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Why marketing admins and field sales hate buyer intent data

Sep 04, 2019 | Author Ed Marsh

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

Said no performance-focused executive EVER!

If you could know who was taking action on your competitors' websites, of course you'd want to know. And if you further knew what kinds 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 salespeople 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 could suddenly generate a list of leads as extensive as the one they create — for far less money — and know that yours are actively buying, that would be a "no-brainer." 

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 Contact-Level™ 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 (versus 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: Work.

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 __________. "
  • "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!)

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. But here's the question to ask: "If we could  triple (or tenfold) the number of phone inquiries from active buyers overnight, would we want to?" (Substitute email, trade show or whatever is a solid lead gen source in your industry.)

The answer is of course "Yes!" 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.

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