In B2B Marketing, gating premium content with forms is the practice for building in-house lead databases. Whether offering a white paper, eBook or Webinar, providing in-depth, expertise content your prospects want badly enough to fill out a form is a common lead generation challenge. But, even after the prospect has filled out one form, the challenge doesn’t end. The prospect must be nurtured and qualified as sales ready before marketers can prove they’ve contributed to demand generation goals. Progressive forms give marketers an edge. Let’s face it, requiring prospects to fill out a form repeatedly that asks for the same information they’ve provided previously doesn’t do much to help marketers add to the intelligence they already have. Plus, it irritates your prospects and likely stops them from completing the form. Instead, think about the advantages when your marketing automation and CRM systems know your prospects well enough to pre-populate fields with information they’ve already submitted.
Here are 6 advantages, off the top:
- A cleaner database. By pre-populating fields, you give your prospects a chance to see the information they’ve already submitted and update it or verify it’s correct.
- Get beyond demographics. Once you’ve acquired their contact information, you can add a few fields to gather specific information about their interests.
- Flesh out personas. Given their title or industry, ask questions about their roles, responsibilities and challenges.
- Identify buying stage. Asking questions about the types of information they’d be interested in receiving can tell you where they are in their buying process. For example, if they want to know why they should solve a problem, they’re likely early stage or still in status quo. If they want to see solution comparisons, they’re farther down the marketing funnel.
- Build a business value proposition. If you ask them to rank the value of several different outcomes, you could be gathering information to help guide the creation of content and to help salespeople get in the conversation with highly relevant approaches.
- Refine your lead scoring model. Based on how you frame the questions you use on progressive forms as the prospect relationship evolves, they can also serve as triggers for incrementing the lead’s score. Marketers may even discover that a key response can serve as a trigger for conversion to a sales conversation.
Using pre-populated, progressive forms to learn more about prospects can help marketers move leads through the marketing funnel faster, qualify them more thoroughly and contribute to the success of sales conversions. Just remember to do so a field or two at a time. Short forms requiring less effort will achieve better results. Leads will also appreciate the effort you’ve expended to make it easier to get what they want without a lot of hassle.