Intent Data

What is Intent Data Exactly, and What Are Common Mistakes to Avoid?

In the culmination of our Mastering Intent Data Series this week, we're taking a look at common intent data mistakes to avoid from our friends at Dialpad.

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You have a company that has embraced the online space and all its sales potential. Your company has even put together an online marketing campaign. Unfortunately, that marketing campaign leads to your website sending a large number of emails to a potential buyer. This leads to the buyer getting email overload, and being turned off from going through with the sale.

The marketing campaign failed to recognize how to market your company’s products or services to a potential buyer. How could we better know how to provide a customer experience that converts to sales? Intent data.

Many companies already use intent data to inform their marketing strategies. And many more are beginning to use intent data as well. But there are some common mistakes businesses make. 

Let’s talk about intent data and some of the mistakes you need to avoid when working with it.

What is Intent Data?

Before learning about mistakes to avoid when using intent data, let’s first answer “what is intent data exactly?”. 

Intent data is information gathered about a user or potential online customer, that provides insights into that user’s observed online behavior, interests, and (potential) buying intent.

Intent data helps a business to understand what path a potential client takes toward a buy, or if a potential online client is close to making a purchasing decision. 

If a company uses an account-based strategy, intent data greatly helps to define accounts. It helps your marketing and sales team understand how to interact with a specific customer and customize their customer experience to ensure a sale conversion.

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Where Do You Get Intent Data?

There are two ways you can gather intent data; first-party and third-party.

First-party intent data comes from the insights you gather about buyer behavior on your own website. You can gather data about your users with analytic tools, marketing automation platforms, or the backend of your website.  

Third-party intent data consists of the insights gathered about a client from elsewhere on the web (usually purchased from third-party vendors). This is so you can gain a bigger picture of your potential buyer’s activities.

Common Intent Data Mistakes to Avoid

Now you know what intent data is and how it can benefit your business, here are some common mistakes you want to avoid, whether you’re planning to use intent data or are already using it.

1. Not Properly Planning How to Gather And Use Intent Data

Deciding to use intent data to inform your marketing and sales decision is a great first step, but what about all the steps after that? Where will you get your intent data from? How exactly are you going to use the data? Don’t forget to get into the specifics when it comes to getting and acting on intent data.

Where will you get your intent data? It goes beyond deciding on focusing on first-party or third-party. You must take into consideration your intent data providers. 

You have to find a provider that can deliver the data in a way that makes sense to you or perhaps that’s compatible with the marketing software bot the marketing team is using. Ask intent providers these questions, and shop around before deciding which provider you are going to use.

Once you have the intent data, you need to think about what specific actions to take with the intent data (and also how to protect that data). We’re not talking about general actions like emailing a customer who spent a lot of time looking through a specific product’s specs. We mean specifics. 

You have to clearly map out which team or people will take what actions, at what time, using the information gathered and the triggers you built based on intent.

2. Not Using Both First-Party And Third-Party Intent Data

When it comes to gathering data about potential buyers, it’s important to use both first and third party intent data to inform the decisions marketing and sales teams make. Up to 45% of companies use just first-party or third-party intent data, missing out on a lot of valuable information and opportunities.

While it may be easy to use first-party intent data to cater to existing buyers, third-party intent data enables you to grow your customer base by reaching new audiences that do not know about your company yet. Using a combined approach means you can nurture sales leads effectively whilst also bringing in new potential buyers.

Using just first-party intent data would be like having a sales team in your company but no marketing team. This brings us to the next mistake companies make with intent data.

3. Not Sharing Intent Data With The Sales Team

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The nature of what intent data is, means that it should be obvious how both the marketing and sales teams should be utilizing insights gleaned from it. Many businesses, however, do not ensure that their sales team utilizes intent data. This is a big mistake and can lead to many missed sales opportunities.

While marketers can use intent data to customize the user experience for a potential buyer across multiple channels, the sales team can also find great value in intent data. Knowing a potential customer’s interest, challenges, and purchasing path, gives sales a great advantage when reaching out and having a high-quality conversation with a potential customer. 

If your team uses customer engagement software, they would probably really appreciate the data that intent data can give them.

Having marketing and sales teams working together using intent data allows them to communicate more effectively and provide a consistent and strong buyer experience.

4. Seeing Intent Data as a Magical Fix-All

In the same way as robotic process automation, intent data is a great tool, but it is not a magical solution to all your problems. Using intent data can give your marketing and sales team a great advantage, but it is not a fix-all. 

Intent data creates many opportunities, but it won’t do a marketing team’s work for them. It can let a sales team know everything they need to know about a client who is ready to make a purchase, but it won’t pick up the phone and give the client a call. We also need to put in the work. We need to act on the opportunities intent data provides us.

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Intent data won’t work miracles, but it is valuable. It can improve potential sales thanks to all the information it gives to you on consumer behavior. 

Intent data enables you to deliver the right pitch, to the right client, at the right time. It can tell you whether a potential client likes using video conferencing software or emails to communicate, but you still have to be the one to make the call (or not).

5. Not Taking Action

You can gather all the intent data on all the potential customers in the world, but it means nothing if you don’t act on the information. A surprisingly large amount of businesses gather intent data but don’t use that data and take action. This is a critical mistake that can cost your business.

Intent data is gathered specifically to inform and drive marketing decisions. Marketers can use it to build buyer profiles, identify potential buyers, spot possible sales interest, and prioritize specific clients and buyers. Gathering intent data, just to not use it at all, means wasted opportunities for your business as well as a waste of valuable resources.


So now you know what intent data is and just how it can benefit your business. Integrating intent data into your marketing strategy can really help your sales and marketing teams convert interest into sales, as long as you avoid the mistakes we mentioned. 

Do that, and you’ll see just how far intent data can take your company.

About the Author

Jessica Day


Senior Director, Marketing Strategy, Dialpad

Jessica Day is the Senior Director for Marketing Strategy at Dialpad, a modern-day power dialer that takes every kind of conversation to the next level—turning conversations into opportunities. Jessica is an expert in collaborating with multifunctional teams to execute and optimize marketing efforts, for both company and client campaigns.

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