Don’t Be Fooled with B2B Buyer Intent Data [4 Challenges, Examples & Fixes]

September 29, 2023

ViB Editorial Team

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Ever heard the saying, “Not all that glitters is gold”? Well, when it comes to B2B intent data, it couldn’t be truer. We’ve all been there, excitedly following leads that appear promising on the surface, only to realize their intent signals mean something else.

B2B intent data — particularly inexplicit data from third-party sources — isn’t perfect. These types are usually the most easily accessible, usually the more affordable option. But, well, at a cost. 

That’s unlike the more explicit, zero and first party data sources. And I’ll dive a little deeper into these in a minute.

graph of zero-party data first-party data second-party data and third-party data - B2B email marketing lead generation techniques

So let’s talk about these problems, but more importantly also find the right solutions. I’ll include effective fixes and strategies to ensure your intent data not only shines but also delivers tangible results for your B2B lead generation strategy. 

🤯 New to intent data marketing? Read about what is B2B intent data before you come back to this short blog.

Challenge 1 — Outdated and inaccurate third-party buyer intent data

Third-party intent data is often easily accessible and usually comes with a more budget-friendly price tag, which is great.

But, there’s a catch.

Sometimes, third-party intent data can be a bit outdated and not entirely accurate.

This usually happens especially when buying lead lists and intent signals from B2B intent data providers who are incentivized to sell.

Plus, unless data is carefully vetted before it’s sold to you, inconsistencies or changes can slip through the cracks. Aka B2B data decay.

reasons for b2b data decay

Real-world example:

Picture this scenario — a company gets its hands on some third-party intent data that indicates a particular account has shown high interest in a cloud email security solution. 

Sounds promising, right? However, here’s the twist: that intent data was collected a week ago, and they only acted upon it a week later. 

A lot can happen in 2 weeks. It turns out that during that time gap, this account had already moved forward into deal conversations with a competitor. Ouch!

The fix:

So, what’s the solution to this challenge? 

One approach is to look for more real-time or near-real-time sources of intent data. This can help you stay ahead of the curve and ensure you’re not acting on outdated information. 

Additionally, consider combining third-party data with other data sources, such as first-party data or zero-party data from sources like the ViB Community. This can provide a more holistic view of the prospect’s journey and help you make more informed decisions.

Timing is crucial. Stay nimble, keep an eye on the freshness of your data, and you’ll be better equipped to turn those leads into successful deals.

Challenge 2 — Data privacy regulations and ethical considerations

Compliant B2B data isn’t something to be taken lightly these days, and intent data is a big contributor to this ‘trend’.

With rising concerns about user privacy, there are more and more stringent regulations in place (like GDPR in Europe and CCPA in California). These regulations lay down strict rules about how user data can be collected, stored, and used.

But it’s not just about the legal aspects; ethics also play a crucial role. Consumers view not all data collection practices as transparent or fair. They’re becoming increasingly aware of data privacy issues and are concerned about how their data is being used. 

Real-World Example: 2018, Facebook faced immense scrutiny due to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Cambridge Analytica had harvested the personal data of millions of Facebook users without their consent for political advertising. This instance highlighted the challenges of ensuring user data privacy and underscored the importance of ethical data usage.

Real-world example:

Let’s rewind to 2018 when Facebook found itself under intense scrutiny during the Cambridge Analytica scandal

In this case, Cambridge Analytica had harvested the personal data of millions of Facebook users without their consent, all in the name of political advertising. The fallout from this scandal highlighted the challenges of ensuring user data privacy and underscored the paramount importance of ethical data usage.

The fix:

What’s the remedy for this challenge? 

Firstly, it’s essential to ensure that any third-party data you use complies with the relevant privacy regulations. This means understanding the legal requirements and making sure your data sources adhere to them.

On the ethical front, transparency is key. Be clear with your audience about how you collect and use their data. It’s not just a matter of compliance; it’s about building trust with your prospects and customers. Consider using opt-in mechanisms and respecting user preferences regarding data usage.

Challenge 3 — Vague "buyer" intent signals and misinterpretations

Intent data doesn’t always represent a concrete buying decision. In fact, a lot of third-party signals — like readership patterns and other online behavior — are usually vague, or are too top-of-funnel. 

Some signals might seem like strong indicators of intent, but upon closer inspection, they turn out to be less reliable.

It’s incredibly easy for third party intent signals to get easily misinterpreted. And when you activate a lead based prematurely or inaccurately, you’ll often end up wasting your marketing budget or losing trust with that account. This is where things can get a bit tricky.

Real-world example 1:

Imagine you’re a data utilization SaaS provider. You acquire third-party intent data indicating that a company has been researching topics. 

