The glory days of high-tech marketing have faded. The oceans of revenue and resources that used to pour into marketing departments have turned into trickles. We've found this to be especially true for those who mine for marketing gold in the promised land of the Internet.
While resources may have shrunk, expectations of higher standards certainly haven't; in fact, they've grown exponentially. These days marketing professionals have to be smarter about their programs and more creative than ever when it comes to finding and using the right tools to mine golden sales leads--and close deals.
The good news is that the technology that allows you to market via the Internet is far from reaching its full potential. Much of the early energy in online marketing was spent finding ways to distribute marketing messages in new ways. Now, much of the online marketing energy is spent collecting information about prospective customers--literally mining information that will help you fine-tune your marketing efforts and generate a maximum return on investment.
We've outlined five new uses of technology that will help you get the most out of your existing online marketing programs.
1. Identify anonymous Web site visitors
Currently, Web site registration is the leading tool for gathering information about potential customers and generating leads through your Web site. As long as every potential customer completes the registration process, it's a great tool. But many of your potential customers never register, or don't finish registering because they get the jitters for one reason or another. They use your Web site to collect information about your products, but they never take the time to register their contact information so you can collect information about them and follow up.
In the past, there was no way to follow up with these unregistered visitors. They often became lost sales instead of newfound customers. In fact, 80-90% of your potential customers are disappearing into cyberspace, like water running through your hands.
Today, there are powerful tools that can identify visitors to your Web site even if they do not register while they are visiting your Web site. These tools automatically lookup visitors IP addresses so you have are presented with a compiled list of identities of the anonymous companies--and thus potential customers--who are visiting your Web site.
While some IP addresses cannot be linked to an individual company, our research shows that you can identify the company affiliations of more than 50% of the anonymous visitors to your site. And once you know the names of the companies, you can follow up and nurture their interest.
2. Arm sales with insight into prospects interests
Knowing your customer has never been more important. The overwhelming amount of marketing information reaching most customers makes it critically important to find ways to make your message stand out. There is no better way to vault your product to the top of a customer's list than to personally address their interests.
With new technology recently introduced into the marketplace, you can get to know your customers through their online behavior. You can know what Web pages they have viewed on your site. You can know how long they stayed on each one. You can know what emails they've read and which ones they've forwarded. And you can know what product information they've downloaded.
Armed with this information, your sales team can anticipate and respond to the unique interests of each person you have identified as a potential customer. Even better, this information can be automatically integrated into the leading CRM solutions in real time. Your sales team can continue to use the customer management tools they already use, and you can add a whole new layer of interest information that will help them tailor their follow-ups individually to each prospect.
3. Segment qualified leads
Does your sales team ever complain about the quality of the sales leads you pass them? You're not alone. This friction between direct marketers and sales is a point of contention that bonds marketers in every sector, everywhere. But before you join that marketing support group--take note. New online marketing software can help ensure that only the most qualified sales leads (those with the greatest level of interest in your products or services) are passed over to sales, while those that are marginally qualified can be "held back" for further nurturing through the marketing pipeline.
The technology allows you to develop complex queries of your database to identify leads that meet the highest level of qualification. Qualification points may be the number of Web visits in a period of time, URLs viewed, whitepapers downloaded or emails forwarded. By better qualifying your leads, you can optimize your sales team's valuable time, allowing them to focus on those prospects with the greatest opportunity. You can give your team real gems, not fool's gold. And through this focused effort, you can help sales to do more with less.
4. Nurture prospects through the pipeline
Marketing is not a one-shot deal. Potential customers may visit your Web site or respond to other marketing materials many times before ever making a purchasing decision. You need to know about a prospect's previous exposure to your marketing message so you can fine-tune your next messages and make current and future encounters more effective.
New technology gives you tools to track your potential customers through your marketing pipeline, showing you which clients are diamonds and which are still coal. When a prospect has shown interest but hasn't reached the level at which you would pass them on to your sales team, you can retarget them with marketing efforts that are specifically designed to move them closer to the sale.
5. Notify sales team when prospects are "hot"
Timing a call with a sales prospect can be half the battle. Innovative new solutions in the market can send real-time email alerts to your sales team when one of their prospects is on your Web site or is reading one of your marketing emails. These email alerts can provide details into the pages the prospect is viewing or even a complete history of their behavior. Sales reps can then follow up with the prospect while your product or service is still at the front of his mind.
In short, you don't have to watch your marketing potential evaporate just because your revenue and resources are drying up. Powerful new tools on the market can help you leverage bottom-line potential into top-line results. These tools are easy to use and cost-effective. When you're mining for marketing gold for your sales team, you might find that your best tools, and the real sales gems, are a mere mouse-click away.