How to Use Surveys for B2B Lead Generation

How to Use Surveys for B2B Lead Generation

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Posted: September 6, 2016 | Lead Management

Peanut butter and jelly. Salt and pepper. Demand generation and…surveys?

While lead forms are a great way to capture contact information about your prospects, they may not collect other critical information because too many fields can overwhelm potential customers.

For example, let’s say you do demand gen for a tech company. You’ve got a database full of leads who filled out their basic contact information, but what about the details beyond their job title and function? What are your prospects’ biggest pain points, and what kind of content do they prefer to consume? Are they ready to make a purchase and when? This month? Quarter? Year? Are they even the key decision maker—or is there someone else your sales team should be talking with to close the deal?

Short and sweet forms result in more completions, but how do you get to know your prospects better? A marketing automation platform will allow you to track their activity to understand their buyer’s journey, but asking them directly doesn’t hurt either if you do it the right way. That’s where surveys come in.

Innovative B2B marketers are using surveys as the perfect complement to lead forms. Best of all, select survey solutions can integrate with your marketing automation platform, syncing results with your leads to improve your lead scoring, personalize nurture, and increase renewals and referrals. Here are four ways to use surveys at every stage of the funnel—from awareness to advocacy—to glean valuable insights about your leads:

1. Use Surveys to Identify Hot MQLs

What’s in a first name, last name, company name, business email, and/or phone number? At first glance, not much besides their contact information. But once you’ve got these essentials, you can send your prospects a survey to find out who’s ready to buy—and who may need a little more TLC before they’re willing to commit.

This is where you need to put yourself in your prospects’ shoes. Think about what would make you more likely to take the time to complete a survey. Let’s say your prospect has already shown intent because they filled out a “Contact Me” form on your website. Set the stage, building trust with your potential customers. It’s all in the message you send with that automated confirmation email. Remind them of why they’re receiving that email (they filled out a form) and how you can better serve them, for example: “Please take our 2-minute survey so we can help you faster, only getting in touch about stuff that matters to you.”

Ask questions like:

  • Are you in charge of your team’s technology budget?
  • In the next three months, how likely are you to purchase a new technology solution?

It’s a win-win: You show your prospects that you care about their experience, and by getting a handle on their intent and budget, you can prioritize leads and route them to sales—or send them into a nurture program that engages them and keeps your company top-of-mind.

2. Hone Your Content Strategy and Create Better Nurture Programs

The good news: You’ve identified your hottest leads and sent them to sales. The bad news: You’ve funneled everyone else into your generic not-ready-to-buy-but-let’s-keep-them-warm nurture program.

Sound familiar? Maybe not. It’s possible, and highly recommended, that you maintain automated nurture streams segmented by each lead’s preferred content type, topic, and buying stage. But if your nurture programs aren’t personalized, or if you feel like they could use a little boost, surveys are a great way to stay on top of the content and industry trends that are affecting your prospects.

Ask questions like:

  • How do you stay up-to-date on industry trends?
  • What technology-related topics would you be interested in learning more about?

For prospects who aren’t as far down the marketing funnel, turn this survey from something service-oriented (let us help you) into a curiosity-inspired incentive (see what your peers are up to). Let prospects know that if they take your survey, you’ll follow-up with the results. You could even include questions like, “What is your salary?” or “How happy are you with your job?” to incentivize prospects who are curious about their peers to participate. Aside from receiving valuable information about your leads for marketing and sales, you’ll also get intriguing, shareable data points and results that you can repurpose into a report, infographic, or just about anything else.

Use the insights you gain to inform your content strategy, from format to topics, and set up smarter nurture programs. Then, you can automatically funnel your survey respondents into appropriate streams based on their responses, sending them engaging, educational, and convincing content.

3. Discover Their Pain, Then Make It Better

Let’s say you’ve set up your prospects with relevant content. So far, so good, but what’s keeping them from buying? Drive your prospects down the funnel faster by refining your sales collateral and messaging. One way to do this is by using insights collected from surveys.

Okay, by now you know the drill: it can be a challenge to get prospects to take your surveys. If the promise of better service or interesting results aren’t convincing enough, it may be time to put some budget behind your biggest questions. Try using small rewards with a friendly message to increase prospect participation. “Got 5 minutes? Take our survey and enjoy a cup of coffee on us!” Or, if you don’t have a lot to spend, offer prospects a chance to win a prize or gift card.

Ask questions like:

  • What are the top 3 challenges you face in your job? (Select all that apply.)
  • What are you trying to accomplish?

Once you know what your prospects’ biggest pain points are—from their day-to-day tasks to long-term goals—you can develop the right marketing content and arm your sales team with talking points so they don’t have to go in cold.

4. Increase Satisfaction and Referrals

You profiled, you nurtured, you convinced them, and sales sealed the deal. Congrats! But your job’s not done yet. Unless you’re selling one-way trips to Mars, you’ll want to continue to delight your customers and maintain an ongoing relationship with them so they become your biggest brand advocates.

A quick, easy way to benchmark your performance is asking the Net Promoter Score (NPS) question. If you’re not familiar with NPS, it’s pretty much the global standard for measuring and tracking customer loyalty. (Here’s how NPS works.)

Ask the NPS question: How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague? Then, set up your survey to automatically trigger follow-up questions or emails based on a customer’s response. If they’re happy, include them in a referral campaign. If they’re not so happy, alert your customer success team to reach out and improve their experience.

Not to mention, if you’re tired of chasing down customers for testimonials, you could ask open-ended questions like “What does our company do really well?” In that same survey, ask the customer if you can contact them for more information—or if they will allow you to use their words in your marketing materials.

See? Demand generation and surveys. Once you know how to use them together, lead generation is as easy as pie (and ice cream). Now, a question for you: what’s worse than not knowing enough about your prospects to market to them effectively? Answer: having a bunch of information that would help you market to prospects effectively, without a good method for tying that feedback to your lead info. So before you start creating surveys and sending them off, make sure your survey platform is integrated with your marketing automation platform. That way, you get to see your lead data and feedback all in one place. Data here, data there: closing the loop.

Have you started using surveys in your demand generation programs? Share your favorite use case below!

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Audra Sorman is a content strategist at SurveyMonkey where she works with the world’s leading survey scientists. She spends lots of time asking questions and writing about using surveys to solve business challenges. So get in touch with her to share your survey story (or a cool animal fact).

Read Audra's Blogs

Forms might be short and sweet, but surveys will get you even more. 4 creative ways to use surveys for #leadgen:

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