Previously, we delved into defining buyer personas (ideal contacts who may potentially buy from you) and using the right content (information that resonates with that persona) to reach them. Now that you have successfully found leads (or they’ve found you) it’s time to capture and track their interactions with your content.
In the previous blog, we used the cases of Engineer Ernie (who is looking for technical information) and Buyer Barney (who is looking to save money) as your potential customers. Your content, including your blog and white paper, attracted Ernie and impressed Barney. As they interacted with your website, they also left valuable information you can use to drive revenue … if you capture, track, and use it strategically.
Two Tools, One Goal
Now let’s say Ernie has just revisited your website. This time he’s looking for more technical information about a different product, downloaded a data sheet, and even viewed one of your pages about your services. He has diversified his interests and you need to capture the evidence of this so you can build out his profile and share additional relevant information with him.
Had you not captured this information, you might send him the same email twice or information on a product that doesn’t interest him. You might call him before he’s ready to speak to a live person. In the worst case, you might loose him as a potential customer!
As you gather more and more information, you have to store it somewhere so you can put it to use. There are two types of computerized tools that make this easy: marketing automation and a CRM (customer relationship management). Whether you use just one or both, the goal is always to put prospect and customer data to work to drive revenue.
A marketing automation tool, such as HubSpot, captures data on all of a prospect’s interactions with your website as well as data collected by forms on any gated content:
Name and email address (and potentially other contact details)
Social media “likes”
Downloads (e.g. ebooks, whitepapers)
Clicks on links
Because it's all captured in one place, you can strategically develop a relationship with Ernie and even predict when he's ready to engage based on his behavior. Capturing and tracking with marketing automation is much more efficient than keeping lists in a notebook or spreadsheet.
Another resource for capturing and tracking information is a CRM. This is hardly new technology, but we’ve found many manufacturers don’t use it to its full potential. Is your CRM just a fancy spreadsheet with contact information, or is it a one-stop, up-to-date record of how your relationship has developed with each contact and with their larger organization? Have you customized it so you can leverage your data to drive sales?
Your CRM should include the tags and fields that are relevant to you. What’s more, all of your sales, marketing, and customer service reps should be adding their contacts and updating their interaction notes regularly.
The goal is to build a central point of knowledge that the whole team can use to quickly get up to speed before a sales call, to spell out unique circumstances, or to flag historical interactions that are significant – anything someone should know about the relationship.
The more data you enter, the more you get out of it, so don’t reserve spots in the CRM for your best leads! Include people that you’ve encountered at meetings, trade shows or networking events, referrals, current customers, and more. A comprehensive data set like this makes the reports, dashboards, and metrics you pull even more meaningful and predictive.
Ongoing Tracking Pays Off
The more data points you collect about each contact over time, the more clarity and detail emerge. To take an example from the B2C world, think about the countless customer reward cards that accumulate on your keychain – the grocery store, big-box department store, pet store, and pharmacy scan them each time you make a purchase, often in exchange for special pricing. They want to reward you with a discount, but the larger goal is to track your buying behavior. That’s how they predict what else you might buy and what offers would appeal to you as one of their buyer personas. And soon enough you receive an email about your favorite brand’s new product or a coupon for an item you buy every week. It’s not a coincidence!
In the B2B space, we can follow this example by tracking prospect interaction and content success rates, such as:
Popular blog topics
CTAs that are followed most
A/B test results
Segments for prospect lists
Email open rates
Feedback from polls
With all of this data in a single marketing automation platform and organized by contact, it’s easy to sort, prioritize, and target prospects to get the biggest impact. For example, if several contacts who read your blog series on stainless steel welding techniques visit the landing page for your welding ebook but don’t fill out the form to download it, maybe you’re asking for too much information and/or should consider removing the form to ungate it.
Align Your Efforts
Capturing and tracking buyer data, and using it strategically, is vital to your company’s success. In order to plan the best strategy, sales and marketing must be aligned, inputting and reviewing data in the CRM and marketing automation tools. It’s the best way to see the full picture of buying behavior, encourage future interaction, and drive revenue. Next, we'll take a closer look at all your options to acquire quality customers.
Acadia can help you remove barriers to capturing and tracking lead data so your teams can work in harmony. Contact us today to see how.
Editor’s note: This blog was originally published in 2014. It has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.