Marketing & Field Sales Won't Tell You They Hate Buyer Intent Data

Ed Marsh | Nov 1, 2018

"We Don't Care Who's About to Buy from Our Competitor!"

Said no CMO, CRO, CSO, CEO - basically any performance focused executive - EVER!

Of course! If you could know who was taking action on your competitors' websites, you'd want to know. And if you further knew what kind of actions they'd been taking (search actions, other colleagues active in the discussion, etc.) you'd immediately have a sales person birddog the opportunity.

That's gold! Frankly it would be professional negligence to do otherwise.

Here's the thing. You'll very likely hear from your marketing and sales people why this isn't a good idea.

Shocking you say?

I agree. But that doesn't mean it won't happen.

counterproductive marketing and sales resistance to the amazing power of buyer intent data-1

Why Would Marketing and Sales Resist Knowing Who's Actively Buying?

"A man generally has two reasons for doing a thing - one that sounds good, and a real one." J.P. Morgan

Put yourself in their shoes.

Your marketing team represents staff, favorite technology, and programs that collectively form their identity. Their raison d'etre when they roll into work in the morning is to generate leads. If you suddenly could generate a list of leads as extensive as the one they create, for far less money, and know that yours are actively buying...well that would be a "no-brainer" as the saying goes.

That's how marketing often "hears" the promise of buyer intent data.

The reality is that companies that fully tap the power of detailed, full contact information Sales Fracking™ Buyer Intent Data, rely on well aligned sales and marketing, and sophisticated sales enablement, nurturing content and processes developed and refined by marketing.

So actually buyer intent data not only compliments (vs. replaces) what marketing does already, but it offers an opportunity for them to demonstrate an even higher level of expertise.

But....they often stop listening when they hear that it will provide a list of thousands of leads, actively buying what you sell, with full contact details.

Why Would Sales Resist?

One word.


Sales hears that these are active buyers and interprets that to mean that they're waiting by the phone, order written, anticipating instructions on where to send the order. That's absurd of course. 

They're leads. Fabulous leads, since we know they're actively researching and likely buying the service and products you sell. But leads nevertheless. That means they must be called, emailed, "touched" with social selling, researched and nurtured.

BDRs/SDRs love this kind of info - it's an answer to their fondest wishes! They can now work active buyers as opposed to sterile, random lists (like RainKing, Zoom, DiscoverOrg and others.) And they now have full contact details rather than the "overlaid," fictitious "contact" info that may have frustrated them with typical buyer intent data IP based solutions.

But field sales are different. They'll be excited at first, then realize that diligence and sales work is involved, and then find themselves impossibly "busy" elsewhere.

What You'll Hear

Of course no marketer will stand up and say "I'm selfishly concerned that buyer intent data will obviate my job and therefore I'm willing to compromise the company's interests to preserve my role." just as no field sales rep will say "I appreciate you providing the most qualified leads available but I don't honestly feel like doing the work of selling."

In their defense that's probably not what they're acknowledging to themselves either.

But that's the message.

What you'll hear from sales will be any of the limitless permutations of "too busy."

Marketing will be more creative (you'd expect that, right?) You'll hear various subtle suggestions like:

  • "This looks amazing. If it does what they say, it could be great for us. I'm just a little concerned that __________. (we won't be able to handle the volume of leads / sales reps won't follow up / we're really focused now on the priority XYZ campaign / we're in the middle of rolling out ABC Mar tech and can't afford to distract from that.)"
  • "This would be really cool, but I've got lots of concerns about data and privacy. We need to move really cautiously with this."
  • "We've decided that our strategy is going to focus on ABM (account based marketing) and I'm afraid this may distract us from maximizing our investment in that."
  • "Just because they're taking action doesn't mean they're buying." (Compare that to what you hear about top of the funnel leads converting on your own website!)
  • "We watch technology really closely and so we've been tracking this for a while. People have talked about this for a long time. It's just not ready for prime-time yet."
  • "We don't have permission to market to these people, so it would be great to know, but we couldn't actually do anything with it."
  • "It's just a fancy list. We already have great list sources."

Sound crazy? These are real responses.....In other words, someone's paying people to come to work every day to sabotage the corporate effort.

What Nobody Will Say

Of course none of them will say "This would be wonderful for the company, but not so good for me, so I'm going to dig in my heels and resist."

But that's what often happens - obfuscated with arguments that you can't refute. (and probably with full sincerity as we're all able to rationalize in amazing ways!)

But here's the question to ask.

"If we could overnight triple (or tenfold) the number of phone inquiries from active buyers, would we want to?" Substitute email, trade show or whatever is a solid leadgen source in your industry.

The answer is of course "Yes!" Unequivocally. It would take work to follow up on them. You'd have to shift some resources. But you'd do it. Without hesitation.

Anyone on your staff that stood up and suggested leaving the phone off the hook because the calls would distract from what they had planned for the day would probably be boxing up their personal items before the day was over. Appropriately so.

But when the source of leads is a new and less well understood channel, somehow they feel free to offer sage sounding admonitions against its adoption.

So understand the resistance for what it is, and don't fall for arguments which would sound irrational if the source was a traditional one which is well understood.

buyer intent data for powerful sales leads