There's a very real possibility that today’s decision-makers will continue to research and make purchase decisions remotely — even in a post-pandemic world.

The top three reasons for this shift in preference? Ease of scheduling, savings on travel expenses, and safety (obviously).

Not only do buyers now prefer remote sales interactions, but they're also more than happy to make large purchases online — a trend that has sellers embracing and investing heavily in digital sales and prospecting to keep up.

As buyer behaviors continue to change, and the level of competition scales up, B2B buyer intent data is becoming increasingly valuable

In this post, you’ll learn the differences between first-party intent data and third-party intent data. You'll also see how they empower sales and marketing efforts in a "new," noisy, and fast-changing remote-first environment.

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First-Party vs. Third-Party Intent Data: What’s The Difference?

Let’s start with the differences that exist in buyer intent data. It comes in two forms: first-party and third-party.

First-party intent data is every data point that you collect about your own users. This includes data you collect using visitor analytics software such as Google Analytics, your CRM, or any other technology you use on your site or in your marketing efforts to collect identifiable user data.

Third-party intent data, on the other hand, is external or "offsite" data collected from interactions on third-party websites that you don't own.

Generally speaking, most people think "third-party" when they hear the term "intent data," but that doesn't mean first-party intent data is any less valuable. In fact, it can actually provide more qualified information to marketing and sales teams.

For example, with first-party intent data, you can see which companies are visiting your site and what content they interact with. This is crucial sales intel, especially considering how essential effective outreach is when it comes to set sales processes in motion. 

Catch Qualified Leads In The "Research Phase"

Buyer intent data tools like ZoomInfo (both first- and third-party), Leadfeeder (first-party), and Bombora (third-party) allow you to identify when prospects begin and progress through their buyer journeys and what specific solutions or products they’re searching for.

One powerful example of this is the research phase — a stage in which buyers will often spend the equivalent of an entire workweek making purchasing decisions. That often entails making comparisons, engaging with multiple reps, consulting colleagues, seeking referrals, and researching content from third-party sources.

Both first-party and third-party buyer intent data allow you to reach prospects who are starting their research. This puts your account-based sales process "on steroids" because sellers can better understand who the best accounts to reach out to are, when to reach out to them, what to say to them, and how to personalize your outreach.

Stand Out With Your Sales and Marketing Messages

With more decision-makers and salespeople online than ever before, the digital sales landscape is becoming more competitive. But competition alone isn’t the imminent threat — the real danger is blending in when you should be setting yourself apart from your competition.

For instance, if the messaging, tone, and unique selling propositions communicated in your outreach look and feel like your competitors', you’ll struggle to stand out. Your prospect is unlikely to remember your product further along their buyer journey if you don't give them a reason to.

Fortunately, the right buyer intent data makes it easier to stand out.

With the right data, sales reps are armed with the details needed to tailor messaging to decision-makers that have different priorities or concerns throughout various stages in the sales funnel.

When a qualified lead visits your website, buyer intent data can show what topics they’re interested in, the pages they’ve browsed, and even the review site referring them.

This information is prospecting gold. It can be used in a number of ways to personalize outreach and get on your prospect’s radar.

For example, with a G2/Hubspot integration , you can see when leads are engrossed in your G2 profile (first-party), and what other products or categories they are browsing (third-party).

This gives your marketing and sales teams access to real-time signals designed to fill your pipeline and close deals. It also supports your retention and remarketing efforts.

It also can up your outreach efforts in a big way. If you know that a qualified lead from a targeted account visited a review site and probably analyzed your competitors, a rep can improve messaging by stressing USPs and success stories in their message.

Meet Warm Leads Early In The Buyer Journey

Third-party buyer intent data helps show when leads are browsing high-value analyst sites like Gartner, combing review sites like Capterra, or reading publications like Entrepreneur

Even if the information you get doesn’t immediately translate to a sale, you can still capitalize on the opportunity and engage with a prospect while they're open to having an interaction.

If your timing is right, this can put a prospect into your funnel before your competitors have a chance to pluck them out.

The sales landscape has changed.

In the "next normal," simply cranking up the volume with more lead generation, prospecting, or loud marketing isn’t enough. Marketers and sales reps will need to ensure that every engagement is heard by receptive ears and that every interaction is valuable, targeted, and tailored.

Investing in buyer intent is a smart and efficient way to make that happen.

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Originally published Mar 30, 2021 8:30:00 AM, updated March 30 2021

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Data in Sales