B2B Lead Generation Form Best Practices

B2B lead generation forms can serve as helpful marketing tools and can be highly beneficial to your business. If used correctly, they collect information about your website’s visitors, and ultimately turn anonymous visitors into identified prospects.

If you’re still unsure whether or not you need forms on your B2B website, here are a few benefits of using B2B lead generation forms. They help you:

  • Profile and get to know website visitors.
  • Generate better leads.
  • Understand visitors preferences, to better segment your database.
  • Get feedback from site visitors.
  • Qualify engagement and sales readiness.
  • Prove or disprove assumptions about target audiences.

There are 3 types of B2B lead generation forms:

  • STATIC FORMS (SF):

    These are the most basic B2B lead generation forms you can have. When using static forms, no matter how many times a specific prospect fills out a form, they will always get asked for the same information in the form fields. You can create static forms that include basic text, dropdown menus, checkboxes, or even file uploads.

  • PROGRESSIVE FORMS (PF):

    Progressive forms are a marketing automation feature that allow you to further qualify repeated visitors. These B2B lead generation forms allow you to select which form fields appear for a specific prospect, based on the information you already have about them.
    For example, if you’ve already captured a prospect’s full name and job title the first time they filled out one of your B2B lead generation forms, progressive profiling allows you to capture further information the next time they fill out a form. This means more valuable information for you in the long run.

  • MULTISTAGE FORMS (MF):

    Sometimes, if you’re working with a lengthy B2B lead generation form, it’s a good idea to break your forms up into 2 or 3 steps. That way, if a prospect starts filling out your form but doesn’t get through all the form fields, you can at least capture some basic information.
    This also means, if you’re creating a multistage form, you want to start with the most basic information first and get more specific in the next steps.

What B2B lead generation form is right for you?
It all depends on what your objective is!

USE

OBJECTIVE

TYPE

Gated Content (Download)

Putting high value resources behind a form on your B2B website is a great way to capture and identify qualified leads. As a rule of thumb, asking for “first name”, “last name”, “company”, and “email” is good practice.
If the asset you’re offering is of extreme high value to your prospect, you can ask for additional form fields. A great way to further qualify returning prospects would be implementing progressive forms.

(SF),
(PF)

Subscribe / Manage Your Preferences

These types of forms capture prospects who are interested in subscribing to your content as well as give you insights into each prospects needs and pains.
Create an Email Preference Centre to allow prospects to opt in and out of your lead nurturing mailing lists (“I’m interested in”).

(SF)

Event or Webinar Registration

If you’re running a webinar or any other event, don’t miss out on the opportunity to capture prospect information. This is where you can find out what they’re specifically interested in and follow-up appropriately.

(SF),
(PF)

Contest

Usually, if you’re running a contest, your goal is to capture as many leads as possible, rather than further qualify prospects. Therefore, keep your B2B lead generation form fields to a minimum to maximize form submissions.

(SF),
(PF)

Get a Quote

This is a great way to nurture and further qualify the sales readiness of leads. Because these prospects are demonstrating an intent to buy, you can require specific information (beyond just full name, email, company). Ex. “Company Size”, “Number of Employees”, “Role/ Title”, etc.
A great way to encourage form submission is to use a multistage form, where you request more basic information on Step 1 and more detailed information on Step 2 and 3. Avoid creating more than 3 steps, as that might discourage form completion.

(SF),
(PF),
(MF)

Contact Us

Allow prospects to get in touch with you right from your B2B website. Variations include “Send Us a Message”, “Request a Call”, “Ask a Question”, or “Request a Demo”.
Keep form fields to a minimum. Create a dropdown menu to filter what kind of inquiry the prospect is submitting (sales, careers, customer support, others, etc).

(SF)

Survey / Poll

Collect feedback on your products and services. Offer a free download in exchange for the feedback.

(SF)

Sign-Up (Free Trial)

Collect all necessary information to sign-up prospects to a free trial of your product or services.

(SF)

User Registration

Create a members-only section on your website where you provide access to exclusive content in exchange for prospect information. Because you’re offering more than one resource, you can require more fields in your registration form.

(SF)

#torontob2b Marketers Meetup IX: Marilyn Barefoot

On October 4, 2012, Brainrider held it’s 9th Marketer’s Meetup in Toronto.

In this post we are sharing a BRAINSTORMING WORKSHOP entitied, “Big ideas that will knock your socks off”  by Marilyn Barefoot, from Barefoot Brainstorming.
It was an interactive session, so some content is not shown in this video.

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#torontob2b Marketers Meetup IX: Trevor Hamilton

On October 4, 2012, Brainrider held its 9th marketers meetup in Toronto.
In this post we are sharing Trevor Hamilton from More Marketers Now’s presentation, “Create an Inbound Marketing Campaign”

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Better B2B Marketing Strategies: 2013 Marketing Plan Ideas

A dozen practical ideas and B2B marketing strategies for your 2013 B2B marketing plan including planning by objectives, generating awareness, acquiring prospects, nurturing prospects, and qualifying sales leads in order to get better results.

