Over time, B2C marketing has moved away from probability driven marketing to intent data-driven marketing. Intent data has become the Holy Grail for marketers, bringing in data from keystrokes, searches, shopping carts, and browsing behavior that make a better prediction of what the customer’s next steps on the purchase journey are. Intent data utilizes recency, frequency and engagement data to gauge intent.

Intent data will pinpoint who your responsive audience is as per their online actions and the type of information that they are engrossed in online. B2B marketing has caught up with this practice as well. B2B intent data comes from a diverse range of sources, which includes off-site activity, website, content consumption, social media, and CRM data.

Sources of Intent Data

There are two main sources of intent data. They are;

First Party Intent Data

First-party data is also referred to as internal intent data. Marketers will harvest this data by tracking the buyer activity on a brand’s web pages. They will also analyze analytics tools for more insight. In B2B, additional first-party intent data comes from web application logs, marketing automation tools, and a business’s website backend.

Collecting internal intent data gives you the advantage of control and quick access to actionable insights. First-party data can be anonymous but you can also link it to an entity or individual via addresses in forms or IP address identification. First-party data is the gold standard of marketing data and below are some of the benefits of first-party intent data.

  • This buy information flows directly from the customer or audience so it is more accurate and precise than other forms of intent data.
  • These client particulars are not only useful but are continuously undergoing inclusion and refining processes as the target customers leave more purchase behavior nuances on a brand’s platforms. Internal intent data collection systems are therefore that gift that keeps on giving fresh data. This intelligence will establish information that marketers can instantly incorporate into their campaigns, without any fear of utilizing old and dry buyer information.
  • The use of first-party also secures a brand against data privacy challenges. CCPA and GDPR laws prohibit the use of third party data collected without consent. Consequently, Facebook, Twitter have put measures in place that prohibit third-party data collection. Google is also doing away with the third party cookie come 2022.
  • Internal intent data is also the backbone of walled gardens, the advertising infrastructure that allows publishers to monetize their content and keep it their control as well.

For the reasons above, increasing the quality and quantity of this class of intent data has become core to a large number of business executives. Over 41% of the top range marketers use it in their marketing strategies.

Third-Party Intent Data

Third-party data is the more famous of the two and is also referred to as external intent data. This class of customer behavior intelligence is harnessed from sources outside your business. Some of the most popular sources of third-party intent data are cookies or IP lookups. Some of the benefits of third-party intent data include its holistic overview of buyer behavior. This data shows the evidence of a prospect’s activities across different websites and some of the critical steps that they will take in the process of making sophisticated purchase decisions.

Third-party intent data gives a clear view of the prospect’s buyer journey, highlighting their leaps, missteps, and backtracking, while internal data mostly show a few major stepping-stones on the prospect’s buyer journey.

The oftentimes unrelated bits of intelligence availed by data providers and data management platforms can help create a target profile perfect for highly converting and engaging marketing campaigns. These bits of data are similar to puzzle pieces that when together enrich first-party data for single or multi-channel campaigns.

With third party intent info by your side, you can market to a wider audience and bring in new prospects that show buyer intent to a partner or competitor brand. One major challenge that hampers the use of external data is the question of its integrity.

There are often inaccuracies in third party data as marketers pursue quantity over quality. You, therefore, have to ensure that your third-party data provider is well incentivized to provide filler-free data insights. This will prevent investment wastage.

Besides, third party intent is not a silver bullet for all your B2B marketing challenges. Have measurable campaign goals in mind when utilizing external data.

How to Use Intent Data?

B2B marketers utilize intent data uniquely from B2C marketing. The final purchase decision in B2B is a product of many other smaller decisions and influences from the wider purchase chain. Consequently, B2B intent data will help to carve up individual and company roles in purchases from multiple data sources using the process below.

  1. Access intent data from B2B data providers that provide search terms, IP address-based location and company intent data
  2. Identifying the influencer or initiator of the targeted search
  3. Confirmation of the individual identified in your marketing database
  4. Discovery of other potential prospects via professional social media platforms such as LinkedIn or other B2B data solution providers
  5. Targeted marketing strategy via social content, emails or digital ads relevant to the B2B buyer intent data provided
  6. Establishing engagement
  7. Re-establishment of further contact with the target customer while the intent is still fresh since the intention is temporary.

The use of intent data is now so popular amongst B2B marketers that over 35% of businesses now use it alongside monitoring tools for engagement and close rates boost.

How Can You Benefit from Intent Data?

Cultivating Top-Notch Lead Prioritization Strategies By Ranking Your Leads Into Tiers

These tiers are segmented as per their potential. Data shows that conversion is one of the biggest challenges that marketers face. 51% of marketers cite conversion as a top difficulty in marketing while 59% of them cite the engagement of targeted prospects as their main marketing challenge.

Intent data can segregate the prospective client form the low potential leads as long as it is drawn from multiple sources of external and internal intent data. A single source of intent data will give you a myopic view of the lead funnel, and it could lead to targeting errors.

Boosts Engagement with a Data-Driven Marketing Campaign

Over 91% of B2B brands use content marketing in their outreach campaigns. Intent data can infuse your storytelling with hot topics taking the guesswork out of content creation. This customer will not only forecast buyer intent but also highlight where the prospect will be in your conversion at a given time. This information can help marketers to design marketing automation sequences that will keep the audience further engaged.

Accelerates the Conversion of Leads to Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)

One critical step in marketing is the conversion of marketing qualified leads (MQL) to SQLs. Intent data can help marketers engage with high-quality leads that are also purchase ready. By utilizing integrated multi-source intent data your content and engagement strategy will target the MQLs that are at the perfect purchase point in their buyer journey. This data will highlight spikes in intent activity, which will in turn signal a targeted outreach.


Intent data is the new frontier in B2B marketing. Every marketer searching for an edge needs to gauge his or her prospect’s intent. Understanding the customer’s triggers and behavior will help you understand their needs, without playing roulette with probability-based marketing.

This data will help craft specialized profiles for personalized advertising which increases the chance of a sale and more ROI for your brand. Leverage intent data and watch its benefits grow your business.