How DocuSign Uses Demandbase to Target 1 Billion Leads


Is it possible for a company with an addressable market of approximately one billion people to deliver a targeted experience through one main landing page?

Sure—just ask electronic signature firm DocuSign.

DocuSign enables companies to sign and send documents electronically. It currently serves over 48 million users and enterprises around the globe, in industries ranging from healthcare to high tech (and everything in between). Customer personas run the gamut, from clerical employees to marketing professionals to college admissions officers.

When all is said and done, this adds up to a target audience of around a billion potential leads, says Meagen Eisenberg, DocuSign’s VP of demand generation.

Without a web analytics platform to in place to identify lead attributes, the company was previously unable to personalize its homepage to provide a unique visitor experience. As a result, it saw high site abandonment rates.

Seeking a way to fix this, DocuSign implemented DemandBase’s web analytics platform in early 2012. By using this technology to gather significantly more information about its site visitors, DocuSign hoped to deliver a more targeted experience that would drive engagement and grow its sales pipeline.

A Lack of Visibility Into Lead Attributes

Eisenberg, who holds an MBA from Yale and has held prominent marketing roles at HP Enterprise Security and IBM, says DocuSign’s biggest challenge is how many different use cases they have.

“You want to create a very different experience for a consumer versus for an enterprise like T-Mobile or Wells Fargo,” she explains. “There was no way we could serve a targeted experience to each of our visitors without using a technology like DemandBase.”

While DocuSign could view how much traffic the site was receiving in Google Analytics, they had no data on how these visitors were broken down by industry. All site visitors were therefore displayed the same generic graphic on the homepage.

DocuSign normal homepage

The default image shown on DocuSign’s homepage 

Demandbase’s platform effectively eliminates this lack of visibility. It’s a web analytics tool that uses machine learning to identify attributes about companies via their IP addresses in real time.

To do this, Demandbase first aggregates and normalizes company data from publicly available sources to create a detailed record database with information about these companies, e.g. size, location and industry. When a visitor interacts with a site like DocuSign’s, Demandbase uses an Amazon-based cloud infrastructure to identify their IP address.

This address is compared to the information database to identify over 40 different visitor attributes. If Demandbase hasn’t already identified these companies, their technology is able to learn over time which companies these IP addresses belong to.

This information is then passed to the client so they can analyze it further and use it with their content management system to control the presentation of specific content to visitors.

“Before the page even gets rendered to the visitor, we already have information about the IP address and have passed back what we already know about,” explains Martin Longo, CTO at Demandbase.

“The company thus knows what to present to the visitor based on information that DemandBase is returning in under 100 milliseconds.”

Homepage Signage Changes According to Industry

Information gleaned from the visitor’s IP address allows DocuSign to customize their homepage to align with the customer’s industry. “If we know you’re in government, high tech or higher education, we can serve you the right graphic on the homepage, the right call to action and the right customer logos in real time to show you that your peers are using the solution,” Eisenberg explains.

DocuSign high tech homepage

DocuSign’s homepage graphic targeted to high tech leads

DocuSign healthcare home page

DocuSign’s homepage graphic targeted to healthcare leads

When DocuSign started using industry-relevant calls to action on the homepage, Eisenberg says the bounce rate dropped from 30 percent to 13 percent, and page views increased by 300 percent.

Industry and Company Size Dictate Free Trial Offerings

One of the biggest ways DocuSign generates leads is by encouraging site visitors to test out a free trial of one of their products. Users gain access to these trials by filling out a form with certain information, e.g. whether they’re interested in DocuSign for business or personal use, company size and company industry. This information is used to qualify and score leads to improve sales team efficiency.

In the past, DocuSign had no way of gathering this data without asking users to answer a series of questions, which they avoided for fear of higher abandonment rates. With DemandBase, Docusign can now identify this information without ever requiring a lead to answer questions: the IP address tells them everything they need to know.

