The Glengarry Glen Ross Paradox: Why Intent Data is Yesterday’s ‘Hot Leads’

Why Intent Data is Yesterday's Hot Leads

by Steve Schilling

In the realm of B2B marketing, the allure of intent data is akin to the premium “Glen Garry” leads from the iconic film “Glengarry Glen Ross”—coveted, promising, and purportedly the ticket to untold success. Just as those leads were seen as the end-all, be-all for desperate real estate agents, intent data is often hyped as the oracle for marketers, a crystal ball that uncannily predicts which prospects are about to swipe the corporate credit card. But, much like in the movie, the reality often falls pitifully short of the promise.

The crux of the issue isn’t necessarily the idea of intent data but the mechanics of its delivery. Think of it as the Glen Garry leads of the digital age, but with a twist: by the time you get your hands on them, someone else has often already closed the deal. In essence, these so-called actionable insights have a retroactive problem; they’re looking back, not ahead.

I Need Those Leads!

Picture trying to zero in on a celestial body, armed with star charts that are a year out of date. Your telescope won’t capture the star’s current position, but where it was eons ago—in cosmic terms, at least. Intent data often follows a similar trajectory. It’s collected and processed with enough lag that by the time it lands on a marketer’s desk, the prospect is usually far down the funnel, possibly cozying up with a competitor.

The dichotomy is clear: intent data often serves as a historical log rather than a forward-looking gauge. While hindsight can offer valuable lessons, when it comes to grabbing those fleeting opportunities in the fast-paced B2B world, yesterday’s ‘hot leads’—or intent data, in this case—are not necessarily today’s opportunities.

In the end, if intent data is your go-to strategy, you might find yourself like the characters in “Glengarry Glen Ross,” holding worthless leads and wondering what went wrong. In the high-stakes realm of B2B marketing, relying solely on intent data is a gamble. It might be one piece of the puzzle, but it’s not the full picture. To truly get ahead, it’s crucial to integrate intent data into a broader, more nuanced strategy. Otherwise, you’re simply navigating the future with a map of the past.