How To Convert Anonymous Website Visitors into Revenue: A Guide to First-Party Identification Resolution

January 04, 2024

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Anonymous website visitors are the most significant untapped opportunity for B2B Revenue teams to generate pipeline and revenue efficiently.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of B2B Marketers and Sales reps today are blind to this visitor traffic and oblivious to these missed revenue opportunities.

Limited by conventional thinking regarding leads and intent, and unaware of emerging identity resolution capabilities, most B2B Revenue teams are missing opportunities hiding in plain sight.

Ironically, this revenue leakage is occurring as VCs and Boards are mandating that Marketing and Sales do more with less and find more efficient ways to grow revenue.

As B2B organizations face the sober reality that their once reliable GTM playbooks no longer work, forward-thinking Revenue leaders are rethinking their GTM strategies and embracing first-party data identity resolution.

Anonymous Visitor Traffic: Myths To Debunk

Before addressing how first-party identity resolution creates net new revenue opportunities in a highly cost-efficient way, let’s first debunk some of the most common misconceptions about anonymous website visitors.

Myth 1: Anonymous traffic has no inherent value

On average, over 95% of B2B website visitors are anonymous.

Why?  Because until recently, the only way to acquire first-party data from a visitor has been via an opt-in form fill.

Typically less than 3% of visitors complete a form asking to speak with Sales.  Sales generally values these self-identifying visitors; they assume the prospect has “high intent” and is looking to buy.

Another 1%-2% of visitors self-identify by downloading gated content or registering for an event.  However, B2B organizations typically view these actions as “low intent” signals and overlook them.

For the remaining 95%+ of website traffic that remains anonymous, conventional wisdom is that these visitors have no value.

But think about it.  These anonymous website visits are not random events.  In the vast universe that is the Internet, virtually every visitor to your website arrives with a specific purpose or intent.

Sure, a percentage of these visitors are vendors, job applicants, investors, or bots - i.e. visitors who have no intent to purchase.

But the vast majority of your anonymous traffic arrived to educate themselves on a topic, research your solution, and/or learn about your company.

Many of these visitors arrived by clicking on a Marketing email, or via a paid marketing campaign.  Some came to your website through organic search.  Others were referred to you via a review site or word of mouth.

Our experience de-anonymizing site traffic for customers confirms that a good number of these visitors previously engaged with Salesall notes and email exchanges exist in the CRM.

Believing the “simple reality” that all these anonymous website visitors have no value because they didn’t complete a form is naive at best, self-sabotaging at worst.

TL;DR - Your anonymous first-party visitor traffic is far warmer and more valuable than any third-party data you’ve obtained because they’re demonstrating familiarity with your brand and solution.

Myth 2: Anonymous visitors aren’t ready to buy

Building on the previous myth, a common misconception holds that since these anonymous visitors haven’t completed a form asking to speak with Sales, they must not be ready to buy.

B2B Buyers are more empowered than ever before.  B2B Buyers prefer to conduct their own online research and gather knowledge from review sites and peer groups well before speaking with Sales. According to Gartner Research, approximately 70% of the buying journey is complete before a prospect proactively asks to speak with Sales.

Is it not likely then that your anonymous traffic consists of Buyers performing self-guided research on your website?  Wouldn’t your Sales reps benefit from identifying these anonymous visitors so they can help guide the prospect toward your solution?

TL;DR - A healthy amount of your anonymous visitor traffic is in a buying cycle performing self-guided research.  Identify these visitors early.  Help guide them towards your solution.  You’ll uncover opportunities you’re currently missing.

Myth 3: Investing in de-anonymizing traffic is a waste of resources

Another misconception is that there’s no clear ROI in investing time and effort trying to identify visitors who engage on your website.

Compared to what?

According to BenchSights SaaS metrics, in Q3 of 2023, the median GTM Spend ratio for public company B2B SaaS organizations was $2.64.  In other words, B2B Marketing and Sales teams spent $2.64 to earn one dollar of revenue.  More troubling, this ratio was $1.50 two years earlier and has been on an upward trajectory ever since.

The mandate from VCs and Boards to “do more with less” and operate more efficiently is precisely why focusing on converting your anonymous website traffic into valuable first-party data and insights is necessary.

Your GTM Spend ratio includes the money Marketing spent creating content, implementing paid campaigns, and maintaining the website.  These investments result in valuable website visitors, yet most B2B organizations today are ignoring 95% of this traffic.

TL;DR - B2B Revenue teams can realize improved ROI and GTM efficiencies by  de-anonymizing visitors and extracting more value (i.e. revenue) from the investments they’re making in generating website traffic and engagement.

Myth 4: Third-party data is the only way to de-anonymize visitors

Another popular misconception is that the only way to obtain valuable first-party data from your website traffic is to invest in third-party data capabilities.

This false notion argues that third-party data sources enable you to target accounts showing intent somewhere in the “dark funnel.” According to this logic, your third-party retargeting efforts will drive individual Buyers to your website where they’ll self-identify via a form fill.