Industry and size of company, Eisenberg says, are two of the most integral pieces of information DocuSign requires in order to deliver the right content to a lead—whether it’s a free trial, white paper or webinar—and are ones people often enter incorrectly.

“Many people either don’t take the time to find their industry or size or just pick the top one in the dropdown menu, so the ability to immediately know the right one significantly improves our data accuracy,” she explains.

DocuSign can now place leads in the correct trials without detracting from the user experience. As a result, Eisenberg says conversion rates have increased by 7 percent.

Leads Are Entered in Industry-Specific Drip Nurturing Programs 

Once a lead has converted on the site, they’re entered into DocuSign’s lead nurturing program. In the past, if a customer wanted to view a white paper, for example, they’d fill out a form that captured their first name, last name and email.

This lead was then automatically entered into DocuSign’s default lead nurturing program, which might look like the following:

  • Initial email with the white paper the lead requested.
  • One week later, an email with general DocuSign use cases.
  • One week after that, an email about an upcoming webinar on how to use DocuSign.

Now that Demandbase can identify a lead’s industry, however, they’re routed to one of eight different lead nurture programs. A lead in high tech, for example, might be entered into the following program:

  • Initial email letting them know that and HP use DocuSign for sales efficiency.
  • One week later, an email with a link to a webinar about using DocuSign in high tech.
  • One week after that, an email with a white paper specific to how Salesforce uses DocuSign.

“Our nurture programs are so much more accurate when we reach out to leads now because we can serve more targeted content that educates them about how they can use the product to help their business,” Eisenberg says.

“If they’re a healthcare company, we might send them something that shows how a company is using DocuSign for HIPAA compliance. So instead of thinking, ‘DocuSign helps with real estate contracts—why do they want to help me?’ now the person is thinking, ‘Oh, DocuSign has a solution for healthcare.’”

Eisenberg says this information allows DocuSign sales reps to upsell and cross-sell leads in a way they weren’t able to previously, which has led their sales pipeline to grow by 22 percent in their top six industries.

Custom Attributes Allow for Company-Specific Lead Targeting

In addition to the over 40 different base attributes that Demandbase can return about a company, it also allows its clients to tag companies of interest with their own CRM attributes, e.g. if the company visiting is an existing customer or competitor.

“This allows you to create higher value interactions based on who they are to your company—not just who they are geographically or demographically,” Longo says. Docusign has identified its top 10 competitors in the system. Now, Eisenberg says, “If one lands on our homepage, we redirect them to our careers page.”

DocuSign is also partners with Salesforce, which is also a DocuSign customer. Salesforce’s annual Dreamforce event is a major occurrence for DocuSign, so if Demandbase detects that a visitor is a Salesforce customer, DocuSign will show them a billboard encouraging them to attend.

Improved Metrics Help Evaluate Vendor Performance

Working with an analytics tool like Demandbase has affected more than conversion rates and sales pipelines. “It’s raised the bar for us,” Eisenberg says. “Every functional group in the company has lines of metrics they’re held to.”

Being able to measure results has also led DocuSign to set higher expectations when it comes to working with vendors. “We’re very metrics-oriented, so when we do our quarterly and annual reviews on where we’re spending money, those vendors that we can actually show are successful are the ones we’re going to continue with,” she says. “When you work with other companies, now it’s like, ‘Oh wait, you can’t do that?’ It makes you ask those types of questions.’”

Greater Insight Into Data Strengthens Sales-Marketing Relationship

Perhaps one of the most unexpected advantages of the data DocuSign now has access to is how it has improved the relationship between the company’s sales and marketing department. When you start to show metrics and results, Eisenberg says, sales no longer questions what marketing is doing with the budget.

“Now we’re able to show that we can measure what we’re doing, the influence that we’re having and how we’re helping the sales team’s efforts,” she says. “They see us as partner: they see the value we provide and the impact we’re having. It’s created a new level of respect.”

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Victoria Garment

About the Author

Victoria Garment joined Software Advice in 2013. As the Publishing Manager, she works behind the scenes, overseeing the content created by the team's Market Research Associates.

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