The Challenges of Working with Intent Data

    The Challenges of Working with Intent Data

    How do brands know when a prospect is ready to buy, or a customer is likely to churn? Intent data lets brands know when buyers are actively looking for a solution or which products and services they want. But, with B2B intent data, some leads might seem promising only to realize their intent signals mean something else.

    As per a recent report by Foundry, ABM & Intent Benchmarking Study 2023

    In B2B, intent data helps streamline sales and marketing efforts. As per a recent report by Foundry, "ABM & Intent Benchmarking Study 2023,"

    Foundry’s report states that brands need help in-

    Foundry's report states that brands need help in- Getting sales teams to trust the intent data quality (49%) Measuring the impact of intent data on pipeline (48%) Combining intent from multiple data sources (47%)

    While intent data promises enhanced targeting; personalization, inaccurate data, and timing are the key barriers that make working with intent data hard. These barriers can greatly impact the efficacy of marketing strategies and the overall ROI of intent data investments.

    Here are some challenges of working with intent data. 

    • Outdated or Inaccurate Data

    Third party intent data is readily accessible and budget friendly. But sometimes, this intent data can be a bit outdated and inaccurate.

    This often occurs while purchasing lead lists and intent signals from B2B intent data providers with a financial incentive to sell. Unless the data is checked, inconsistencies can slip through the cracks, causing data decay.


    A solution to this issue is seeking more real time or near real time sources of intent data. While this helps stay ahead of the curve, it also ensures that brands do not use outdated or inaccurate data.

    At the same time, combining third party data with other data sources, such as first or zero data, offers a more holistic view of the prospect’s journey. It also helps brands make informed decisions. With fresh data, brands can turn those leads into successful deals.

    • Unclear Buyer Intent Signals 

    Intent data does not always signal a buying decision. Many third party signals, like online behavior, are unclear and vague. Some signals might seem promising, but they seem less reliable upon inspection. This means third party intent signals can quickly get misinterpreted. So, when brands activate a lead based on such vague signals, they will often end up wasting their marketing budget or lose trust in that account.


    The first step is understanding the difference between implicit and explicit intent data. Implicit data can offer valuable insights but may lack other vital details. Brands must focus on more complete and explicit data sources with intent and key contextual information.

    Look for signals that offer details about project timelines and budget constraints. By doing so, brands can direct their efforts on prospects who show interest and align with the brand’s financial and operational realities.

    • Buyer Intent Data Integration

    While obtaining accurate data lists and buyer intent data is tough, integrating the data into the existing tech stack is an issue.

    Brands may have useful intent data, but if it is not integrated well into the CRM, marketing automation platforms, or analytics tools, there could be many issues. Issues include data silos, poor data formats, and interoperability limitations. All this leads to slower response times.


    To address this, brands must have a solid data integration strategy. They must ensure their tech stack handles and makes the most of the intent data. Use robust platforms or tools to integrate data and bridge the gap between the intent data and the existing systems.

    This helps brands access and use valuable information. Another way to address this issue is to complement the third party intent data with explicit signals from zero and first party sources.

    Also read: The Role of Intent Data in B2B Marketing

    While such data types do not decay quickly, they also provide the groundwork for outreach efforts. These two approaches will help balance real-time insights and enduring data, improving the overall strategy.

    • Ethical Challenges 

    One of the ethical concerns in intent data usage is seeking consent from individuals or companies whose data is being collected. At the same time, ensuring the intent data is accurate is vital. Inaccurate data can harm a brand’s reputation and violate privacy regulations.

    Another issue is data security. Brands must ensure that data is stored and transmitted securely to prevent breaches. Leaked data can lead to legal and ethical issues.

    Moreover, in personalized marketing and sales, brands must balance tailoring their messages and not invading a customer’s private territory. Lastly, brands might fail to define the duration for which the data will be retained. Keeping data longer than needed can seem intrusive and unethical.


    Brands must comply with data privacy laws to address ethical intent data challenges. These include GDPR in the EU and the CCPA in the US, which emphasizes consent, transparency, and the right to be forgotten.

    At the same time, anonymizing intent data can help minimize the risk of exposing individuals’ identities. This helps maintain privacy and security.

    Furthermore, brands must have data governance policies to ensure that intent data is gathered, processed, and shared ethically and responsibly. It is also important to audit and update these policies regularly to adhere to the evolving privacy standards.

    To ensure that the marketing and sales teams use data ethically, it’s important to provide them with education and training on privacy best practices.

    Also, when sourcing intent data from third party providers, conduct due diligence to ensure they adhere to ethical data collection and sharing practices—only partner with providers that share your commitment to data privacy.

    Lastly, brands must provide clear privacy policies, cookie banners, and user friendly settings within their digital platforms to make it easy for individuals to opt out of intent data collection and processing.


    While intent data offers favorable avenues for enhancing B2B marketing and sales strategies, it comes with challenges that brands must navigate carefully. Issues related to data quality, interpretation of buyer signals, and integration into existing systems can hinder intent based marketing efforts.

    Also, ethical considerations such as consent, data accuracy, security, and privacy are prominent. To overcome these challenges, brands should focus on acquiring real time or near real time intent data.

    They must know the difference between implicit and explicit buyer signals and adhere to data privacy laws. By addressing these challenges, brands can use intent data more effectively, leading to improved customer targeting, personalized marketing efforts, and a higher ROI.

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    Apoorva Kasam
    Apoorva Kasam is a Global News Correspondent with TalkCMO. She has done her master's in Bioinformatics and has 18 months of experience in clinical and preclinical data management. She is a content-writing enthusiast, and this is her first stint writing articles on business technology. She specializes in marketing technology, data-driven marketing. Her ideal and digestible writing style displays the current trends, efficiencies, challenges, and relevant mitigation strategies businesses can look forward to. She is looking forward to exploring more technology insights in-depth.