For many B2B organizations, the primary goal of marketing websites is to generate as many qualified/sales-ready leads as possible. These sites generate leads that are stored in a CRM and/or a marketing automation tool, which often applies a lead score to the individual. The sales team uses lead scoring in many ways, including determining how aggressively to pursue a specific opportunity, while marketing folks use lead scoring to defend the value of their efforts.
Hold that thought on marketing and lead scoring…
If you haven't yet heard, this year Google Analytics started to offer beta access to Universal Analytics. With Universal Analytics there are many notable improvements over the existing Google Analytics features. But one area that marketers should be very excited about is the 20 custom dimensions and 20 custom metrics. These new slots for the storage of persistent custom data give marketers an enhanced ability to create a visitor scoring (a.k.a. lead scoring) platform within their web analytics data.
With a healthy bit of skepticism, you may ask "What's revolutionary about that?"
Marketing-run sites in the B2B arena are typically focused on two key areas: 1) acquire as much quality traffic as possible; and 2) convert as many visitors to leads as possible. These two areas of focus are typically the primary motivators for marketers as they make updates to the digital channel. Have you ever seen sites that ask you to fill out a lead form before you've learned anything about the product or the organization? This is because marketing is focused on getting you to the site and turning you into a lead - and that's it. By the way, if you did what they wanted and filled out the lead form immediately, sales wouldn't want to talk with you anyways - because you don't know what the benefit of their product offering is (you would have a low lead score). Because of this, most sales teams actually only want to talk with less than 10 percent of the leads generated by the site. The majority of sales teams would rather have 10 solid leads (e.g., visitors who came to the site multiple times and visited multiple pages, watched videos, read case studies, etc.) than 100 mediocre leads (e.g., visitors who came to the site and filled out a lead form on the first page on their first visit).
In B2B marketing, prospects often visit the site multiple times (sometimes from multiple devices) before they ever fill out a lead form. According to Google, business buyers typically do 57 percent of their buying research before they even fill out a lead form or call an organization. What are they doing before the point of contact? They're looking at your website again and again.
A marketing team should judge the success of the digital channel on its ability to create high-scoring visitors.
Using the custom dimensions in Universal Analytics, we can start to create an internal scoring system more intricate than Google Analytics would allow us with custom variables. From there, marketing's primary goal could be to create as large an audience of visitors who are engaged in the digital channel and aware of the products, product benefits, and the organization. If marketing can become expert on making the majority of the visitors knowledgeable about the superiority of the organization's products and services, then sales may want to talk with a higher percentage of the site visitors.
Below is an example of a scoring system for an organization that typically sees multiple visitors looking at the site across multiple visits before buying decisions are made (e.g., Cisco, Micron, Caterpillar, McKesson, IBM, Dow, Boeing, AIG, etc.) using custom dimensions and custom metrics.
As few marketing organizations focus on creating visitors with high scores, this is all theoretical. A marketing organization that focuses their digital efforts on a site that can create visitors with high visitor scores will typically bring higher value to their sales team and their company than one that just generates leads. It's possible that a marketing organization that spends their time making the site engaging rather than acquiring traffic and forcing visitors to fill out lead forms may actually generate fewer leads. But the quality of those leads should be significantly higher and those leads should be easier to convert into customers. Consider an example from the B2C world: Apple.com uses its design and content to demonstrate the best features of the products at the expense of having an aggressive e-commerce site - which certainly hasn't hurt e-commerce sales for the technology giant.
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Mark leads the analyst team to develop ROI goals, data strategies, digital channel reporting, and establish processes for data analysis for EXTRACTABLE clients. Since joining EXTRACTBLE 14 years ago, he has worked on numerous high-profile websites including Yahoo, DirecTV, Visa, FedEx, and HTC. The most trafficked web page that he's ever worked on received 15 million unique visitors in one day, he has run analytics analysis on over 150 sites, and the biggest ROI he's ever seen on a corporate website redesign was > 800 percent. He is an active member of the Digital Analytics Association and has contributed to the DAA Education Committee for over five years.
March 19, 2014