How many surveys do you disregard on a weekly or monthly basis? Probably quite a few.
Whether found in a tangible mailbox or in an email inbox, we often don’t take the time to fill out forms if we don’t have to. They’re often recycled or deleted and forgotten about.
After all, our time is a valuable commodity and how dare someone we don’t know ask us for a few minutes of it.
But it’s time we rid ourselves of this negative perception.
When it comes to B2B lead generation—an artform in the business world that even the most experienced marketing managers are challenged with—surveys can be an extremely effective method.
The key here? It’s all about the approach.
In this blog post, we will show you how to use surveys as a way to increase sales and ROI.
As a bonus, this medium will also help you to nurture better relationships with both future clients and existing ones.
But first, what is B2B lead generation and why is it so important?
Importance and Challenges of B2B Lead Generation
No matter the size or age of a business, B2B lead generation is instrumental to the success of a company. It directly affects a business’s financial health as well as its reputation and trustworthiness.
If you’ve already got an army of loyal clients onboard, don’t think this doesn’t apply to you.
You can have a longstanding company with hundreds of loyal clients. But if the majority of your existing customers don’t continue to purchase products or services on a regular basis, your business’s financial state will become stagnant or, even worse, decline.
Developing new business leads on a consistent basis will ensure that your sales will be sustainable or, even better, on an incline.
But B2B lead generation is not an easy task. And if you’re on edge about your own lead gen strategy, you’re not alone.
In fact, a group of B2B marketers reported that generating high-quality leads is their biggest challenge (at 61%).
Sure, there are several marketing strategies to direct a potential customer to your website.
Eighty-eight percent of B2B marketers are currently using content marketing as their main vehicle to develop leads and gain traffic. And digital ad spending by companies in the U.S. was forecasted in 2015 to grow about 60% over the next four years.
In 2014, companies in the U.S. spent a total of $50 billion on their digital ad spend and companies in Canada spent a total of $5 billion.
But what matters most in the long-run is not just how potential buyers arrive at a business’s website but whether they intend on making a conversion based on what they see and how they feel about your business.
So what really matters is what happens in that small window of time between engaging a reader and making a conversion or sale.
This is where surveys can help.
Engagement to Conversion: Closing the Gap
Maybe your website includes a pop-up that captures emails, a common way to find leads.
Or maybe there’s a contact form that people can fill out to inquire about more information.
These methods do easily provide you with a potential customer’s first and last name, company name, and email address. But this brief snapshot isn’t enough to gauge their level of authority or interest in actually purchasing your products or services.
Common obstacles that prevent conversions—provided a business has already effectively branded itself and has an online presence—include budget restraints and a general unreadiness to buy.
Did you know that most visitors that come to your website aren’t yet ready to buy?
But don’t let that deter you.
What you need to focus on is how you can use these customer snapshots (name, company, email address) to best determine their needs.
Surveys? Yes, please.
Surveys are a great way to understand a company’s challenges, business goals, and needs.
This knowledge is important because it helps you to cater your messaging to their needs.
General info snapshots alone are like a shot in the dark. They don’t tell you the things you need to know to give a potential client what they’re seeking.
Surveys, on the other hand, are more direct. They cut down the guesswork and increase ROI so you can spend more time on leads that actually have room in their budget for your products or services.
There are two ways to execute surveys: a warm approach and a cold approach.
A warm approach would be used if you already have a person’s general information because they provided it to you, probably through your website’s lead gen capture, as we discussed above.
This approach can be beneficial because these people are marketing qualified leads (MQLs). They’re more likely to become a customer compared to other leads because of their existing engagement with your brand.
A cold approach is similar to a cold call. Maybe you’re targeting specific companies or demographics for a new product or service.
This approach can be beneficial in narrowing down location-based services or companies with a budget over a certain amount to cut down your ROI.
How to Use Surveys
There are many creative ways to use surveys as part of your marketing strategy. Below, we’ve outlined three of them.
1. Identify MQLs
Hone in on leads that have a budget and are ready to buy. This will save time for both parties.
When someone fills out a lead capture form, follow up with a survey.
In your initial outreach, it’s important to remind the consumer that they gave you their information.
You should also briefly and clearly communicate why you’re reaching out to them, and how taking this short survey will benefit them.
By telling them that their results will be used to make their experience better, it shows them that you care about your relationship with them.
One way to gather this information is to ask direct questions like:
- Are you in charge of your team’s marketing budget?
- In the next quarter, how likely are you to buy a new marketing solution?
2. Get Referrals and Testimonials
This strategy is primarily used for existing customers.
Word-of-mouth is an extremely effective marketing tactic, and 70% of Canadian buyers say they’re influenced by online reviews.
Therefore, when someone refers a product or service, they’re more likely to trust the source. This goes back to net promoter score (NPS), which many credible companies use to determine their value to customers.
Send out a survey to your existing customers with one question: “How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?”
For those willing to recommend your company, follow up with a survey asking a couple of questions to further explain their experience and what they think your company does well.
These responses could be used for testimonials on your website.
If they’re not happy with their experience and would not recommend your company, make sure to solve the problem directly with them.
3. Customize Their Brand Experience
Once a lead fills out a survey, no matter what information you can glean from them, maximize the opportunity.
Whether they’re ready to spend or not, it’s important to nurture the relationship by making regular contact about topics they may be interested or find value in.
For example, you could send them a survey asking them questions about their approach to certain industry trends. As an incentive, your company could feature a blog curating the best answers and include their name and company, linking to their website.
Or maybe it’s something more personal, like asking them about their salary range. As an incentive, you could make an anonymous poll and send all respondents a graph of where they fall on the salary scale for their position.
What to Include for Effective Results
1. Nothing Too Lengthy
As we mentioned above, time is a precious commodity. Make sure your survey is as refined as possible and only ask the questions you need to.
There’s no one-size-fits-all for surveys, but make sure they’re only as long as they have to be.
2. The Right Language
It’s important to note that surveys can easily be misleading. This is why it’s so important to ask questions correctly and in an unbiased way.
This is especially important if the information you’re gathering is being used for public use, such as in a white paper.
For helpful tips on how to ask effective questions, check out this simple survey guide here.