Lead management and nurture tactics have become complicated, and measuring success more convoluted. Long nurture series contain infinite permutations to test: length of an email, types of content, how to deliver, what to send in different stages of the buyer life cycle, even the relative speeds of a nurture track. Segmentation rules can further complicate what used to seem like a simple exercise: passing good leads to sales to make more money.
Market research can help you assess your strategy, discover what your prospects want and give you feedback on how you can meet their expectations. Surveys can be an ongoing exercise, interspersed different points of engagement to figure out how a prospect’s psychology is changing while he receives your efforts.
How can market research define your lead management strategy? Well-planned customer visits, focus groups and surveys will help you:
- See how a potential prospect views your product buying cycle
- Determine the attributes of your product among your competitors that are most important in a purchase decision
- Identify the content that has the most impact on a prospect
- Identify the means of communication that correlate most to moving your prospect down the path to a closed deal
- Uncover areas of expertise where potential customers view trust as key to influencing their purchase behavior
- Discover other ways your prospects research products like yours; where they go, which other white papers they find interesting among your competitors’ content, or how your content compares to that of your competition.
Many of these points relate to the competition. In your own company hierarchy, you can forget that competitors are always finding better ways to showcase and sell their products. Prospects, in researching their own purchase, are also keeping an eye on the competitive landscape. Harness that knowledge through surveys to refine and improve your own lead management efforts.
Ongoing surveys can helps you gain insight into how competitors are approaching the same marketing problems you are. With the requisite sample size, proper questionnaire design and appropriate analysis, you can see not only how your products compare in the minds of potential consumers, but you can rate the skill in which you deploy various marketing tactics. For example, prospects can tell you how your whitepapers or videos compare to competitor content according to different criteria. Or the whitepaper can be broken down into attributes, which a prospect can judge separately.
The key is to think of your lead management strategy as a product in and of itself. After all, you are providing content, content that a prospect pays for with time. If you compare the different aspects of your “product” – that is, your marketing efforts – to those of your competitors, then you will develop trigger marketing tactics that suit your comparative advantages. Using focus groups or open-ended surveys will help you discover the attributes that prospects use to frame their decisions, and then a quantitative validation survey will let your prospects and customers rate those discovered attributes against those of your competitors.
Not only will surveys help you re-focus your strategy on what works holistically, but you can also use the answers to score your leads, and help those leads make a psychological confirmation that they do indeed have a strong interest in your products. When you give prospects a better marketing experience than the competition from this feedback loop, you will win more sales.