Tag Archives: jigsaw

ActiveConversion Review – SMB Lead Management

From Web Analytics to Demand Generation

ActiveConversion first became known for its sales-focused Web Analytics, such as identifying companies that visit your website (similar to Leadlander). Therefore I initially called them a ‘niche vendor’. However, the product has evolved into a fairly complete marketing automation suite for SMB companies. So the people behind ActiveConversion gave me a demo to show they are more than a niche player.

Anonymous Visitor Identification

ActiveConversion provides reports on anonymous website visitors: they show the company name and activity. It integrates with Jigsaw to show company details like revenue, and available contacts for a specific company: contacts can be bought for $1 each directly at Jigsaw.

There are two ways to identify visitors:

  • They fill out a form on your website
  • They click on a link in an email that you sent them

After that, the (previously anonymous) website sessions are linked to a specific person.

anonymous prospect information by ActiveConversion and JigSaw
An anonymous prospect record

Lead Scoring

Lead scoring works for both anonymous and known visitors: for anonymous visitors the triggers for increasing the lead score are somewhat limited, essentially page views and return visits. For known visitors you can also track clicks from emails you sent them. It’s fairly basic compared to some of the more expensive systems, but effective and easy to use.

activeconversion lead scoring settings
Lead scoring configuration

Form builder

The form builder works different from some higher-end systems that actually host the entire landing page for you. ActiveConversion generates HTML code for you, so you can include it in a page on your own website. As far as I understand it, it uses the JavaScript tracking code (installed for Web Analytics) to also read the form data and save it in the ActiveConversion database, rather than using a traditional form submission. It can also integrate with Salesforce Web-to-Lead forms.

Email marketing

ActiveConversion supports both one-time emails to a segment of the database, as well as drip emails that are triggered after a prospect registers. By default it uses VerticalResponse as the underlying email system, fully integrated in the ActiveConversion user interface. However, customers can also use any of the 10 ESPs that they have integrated with.

Salesforce.com integration

ActiveConversion also integrates with Salesforce.com, although using Salesforce is not a requirement. Typically, new leads are assigned to sales person before they are copied to Salesforce.com: the assignment rules are flexible. Also, when a visitors registers, ActiveConversion will check in Salesforce if that email address is already present, to avoid duplicates. So there is data exchange on demand, but not a full bidirectional synchronization like in most of the more expensive lead management systems. The visitor activity is also exported to Salesforce.com and shown in the lead record (see screen shot).

activeconversion salesforce integration
Website sessions are added to the salesforce.com Lead record

Marketing & Web Analytics

The marketing reporting features allow you to monitor performance of various marketing activities. There are several reports including reports on qualified contacts and website visits as a result of emails, pay-per-click campaigns and other online advertisements. Several reports can also be emailed on a daily or weekly basis.

companies identified by activeconversion
Report on the companies that visited the website in the past 7 days

Basic web analytics is also included, so many customers don’t use additional web analytics. Only customers with specific conversion tracking (e.g. e-commerce websites) typically use a dedicated web analytics product such as Google Analytics.


Based on the demo I attended, I feel that ActiveConversion is a good first B2B demand generation solution for smaller companies. It is easy to use, it has significantly more features than Leadlander (which is cheaper and narrower in scope), it is a notch up from InfusionSoft (which focuses on the smallest companies), and it is cheaper than most other Demand Generation vendors.

If you’re looking for an entry-level B2B lead management solution, check out their 30-trial. If you’ve verified that it has all the features you want, you get excellent value for money, starting at $250 per month.

Have you worked with ActiveConversion? Please leave a comment or email me with your experiences.

Sales 2.0 Conference: for Marketing 2.0 too

I was recently invited to attend the Sales 2.0 Conference, which takes place on March 4 & 5, 2009 in San Francisco. I always like to attend conferences, so I gladly accepted. But I did wonder:

How does Sales 2.0 relate to Marketing Automation?

In the traditional way of thinking, if something is labeled “sales” it is clearly not marketing. Luckily, things are changing. The best definition of Sales 2.0 captures this, by mentioning the importance of having a customer-focused process that is supported by both sales and marketing:

sales 2.0 conference logo“Sales 2.0 brings together customer-focused methodologies and productivity-enhancing technologies that transform selling from an art to a science. Sales 2.0 relies on a repeatable, collaborative and customer-enabled process that runs through the sales and marketing organization, resulting in improved productivity, predictable ROI and superior performance.” – Pelin Wood Thorogood and Gerhard Gschwandtner

Having applied Sales 2.0 techniques in my own job, I’ve seen that the collaboration between marketing and sales has improved significantly: the sales team now knows what they can expect from marketing. The processes are better defined, and the outcomes are more measurable.

Sales 2.0 Tools

On this blog I often cover solutions that support the marketing & sales process. If you look at the sponsors of the Sales 2.0 Conference you get a good overview of the type of products offered in the Sales 2.0 space. This is just a subset:

  • Genius.com
    Email and analytics tools for demand generation; Genius.com offers products for both individual sales people as well as marketing teams
  • Marketo
    Lead Management software, to streamline the lead generation process from inquiry to sales-ready lead
  • Xactly
    Compensation management software; seems most interesting for larger sales organizations
  • LucidEra, Angoss, Birst
    Sales & Marketing Analytics; they will probably be upset that I bundled them together,but based on their websites it looks like they do a similar thing: providing better insight into sales & marketing performance
  • GroupSwim Sales Collaboration
    Collaboration software for Sales & Marketing teams; includes a strong knowledge sharing component.

