(Estimated Time to Read this Post = 5 Minutes)
One of the areas of Web Analytics that I am passionate about is the integration of Web Analytics and CRM. In the next three blog posts, I am going to share why I think this topic is important and some ideas on how to do it.
Why Integrate Web Analytics and CRM?
For those who are not experts on CRM, it stands for Customer Relationship Management and it generally involves using a tool to store all information you have about your prospects/customers. This normally includes all contacts with customers while they were prospects, all customer service touches, what products they use and how much they pay for each. However, the main thing to understand is that CRM systems contain pretty much all data about prospects/customers that takes place after you know who they are. But before your customers fill out a form or call you, guess where many of them are going? That’s right, your company’s website (and to social media sites more and more!). Guess who knows the most about what prospects do before your company knows they are interested in you? Your Web Analytics platform!
Last week, I presented on this topic at the eMetrics conference where I posited that the combination of Web Analytics and CRM is akin to the joining of chocolate and peanut butter in that they are both great, but even better together! Often times, as web analysts we know a great deal about what happens on the website, but unless your website sells something or sells advertising, the true success event ($$$) often takes place off the website (especially for B2B sites). Additionally, for all the great information we have about website visitors, most of it is anonymous – we don’t really know who they are so we can’t easily connect their website behavior to other interactions. What if we could take all of that anonymous website behavior and somehow connect it with the known prospect/customer behavior stored in our CRM system? Imagine if every time a prospect filled out a lead form on your website, the sales person who is routed the lead could see what that person had viewed on the website, what products they had looked at, etc… That could lead to a much more meaningful conversation and help get things off on the right foot. In this first post on the topic, I will cover ways in which you can improve your CRM system by passing it meaningful data from your web analytics tool.
Passing Pages Viewed
The first area I would like to cover is the concept mentioned above in which we pass data about pages viewed from your Web Analytics tool into your CRM tool. So let’s say that you have a website visitor who navigates a bunch of pages on your website and then fills out a lead form. At that moment, you have the opportunity to create a connection between that user’s website (cookie) ID (Omniture calls this a Visitor ID) and the ID used to record that lead form in your CRM system. While it would take too long to go into all of the details on how to do this (Hint: read my old Transaction ID post!), at a high level, you can use API’s of both tools to tie these ID’s together. Once you have made this connection, you can pass data bi-directionally between the two systems. In this case, we are going to create a custom object in our CRM system that represents website traffic and import what pages this particular prospect on the website. While this may sound hard, if you look closely, you will notice that the following screen shot is something I did between Omniture and Salesforce.com back in 2005 so it can’t be that hard right?
In this case, your sales team would know that this person is probably interested in Weather products so they might want to prepare accordingly for their first phone call or face-to-face meeting.
Passing Website Scores
In one of his post-Summit blog posts, Ben Gaines talked about a topic called Visitor Scoring (I prefer the name Website Scoring to avoid the whole Engagement debate!). Basically, this involves storing a unique website score for each website visitor so you can see how active they have been on the website. For example, you can set this up so if a visitor views a Product page they get 5 “points” but if they view a product demo video, they get 8 “points” and so on. I tend to use Participation metrics or segments in Discover to determine which pages should be rating higher than others. If you have implemented this, one of the cool ways you can use it is to identify the current website score of a website visitor who completes a web form and pass it to your CRM system. Let’s say that your sales team receives hundreds or thousands of new leads each day. One way they can determine which ones they should call first might be to see how active each has been on the website. If one prospect comes through with a website score of “10” and another with “54” which one would you call? While this isn’t meant to replace a full-blown lead management system, it is another data point that can be passed from Web Analytics to CRM.
Unfortunately, there are most likely way too many visitors for your sales team to talk to and not all of them are truly qualified. Therefore, one of the key strengths of CRM tools is that they can nurture or re-market to prospects via e-mail and other platforms. For example, it would be common for a company to use its CRM tool to automatically schedule an e-mail to go to all prospects who are interested in Product X and have more than 500 employees. However, what is often missing from these types of nurturing programs is the deep insights that can come from your Web Analytics tool. Building upon the preceding scenario, if we have a connection between a particular prospect and their Website cookie ID, as they come back to the site and click on more things, we should be pushing that information into our CRM tool and having it then decide which re-marketing information the prospect receives. For example, if the prospect above started clicking on items related to another CME product (say Eurodollars), the sales person may not have any plans in the next week to look at this person’s record so they would never know that. But by automating the data exchange between the Web Analytics tool and the CRM tool, specific product flags could be triggered that would result in the prospect being intelligently nurtured with little human intervention. If you are interested in Lead Nurturing, you can also look at tools like Eloqua which partner with CRM tools to provide this type of functionality.
Passing Key Website Metrics to CRM
The last concept I will cover in this post is the passing of key website metrics to your CRM system. Most sales organizations use conversion funnels that are not unlike what we are used to in Web Analytics. However, their funnels normally begin with new Leads and progress through different sales stages until business is won or lost. The one flaw in this model is that it doesn’t account for the true potential of selling opportunities that exist. A true salesperson would say that anyone who visits their company’s website is an opportunity for a sale so the way I look at it, they should include metrics like Unique Visitors and people who View a Demo or see a Lead Form as part of their sales funnel. I also think that getting sales to think of their funnel in a larger context helps bridge the gap between Sales and Marketing and opens the door for increased cooperation.
Therefore, one of the ways I do this is to take the traditional sales funnel and add some of our Web Analytics KPI’s to it like this:
So covers most of the topics related to passing Web Analytics data into CRM. In the next post I will cover the flip-side and show how you can pass CRM data into your Web Analytics tool.