Marketers expend time and energy developing personas to explain their target customer, understand what motivates them, and paint a picture in the company's mind that depicts to whom they are speaking and selling every day. These personas are a crucial component to a well-rounded inbound marketing strategy, but doesn't it sometimes feel a little...general? I mean, we have an idea of our prospects' wants and needs, but doesn't it seem like in this day and age, we could back that up with something more concrete?
Marketers who incorporate lead intelligence into their marketing and sales processes have happily found that personas are just the beginning, and the online behaviors that marketing automation software can track and deliver to their sales organization takes a lead from a persona to a living, breathing person.
Gathering and making use of lead intelligence based on on- and off-site behaviors can help you increase conversions, enhance user experience, shorten your sales cycle, and gauge the effectiveness of your content and site design. So what exactly should you track, and once you have the information, how do you use it? This guide will help you understand the kinds of lead information that will help your sales organization be more effective, and how they can use it to make their sales cycle shorter and yield more revenue.
8 Online Behaviors to Track and How to Use Them
1.) Lead Nurturing and Email Marketing Campaign Details - Lead nurturing through personalized email marketing is a crucial step in reducing the length of a prospect's sales cycle. In fact, lonelybrand found out that 64% of companies that use email marketing to nurture leads close their business in 3 months or less, while only 43% of companies can boast a 3 month or less sales cycle that don't use email marketing.
But it's crucial to make sure your email marketing efforts don't interfere with lead nurturing campaigns that your marketing automation software has already put in place. Take a look at what email campaigns your leads have clicked through, and see what the subject matter of those emails were. This will give you insight into what content they find helpful, and what offers are enticing to them. You should also check to see if they are currently a part of a lead nurturing campaign to ensure any emails you send don't overlap with what they're already receiving (or due to receive) from the automated campaign.
2.) First and Subsequent Conversion Events - Consider what on your website interested a lead enough to fill out a form and what on your site keeps them converting. Monitoring the conversion events tells you the topics that interest that particular lead so you can tailor your conversation to their needs. Take a look at this lead, for instance:
A salesperson who sees this lead history would notice that this person has downloaded multiple offers about social media for business and SEO and may be considering outsourcing their SEO services. A good topic of conversation during the salesperson's first interaction with this lead would be around how they're currently using LinkedIn and Twitter for their business, and learning more about what they're doing for SEO and why they might consider outsourcing it. Knowing that these topics interest this lead, the salesperson could also conduct a brief audit of their organic presence, evaluate how well optimized their website is for search, and note how they're performing on social media before their conversation takes place so they're prepared with tips for improvement.
3.) Lead Source - How did the lead find your website? Are they coming from a paid ad? One of your social media accounts? A competitor's site? An organic search query? If you know how your lead arrived at your site, you can evaluate how useful that lead is based on past purchase history from other leads that arrive at your site in the same manner. Not only does this give marketing insight into which sources are driving the most qualified leads, but it also lets your sales organization prioritize their time working with the leads with the highest close rate and shortest sales cycle.
4.) Pages Visited On Your Site - The more pages a lead is viewing on your site, the more interested they are in your company. After all, if you had the choice between talking to someone who visited 4 pages on your site and someone who visited 50, who would you choose?
But you should also consider which pages a lead visits on your site, as there are certain pieces of content and areas of your site that indicate a lead is closer to sales readiness. For example, a lead who visits your product and pricing pages may be more prepared to buy than someone visiting your 'About Us' page.
5.) Site Return Notifications - In sales, quick response time is crucial. In fact, Harvard Business Review released a study that shows companies that contact prospects in an hour or less are 7 times more likely to have a meaningful conversation with a key decision maker than those who wait longer. Give your sales organization the capability to know when leads are coming back to the site so they can prioritize their day and escalate leads in their queue. When you combine this information with knowledge of which pages they are visiting on your site -- like pricing pages, for example -- you know you should hop on the phone stat to help them, answer any questions, and close the deal.
6.) Stage in the Buying Cycle - What can you learn about their stage in the buying cycle based on the offers they are downloading? Are they in the beginning stages during which they are simply researching possible solutions, somewhere in the middle during which they are downloading case studies and getting more information on your solution, or signing up for free trials, making them more likely to purchase? Knowing a lead's stage in the buying cycle can help you prioritize your time better, nurturing leads that are in the middle of the buying cycle and closing those that are near the end.
7.) Social Media Profile Information - Populate pictures of your leads for a more personalized sales experience, and get their Twitter handles and LinkedIn profile information so you can find out more about your lead. For example, by doing a little social media snooping, you could figure out their company and industry, investigate common connections, learn about their role in their company, determine their level of education on what you're selling, and even find out some of their hobbies and interests to make your conversation more personal.
8.) Social Mentions - Select important keywords -- like your brand name, competitors, or product specific words -- and track when your leads (or future leads!) mention them on social media networks. Remember, response time is key, and if you can catch someone asking for, say, an opinion on your product, you can get in touch with them and offer them some testimonials and case studies. Alternately, if you find someone ranting about a competitor of yours, you can jump in and turn them into a new customer!
Are you collecting any or all of this information about your leads? If so, what pieces of lead intelligence are helping you improve your sales process?
Image credit: hospi-table
Originally published Jan 31, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017