It’s the primary point of brand engagement for prospects, leads, and customers, all of whom are uniquely interacting with your pages and content, assessing your products and services, and ultimately counting on your website to deliver what they need … no matter where they are in the buying process.
It’s a high bar with the potential for higher rewards; thus, worthy of the time, budget, and resources you spend on it.
By doing so, you will:
- Improve the efficiency of lead-gen and sales processes
- Improve lead quality
- Close more sales
Let’s look at how.
Visitor tracking vs web analytics
First things first: semantics.
Are “web analytics” and “website visitor tracking” the same thing?
Yes and no.
Website visitor tracking is a specialized subset of the generic category called Web Analytics.
They’re interrelated and complementary, but not all web analytics tools offer website visitor tracking. For those that do, it might be included in the overall solution or available as an additional for-fee service. (The Act-On platform includes website visitor tracking.)
For simplicity (and to move this blog post along), here’s a way to parse the terms:
- Web analytics has a broad focus on website optimization and performance. It measures traffic patterns to help companies optimize site functionality, the online experience, and marketing initiatives. Common metrics include unique visits, page views, pages per visit, new visitor rates, bounce rates, average time on site, and conversions (note that “conversion” covers many actions, depending on the business and/or campaign).
- Website visitor tracking has a narrow focus on individuals’ behavior while they’re on your website, including who they are, where they came from, what precisely they’re clicking on, downloading , and engaging with, how recently, and how frequently.
The combined use of both capabilities forges a powerful tool for sales and marketing efforts. Web analytics provides the solid understanding of how your site is working … or not. And website visitor tracking provides in-depth information about the specific individuals and companies engaging with your site.
The net:net is a veritable motherload of knowledge that directly benefits your lead-gen and sales efforts, including their efficiency and their revenue numbers.
Bringing this full circle, here’s how website visitor tracking delivers the benefits mentioned at the beginning of this post:
Benefit #1: Improve the efficiency of lead-gen and sales processes
Website visitor tracking allows you to see – often in real time – who is visiting your website and, based on their trackable behaviors:
- why they’re on your site,
- what their issues, interests, and/or pain points are, and
- where they are in the buying process.
The ability to “see” what individuals – both known and anonymous visitors – are doing on your website gives you the ability to target them, meaning you can deliver valuable content that’s tailored to their needs and encourages them to take the next step.
(Yes, this is possible with anonymous visitors. It just takes a little bit of investigative work using visitor-tracking filters and integration with a tool such as Data.com.)
As a result, processes are streamlined for everyone; marketers can gauge the effectiveness of their content and nurture campaigns, sales teams can optimize their time by focusing on the highest-priority leads, and prospective customers can move at their own pace to a purchase decision.
Benefit #2: Improve lead quality
Here are two stats that underscore this benefit quite nicely:
- According to a recent Aberdeen Group study, sales and marketing professionals both agree that lead quality is far more important to revenue than lead quantity (by a factor of 2-to-1).
- Ad Age’s 2013 Lead Gen Study reports sales professionals as saying only 23% of leads are qualified to the point of being sales-ready. (MarketingSherpa reported this figure at 27% in a 2012 study.)
Qualified leads are the bread and butter of sales quotas (and increasingly, marketing quotas). At the end of the day, making the numbers hinges on a having a consistent, steady flow of leads progressing stage-to-stage – i.e., being qualified – through the sales pipeline.
Website visitor tracking makes this a reality because it provides the most important information you can use for your lead scoring programs: who your visitors are and what they want.
This knowledge allows marketers to more effectively nurture leads and deliver more qualified leads to sales.
Additionally, by merging the knowledge gleaned from real-time website visitor tracking with historic engagement behavior, actionable insights and a-ha’s can be uncovered, and these can be used to optimize content plans, campaigns, and sales messages.
Benefit #3: Close more sales
The capabilities inherent in website visitor tracking all work together to get you the payoff. Here’s an example to illustrate what’s possible:
A returning visitor comes to the website for the 3rd time in as many days. The system recognizes the visitor, who is already set up in the company CRM system, and sends an alert to the sales rep, letting her know that this visitor is very interested in Product A.
The system also applies the lead scoring algorithm to the visitor’s record based on current and past engagement behavior with website content and interest. The current visit puts the visitor’s score above the sales-ready threshold for Product A. This automatically triggers a sales alert email and auto-enrolls the visitor into a nurture campaign.
When the visitor opens and clicks on the sales alert email, another alert is sent to the sales rep who, after reviewing the visitor’s activities in the CRM record, picks up the phone and is successful at setting up a product demo the following week.
After attending the demonstration – which is one of the most successful sales-closing tactics – the visitor purchases Product A.
At the end of the day, management wants to know what you’ve done for them lately. Pulling a healthy list of closed sales out of your pocket will surely impress and contribute to your company’s – and your – continued success.
Image of “Digital Footprint Word Cloud” from penbentley, used under a Creative Commons 2.0 license.