As B2B marketers, we use forms to gather data. What pieces of information should we be gathering, why, and once we have it, how can we leverage it to get sales?
The first two pieces of data that might seem obvious, but are absolutely crucial to an effective strategy, are name and email. Some buyers may put in their personal email address, which is common especially if they're filling out one of your forms during off-hours. A tip to help clarify this is by labeling the field "business email address," as well as using "business phone number" instead of the more vague "phone number." Those basic pieces of information are what any typical person filling out a B2B company's form would expect to provide.
Collecting a likely prospect's job title is key. If you already see a huge drop in conversions on your forms that only include first name, last name, email address, phone number, and company, you should perhaps hold off on adding the job title field. Consider presenting that piece on a later form. However, if your conversions are strong, then you may want to test out adding the job title field into the initial form. If your company already has a relatively clear picture of who's filling out their forms, it could be a much-appreciated time-saver to have the "job title" field consist of a drop-down or a check-off list.
Why Is This Data Important?
Job titles can help differentiate whether someone is a decision-maker and can actually buy from you. They can also help segment contacts gained into personas that can then be marketed to specifically. For example, your marketing approach can vary greatly based on whether someone is a corporate-level executive or a manager. Depending on your product or service, perhaps only one of those positions has the authority to buy. Establishing who their company is and what they do will also provide you with a baseline for the potential value and scale of a sale, as well as an approach to that specific category. Using data collected from your forms is a group effort that needs to be understood by both marketing and sales.
Some "Leads" Don't "Lead" Anywhere
It's important to accept that some leads aren't going to lead anywhere. Perhaps some piece of content on your site was just too tempting and someone who is completely unqualified for your product or service was interested in downloading it. Accept that, appreciate it, and put those contacts to the side.
Don't Waste Time
Compare a form submission to opening an oven with hot, fresh, and delicious cookies. Now you might not want to bite into that cookie immediately, since it could burn your tongue. Letting it cool for a short while and then digging in is best. The same concept applies to a new contact.
Pouncing on them the moment they hit "submit" (or hopefully a more powerful conversion button) will probably overwhelm them and might provoke a negative reaction. Depending on your business and service, you have to gauge an appropriate time frame for a follow-up; however, it should probably be within two days of the initial form submission. This ensures that you still haven't been forgotten, but gives the contact enough time to digest whatever it was they downloaded or requested.
Know Your Personas
Having personas, usually broadly dictated by a job title and company, is imperative to having a successful overall business strategy. Let's say you have those personas that you know aren't decision-makers, but still could be potential influencers or conduits to the ultimate buyer. It would be useful to consider putting them into a marketing and sales workflow to help entice them and gain more information and insight into their company and higher-ups. Those contacts that qualify as the ultimate buyer-persona should be put on their own regimen to help prepare them for making the purchase.
Divide and Conquer
Although it may be difficult, it's extremely important to have marketing and sales thoroughly understand each other. The more in sync the teams are with one another, the easier it is to effectively divide and conquer business efforts. The marketing team should stay on top of managing all new contacts that come in and developing content marketing for existing personas. They should also systematically provide the sales team with qualified leads to follow up with. Sales should research these prospects, determine the right approach, and then contact the individual. Having the company voice stay consistent in both marketing and sales can be a challenge, but it's vital to portraying authenticity and maintaining credibility.
Not everything will go smoothly, but it's important to keep gathering data and tweaking your strategy to suit. A large focus of your efforts should be on staying organized and making sure that whatever contacts you gain are being optimized and leveraged to give you more insight into personas, marketing strategies, or sales tactics.
Looks can be deceiving, but if your form has the right action plans behind it, the data you gather can help your company close sales efficiently and consistently. Use collected information to your advantage and help refine your business's marketing and sales strategies.
Steve Bookbinder, CEO of DM Training, has been an exceptional trainer for over 20 years, conducting over 4,000 training workshops and delivering more than 500 keynote speeches at national sales meetings. His training expertise has taken him all over the world to work with major companies in training their sales and digital media sales teams. Steve sees selling as a competitive sport and a performance art - which ties into his past as a swimmer and coach, and a stand-up comedian. Fun fact: He swam the English Channel in August 2008.
ReachForce helps marketers increase revenue contribution by solving some of their toughest data management problems. We understand the challenges of results-driven marketers and provide solutions to make initiatives like marketing automation, personalization and predictive marketing better. Whether you have an acute pain to solve today or prefer to grow your capabilities over time, ReachForce can unify, clean and enrich prospect and customer lifecycle data in your business, and do it at your own pace.
To learn more about how ReachForce can help you optimize demand generation and your impact on revenue, check out our real-time web form enrichment demo, or request a free marketing data diagnostic. Get the power to let data drive marketing and higher performance.