Have you considered the powerful lead scoring and segmentation signals hiding in plain “site”?
By evaluating a company’s website technology profile (that is, the software, widgets, frameworks and other elements used to build out, measure and promote the site) you can learn a lot about the relative priority and sales readiness of a prospect for your product or service.
Consider, for example, what you can infer by visiting the websites of your prospects and observing the type of analytics that each have implemented. In some cases there would be no analytics, in some cases you’d see a free analytics package such as Google Analytics and in some cases you’d see a premium analytics package like Adobe SiteCatalyst.
Now lets consider some of the inferences you can make about the companies in each bucket:
- No analytics: In the absolute best case scenario, these folks operate a business for which visits to a website are not a useful asset. In a worst case, these businesses are simply not minding the store.
- Google analytics: This would likely be the most diverse group. In some cases these will be companies doing the bare minimum and in other cases these will be extremely savvy businesses leveraging a cost effective tool to it’s fullest potential. But, in either case, we know that these companies care about measuring their business (or at least they know that they should be!). Additionally, these will generally be businesses that will be comfortable with self-service or low touch management delivery models.
- Adobe SiteCatalyst: Since we know this analytics package costs roughly $5,000 USD per month, we can assume that these are businesses with budgets, are growth oriented and are actively investing in driving that growth. These folks will also likely be more likely to expect a higher touch sales and account management model.
In the above exercise we are just isolation a signal technology. But, imagine the power of this technique when compounded over several different technologies.
Here are some other technology types that may be able to help you analyze the appropriateness or sales readiness of a prospect based.
- Ad tracking pixels: Google, Facebook, Twitter and other ad platforms offer tracking pixels that give advertisers a closed loop by which to measure the traffic sent to their site. The presence of these pixels tells you that this site is or was recently advertising on one of these networks. The presence of any one of these pixels gives you an indication that the company has ad budgets. The presence of multiple pixels may suggest relative scale and/or savviness of the advertising efforts of the company. In addition to ad platform pixels, keep an eye out for retargeting pixels from companies like Adroll or Retargeter and ad management platform pixels from companies like Marin Software or Kenshoo.
- Email list building, marketing automation or CRM: Companies that have email lists, utilize marketing automation systems and CRM tools tend to have customers, which is a good sign! Additionally, this is a category of software where the solution being used really tends to tell you a lot about a business and it’s budgets. There are clear segmentations you can make comparing usage patterns. For example, a company using Marketo and Salesforce is making a much different monetary investment in marketing growth and customer management than a company that is using Mailchimp to manage a small email list.
- eCommerce platforms: At the most base level, businesses that sell online have the capacity to generate revenue. But observing which specific technologies that a business uses to sell can also give you a finer grained set of insights into the overall scale of their business. Are they using a hosted selling platform like Shopify that s geared towards small to medium sized sellers or a more high-end solution like Demandware or Magento Enterprise? Further, retail businesses have very specific needs, so just knowing that the company operates an eCommerce presence can be insightful.
This is just a partial list. There are literally dozens of categories of software that could help you make better decisions about how to prioritize or segment a prospect. For more ideas, check out the market share reports from Datanyze and Builtwith (as I’ll detail below, these two companies offer premium subscriptions to detailed technology reports for millions of websites).
Here are some techniques and tools that can help you surface technology profile data.
- Browser view source: Most modern web browsers have a standard method of viewing the code of a website in an active tab by right clicking in the browser and selecting “View Source” from the menu. This will render a text version of the web page code in a new browser tab that you can search for the technology markers you are interested in. Since this is the simplest and least scalable method of examining technology data, it is really only practical for cases where you are looking for very specific technologies AND you already know what you are looking for (e.g. specific code snippets for specific technologies).
- Browser extensions: There are a number of free browser extensions that surface the underlying technologies on a website. These extensions are a significant improvement over the view source method in that they are completely automated and come pre-loaded with extension technology marker definitions. This method is still not very scalable as you can only view the technology profile of one website at a time. But, if you are looking for an easy way to review a small number of websites, browser extensions are the way to go. Wappalyzer, PageXray, and Datanyze all offer browser extensions for Google Chrome. Builtwith offers extensions for a number of web browsers.
- Builtwith or Datanyze: These two companies have built large databases of website technology profiles. The benefits of using these services versus the more DIY methods above are simplicity and scale. Both Builtwith and Datanyze have catalogued thousands of technologies on millions of websites. I have used both services and both are great products run by high quality teams. Each company offers subscriptions ranging from hundreds to thousands of USD per month. I believe this to be a very reasonable investment if you are running a medium to large scale lead scoring or segmentation program based on the quality of insights you can expect to derive from this data.