6 Considerations When Evaluating an Intent Data Source

Whether you’re new to intent or have been experimenting with different sources for a while, our clients have found it helpful to evaluate potential additions to their stacks in terms of six considerations.

The first 3 intent data considerations here speak directly to the overall importance of intent data and the last three focus more on its specific value to sales teams.

How intent data can drive real change and better outcomes for your organization


#1 – Actionability

One huge difference between behavioral data and many of the feeds you might pump into your stack is that it changes so rapidly. Given this rate of change, to maximize value, the data has to both inspire you and enable you to act with confidence.  When adding a data source, make sure it provides everything you need to react quickly to new insights.

intent data considerations

#2 – Substance

There’s plenty of data available around that might increase what you know about a particular account. The question you need to be asking about any data source is whether or not the addition will truly help to either reinforce your current decisions, or conversely, provide a good rationale for near-term changes. If a new source lacks the precision necessary to change your own behavior in some substantive way, it may just be another “nice to have” that you can do fine without.

#3 – Revenue

When your marketing team becomes better aligned with sales, its inspirations and instincts undergo real change. Instead of being obsessed only with outputs, marketing too becomes focused on business outcomes. This starts delivering more real opportunities into the pipeline. Even more, it means delivering more revenue out the end. Purchase intent data’s primary purpose is to deliver more revenue to your company. Before adding it to your stack, make sure you understand clearly how directly and quickly that added data can make that a reality for you.

Real intent accelerates sales success by exposing the buying behaviors and sentiments of a buying team

Great salespeople are super-adept at turning opportunities into closed/won deals. They’re better than most at assessing need and they’re experts at engaging very specific people with highly relevant outreach. They’re able to adjust and refine their interactions quickly. They create far more win-win conversations across buying teams.

Real intent data accelerates sales success precisely because it supplies the right intelligence a seller needs to make them better at doing their job. So to deliver on this promise, real intent data must obviously be:

#4 – Relevant and accurate

While it can be argued that any information about an account could be useful to a seller, in practice, more information isn’t necessarily better. It takes time to process. It can lead to missteps caused by a perception that a topic matters to the prospect when it really doesn’t. It can waste time.

If the data source is not exceptionally relevant to the types of conversations that sellers use to gain meetings and create opportunities, chances are it’s not as useful as the supplier suggests.

As you evaluate sources of data, think hard about what you’re seeing. Bring sales colleagues into the process and ask them how useful they find the available data points. Be careful to probe your colleagues for their real opinions, because human nature often leads people to say things like “I can use whatever you’ve got”, when in fact, very little of what you supply may find its way into essential call prep workflows

#5 – Precise and prescriptive

Once you’ve made sure that a data source can be vetted appropriately for GDPR, CCPA and other evolving privacy concerns, you can begin evaluating it in terms that matter to your user constituencies.

In jobs where time is especially costly – like many sales functions — the more specific your inputs can be, the better. Behavioral signal sources that come packaged with words like “may” or “seem” or “usually” and the like can easily confuse your colleagues. Instead of immediately taking action, they need to evaluate the material and think through how to incorporate it. This costs precious time.

When evaluating a source of data, look closely at how precise it is. Determine exactly what it can tell you that will be immediately useful to a salesperson. Look for information that they can use that will change what they otherwise would do or say. If the data is not precise enough, it won’t drive change. The right data is like a prescription – it should be obvious that if you use it, you will have a better chance at success.

#6 – Information rich

We strongly recommend that all clients have good data hygiene processes in place because that will raise the overall average usability of each prospect or contact record available to your marketers and sellers. But for most companies, given resource pressures, data hygiene alone is not enough to raise productivity to where it needs to be.

Out of the gate, a good intent data source clearly separates your prospecting names into two very distinct groups – 1) those not currently showing purchase intent who demand less of your immediate attention and 2) those that are showing purchase intent who you need to focus on if you want to grow more revenue and share.

Going deeper than just directional account information to generate competitive advantage

Simply pointing your users towards the right accounts is only one small step better than a broad TAM (total addressable market), a well-defined ICP (ideal customer profile) or even within your named- or target-accounts ( that you’re using for account-based marketing (ABM) or very specific sales programs). The right data source can take you beyond a directional ranking of accounts all the way down to what your prospects actually care about from a variety of angles.

That’s how your teams can best discover more opportunities far more efficiently. Each account might have hundreds of possible contacts within it showing light search behaviors. You need to know which ones actually matter.

With technology changing and converging faster and faster, broad search terms aren’t enough because each account may show interest in any number of generally related interests. You need to know exactly what the real researchers are actually reading.

And if your chances change given who else is under consideration, the more you can know about your competition in the context of a developing deal, the better prepared you will be. These 6 intent data considerations will hopefully equip you to make the right decisions when it comes to adding a new intent data source into your stack.

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