3 Secrets to Maximizing the Prospect Survey Process (Part 1)

LIsa Vitale marketing GuruHere at SimplyDIRECT we appreciate the power that a thoughtfully-designed survey has to communicate with a target audience. The purpose of a prospect survey (survey-based lead generation) – as distinguished from a market/industry survey – is two-fold: to reach, engage, and qualify prospects, while both gaining and communicating insights in one efficient process. The sometimes overlooked and less obvious benefit of this process is indeed the opportunity to communicate and test new ideas and perspectives regarding prospects’ personal and organizational challenges. Marketers are certainly accustomed to the benefits and insights traditional surveys provide regarding target audiences, but a fully-leveraged prospect survey process can yield even greater value by getting prospects thinking about new perspectives. This week’s post features two tips focused on the pre-design process for creating a prospect survey, and next week’s Part 2 will discuss optimizing survey design and writing:

  1. Define the survey’s purpose & audience

A successful prospect survey is grounded in a clear understanding of the purpose it serves. Determine and define what the objectives are for the survey, as well as which segment or sub-segment will best fulfill those objectives. In this exploration of purpose and audience consider: what types of information will inform your objectives; what it is you want your target audience/survey respondents to be thinking about after completing the survey; and what behavior you want to drive. In determining your target audience selection criteria, consider how narrowly you need to define this segment to ensure that the data returned is meaningful and of value.

  1. Pre-research to understand the big picture context and gain unique perspectives

NYC from Empire St BldgGaining multiple perspectives on a business issue is a powerful way to inform a more complete understanding of your prospect’s context. In so doing, previously unseen connections are revealed, fresh insights emerge, and new possibilities can be imagined. By blending in different sources and types of information, you can more accurately come to understand what motivating influences are at play. Pre-research also ensures that your survey, the information it communicates, and the data it returns, is highly current, relevant, and timely.


Beginning your prospect survey design process with a diligent, thoughtful approach to purpose, audience, and buyer context, establishes a solid foundation for crafting a successful and powerful survey. The beauty of such a process is that it yields value for both your marketing and sales teams, as well as your prospects – the survey data returned on your pre-design research insights provides unique and differentiated information useful in crafting rich thought leadership content. Be sure to read next week’s Part 2 to learn how to optimize the design and writing portion of your survey process.

For deeper reading on how a survey can be smartly leveraged for maximum effectiveness across key marketing and sales functions, read our blog post, Many birds, one stone: Leveraging the power of B2B market surveys.

To learn more about SimplyDIRECT’s prospect survey process read here.