What Is Intent Data?

Bombora Intent Data Collection Model
Bombora Intent Data Collection Model

I am beginning a monthly series entitled What Is where I provide an overview of one of the underlying sales and marketing intelligence technologies or processes being deployed at B2B firms.  I will begin with Intent Data.

Intent Data is one of the three informational elements of B2B Lead scoring (the other two are Fit and Opportunity).  Intent data consists of first, second, and third-party elements and identifies when companies are actively researching specific product categories.  First-party data is captured in your marketing automation systems and web logs.  Typical first-party intent data includes

  • Web Logs
  • Webform Submissions
  • Email Clicks
  • Downloads
  • Page Views
  • Webinar Attendance
  • Trade Show Booth Visits

In short, if somebody is viewing your website, reading your collateral, meeting with you at a tradeshow booth, or attending your webinars, then he or she is displaying purchase intent.  Of course, not everybody doing so is a potential purchaser, but a high percentage of individuals digitally interacting with your firm are somewhere in the buyer’s journey for your products and services.

“The case for intent data is clear. If only 3 percent of the potential buyers for any given product or service are in the market at any given time (while 40 percent are poised to begin and 56 percent aren’t interested), identifying and focusing on those buyers, and those close behind them, is the key to efficiency and effectiveness in revenue growth. That’s been the Holy Grail of marketing and sales for years. After all, how many times have you heard a sales rep say, ‘If I’m sitting at the table, I win more than my fair share of deals. Just get me to the table!’


That’s the promise of intent data. And practice shows it’s more than just a theory. Fifty-percent increase in close rates and an 82 percent reduction in sell-cycle have been attained.”

Buying Guide: From the Black Box to Revenue Metrics – Translating Buzz into Results,” IntentData.io.

Unfortunately, intent data is often anonymous.  Unless the individual submits a web form, you are most likely limited to an IP address.  As B2B visitors are usually accessing your platform from a corporate IP address, it is possible to tie the IP address to the company and at least associate the activity with a company.  Companies such as DemandBase, Bombora, KickFire, Clearbit, IntentData.io, and Dun & Bradstreet offer Visitor Intelligence services to map IP addresses to companies.  Along with the company name, they enrich the visitor intelligence with firmographics such as location, size, and industry. Some vendors include technographics as well.

Real-time visitor intelligence can assist with the user experience. By providing immediate firmographics, websites can be immediately customized based upon size, location, or industry.

As visitor intelligence is beginning to feed chatbots, it is possible to prioritize customer support and sales queries. As bots become more intelligent, they will digest the firmographics and customize the conversation. Likewise, ABM customers and prospects can be given priority over non-targeted prospects. If these teams are verticalized, chats can be routed to specialized teams.

External third-party intent data is provided by vendors such as Bombora, The Big Willow, and True Influence.  External intent data is gathered from B2B Media websites that evaluate topics of interest across their network and determine which topics are of interest to companies.  Interest is gauged by articles viewed, white papers downloaded, searches performed, case studies read, etc.  Generally, each company is baselined by topic with interest determined with respect to the baseline.  A surge of interest takes place when short-term interest in a topic is well above the baseline for the company.  Intent data is generally delivered as a numeric score by topic with companies licensing the topics of interest.  As intent is determined at the corporate level, it works best in lead scoring. One limitation of third-party data is you don’t know which individuals are researching specific topics.

TechTarget Priority Engine provides technology specific second-party intent at the individual level along with contact information, buying stage (early or late based upon content viewed and downloaded), and key influencers (companies of interest).  TechTarget is focused on Technology topics across its 140 media sites.  TechTarget is considered second-party intelligence because it owns the content directly and contacts have opted in.  It also offers first-party intent data through KickFire

G2.com (FKA G2Crowd) is another well-known source of second-party intent data. G2.com is a technology review site, so site traffic is highly associated with company and product research.


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