If you are doing online marketing and using Salesforce, chances are there is some important information missing from your Salesforce organization. Hopefully you are tracking your web site lead sources into Salesforce (if not, get on it here or read this now). But what about understanding your web site traffic, visitors, etc. directly inside Salesforce? Here are 6 things that you might be missing out on, or at least need to think about.
Web site traffic and visitors are the top of your inbound marketing funnel. For many marketers, and especially those of you spending a significant portion of your budget on Google Adwords and other online advertising, this is where most prospects first engage with your brand.
So how many people are on your web site, and where did they come from? You want to be able to see total web site traffic, and the breakdown of the different types of visitors by Campaign, Referral Source, right where all your other marketing and sales data lives — Salesforce. This is the top of your “funnel”, people on your web site, and understanding this big picture and up / down trends will keep you much more on top of how your marketing is performing. Many of us track our leads, but how many keep on top of the big picture and can see those who did not submit a form as well?
Seeing the top of the funnel in Salesforce not only makes this data more front and center, but also gives you the advantage of being able to compare it to trends in the rest of the funnel — how many leads are generated via web forms, how many of those leads convert, etc.
This isn’t 100% true, it mainly makes a good heading. Target conversion rate matters somewhat, and we can all agree that achieving a 10% conversion rate is better than 5%. But there are some Internet businesses where 0.1% conversion is considered a job well done. Hence the dreaded question from the CEO or other executive, “What should our conversion rate be?”
As marketers, we know we should be measuring conversion rates at multiple points in our funnel. And the main way we are likely to be successful in “moving the needle” of sales and revenue is by making incremental improvements in these conversion rates at multiple places in that funnel (though we may still secretly hope for that one breakout campaign that just buries the Sales department in qualified leads). So the trend in the conversion rate is really more important to understand on a daily basis than the target (though less sexy).
By having web analytics data in Salesforce to better model various conversion points (Web site vistor > Lead, Lead > Converted Lead, Converted Lead > Opportunity, Opportunity > Closed Won and all the Sales process stages in between that are specific to your company or industry), you get one more critical conversion point that is typically missing from Salesforce. And since positive or negative trends in conversion rates are generally more important to doing your daily job as a marketer, having trendlines of web site visitors alongside the leads in your dashboards can be very useful to monitor.
You can get all of this data by logging into Google Analytics, but how many of us do that daily? If the data is in Salesforce, and nicely displayed in dashboards where trends are easier to see, you can be on top of the really big screwups that much faster and save yourself heartache and lost revenue. Even if your overall visitors don’t change too noticeably, seeing the bounce rate suddenly spike or page views per visitor fall precipitously could alert you to a potential problem.
One side benefit, for those of us engaged in lots of online advertising, is that you can (hopefully) spot problems with tracking much quicker as well. When that new landing page goes live, and somehow the template got changed to not include your tracking code, having real-time visibility in Salesforce should let you catch it early (versus running a report at the end of the month and noticing something amiss then, when it is too late to get that tracking data back).
Really, whose isn’t? But this isn’t so much about duplicate leads and other garbage that has plagued almost every Salesforce instance in history ever (and CRM systems in general for decades before Salesforce.com came into existence, but those were harder to get data into generally). It is more about cleaning up your reporting to more accurately reflect the relationship between the top of your funnel (web site visitors) and leads.
Ideally, you want those spikes in web site traffic to parallel spikes in leads, both nicely tracking each other in Salesforce (though they don’t always, as discussed in #5 below). But when there is more divergence than normal, having the complete picture of the top of your funnel can prompt you to dig deeper.
Maybe your inbound lead reporting shouldn’t have those 1500 tradeshow leads that were just imported in the same graph. Or that new Sales Manger hire got clever and somehow imported his “rolodex” via CSV file. Time to set some filters in the reporting and keep the funnel and conversion rates accurately reflecting your online marketing efforts.
Sometimes you can’t blame that new Sales Manager or scanner-happy tradeshow booth staff for declines in data. As you ramp up online marketing efforts, the quality of your web site visitors (and possibly leads, though hopefully not) is bound to change.
Yet another reason why it is better to focus on the trend rather than an absolute number for conversion rates (see #2 above) — your conversion rates are bound to get worse when you pour on the gas with advertising, especially if your previous efforts were more organic such as blog posts and customer referrals. Conversion rates, bounce rates, pages/visitor all get worse when you start bringing in lots more people, since by definition you will need to widen the net.
So this means you need to keep careful track of both data on individual leads, as well as overall trends in traffic and conversion. Having all the top of the funnel data there in Salesforce alongside your lead tracking will help you do that.
Finally, there is showing the boss what you are up to (also known as proving that your efforts are paying off, justifying your job, etc.). If your web site traffic and lead volume are spectacularly up and to the right, having all that data in Salesforce makes it easy to schedule a weekly or monthly email of the dashboard to people in your organization.
Or if an executive simply wants to see your web site traffic, it isn’t possible to have a nicely formatted email with graphs generated by Google Analytics, but if you have all the data in Salesforce that last step is pretty straightforward. Instead of a zipped CSV file from Google, or an Excel spreadsheet that you have to update by hand, they can receive a dashboard emailed from Salesforce, complete with all the graphs and charts, right in their inbox.