Sales Automation: Where’s the personal touch?
Anyone who has ever earned a paycheck by selling knows that all selling is personal. While sales automation systems have added tremendous productivity gains to the selling process, they do nothing to enhance the personal aspects of sales. Why? Because sales automation platforms are process automation systems, not relationship automation systems.
Like their technology counterpart in marketing, sales automation systems assume the user has the contact information of the targeted buyers. After all, if you don’t know how to reach the specifically targeted buyers, how could you possibly make it personal? Knowing how to contact the specific person you want to reach makes the process more efficient but does nothing to help the seller make the conversation more personal. To make the conversation more specific to the buyer’s interests, the sales rep needs to know what the prospect is interested in. Sales automation systems can facilitate recording these interests once they are identified, but they do nothing to help the sales rep identify buyer interests ahead of the conversation.
How does adding information about anonymous web visitors possibly be of value to the sales rep?
We get this question frequently, especially from sales management. To understand the value of anonymous visitor activity, sales reps need to think outside of the (process) box.
By now, every sales rep knows that B2B buyer activity has changed. Research shows that over 40% of B2B buyers are waiting longer to declare their interest and they are nearly 60% through their evaluation process before contacting the prospective vendors. Think about how this buyer dynamic changes the game in favor of the buyer.
If the sales process assumes a qualified lead is only one where you know the identity of the prospect, your process inherently misses at least 40% of interested buyers. Moreover, by the time your process identifies the prospect as a “lead,” (or, more correctly, by the time the buyer self-declares interest) the buyer has done most of their evaluation of alternative solutions. The good news is you now have a “lead” your process recognizes; the bad news is you have lost control of the buying decision process for these identified prospects.
Imagine if you had visibility of prospective buyer interest earlier in their evaluation process. This visibility is what anonymous web visitor data delivers. Anonymous web visitor data provide insights of the interests demonstrated by the prospects who don’t want you to know they are in the decision process.
This insight adds to the number of leads generated from your website. Great performing websites generate only 3% – 5% personally identifiable leads. Adding anonymous web visitors to your lead flow can immediately double the number of leads passed to sales (assuming only 10% conversion of the otherwise invisible visitors).
By definition, these anonymous visitors don’t want you to know they are in an evaluation process. If they did, they would fill out the web registration form. By tracking what these anonymous visitors have investigated on your website, sales reps gain insights on the interests of these prospective buyers. Getting knowledge of the buyer interest enables sales to take control of the buyer decision process.
If the visitor is anonymous, how is it useful for integrating to the sales automation system?
This is the second question we always get. The answer is you need to do a little work. Anonymous visitors are identifiable at the company level and can be filtered by the geo-location of the visitor. To make the anonymous visitor data actionable by sales, the data needs to be “translated” from company level to targeted decision maker.
First, you need to know the titles of the key decision makers in your prospects. Usually not a big challenge for a professional sales rep.
Next, you will want to know if the prospect visiting your website is already “known” by the sales automation system. If the decision makers are known and if the company is recognized by the sales automation system, this step can be automated by integrating the anonymous visitor data system with the sales automation system. For Salesforce.com users, this step is fully automated using VisitorTrack.
If the visitor company is not “known” by the sales automation system, you can create a new record in the sales system. Using the titles of your key decision makers, look up the contact information of the persons with these titles at the identified company. VisitorTrack integration with ZoomInfo simplifies this step. You simply look up the key contacts by title and save the contact information to the company record created in VisitorTrack. Once saved, the company data and key contacts can be loaded into the sales automation system. Again, this process can be automated via systems integration as is done via VisitorTrack integration with Salesforce.com.
Integrating anonymous visitor data with your sales automation system requires out of the box thinking and a little work. But done properly, anonymous web visitor data enable more personalized selling. Here’s how:
- Identifying the specific areas of interest by “reading” the visitor’s digital footprint informs the sales rep of prospect interest and stage of decision process.
- Getting these insights earlier in the buyer journey empowers the sales rep to take control of the buyer decision process thereby increasing the probability of closing the deal.
- Turning anonymous visitor data into actionable contacts (via systems integration) increases the volume of qualified leads for sales.