aspects of any Sales & Marketing strategy, so it is worth exploring providers listed in each category. 


However, if you are an EMEA sales or marketing professional this map might actually confuse you. It doesn’t tell you the geographical split of each provider’s capabilities. Most Data and Insights companies are North America only or with limited EMEA capabilities. 


What’s more confusing is that if you check a few data providers they all seem to offer similar services, with headings such as “find the right accounts, contact the right people, with the right insights for your sales & marketing teams”. You need to spend a lot of time and effort uncovering the real benefits of each provider and if/how they serve the EMEA market.


What’s best for your organisation? 


As a rule of thumb, the questions you must be able to answer when talking to a provider are the following. Will this provider help my team;

  1. identify who should they contact?

  2. know what should they to talk about with a prospect?

  3. time when should they reach out?

  4. focus where active market opportunities exist?

  5. understand which resource should they use?

  6. decide how should they engage?

Many providers have mastered solutions to help you answer at least 1 of these questions. For some companies, using 2 or 3 data providers will be more than enough to offer a great data-driven customer engagement, but it all depends on who you are and what you offer as a company.


For example, say you are a Managed Cloud Service Provider for AWS. You can use HG Insights to generate your Total Addressable Market of companies with AWS installed. Then, subscribe to an intent data platform like TechTarget Priority Engine that can rank your target accounts weekly, based on intent signals observed directly from their opted-in users active on Cloud Computing topics. TechTarget will also let you download those users, along with the topics linked to their research. Finally, bring together these 3rd party data insights with your 1st party ones via Engagio or any BI platform like PowerBI or Tableau and you will provide your sales & marketing workforce with the best actionable intelligence they could possibly get. 


Other excellent data providers you can evaluate are: Dun & Bradstreet to get great company and financial data; ZoomInfo (now DiscoverOrg) and i-4Business to boost your contact databases.


So, going back to the initial question, ‘what should you be implementing? Intent Data, or Sales & Marketing Data?’ Our answer has to be, well both!


Allow your Sales & Marketing data to drive your account planning and enrich your database, while using Intent Data to really target the right people at the right time and provide sales with a data-driven reason to call each active customer.


Data can give you tremendous value when going to market, just make sure you understand how to select it, implement it and use it when necessary.


Remember, ‘You are only as good as your data”. 


Marco Perotti, Founder of Media Effect.




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