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Feb 09, 2011
Case Study

B2B Lead Generation: Increasing leads 296% by analyzing Web traffic

SUMMARY: Your website gets traffic 24 hours a day. Can you turn those visitors into leads to be nurtured with specific campaigns based on the pages they visited and their actions on your site?

Read about how one B2B marketer employed a tool that used website visitor information to create 296% more leads over a ten-month period, and to increase both email nurturing campaigns and telesales efforts.
by David Kirkpatrick, Reporter


Is your Web traffic also a sales lead? Your website is most likely getting hits from PPC campaigns, email marketing efforts and natural search traffic. Can you shift those visitors from the "traffic" category directly into the "leads" category? The answer likely depends on several factors that are unique to your business, but here is an option to consider.

In this article, we take a look at a website lead generation tool that helps you gain more data about your website traffic. An ideal way to use such a tool is to tie this new knowledge into something you already know. For example, connecting inbound traffic info about your visitors with information you already have in your database.

Another approach is to use marketing technology tools to grab the incoming ISP address of your site's visitors and tie that information into a cloud database to pull a list of contacts at the company employed by your visitor.

Depending on the particular Web page visited -- the home page or individual business area landing pages -- a lead can be targeted from the Web session and nurtured for potential conversion.

We spoke with Jennifer Alspach, Marketing Director, I.B.I.S. Inc., a firm that implements business solutions for ERPs and CRMs, about how her company increased lead generation by almost 300 percent in 10 months last year utilizing this technology tool.

This information has improved I.B.I.S.'s marketing efforts in two key ways:
o The company can better analyze website traffic
o The company can better determine visitor's search result topics, desired landing pages, and products/solutions of interest


Alspach said Internet ports were set up for personas the company wants to see and that different pages on the website were classified for different campaigns.

"Maybe the industry [the web visitor] is in would typically be serviced by one product over another," she stated on how Web traffic is analyzed at the time of the visit. With this information, Sales is given background on the Web visitor and weekly reports are sent to the telesales staff with contact information on the Web visitors to be uploaded into the CRM for calls to targeted contacts. The idea is to ensure Web visitors get a human touch after the online session.

Step #1. Getting the lead

While grabbing the ISP information of Web visitors doesn't give you precise lead data, it does provide a starting point with:
o The page visited on the website
o The visitor's place of employment based on the ISP information from the session.

At I.B.I.S. the overall lead generation is broken into two separate parts:
o Visitors to the main page go into a general marketing campaign
o Visitors to specific business areas of the website are put into nurturing campaigns that are dedicated to that sector.

To provide an example, Alspach said, "If they come from the industrial equipment manufacturing section of our site, then we are going to drop them into a nurturing campaign that specifically targets industrial equipment manufacturers. If they don't necessarily come from a specific industry page, but a page or area that we feel is still valid, and they were searching for actual content, then we will drop them into our 'general likes' campaign."

The Web traffic comes from:
o Search
o Direct traffic
- Inbound traffic metrics

Alspach stated traffic to the main site was 89 percent visitors directly typing the URL in their browser, and the remainder coming from search and referrals. The traffic to the supplementary sites is almost the opposite with 70 percent coming from search. I.B.I.S. is also able to track what keyword searches led to page visits, and the search engine used to get to the website.

When Web traffic is turned into a lead, the system:
o Identifies the company for the visitor
o Looks at potential contacts from that company
o Creates a report to provide leads to the telesales team
o Adds those contacts to an email nurturing program.

Alspach said that even though these contacts are automatically added to the email campaign, the company hasn't had a problem with spam compliance because:
o The B2B marketplace is not as sensitive to the issue as is the case with consumer marketing
o The company offers opt-outs with all its email marketing efforts.

Step #2. Email nurturing and telesales

Once the lead is generated, that contact goes into an email nurturing program and potentially into a telesales program as well. A Web visitor who is clicking around, or acting more interested than a casual Web visitor, might go into a more "full-blown" nurturing campaign or even get sent directly to Sales.

Web traffic that goes into the general campaign receives email on a monthly basis that provides information and content on solving business problems the contact might be seeking answers for.

Traffic that goes into industry-specific campaigns get email with white papers, articles or other content that addresses specific pain points the visitor is likely experiencing in their business, and if these visitors don't respond to the email campaign, they also get a touch through the telesales efforts.

Alspach said if email recipients don't show interest they still receive follow-up email as part of the overall nurturing strategy, and recipients who do follow links and downloads in the messages are turned over to Sales and tracked through the CRM.

Step #3. Segmentation

Along with specific Web pages, I.B.I.S also breaks Web visitors down by geography, targeting the Southeast in their case. Visitors are placed in different marketing categories in two different ways:
o Product-driven
o Industry-driven

Both of these categories have triggers set up to allow for more immediate follow-up for visitors showing a high level of interest based on their website actions. There is a certain amount of delay because the reports are prepared on a weekly basis, but using Web traffic to create leads caused I.B.I.S. to tweak its email marketing with a more coordinated follow-up strategy as part of the overall nurturing effort.

Leads generated from the high-interest categories are compiled in the weekly reports and go to the telesales team to get a phone call within a week of their visiting the website.

