Business to Business Website Visitor Identification Explained

If you are a Business to Business marketer and you aren’t using some form of proactive website visitor identification, you are missing significant opportunities to improve your marketing efficiency and sales closing rate. By identifying companies visiting your website, you can improve your ROI on both sales and marketing investments. You may ask why visiting company information is important, so here’s some background.

Business to Business marketing is different in many ways than consumer marketing. Sure we are still marketing to individuals and we strive to elicit emotions that help prospects understand just how much we can help them. However, increasingly, purchase decisions by businesses are made using a consensus model. Sure, there are still situations where you can sell the CEO or CMO and have them mandate your solution… However, the larger the prospect organization, the more folks are typically involved in the decision.  That’s one important reason for BtoB company visitor identification and tracking, but there are more, including.

  • Adding new accounts and prospects to your sales process based on the fact that they visited your website (once or more than once) and which page(s) they looked at in which order.
  • Knowing when existing prospects (at the account/company level) are visiting your website as the result of a call, email, audience focused campaign, or SEO. Audience targeting is available on Facebook Google, Programmatic display or direct mail. Direct Mail and Email can be combined with a PURL or promo code to give you even more identity info. My team at Didit has executed some really powerful strategies and solutions here, but that’s a conversation for a different day.
  • Identifying new account opportunities to be added to your CRM or hit-list based on a specific company website visit and the behavior exhibited by employees of that company.
  • Synching the visitor identification to your CRM for both existing identified accounts and perhaps even for new opportunities.

How it works:

Most visitor identification platforms integrate into your Google Analytics and use the data regarding the hostnames of the IP addresses that come to your site, filter out regular ISPs, and provide you the list of the visiting organizations.  Sometimes additional lead scoring or appended company data is provided by visitor tracking platforms as well.  However, not every company visiting your site has business specific identifiable reverse DNS hostname discoverable (and reported by Google Analytics).  Due to that missing data, some of the more expensive visitor identification platforms use a “pixel” or JavaScript instead of or in addition to integration with Google Analytics.  The pixel allows for IP address lookups in both ARIN and third party IP address to company matching data services. In addition, some pixels can use cookie synchronization to increase the accuracy of their reporting.

I’ve evaluated about a dozen visitor identification vendors and have personally tested three visitor identification vendors both for Didit’s websites and for clients. There is no one-size-fits all solution for visitor identification. Factors that can help you choose the right platform for you are:

  • How big is your sales-force? If it’s small then one sales manager or marketing staffer scanning visitor reports daily is probably all you need to do. If you have a huge sales force, then you may want more automation and integration between the visitor identification platform with your CRM.
  • Does the fact that a business has visited particular pages of your website change the way your sales team will interact with that company? If you plan to ignore the data that is provided by a visitor identification platform, don’t bother getting one, or get a cheap one.
  • How valuable is a sale to your company? Would missing the identification of a prospect company and a subsequent reduction in the chances you close them have a high opportunity cost? This is important because pixel-based solutions have a higher hit rate (percentage of visitors whose companies they correctly identify). If knowing the exact identity of a visitor is important the really high end solutions might be better suited.
  • What is your website traffic volume and what percentage are in your target audience or “wheelhouse?” Most visitor identification platform vendors charge based on visitor volume, so not only is overall volume a factor, but so is the percentage of visitors that are important to you as prospects. Some sites who do a lot of content marketing and SEO end up getting a lot of traffic due to links and high rankings outside their service area, or for content searches that are very high in the funnel (no purchase intent).  All those count towards your cost. For example, one of our divisions (The Halo Group) ranks high in Google for a search on ### (the notation at the end of a press release) and a visit from a company looking to answer that question doesn’t signal buying intent for us. It’s interesting but not actionable.
  • What is the makeup of your outbound marketing campaign? Most BtoB marketers do a lot of outreach to accounts on their account target list using some combination of:
    1. Email
    2. Phone and VM
    3. Direct Mail
    4. Online Programmatic and Geofenced Advertising

What do prospects exposed to your marketing messages do when they get curious?  They go to Google and find your website (even if you gave them the URL). Monitoring the impact of your marketing or sales touchpoints in visitor identification reports helps you see what is working.

  • Do you need your CRM to link to the visitor identification platform in order to flag visits in your CRM?

As with many technology or marketing tool decisions, there is no one vendor I’d recommend for every marketer.  At Didit, we currently use LeadFeeder, and for the price it’s great tool. The current version does not use a pixel on the site, but integrates into Google Analytics for its data. For our size and the way we market, as well as the way we “tag” our outbound marketing, Leadfeeder works well. A tag can find additional companies and with some of the platforms can even identify individuals, but that functionality comes at a significant cost.

If you are new to visitor identification, Leadfeeder is a great way to get started. If you want the added accuracy that a pixel-based platform can provide, I’d recommend you do a trial of LeadForensics and KickFire. If you have adopted ABM (Account Based Marketing) within your organization, Demandbase is an option that includes a lot for functionality.  Each platform that provides more data or greater data quality tends to have higher costs. You’ll have to decide which platform’s interface and data quality you like better.  Many of the vendors allow for free trial, and I recommend you test them simultaneously and then compare the data based on hit rate and accuracy. Best if you run that test during a heavy sales and marketing outreach where you know the identity of the companies and people who are being targeted (via direct mail, email, voicemail, live conversations, text/SMS or other direct channel). That way you can use the data you see in these visitor identification platforms as both a validation of your other marketing and a way to compare accuracy of the platforms.

If you aren’t sure which is right for you, or how to build a marketing and sales strategy around account based marketing and or how to tag your marketing and media so that in addition to these platforms you also can use Google Analytics to tell you which of your marketing touchpoints, channels or messages is resonating with your prospects, we are here to help.


By Kevin Lee  Executive Chairman Didit (Halo’s parent company).

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