Business websites often encourage visitors to leave contact information so that sales staff can get in touch, but this only rarely works. “How do you leverage otherwise anonymous traffic?” asks Martin Longo, chief technology officer of startup Demandbase, based in San Francisco. Last week, his company released a tool, called Demandbase Stream, that aims to answer this question. It digs up information on Web visitors in real time, helping salespeople follow up on a visit with a cold call and a pitch.
Applications such as Salesforce.com already let sales staff keep track of existing customers or potential customers, but Demandbase Stream falls into a newer category of tools designed to help them find new customers in the first place.
Demandbase Stream, which is aimed primarily at companies marketing to other companies, cross-references the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses of computers accessing a website with publicly accessible information and data from business databases. On a ticker tape that runs along the top of a user’s screen, it shows the last 25 visitors to a website. If the user clicks on a visitor, the software shows her the name and location of the company that the visitor comes from, details about the company, and information about the visitor, such as the search terms that brought her to the site. Together, this offers clues about what the visitor might be interested in buying.
Detailed information is vital for spotting potential customers. Just knowing that someone from IBM visited a website won’t help much, since Big Blue has offices all over the world. Demandbase Stream, however, shows which IBM office the visitor came from, and what departments are located there. This basic service is free, but the user can choose to access another tool provided by the company–Demandbase Direct–that digs up contact information for specific people for a fee. The software can ignore traffic from nonbusiness users by filtering out data from home Internet service providers like Comcast. It can also filter out traffic that originates from outside a given geographical area of interest.
To use the service, a company just has to embed a snippet of code into pages on its site. The code can be pasted into every page or only at specific points to get information relevant to certain products. The code lets the Demandbase Stream software collect raw data from a visitor–for example, how many pages he views. It also records and sends IP address information to the Demandbase Stream software for further analysis.