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The desire to interpret people’s body language during in-person meetings has been studied by psychologists and marketing focus group researchers for many years.  In contrast, the notion of observing your customer’s virtual online body language is a relatively new concept.

With their virtual presence in online spaces, people will unknowingly create what has been dubbed a digital footprint.  This online activity remnant is a trail of data that’s left behind by internet website or social networking platform users.

Moreover, with the growing applications of social media, businesses need to fully understand the positive and negative effects of using these tools.  Besides, there’s one very positive outcome from understanding what I refer to as a customer’s digital body language – it’s about learning how to better serve your valued customers.

I believe that it is important for all organisations to work smarter, by bridging the gap between their customer’s online persona and their own marketing and sales team’s ethical use of this type of information.

Digital Body Language – Defined

As people are becoming more at ease with using the internet, and informative insight is being made available online, they’re conducting their own product or service related research — before engaging with sales people that work for the supplier.

With this online-enhanced buying-cycle in mind, it’s safe to assume that the majority of informed buyers will have already made some sort of determination about their preferred vendor or product requirements prior to approaching a supplier.

So, what additional value can a salesperson add to this savvy customer’s procurement process? Answering this question, in a thoughtful and meaningful way, is where a supplier’s marketing and sales organizations need to collaborate.

Observing digital body language is like seeing the browsing behaviour of your sales prospects online.  It’s the visits to your company website, the pages viewed and the purposeful downloading of marketing collateral.

Purpose-built web analytics software enables the — after the fact — collective reporting and analysis of raw data that’s captured on a company’s website, including the tracking of an individual visitor’s browsing activity on a site.

But consider this, once the data is collected, analysed and presented to a salespeople in your organisation, that awareness and knowledge is power.  It may produce the details of a site visitor’s intent to buy and therefore help guide a supplier’s salesperson that are armed with this valuable insight.

Truly, it’s inherently actionable data. Meaning, interaction with this prospect can now become more targeted – “I noticed that you were viewing XTZ product on our website, may I schedule a demo for you?”

Even if a salesperson doesn’t receive a response to their question, this prospective customer may still be an active sales opportunity – meaning, the remaining data could present a better picture of their engagement with online content.

Exploring Public Social Media Footprints

Similar useful types of online activity data can also be collected from public social media websites, by utilising tools such as the Cisco Social Miner.  Readily available online activity reports can be studied in real-time by a supplier’s employees.

Being armed with this detailed, contextual data can lead to a more informed sales or customer care person that’s engaging in conversations with people online. It can also help to increase the supplier’s sales conversion ratio, while also improving the revenue growth and market share of a company.

Digital body language insight can also be used to help improve customer service.  Companies can proactively monitor and track what is being said about their brand on social media channels and immediately respond to comments — good or bad — in real-time.

That’s a proven way for your company’s employees to demonstrate how you’re listening to your primary external stakeholders and actively embracing online social business engagement.

Where to Next?

Social commerce related activity will continue to advance, in particular, with the younger tech-savvy GenY and GenZ online population.  In the past, those segments were the recognised early-adopters, but we’re already witnessing the trend to move more towards the mainstream adult population.

Are you already monitoring your corporate website traffic? Do you know who is downloading what and where; and can you track the national origin of visitors, or the path they take before they reach your “Contact Us” page?

Just imagine the possibilities of online customer collaboration — what if you could convert customers into brand advocates?

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