While there’s merit in utilizing third-party data to reach Buyers who aren’t currently engaging with you, this argument requires a leap of faith that anonymous visitors will reveal themselves when they’re ready.

Worse, this argument leads to the mis-allocation of scarce resources towards third party data versus focusing on identifying the very people who are wandering through your digital garden today.

TL;DR - A far more effective and cost-efficient use of funds is to invest in first-party identity resolution capabilities that help de-anonymize site traffic though a combination of methods like device fingerprinting, browser analysis and IP address tracking.

Myth 5: Efforts to de-anonymize traffic presents a data privacy risk

A final myth to debunk is that utilizing identity resolution tools to de-anonymize your website traffic is inconsistent with data privacy laws.

Full disclosure: we are not lawyers.  So it’s important to seek your legal counsel’s advice to ensure that your privacy policy terms, opt-out procedures, etc. are properly communicated and in full compliance with the laws where you conduct business.

That being said, leveraging first-party identity resolution tools in and of itself does not increase your legal exposure so long as your organization adheres to relevant data privacy regulations (which you likely are already doing).

In the United States, for example, identity resolution capabilities are used extensively by B2C eCommerce companies today to enrich their email lists and retarget shoppers who abandon carts before logging into the store.  As a consumer, you’ve likely received emails or text messages from a retailer after leaving merchandise in an online cart.

B2C brands must adhere to the same data privacy regulations per legal jurisdiction as B2B organizations.  So the notion that first-party identity resolution in and of itself will increase an organization’s legal exposure is false.

TL;DR - By choosing reputable identity resolution tools and adhering to data privacy regulations, you can safely gather insights from anonymous visitor traffic without compromising security.

How to Implement a First-Party Identity Resolution Strategy

The most effective way to convert your anonymous website visitors into pipeline and revenue is by implementing a first-party identity resolution data strategy with a solution like RevMethods.

You’re likely already licensing data from a third-party provider (e.g. ZoomInfo, Apollo).  These data providers collect customer information from a number of different sources, perform steps to validate the information, and license it to you.

Whereas these data providers offer third-party data to support your cold outreach efforts, RevMethods focuses exclusively on helping you convert the anonymous visitors into identifiable individuals and accounts.

Specifically, RevMethods provides you with person-level and account-level identity resolution on the very people and accounts who are visiting your website, even when they don’t complete a form.

How First-Party Identity Resolution Works

When an anonymous visitor arrives on your website, they provide you with the equivalent of a digital fingerprint - i.e. a unique set of digital attributes such as their IP address, location, browser details, etc.  This information is captured and recorded on your web server log today, but you are most likely not doing anything with it.

RevMethods’ identity resolution solution takes the fingerprints you’re already capturing and matches them to a large repository of proprietary, opt-in, first-party data that we’ve acquired through our data partner network and other sources.

When RevMethods identifies a match, we provide you with the contact details associated with the person or account such as name, email, job title, LinkedIn URL, etc.

Implementing a first-party identity resolution strategy is both simple and effective:

Step 1: Install RevMethods javascript code on your website

RevMethods will provide you with a short snippet of javascript.  It takes just a few minutes to copy and paste the code on your website similar to how you installed Google Tag Manager.

Step 2: Review the person-level and account-level identities that RevMethods resolved

On a recurring schedule of your choosing (e.g. daily, weekly, monthly), RevMethods will provide you with the first-party data associated with the person-level and account-level identities of the visitors to your website during that time period.

Identity resolution results vary by organization.  A conservative estimate is that you can expect to resolve the identities of 15% of your traffic down to the person-level and approximately 50% of your traffic to the account-level.  This represents a 3x-15x increase in first-party data.

Step 3: Leverage resolved first-party data in your Marketing and Sales efforts

Assuming one of your top priorities is to build pipeline, having more information regarding who is showing up and engaging with your content enables you to be more efficient and effective with your retargeting and outreach.

Forward-thinking Marketing leverage the first-party data they acquire to:

- Validate demand gen activities are reaching the right audience

- Retarget individuals/accounts who visited via paid ads or email

- Demonstrate Marketing’s ROI by attributing previously anonymous traffic to pipeline and revenue

- Reallocate scarce budget dollars on targeted ABM vs. ‘spray and pray’ efforts

Top performing Sales reps utilize first-party data to:

- Perform more relevant, personalized 1:1 email outreach

- Engage buyers earlier in their process with a ‘helping is selling’ mindset

- Leverage LinkedIn URL for social selling

- Validate that their prospects in the pipeline are engaging

Innovate or Stagnate

The past 12-18 months have confirmed that the GTM efforts for most B2B organizations need a complete overhaul.  B2B Revenue teams can no longer afford to passively accept false ideas about anonymous visitor traffic and continue to operate inefficiently.

Data – specifically first-party data – is the new soil from which profitable growth will spring.  And first-party identity resolution capabilities are now a core component of any B2B GTM strategy.

To learn more about how RevMethods can help lift the veil on all the valuable traffic you’re receiving, give us a shout.

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