6 Reasons You Need Web Tracking and Analytics Data in Salesforce

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.

 

1. You Need to See the Big Picture

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.

 conversion-funnel2

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.

 

2. Your Conversion Rate Does Not Matter

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).

ConversionRateDiagram

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.

 

3. Your Web Site is Broken

And I don’t mean those javascript error alerts that no one understands, or Internet Explorer display issues the web developers refuse to fix out of religious protest. Even on the simplest web sites, downtime caused by hosting problems, issues created by new content, or some cutting edge new templating language that looks cool but won’t load properly for half your visitors can be hard to know about quickly enough.

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.

 JSTrackingError

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). 

 

4. Your Lead Data is Dirty

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.

 Salesforce Find Duplicates

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. 

 

5. Your Quantity is Increasing Over Quality

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.

 Salesforce Sales Funnel

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. 

 

6. Your Boss Wants Pretty Reports

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.

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Use Case 1: Automating Manual Imports into Salesforce

We’ve talked about the general philosophy of centralizing data in Salesforce, and the advantages and challenges of making your CRM system your analytics platform and “single source of truth.” In this series of short blog posts, we focus on some of the use cases of apps to integrate data into Salesforce, both obvious and surprising.

What do you do if you want to integrate data into Salesforce, but don’t have the budget or IT resources for a data integration platform?

In many cases, someone in marketing is armed with CSV files, and manually imports data into Salesforce on a daily or weekly basis.

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After all, Salesforce provides import wizards for Leads, Contacts or Accounts. And for importing data to other objects or custom objects, the Salesforce dataloader (or newer tools like Dataloader.io or Jitterbit) works pretty well.

But what happens if you forget to run the import, or are out sick?

And how much time are you spending preparing the CSV files, doing manual imports on a daily or weekly basis?

A new class of enterprise applications, like those Salesforce apps published by CloudAmp, make it simple to automate the importing of data into Salesforce. These apps also provide the data model (objects and fields) to receive the data, as well as reports and dashboards to display and make sense of the data.

GADashboard-Installation-9

These apps typically use modern webservices APIs, as well as OAUTH, so you can install them and get the automated data imports up and running in just a few clicks. Data is imported directly from the source into Salesforce, with no configuration or data connectors needed. And when data is being synced to Salesforce automatically, you can schedule reports or dashboards to be refreshed and/or emailed just after the import schedule, resulting in reporting that always shows the latest data with no human intervention needed.

For a small monthly subscription you not only save a lot of time, but the quality of your reports and completeness of your data improves as well. So put down those CSV files, and go check out the AppExchange today.

The Emailed Dashboards School of Management

Today we have access to increasing amounts of data and analytics, from all kinds of systems and applications that were not easily accessible to business users even 5 or 10 years ago.

“Big Data” it is sometimes called, though more because it sounds cool than the actual size of the data in many cases. With all of this data however, understanding the “meaning” of the data is increasingly difficult.

We all need a way to quickly spot trends, and gain actionable insights from all that data that helps us manage the people and processes in our daily work.

One method I have found to be particularly effective in making use of data is having a series of dashboards automatically updated and then emailed to me nightly or weekly. Hourly between midnight and 4 or 5 AM, Salesforce updates my dashboards and emails them to me, graphs and all, to be reviewed while having my morning coffee and cleaning out the inbox.

Getting dashboards emailed to me eliminates the need to remember to log in and check the correct reports, and makes it easy to spot any anomalies or trends early. If I need more information about a graph or chart, clicking on it in my inbox takes me directly to the underlying report in Salesforce.

And having all the data centralized in Salesforce (hopefully) makes it easy for the data to be up-to-date without any human intervention to combine data sources or update spreadsheets.

Some Dashboards I like to see daily:

  • Website traffic via Google Analytics into Salesforce – how many unique visitors, page views, etc. did I get yesterday and where did they come from? How did that big blog post do? Anything that doesn’t look right? (Yes, I know I can log into Google Analytics and see this high level data plus a whole lot more, but I probably won’t — unless an email dashboard alerts me to something that warrants deeper investigation.)

DashboardVisitorsandPageviews

  • Registrations via backend database integration – if visitors are signing up on a web site or registering for an account with a SaaS product, I want to push that to Salesforce (within a few minutes ideally), so I can correlate visitors with registrations and have a clear view of the top of my funnel.
  • Leads via Salesforce’s Web-to-Lead form and other sources – how many inquiries are we receiving, and what is happening to them. This should include lead sources, ideally set by an automated tracking system (and yes I have one that I favor), as well as anything sales reps or marketing people enter into Salesforce clearly identified as such for separation in reporting.

DashboardSalesRepActivity

  • Sales activity via Salesforce – How many calls, emails and other activities are happening, and which reps are performing best. Don’t think of this as big brother or keeping the Sales people honest, but more as understanding your business’ sales productivity. And if you haven’t worked in sales before, you have to witness the data to understand that one Sales rep really can make 5 times more calls than another rep (and generally close 5 times as much business, though not always) even though both reps appear productive anecdotally.
  • Online Advertising Performance – If you are advertising online, Leads or Registrations with daily graphs broken out by advertising publisher is a particularly useful dashboard. You do need to keep some of those ad networks or blogs honest in terms of the impressions they are running and traffic they are sending you. Plus you will be able to see right away if your conversion tracking code was accidentally left off that new landing page, rather than at the end of the month when the numbers are run and it is too late.

Some Dashboards I like to see weekly:

  • Usage data – Integrating usage data from SaaS products or other customer behavior or purchasing information into Salesforce accounts is critical for both lead scoring / account ranking, as well as aggregate numbers on how the business is doing overall. I like to see a dashboard that has total usage (or whatever the key metric that shows customer adoption is) across all customers, as well as a list of top accounts, new accounts with high usage, and potential churn accounts whose usage / purchasing has recently dropped off.

DashboardFunnelMetrics

  • Conversion funnel – what are the trends in terms of lead conversion / opportunity creation, and how does the top of the funnel look in terms of volume.
  • Sales Pipeline – what Salesforce Opportunities are open, if there are free trials which are expiring in the next week or two, how many deals are at each stage, and is anything neglected or staying open forever without movement?DashboardGauge
  • Revenue – If you have a billing or other financial system integrated into Salesforce, it is nice to have some revenue dashboards as well. It isn’t a substitute for financial reporting (and won’t make the accountants happy), but can help you see total revenue, new sales, and understand some high level financial trends, even if it isn’t accurate to the penny.

By reviewing daily or weekly dashboards emailed from Salesforce, you can start each day with a quick overview of your business, and an easy opportunity to understand any trends and spot problem areas or successes. In addition, building these dashboards will ensure that you have all or most of the data that you need in Salesforce for other people to use, so it can make the chances of success much greater if you are just rolling out Salesforce CRM.

You may need to dive back into any one of a number of systems to see further details in the data, or use more sophisticated analytical tools to understand the correlations between different data sets. But ultimately having the data summarized, automatically updated and emailed to you in dashboards is a great way to stay on top of the top line numbers and trends in your business.

How are you using dashboards, and do you get them via Email? Let me know in the comments below.

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