Demandbase Lead Management System Compliments CRM
The Integrated Components of Customer Relationship Management
A lot of business leaders think that getting a CRM software solution in place is a one-stop answer to all their sales problems. It isn't. But it can be a good first step, particularly if you view it not as a single, solid blanket but as a major patch in a sales/marketing/service infrastructure quilt. There are many tools out there to help with specific functions of Customer Relationship Management, and being clever and strategic about sewing your quilt can deliver real competitive advantages.
You normally can't kick off the sales process until you have figured out how to acquire leads. Lead generation remains much more of an art than a science. That makes sense in a way as we're talking about people and their behaviors, and it's hard to get technology to accommodate that. That difficulty however has not curtailed the efforts to make technology a partner in lead generation, and the vast number of marketing automation software vendors crowding the market attests to that.
It's not enough to have a mountain of contact information alone any more. Your sales and sales conversion rate don't go up just because you've dumped volumes of contact records on your sales staff desks. Getting the right leads to the right sales staff at the right time – when those buyers are ready to buy – is crucial to getting the most out of your sales team.
A natural method for doing this is identifying buyer signals, or behaviors that likely buyers share. One such behavior is a buyer spending time on your company's website. The more pages a buyer looks at, especially when they are pages you know buyers often browse just before the point of making a purchase, the greater likelihood they're good candidates for the sales team.
That's the basic idea driving Demandbase, a San Francisco-based software company that recently introduced the third generation of its flagship product. Demandbase goes beyond telling users how many page views its site offered and goes into which pages individual users looked at – and can identify where the viewer is coming from as well as viewer buy signals. "It's not about quantity of analysis any more, it's about quality," said Chris Golec, the company's CEO and founder.
It's also about speed. The lead management system allows marketing and sales professionals to see who's viewing the website in real time, so they can truly strike while the iron is hot. Early incarnations of the product offered a ticker across the bottom of the screen, a feature that Golec says was an effective sales visibility tool. The newest version of Demandbase Professional is more like having an assistant monitor this data for you. When a buyer demonstrates behaviors while browsing your website that suggest he's ready to buy, behaviors you can define when you set the system up, a pop-up box appears on the sales persons monitor explaining who the lead is and what the lead's done to trigger the notification alert.
The "who" aspect of the system is based on Demandbase's proprietary IP database, which can pinpoint IP addresses about 80 percent on the time. "That goes up every time we add new customers," said Golec. The "what" part is based on the system's ability to walk users through a simple process of defining the buyer parameters and behaviors that signal a ready lead. This sort of thing signals a great opportunity for a sales-marketing get-together. Too often, marketing and sales are misaligned, and the introduction of a lead management technology like this provides a chance for them to hash out some common definitions about leads.
Demandbase can help identify new leads, but tracking people as they visit websites can also play directly into lead nurturing campaigns. A lead that went cold some time in the past could deliver a new signal that it's heating up by visiting a website.
The system also offers marketers a chance to see how effective online ads are. By keeping track of the data about who clicks on an ad, "it's no longer about the number of clicks one gets," said Golec. "It's about the quality of the traffic," a much better measurement of success.
Demandbase is the kind of lead management application that couldn't have been done economically before the advent of cloud computing. The volume of online traffic handled now, in excess of 100 million page views per month across the company's customers, continues to grow; and without the cloud, scaling support for the lead application would have been overly complex and could have threatened the company's viability. Instead, Demandbase is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution that can scale with the cloud and offer a solution that marketers and sales people with imagination can put to many different uses.