Nowadays, you must deliver the right message at just the right time, in order to get a prospect’s attention. If you deliver a solution message before the need is established, it’s ignored. Deliver it late and, at best, you’re in a pricing competition – or told that they’ve already made the decision, but thanks.
How can you get to know what challenges a potential customer is facing? It seems simple, right? Just ask. But this is a chicken and egg situation. In order to get an audience with a prospect to find out what challenges they are up against you’ll need to know the answer first so that you can offer to help – which will lead to getting a meeting or conversation. If you just try to set up a conversation based on the fact that you have a solution to a problem they may not be concerned about for their business…well, you already know what happens. Not much at all. And if you do, by chance, get a discussion scheduled, make sure no-one asks “What keeps you up at night?” It’s a giveaway that you haven’t done your homework.
Expanding your leads through understanding their needs
Then how do you get the information you need? The reality is it’s impossible to get detailed information from 100% of your target accounts. However, it is possible to get good information from those who will likely have the greatest need or biggest challenges, i.e. the best quality prospects. They are often the ones who reach out to peers and thought leaders in order to get solution suggestions and recommendations.
One way to do this is create an appropriate target account list of contacts, and then survey these prospects, via an incentivized survey process. Conducting the survey by agency or research firm provides the necessary level of trust and separation and allows respondents to provide authentic answers without being concerned about a sales follow-up. However, asking about interest in speaking to a vendor who can provide solutions to the challenges identified within the survey, allows those with the most immediate needs to opt-in for sales calls. They can also be asked to share their survey responses with you the vendor to facilitate the conversation.
The survey results then become the spark that starts a dialogue of interest in what ideas and solutions can help. For prospects that opt-in for sales or marketing calls, the details of their needs informs the conversation and makes it easy for the prospect and your sales or marketing personnel to engage. For the rest of the target accounts, the aggregated survey responses provide a strong indication of current challenges and needs that you can use to plan both campaigns and sales strategies. Our clients’ sales teams use aggregate survey results as the door opener to get that initial audience and also use them in conversations with prospects to discuss which of the challenges they are experiencing. For our marketing clients, knowing the current issues of a targeted segment aids the development of appropriate thought leadership pieces, event topics and PR interest, as well as the success of social media campaigns.
Know the potential client’s issues inside and out
The ultimate goal is to be able to tailor your messaging to address each prospect’s challenges as they move through their purchase process. Knowing the issues of your target accounts and how your solutions can help is vital to both campaign success and sales conversion. Promoting solutions without putting them in the right context only leads to lower quality leads and fewer sales conversions.
Better quality and useful incentives work best
Of course, one of the biggest hurdles to using opt-in surveys can be getting a large enough sample of your decision maker prospects to participate. Offering better quality personal items that participants would actually use generally produces good results with very acceptable participation rates. While these do increase the survey cost, the benefit is a significant increase in both responses and promising leads, and costs per qualified lead may even be lower.
To find out more about Lead Generation Surveys click here.