Are you a creepy sales-stalker or just being helpful?
It depends on your timing and how you approach your prospects when using lead tracking software.
Today’s marketing automation and lead tracking software often allows marketers to identify individual leads and track their online activity, including visits to the marketer’s website, plus email opens and clicks.
For a marketer, seeing a lead’s progress through your website—even in real time—can give you amazing insight into their interest in your offerings.
For example, a prospect visits your website and completes a short form to download an ebook or whitepaper. Lead tracking software records their name, email, company, phone number and other information, links their IP address to their contact info and sets a unique tracking cookie on their browser to track future visits. From this point forward, all visits to your website from that prospect’s computer and IP address are logged. You’ll know what web pages they visited, how much time they spent on each page, and how many times they viewed those pages.
It’s the online version of being a salesman hidden behind a two-way mirror in a store, watching a customer shop before stepping out to help when the customer starts to look around for assistance.
Personally, I find the ability to track leads invaluable. Others (usually non-marketing types) find it a little creepy, on par with cyber-stalking.
Reaching Out Is Fine—If the Timing Is Right
So how can you take advantage of this lead intel without freaking out your prospects?
As is usually the case in sales, it’s all about timing.
If you pounce like an overeager kitten at the first sign of interest (such as someone subscribing to your blog), then you will come across as an annoying creep—emphasis on annoying.
But if you notice that someone has downloaded your carefully crafted buyer’s guide ebook, has made several visits to your website, and has spent a lot of time on content that you have aimed at serious buyers—now you might have a good reason to reach out with an email or—heavens forbid—a phone call.
A phone call might seem intrusive these days, but not if your timing is right. If your new lead has just downloaded that ebook after having spent more than a half hour reading your content—especially, if this is a repeat visit—then a phone call might be exactly what they need. Now is the time to pounce, while they’re still on your website or reading that ebook they downloaded.
So, how would you make such a phone call?
First, stay out of sales mode. You’re calling to help, that’s it. Your conversation might go something like this:
“Hi, Mary Jones, I’m Karl Barndt from Etika Marketing. Did I catch you at a bad time?”
“No, now’s fine. Who are you again?”
“Karl Barndt from Etika Marketing. I noticed that you downloaded the ‘Getting Started with Inbound Marketing’ ebook from our website and I thought I’d reach out to see what questions I could answer.”
“Yes, I just opened it. How did you know?”
“Well, I practice what I preach. My marketing software signaled me that you had downloaded the ebook. People who download that ebook usually have questions about Inbound Marketing.”
From here, if Mary seems receptive, I would question her about whether her company has already implemented inbound marketing or was planning to do so soon. Then, I’d probe further to learn more about her company and how far along she was in the process.
However, if Mary reacts in a way that indicated she is uncomfortable or annoyed with my call, then I’d back off, encouraging her to read the ebook and feel free to contact me with any questions.
I’d keep her in my lead nurturing workflow and plan to reconnect at a better time, when she was ready to talk.
Too many marketers fail to take advantage of the power of lead intel because they’re afraid of offending or scaring away prospects.
Give it a try and adjust as you go. You’ll get a feel for the best timing and your success rate will improve.
Besides, imagine the reaction you’ll get from prospects who truly appreciate your speedy and attentive service.