To have a successful sales and marketing campaign, you need data. Simply guessing and acting upon your hunch is a recipe for disaster – poor results and even poorer ROI.
Data-backed marketing and sales approaches are the scientific, clever, and repeatable campaigns that work overtime, and all the time.
And “data” is a broad term. There is data on the success rates of your favorite Quarterback or Wide Receiver. Cell phone providers like Verizon, T-Mobile, or AT&T offer “mobile data”. We’re talking about something wildly different and extraordinarily insightful, with apologies to Mr. Brady and Mr. Beckham Jr., of course.
We’re talking about the data and information that customers, prospects and leads leave for B2B companies to utilize. Starting with the simple “form fills” or “lead capture” processes and recent social media interactions, there are signals of intent to buy from competitors and many other data points that can inform a smarter outreach strategy.
Let’s get into the smart ways to get your hands on this data, so you can work more efficiently to squeeze every drop of ROI from your sales and marketing outreach efforts.
Basic: Track Your Website Activity
One of the best ways to capture customer data is with your own website. Many companies do not keep a close eye on the activity of their digitally owned properties, especially if the activity doesn’t equate to lead conversions.
This is a huge misstep. You want to track key metrics such as sessions, page views, unique visitors, conversion rate, and bounce rate.
How to improve upon that? Start by analyzing your landing and exit pages within your preferred analytics tool. You’ll also want to track your most visited pages and how long a visitor has spent on those pages – this will help you better understand what content is working for you, and what types of content are most successful at attracting traffic and prospects.
Which pages do customers seem to go to and from? Are they pleased with the landing pages, or do they bounce away from them? Being able to visualize the conversion funnel process will help you to tweak and optimize it.
When you check these metrics overlaid with data such as age, referral sources, location, browser type, operating system, etc., you will be able to produce more granular customer data.
Paying close attention to these details will help you to understand and reach your customers better and eventually, personalize your sales and marketing messaging appropriately.
Your next step is to think about the leads and contacts you already have. If they are returning to your site (which hopefully they are, if you are sending relevant content that keeps them engaged), you can capture even more information – if you are smart.
For example, if a lead you’ve already captured and have the email and name for in your database downloads another eBook, or signs up for a new webinar, you can save the step of asking for the same information again.
HubSpot can specifically recognize a returning lead and will ask the visitor for different information, like a phone number, or company name (for example) as secondary fields on your form.
This will give you more information on the lead, rather than just dropping their name into the CRM again. Think more data and download, rather than download and follow up.
It’s a numbers game – the number of people in your CRM and that you will attract into it will be a drop in the ocean compared to the potential leads out there, that you cannot see on your site or downloading your content.
Basic: Lead Magnet Tools Attract Interested Parties
Common lead generation tactics like gated content, free trials, or sign-ups to collect identity data, are a great way to capture name, address, phone, email address, social media usernames, titles, designation, company etc.
In addition to creating landing pages to generate leads, there are now other lead magnet tools like pop-ups, floating bars, exit intent pop-ups, sidebar forms and slider boxes on your website that reduce the need to redirect the user to a dedicated landing page.
Add to that FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) or scarcity elements or like a countdown timer or limited availability to encourage the user to submit their details readily and you have a repeatable process to capture data and generate more leads.
Intermediate: Use Surveys for Non-Threatening Data Capture
Surveys are a great way to gather qualitative data about your customers. Data that uncovers their purchase motivations, what value they see in the product or service, how good your customer service is, and how likely are they to purchase from you again are a few key metrics you may want to uncover with your survey.
Surveys don’t have to be lengthy, as you can embed short surveys into your website that incorporate various targeting capabilities including behavioral, identity targeting, metadata, and cookies that will prompt the survey to the user based on your targeting parameters.
Keeping surveys short, easy, and brief will greatly reduce customer abandonment and will help you collect more data through increased conversions.
It’s a good practice to offer a prize or incentive for completing the survey, to tempt prospects to complete it. People are busy and don’t want to do you a favor unless they know you or use your product or service frequently.
To generate a (potentially) more accurate, but bigger response rate in general it is wise to offer a randomly assigned winner of a more valuable prize, rather than a smaller incentive to all survey participants.
Expert: Leverage the Heck Out of Social Media
You could say that “social media for B2B” should be a basic-level approach to capture data. But we’re not talking about general social media marketing. That’s all under the Inbound Marketing umbrella, as far as we here at LeadSift are concerned.
The specific type of social media interactions we’re describing the those with great value, but often not readily apparent. For example, write down the name of the VP Sales at the company engaging your competitor on Twitter as you read this sentence (it’s happening right now).
You don’t know who that is, because it’s impossible to manually track EVERY interaction or signal of this type. You would need an army to track it, another army to decipher it and a team of crack-scientists to pull out the actual intelligence from all of this.
What do you do with this information, once you collect it? You can do a number of things.
- Read it, understand your (true) total addressable market. It might be surprising.
- Market to the decision makers you have found showing intent to buy from competition.
- Let your sales team feed on the decision-makers looking at the events they are attending, positioning your team for a meeting before competitors bombard the prospect’s inbox.
- Market to the decision makers, advertise content to them around the topics you can see they are engaging around. Educate, entertain, inspire, then initiate conversation.
- Launch Account-Based Marketing (ABM) plays to the key accounts you’ve found in the data.
Expert: Research, Research, Research
The more data you have, the better. That’s why you will collect most of your data through websites or other channels.
To get a true big-picture view of a target market, you may need to collect second and third-party data to know more about consumer behavior, their buying habits, and other demographic details. You can get these details from industry reports, white papers, research reports and other publications related to your target market.
This does take time but is an essential piece of truly knowing what the habits, interests, and personal details of your buyers really are. No hunches, because data does not lie.
Surveying is one way to do this, but reports already exist that perform this function for you. Large corporations like Forrester research and Gartner can ask huge pools of people the important questions we want the data on. They provide a much fairer, more accurate, and non-biased data report through nature of how big they are as businesses.
Smaller organizations – and even larger enterprise companies – cannot perform this specialized function with the same data pool quality, size, or authenticity. Do the smart thing, don’t try and reinvent the wheel.
What It All Means
Customer data capture is an ongoing task, and the buyer’s journey is a constantly moving target.
As important as data capture and gathering is, managing existing data is just as important. Whenever you’re collecting customer data, the key is to ensure that it is updated and consistent with present buyer trends.
It comes down to intelligent data. When you’ve got good data, you’re able to increase your ability to make sales.
To see how Behavioral Intent Data works, and how you can use it to capture customer data faster, easier, and more efficiently – sign up for 50 FREE Accounts today!