Progressive profiling is a process of gathering information about your contacts as they pass through your marketing and sales funnel. This information will help your sales team learn more about prospects and enable them to make informed decisions about how they can add value during those all-important initial engagements.
The information you gather about each lead will change the way you reach out to them. For example, if someone visits your website to download a whitepaper, you’ll probably ask them for their name and email address. If they return for a second time, you could ask them the same things again OR you could ask what their job title is and which industry they work in. This type of information, as well as the knowledge of which marketing asset your prospect downloaded, can help a salesperson understand the potential client far better.
A good progressive profiling strategy can have huge effects on your company’s bottom line, as it helps sales close more deals. Here are a few ideas to lay out a good progressive profiling strategy:
Know your buyer persona and their challenges
It’s now more important than ever to understand your customers deeply. Traditionally, marketers would try to generate leads and sales people would initiate contact, work at developing a relationship, and try to close a deal.
Today, knowing exactly what your customers’ pain points are is the only way to guarantee that you even get a chance at initial contact.
Asking your different buyer personas, also known as ‘ideal customers’, what challenges they are trying to overcome, what barriers they anticipate in the buying process and what goals they are trying to achieve within their role will empower you to feed them the right type of information as they progress through their buyer’s journey.
Understand the way your personas buy
Do your customers care about coupons, sales and promotions? Do they go online and visit Reddit discussion forums or LinkedIn groups to ask for advice? Are they impulse shoppers easily swayed by a great landing page or special deal?
Knowing how your customer buys, how much research they do before making a decision and whether or not they follow formal procedures to make the purchase is one way to set up an effective progressive profiling strategy. It also allows you to focus your content on solving their problems and recognizing their needs, which is crucial to creating engagements that lead to better quality leads.
Ask your sales team what questions would assist them in their sales process
According to Marketo.com, sales teams ignore 80% of marketing leads. If you were sending better quality leads their way, they wouldn’t be ignoring them. By asking your sales team what type of qualifying criteria should be asked to filter out the dead-end leads yourself, you can save both the marketing and sales departments considerable time and effort.
Rank your forms in terms of awareness, consideration and decision stages
Think of your progressive profiling strategy in the same way that Goldilocks tested her porridge: you don’t want to be too hot with a prospect that’s in the awareness stage, and you don’t want to be too cool with a prospect that’s ready to make a decision – the questions on your forms need to be just right. Rank your questions in terms of the awareness, consideration and decision stages so you are asking the right question at the right time.
Develop relevant questions for your forms
During the awareness stage, you may want to determine what industry the prospect works in, what their primary challenges are and whether they have the authority to buy.
By the consideration stage, you should be asking questions that will give you more information about the buying time frames involved in the prospect’s purchasing decision, whether or not they are using a competitor’s product and how they plan to solve their problem in the interim, for example.
Collect your data in your marketing software
Capture this information in marketing software so both marketing and sales can look at the info, use the customer insight, and optimise the way lead quality is tested. Platforms like HubSpot make great use of progressive lead profiling by allowing both marketers and sales to add value at every intersection.
This platform also enables you to designate which questions appear based on what you already know about a lead, so you don’t have to ask a lead the same question twice and marketers don’t end up with redundant information being fed into their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform.
Ensure sales has full access to contact records and data
Sales should have full access to all of the information and data that is recorded. If a lead is receiving an email drip campaign from you, or if they have downloaded a worksheet, attended a webinar or requested more information after ending up on a landing page, the sales team should be able to see it in the records.
Need help setting up smart forms, advice on which platforms to use, or assistance with progressive profiling strategy setup? We’re happy to help. Get in touch to find out more about our digital marketing services or download our free guide below to learn more about clever lead qualification techniques.