Explaining how a visitor's website entry point determines if the contact is placed in the general email nurturing campaign or into a specific category, Alspach said, "If [a Web visitor] arrives on Advanced Distribution, Field Service or Professional Services, they will go to our general campaign. If they arrive on Industrial Equipment Manufacturing, they will go to our specific manufacturing campaign."

The end result of this marketing effort is that I.B.I.S. is turning what was once relatively anonymous traffic to its website into leads to be nurtured with varying levels of intensity based on their activity on the website.


The key result of this marketing initiative is that leads at I.B.I.S. increased by 296% in the first ten months of grabbing contact information from Web traffic.

The other measurable result is the combined lists for all of the email nurturing campaigns associated with this marketing effort grew by 3.3% during that time frame.

One possible drawback is the quality of leads from this effort was described by Alspach as "slightly lower than average."

She added, "How we look at things is, just because they are on your website, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are ready to buy. They could be on your website for a number of reasons -- they could even be a competitor."

She stated this is not a problem at I.B.I.S. because Sales is good at handling the leads, and everyone on the telesales call list gets at least one phone call. There's not any wasted time or effort and the entire marketing campaign comes at a very low cost compared to the number of new leads generated.

Useful links related to this article

Creative samples
1. Follow-up email
2. Original email

I.B.I.S. Inc.


Members Library -- How to Support Field Sales and Telesales with Your Web Site

Members Library -- MarketingSherpa’s Take on B2B in 2010: Part two -- marketing automation and lead generation content

2011 Email Marketing Benchmark Report

Subscribe to the complimentary MarketingSherpa B2B and Email Marketing newsletters

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Comments about this Case Study

Feb 09, 2011 - Mary Kay Lofurno of Wellesley Information Services says:
I used netfactor at my previous position. We were one of the earlier adopters and the product just kept getting better and better. I will say this...just because more leads end up in the pipeline does not mean they closed to sales. We had tested the product for 6 months and I obtained another job so I never found out if it worked but I know the test for my previous ceo / director of sales was would these leads convert into sales. What we found is that they were much farther along in the process and it was taking a long time to get them cued up.

Feb 09, 2011 - Christian Nolin of Copyright Clearance Center says:
The article contains a quote that the leads generated from this campaign were "slightly lower than average" and that "just because they are on your website..." but wouldn't the leads be even of a lower quality than that? Since you are doing an implicit match based on an ISP address there's a good chance the people included in the campaign never actually visited the site at all and therefore, may have no recognition of who your company is or what they do, or maybe I misunderstood how the actual leads are generated.

Feb 10, 2011 - David Kirkpatrick of MarketingSherpa says:
Christian, Thank you for the question. I reached out to Bryan Poss, Senior Marketing Director netFactor, the vendor for this case study, and here is his response: "To answer Christian’s question you have to think of visitor tracking as a key component in a B2B marketer’s efforts to locate more leaders sooner and close more deals faster. That said, it is one component of a company’s complete marketing and sales strategy, not a standalone lead-generating solution because it does not indentify who the exact visitor is. That technology simply does not exist yet. "Visitor tracking can be considered a pre-marketing application that provides a stronger set of marketing-qualified leads that can then be fed into a marketing automation application. In the context of the Demand Waterfall presented by SiriusDecisions, Visitor tracking is providing denser water that flows through the funnel faster. Leads are driven through the pipeline faster and more efficiently. "Another component of visitor tracking you have to think about when it comes to lead generation, is the web 2.0 movement. It has completely changed the way people and companies buy and shop for products. In a sense we are now all digital citizens of the internet especially with tools like forums, social media outlets, blogs, podcast, and vodcast tools. What one digital citizen recommends another believes, since the information they heard is from someone who is using the product/service and is perceived as an expert. This is why it is so crucial to engage a prospect early in the buying cycle and find out what their needs are and begin engaging them with sales interaction and thought leadership assets provided by marketing. This is essentially what I.B.I.S is doing and having success with."

Feb 11, 2011 - Christian Nolin of Copyright Clearance Center says:
Thank you David for the follow up and to Bryan for the detailed response. It is very helpful in putting together my strategy.

Feb 17, 2011 - Ketharaman Swaminathan of GTM360 Marketing Solutions says:
We've used netFactor on our website (largely B2B). We were impressed with its ability to identify certain visitor company names that no other tracking tool was able to. At the same time, even netFactor was unable to identify the company name of more than 70% of the visitors. Of course, neither netFactor or anyone else can identify the visitor's name. netFactor's price point (nearly five figure per year) makes an investment justifiable for large B2B websites that attract traffic in the high thousands or low tens of thousands of visitors per month. Can MarketingSherpa recommend any other provider whose price point lies in the 2-3 figure per year? They could provide solid ROI for the bulk of B2B websites that draw traffic in the hundreds of visitors per month.

Feb 17, 2011 - David Kirkpatrick of MarketingSherpa says:
Ketharaman, Thanks for your comment and insights. At MarketingSherpa, we do not recommend any specific service providers. You are welcome to ask in the MarketingSherpa group and see if your peers have any positive experiences -- I will keep your comments in mind, and be in the lookout in the future for any providers that might be helpful to the SMB market.

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