It’s tough to argue against account-based marketing (ABM) as the de facto strategy for reaching B2B buyers.

With ABM, you no longer focus on stuffing your funnel with as many people as possible. Instead, you narrow your focus, targeting specific and motivated accounts with personalized marketing tactics. What’s there to argue against?

Except if it was so easy to focus only on accounts that have shown purchase intent, everyone would do it. In reality, most marketers face a data problem in their ABM strategies.

The more data you have about targeted accounts the better. However, not all data is created equal. As you build out your ABM strategy, can you really trust third-party data vendors?

The Problem with Third-Party Intent Data

Third-party data providers give you an opportunity to fill in contact information, identify new decision makers within a target account, improve insight into purchase intent, and more.

But how do you know you can rely on the information being provided to you? It’s an age-old problem that industry leaders have constantly battled against. According to one article, “inaccuracies persist because of poor incentives. In a thirsty quest for scale, marketers abandon their concerns about certainty. And middlemen are paid based on their number of transactions, and not upon their accuracy.”

If the data you purchase from a third-party vendor is loaded with filler contact information and account insights that aren’t relevant to your ABM practices, you’ll have wasted your investment without making any progress.

Part of the problem is that many marketers look at third-party data as a silver bullet solution. They trust it without question and hope for the best. Rather than falling into that trap, you have to know what exactly you’re hoping to get out of third-party intent data.

3 Reasons to Trust Third-Party Intent Data

Don’t let potential problems turn you off from investing in third-party data. When you find the right partner, you can trust that third-party data will make a positive impact on your ABM efforts.

Understanding the true value of third-party intent data is the first step to finding the right partner. With trustworthy data, you can:

  • Prioritize Leads More Effectively: Don’t rely on third-party data to create complete overviews of your target accounts. Instead, use it to fill in gaps in your CRM data so you can prioritize your leads more effectively and spend your marketing resources wisely.
  • Formalize Inbound Data: Even though content plays a critical role in ABM, it can be difficult to bridge the gap between inbound marketing and account-specific tactics. Part of that problem is an inability to map inbound insights to target accounts and gather contact information. With third-party data, you can create full profiles for inbound visitors and take action when they get further along in your funnel.
  • Understand True Demand for Your Business: If you don’t invest in third-party data, your internal systems are your only source of information about market demand. First-party insights might help you make high-level ABM decisions, it won’t give you the full picture of demand in your market. Third-party intent data tells you exactly how many people are actively searching for products and services in your market. And with that information, you can target accounts more effectively.

These benefits are reason enough not to write off third-party provider for fear of inaccurate data. As you search for a vendor that can help you realize these advantages, you need to ask the right questions before investing.

Ask the Right Questions, Find the Right Intent Data Provider

Don’t let your third-party intent data provider give you bad targeting data, improperly tagged data, or fake contacts.

To make sure you can trust a third-party provider, always ask qualifying questions about the dataset you’re purchasing. How does the provider identify contacts for the dataset? What signals do they use to indicate purchase intent? Who are the people within a target account that are searching within your market? Are there any guarantees they make about data quality? Do they use any kind of predictive analytics or other technology to increase the accuracy of their data?

The more questions you ask your third-party intent data provider, the easier it will be to trust the data you’re purchasing. If a provider is reluctant to answer your questions, you might want to search elsewhere for your intent data.

Third-party data is essential to the success of your ABM practices. And to ensure you’re partnering with a trustworthy provider, don’t dive head first into a relationship with the first vendor you find. Take the time to find someone with the data that will make a difference to your business.

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— Published in INTENT DATA on April 4, 2019

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