But… upon closer examination, you find out that most of this research was conducted by an entry-level business analyst trying to understand their market. Yes, their activities technically fall into the realm of B2B intent data, but it’s not nearly as strong an indicator as if it were the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) or the IT Director actively seeking these solutions. Aka you’ve got the wrong buyer.

Real-world example 2:

What if it was indeed a Director who was conducting the research? 

They’ve been diligently scouring multiple sources which create a massive intent surge. However, they’re actually trying to find your pricing information, which happens to be somewhat elusive.

After a series of well-crafted cold emails and sales pitches to schedule a call, the Director finally reveals their budget, and it turns out to be only 5% of your standard price. While they wouldn’t be automatically disqualified, nurturing them into a buyer will definitely take some elbow grease.

This goes to show that interpreting data is a big part of intent data marketing. That’s also especially if you have more vague data types and sources, like third-party online behavior. 

It’s so crucial to not rely on intent signals at face value. Misinterpreting these signals can lead to misaligned marketing and sales efforts, resulting in wasted resources and missed opportunities.

The fix:

This involves a careful distinction between implicit and explicit intent data. Implicit intent data, like the Director’s extensive research, can provide valuable insights, but it may lack crucial details such as budgets and timelines.

To address this, consider prioritizing more complete and explicit data sources that reveal not only the intent but also key contextual information. 

Look for signals that provide explicit details about budget constraints, project timelines, and decision-making authority. This way, you can focus your efforts on prospects who not only show interest but also align with your business’s financial and operational realities.

Take ViB Deal Intent for example, which is an explicit zero-party intent data solution that gives you information around a prospect’s role, budget, timelines, and event consent to be contacted.

Discover everything you need to know about ViB Deal Intent, including how it works, the challenges it solves, and its success stories so far, through our comprehensive video walkthrough.

Challenge 4 — B2B buyer intent data integration limitations

This is one that often sneaks up on businesses. Acquiring B2B data lists and buyer intent data is just the beginning; the real test is how effectively you can seamlessly integrate it into your existing technological infrastructure.

Your company might be armed with valuable intent data, but if it doesn’t play well with your CRM system, marketing automation platforms, or analytics tools, you could run into a host of issues. 

Think data silos, incompatible data formats, and interoperability constraints. All of that results in slower response times, which means we’re back to square one — outdated data.

Real-world example:

Consider a B2B software company that specializes in project management tools. They’ve got their hands on some intent data that tells them which businesses are actively on the hunt for project management solutions. 

Here’s where the challenge kicks in. If their CRM system isn’t equipped to smoothly integrate this third-party data, they might face obstacles in tailoring their sales outreach effectively and activate the lead as soon as possible. 

Another scenario is where the sales team may have insights about a lead’s intent, but they might struggle to access this data conveniently within the CRM during a sales call. These technological limitations can result in misaligned sales pitches, missed conversion opportunities, and ultimately, a diminished return on their intent data investment.

The fix:

It starts with having a robust data integration strategy. Ensure that your tech stack is capable of handling and making the most of your intent data. Consider investing in platforms or tools that facilitate seamless data integration. Look for solutions that bridge the gap between your intent data and your existing systems, making it easy for your teams to access and utilize this valuable information.

Additionally, another effective approach is to complement your third-party intent data with more concrete and explicit signals from zero and first-party sources. 

These data types tend to decay more slowly, providing you with a more stable foundation for your outreach efforts. This way, you can strike a balance between real-time insights and enduring data that enhances your overall strategy.

The B2B buyer intent data solution you can trust

TLDR — take me to the right solution!

Well there’s one that does check off all the right boxes: Deal Intent.

It’s a B2B deal intent data solution that helps you connect with prospects who actively provide their contact information, and that’s where the magic happens. 

With Deal Intent, you get explicit data, from zero-party data sources, meaning the information is collected directly from the prospects themselves.

They do this because they’re also interested in exploring new technologies or trends, and look to us to help make a good match. Win-win.

Graph of intent data points collected as part of ViB Deal Intent's unique zero-party data collection approach

During this process, members provide information about:

  • Their interest within the next 6-12 months
  • Their job title
  • Their current decision making stage
  • Their ideal budget for a project yours
  • Their updated personal information and consent to be contacted by you
 

These prospects are sourced, interviewed and manually verified upon your request too. This makes our information present and reliable, and also means prospects are ready to talk to you when you do make your introduction.

Want more details to make an informed decision?

Grab your copy of the Deal Intent datasheet to get more specifications and benefits. Or if you’re excited to talk more about intent data, we’d love to chat!

Need more info to get started with B2B lead generation?

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