Planning Your Marketing By Objectives

Get better results by prioritizing measureable marketing objectives and B2B marketing strategies and using them to identify gaps and opportunities in your plan.  Planning by objectives focuses on the strategies, programs, and tactics needed to deliver.  And measureable objectives make it possible to measure and track your progress, test and compare tactics, and more effectively report your results.  This chart lists 4 B2B marketing objectives and what to measure to evaluate performance:

Generating Awareness
&
Acquiring Prospects
B2B Marketing Strategies: VisitorsB2B Marketing Strategies: Prospects
  • How many find you & your expertise
  • How many become identified prospects & give permission for contact
Nurturing
Prospects
  • How many are engaging with your credentials
Qualifying
Sales Readiness
B2B Marketing Strategies: MQL
  • How many meet qualified lead criteria
  • How many meet are signaling readiness to buy

Using Playbook Planning To Plan & Execute Programs

With fewer targets, who are difficult to reach, and even more challenging to influence, your B2B marketing strategies have to be hard working.  Get more out of your effort by planning integrated marketing activities that work together as a program instead of a collection of tactics.  Start with the objective for the program, focus on a specific target so you can develop more effective call to action offers, and then ask what channels and activities you should include in the program.  Ask what inbound, outbound, social, and paid channels could support the program.    And evaluate what you could do before, during, and after the key activity.  Finally identify the metrics you need to asses performance against the objective.

Here is a quick B2B marketing strategies program template to help you plan:

Objective •Acquisition
•Nurturing
•Conversion

Target •Firma-graphics
•Role
•Need/Pain

CTA&
Offer/Content
•Call to action
•Best performing offers/content

Activity:
Channel &
Tactical Mix
•Past Results
•Reach
•Ability to execute
•Measurability
•Inbound
•Event
•Outbound
•Social
•Paid
•Pre
•During
•Post

Creative •Copy
•Design
•Concept

Timing •Start
•End date/ongoing

Measuring
Results
•Qualified Inbound Traffic
•New Prospect Acquisition
•Prospect Activity Scoring
•MQL

 

B2B Marketing Strategies: Generating Awareness & Acquiring Prospects

Most marketing plans include events (tradeshows, conferences, roadshows, webinars, etc) and paid media (PPC advertising, sponsorships, e-blasts) because they have been in past plans and they can generate predictable results.  Two newer program types worth testing include inbound marketing and social publishing.

Inbound marketing & social publishing

Inbound marketing leverages what prospect want to know about what you know.  Prospects want information to understand their landscape and make better business decisions.  And they know they can often get that information through you.  Inbound marketing works to connect you with prospects actively looking for that information.  But to reach these prospects you need to make your subject matter expertise easier to find.

Here are seven inbound marketing and social publishing ideas worth testing:

  • Develop and publish better content by targeting what your customer is looking for at each stage of their decision process
  • Optimize your prospect resource center to make your subject matter expertise easier to find
  • Publish your marketing content on a custom Slideshare Channel
  • Use LinkedIn to share relevant content with your target audience
  • Use sidebars with tiered calls to action: raise your hand offers, get more information, and subscribe.
  • Feature more content links on your home page
  • Optimize form completions by offering more relevant content (ie access to what customers want to know)

B2B Marketing Strategies: Nurturing Prospects

Advances in marketing technology have enabled increased prospect nurturing.  But the key to successful nurturing is matching nurturing tactics to audience behaviour.  No prospects want to be continually spammed with conversion offers or new product announcements; instead they want information relevant to what they want to know.   Try thinking like a magazine publisher who has the objective of engaging their readership.  For example:

  • When prospects are actively researching they want information directly related to what they are looking for.  So test relevant “For More Information” links in your thank you content, autoresponders, sidebars and at the end of every content asset.
  • When they are not actively researching, you need to spark their interest.  Try sharing popular or new content that answers the question “What’s my problem?”, “What are my peers doing”, “What are my peers reading?”.  And give them lots of potential links in a digest format so they can easily find and choose their own adventure.

B2B Marketing Strategies: Qualifying Sales Readiness

The final objective in this list is qualifying prospect sales readiness with lead scoring.  This is challenging because out of the box scoring rules and a lack of sales readiness offers and activities reduce scoring accuracy.  Here at two ideas to test for 2013:

  • Focus on Marketing Qualification (MQL): ie is a lead worth sending to sales for a follow-up to see if they are ready to buy.
  • Test Sales Readiness Offers such as “Request a hands-on demonstration”, “Project & Pricing”, “Get a Free Consultation”, or “Get a ROI Analysis”

B2B Email Marketing: Don’t make opting out so hard

unsubscribeMaking it easy for recipients of your marketing emails to opt out (or unsubscribe) may seem counterintuitive if you are focused on building your list, but it will actually result in more high quality leads. Making opt-out difficult by hiding the link at the bottom of emails, or not having email preferences accessible on your site, has repercussions. (more…)

Marketing Automation Agencies: How To Hire The Right Agency

Marketing Automation tools are so powerful they can help you efficiently overload your sales team, spam your market, publish lots of content no one will read, and then get accurate analytics on how your marketing investment has been wasted.  If you think this might be happening don’t feel alone.

B2B strategy and execution is just starting to catch up to the potential of the software.  The mix of skills and expertise needed to create success crosses different marketing disciplines from content, to web development, to campaign planning, to email marketing, to analytics and more.

This post reviews the different available service options, what to look for, and how to identify what you really need. (more…)