Accurate data is one of the strongest foundations of any successful sales and marketing push. It also forms the basis for a reliable sales pipeline and uncovers hidden sales opportunities. Many people understand the basic concept of intent data—that they are the signifiers and markers that show that someone has a strong inclination to make a purchase of your products and services. What isn’t too clear is why quality of the data matters a great deal in discussions revolving around intent.
While not necessarily a direct determinant of quality, whether your intent data is first- or third-party does factor into considerations like cost-effectiveness, reliability, and—yes—quality. In this post, we take a deeper look at the two types of intent data and talk about the merits and limitations of each. This will help guide your decisions with regard to incorporating intent data into your marketing and sales pushes.
What is First-Party Intent Data?
First-party data is data that you yourself collect about your users and customers. The gathering is performed by personnel within your company from data points you control: like your website analytics, your CRM, and other bits of technology on your website or marketing platforms that collect identifiable user data.
With privacy being a huge concern globally, it’s worth noting that the GDPR compliance of your first-party data depends entirely on what practices you and your company follow. So, in a sense, you have total control (and subsequent peace of mind) over whether or not your meet those strict global privacy standards.
What is Third-Party Intent Data?
There are two definitions of third-party intent data. The first and most commonly understood would be that it is intent data gathered by anyone other than yourself or anyone in your company. This is the definition that applies when you hire someone else to gather data for you. Another definition, however, is that it is intent data that you yourself gather from any other source beyond your website and other technology you own and control—like social media platforms and the like.
In terms of compliance with privacy standards, there isn’t as much risk as one would think—provided you do due diligence. If you engage only with reliable intent data providers or gather data from well known sites, you really wouldn’t have much of a problem as these businesses thrive because they are meticulous about compliance.
Which Should You Go For?
Great data is great data so long as it comes from the right source. So, in a sense, either is good so long as it provides you with the customer data you need to make smart business decisions. There are, however, distinct advantages and benefits to each that might help swing your thinking in one direction or the other.
Benefits of First-Party Intent Data
1. It’s more cost-effective.
One of the most obvious benefits of the first-party approach is that you save money on having someone already on your payroll do the data-gathering for you. Often, these will be people who take on other roles that matter anyways—like maybe SEO or Sales. Sure, you will likely need to pay for your own tools like Google Analytics, HubSpot, or other marketing technology tools to get the data points you need, but it will be more affordable than hiring another company to do the work—with all associated costs.
Be prepared to shell out a little more for tools that help your score and rate the quality of your data. Tools like HubSpot and Zapier will help in that regard. Another thing that may tip the scales in terms of cost-effectiveness is whether or not you have someone who can effectively gauge what data would be most advantageous to you. So, add that to your careful consideration.
2. You have full control over the data.
A common complaint companies have when engaging a third-party data provider is that they do not always get exactly what they are looking for. It can certainly be frustrating particularly if you had to pay top dollar to begin with. Gathering data yourself gives you full control from the get-go—control over the processes, what is prioritized, and what is ultimately saved in your database. This, in turn, ultimately means you only get what matter to you and your sales and marketing efforts.
All that being said, it all again comes back to knowing what you both want and actually need to begin with. So it really is critical that the people you task the data gathering to knows exactly these very things. Otherwise, you will come to the same problem of having too much data that does not quite cover what you ultimately need.
3. You can use it to immediately guide your marketing strategy.
If you are looking for a quick way to optimize your marketing strategy, then you reap the benefits of first-party intent data almost immediately. Given the control you have over your intent data coming in, you will be able to react more quickly to what the data tells you. For example, if a particular thought leadership piece or article is getting a lot of traffic and attention, you can reasonably assume that the topic discussed matters to your audience.
You can take this information and use it to generate more resources and content that touch upon or expand on the same points to keep those potential customers interested. You can do all these with confidence as well because you know exactly where your data is coming from. This level of confidence and reliability is a huge benefit overall.
Benefits of Third-Party Intent Data
1. You save more time.
Unless the person gathering intent data in your company is completely focused on the task at hand, you will not be gathering intent data all too quickly—ditto if there literally is just one person doing the job, When you engage the services of a reliable third-party, not only will they be singularly focused on just gathering the intent data you need, they are likely going to have more people on the job to get things done faster.
Sure, this convenience and expediency will cost you more, but there is the advantage of being fast to consider. You could leverage the expediency to push key content out more quickly—possibly grabbing and holding the attention of clearly interested parties. Given that, the extra spend turns out to be a better long-term investment ultimately.
2. If improves focused, account-based marketing strategies.
Expanding on the advantage of getting your intent data delivered more quickly, you are going to benefit greatly from third-party intent data if you are angling for focused account-based marketing campaigns. 45% of the B2B buying cycle involves independent research as people have become wary of fully trusting marketing speak and sales pitches. Knowing what your target customers are looking for exactly through intent data allows you to adapt your content and approach accordingly—and quickly.
Say that it is immediately discovered through review of intent data that a vast majority of your audience is already showing a strong interest in one of your products. You can than immediately launch an email campaign to provide them more information or have your sales teams calling into offer more detailed resources for review—the possibilities of expedience are limitless.
3. You grow your database and pipelines faster.
You expect your sales representatives and executives to focus on, well, selling. If they are tasked with gathering intent data for you, they split their time. So, they sell less and build up your pipeline more slowly. Engaging a third party to do the data gathering, analysis, and validation for you allows you to grow your database more quickly without taking time away from your sales representatives and their essential work.
How Internal Results Can Help You
Now the caveat to all these benefits is finding the right third-party data provider. If they are not reliable, proven, or trusted, you will end up with more problems than solutions so you need to be discerning. At Internal Results, we have staked our reputation on not just providing quality, verified data but also comprehensive leads with validated contact information.
Better, we also grade and qualify our leads and intent databased on our own proprietary algorithms to ensure that more are usable for your specific requirements.