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Types, Source and Use Cases for B2B Intent Data

B2B Intent Data – often talked about, rarely harnessed for its full potential. For more than a decade intent data, delivered in several forms, has been utilized in varying capacity to fuel customer acquisition by the world’s fastest-growing companies in B2B. In this post, I’ll try to break down the types of intent data, landscape of vendors and typical use cases. My hope is this provides some context from the thousands of hours we have spent orchestrating intent data within client technology stacks and demand programs.

Types of Intent

First Party

The traditional definition of first party intent is an engagement on a digital property (e.g. website, lander etc.) that is identified to a specific account/company/domain via Reverse-IP technology. More broadly first party data is any owned data that could be matched from an audience perspective. For example, marketable corporate emails and other contact level attributes (e.g. First name, Last name, personal email etc.) that can then be matched in ad platforms for first party audiences, look-a-likes etc.

Second Party

Second party data is essentially shared data between trusted parties, an example of this could be between an OEM and VAR. Many times there are data shares between partners especially as it relates to target field events or other types of co-branded demand campaigns.

Another example the B2B world is Bombora, where they rely on a data cooperative model to provide intent signals to customers based on the 10k or so digital properties in the coop.

Third Party

Third party data is entirely derived from a vendor with no known relationship with the signaling company and license to a client. Typically has the most flexibility and scale as it relates to topics and reach as its not restricted to particular digital properties or data cooperatives.

Examples Sources

CRM/ Data warehouse

Standard 1st party data source for matching against known contacts, many times these days, this match is orchestrated via the data warehouse or ABM Platform.

Web Properties and or Apps

Requires event collection (user based) and or reverse IP-to-company enrichment.

Partner/OEM data share

Typically low-tech data share between partners.

Content engagement (Coop or Bidstream)

Third party intent data providers who collect data via cooperative networks or the bidstream, normalize and provide as-a-service to end clients.

Social shares/ commenting/ blogs etc.

Publically available social content containing mentions of a particular topic or vendor and traced back to a company and or contact. Typically packaged and sold as-a-service.

Product review or closed network sites

Examples include G2 and TechTarget, where by intent data is derived from engagement within the respective web properties, enriched, packaged and sold as-a-service.

Use Cases for Activation

Account Prioritization

Inform prioritization of target accounts.

Audience Building

Prioritize audiences for activation (e.g. ad audiences, nurture, prospective outreach etc.)

Customer Intelligence and Churn Identification

Identify account specific research, including competitive.


Analyze topic based research trends by industry, geo or other segments.

Vendors for Consideration

ZoomInfo – MarketingOS

Fully integrated into ZoomInfo SalesOS workflows – strong contender against typical vendors in play and quickly becoming a de-facto choice for existing ZoomInfo customers.


Independent intent provider (Co-op) with many OEM relationships with leading sales and marketing technology. Tight integration with SFDC and LinkedIn, along with offering data via API for those with data teams, providing endless flexibility for custom use cases. We would recommend exploring unlocking Bombora with a direct license when the integration is available from other vendors eg 6Sense, Demandbase for expanded intent coverage.


Leader in the space, typically going head-to-head with Demandbase. Based on some recent moves with the release of sales specific offerings, 6Sense will attempt to go more directly against ZoomInfo and other contact/account data providers.


Godfather of ABM and still running strong. We have been encourage to see some Demandbase data available in the Snowflake Marketplace illuding to bigger plans and more flexibility for customers.

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