And then there are a whole range of sales productivity tools (e.g. ConnectAndSell and Xobni) and data vendors (like JigSaw). Also, services vendors are present, from lead generation services to sales training.

The Conference Schedule

In addition to interesting Sales 2.0 vendors, the conference has an nice line-up of speakers. This includes Brian Carroll (author of Lead Management for the Complex Sale), Jim Dickie and Barry Trailer of CSO Insights, Judy Fick of Unisys and many more. The event is hosted by Gerhard Gschwandtner of SellingPower and David Thompson of Genius.com. If you want to meet up, please send me an email (leadsloth) or Tweet.

Are you planning to attend the conference? It looks like there will be some interesting topics for demand generation marketers, what is your take?

Sales Intelligence: Track (Down) Website Visitors

The Challenge: you’ve invested in PR, Search Engine Optimization, Pay-per-Click ads to drive people to your website. A lot of people visit, they read a couple of pages, and then they leave. A lost opportunity…

ActiveConversion, an SMB lead management automation vendor, has a solution.  I stumbled upon their press release offering free Jigsaw data, and Fred Yee clarified: “If company ABC comes to your website, a simple mouseover in ActiveConversion will display ABC’s revenue range, employee size, industry etc. There are 2 million data records for companies in Jigsaw’s database, so it covers a lot of companies.”

And then you can decide to search Jigsaw to buy actual contact data of people with the right job titles within company ABC. For those who don’t know Jigsaw: it’s a business card exchange service, so their users contribute and rate the contact details. The result is that the data is reasonably up to date, they have a lot of different job titles (not just C-level and VPs) and it often includes direct-dial phone numbers and email addresses.

How does ActiveConversion know the company name of website visitors? Actually, the IP address of website visitors gives away more information than most people realize. Maxmind’s GeoIP product, for example, can identify the city, company name and even the connection speed, all based on the IP address. Try it out yourself: go to whatismyipaddress.com, copy your IP address and paste it into the box on maxmind.com, then press “get location”.

One of the first companies that offered daily reports of companies visiting your website was Leadlander. They can send your sales people a daily email with a list of company names and location. The main challenge that remains: you don’t know which person is on your website, just the company name. So who are you going to call?

That’s where the Jigsaw data can help. It’s still a bit of a guess, but at least you have names, job titles and phone numbers.

Demandbase Stream Another vendor is this space is Demandbase. Unlike ActiveConversion they don’t have a full lead management system, but they specialize in identifying anonymous website visitors and providing contact data for people within those companies. They use multiple data sources, like D&B and Hoovers. I’ve not been very lucky finding useful contacts myself: they seemed to have a bias towards C-level and VP-level executives, but I could be wrong.

However, Demandbase offers useful filters so you can focus on those website visitors that are important to you. You can enter specific company names or territories. I’m not sure if Demandbase offers this, but  it would also be interesting to filter by pages visited and search terms used in Google: that’s all part of the “Digital Body Language”.

Still I wonder how actionable the information is. Regardless of whether you get it through ActiveConversion and Jigsaw or through Demandbase: what is the chance that you can actually locate and contact the right person? My gut feeling is that it’s a very low chance.

Why don’t they offer an option to chat while they the visitor is still on the website? That is a proven methodology in the consumer space that I haven’t seen very often in the B2B space. Maybe because it’s hard to ensure timely response. As a matter of fact, I used chat on the Jigsaw website last week, and nobody responded, and I waited for 30 minutes. I had a better experience on the Hoovers website, with immediate response and good-quality answers.

Alternatively, you could put more attractive offers on your website and promote those more effectively: this will increase the number of registrations. I have seen very few B2B companies actively test and optimize their online conversion rates (other than for PPC landing pages). So that may be a relatively quick win, rather than try to call people who may have visited your website.

My feeling at this time: first try to get more people to register on your website by improving the call-to-actions, then add chat if you have enough people to staff it, and only then I would consider real-time lead monitoring. At this time, it’s just not actionable enough.

What is your experience with Leadlander, Demandbase and ActiveConversion? Did you actually identify opportunities that you would have missed otherwise?

What is a Demand Generation System?

Last year Laura Ramos, the B2B Marketing guru at Forrester, stated that the lead management automation market was confusing. There are many players, and many sub-categories. Demand Generation is probably the most confusing, it can mean two things:

  • Software or services that get you in touch with new prospects so you can fill your database; this could be Search Engine Optimization (Hubspot), telesales (Phone Works) or contact databases (Demandbase, Jigsaw)
  • But it can also mean: software that automates the lead management process once leads have arrived on your website, or are already in your database (Eloqua, Marketo, Market2Lead, etc.)

If I understand it correctly, Laura uses the first definition, while Eloqua – the leading lead management automation firm – often uses the second definition. Also, David Raab publishes the Guide to Demand Generation Systems, covering Eloqua, Vtrenz, Marketo, Manticore Technology and Market2Lead, which clearly fall within the second definition.

I must side with Laura: Eloqua and similar systems do not generate demand, they primarily manage leads (in a very elaborate way though :- )

So my suggestion: replace all instances of Demand Generation System with Lead Management System!

Does that makes sense or not?