A while back, my colleague and managing editor at Vendasta, Dew Smith, had a great idea to combine our research surveys with lead generation.
The idea was simple:
Promote a survey to our target audience asking about their challenges
Add a couple questions at the end for whether or not they would like to hear about how we help solve those challenges
Incentivize the survey with $20 gift cards to get more responses
Follow up with respondents who said they want to hear more about our solutions
It’s extremely smart—lead gen disguised as research.
Trojan horse surveys, if you will.
So we tried one out…and it worked!
Over 33% of people who took the survey indicated that they wanted to hear more about our products. Even though the cost per lead was higher than other programs because we were giving out $20 gift cards to everyone who participated, it was worth it because these were bottom-funnel leads that converted into presentations at a higher rate than top-of-funnel leads for our sales team.
If $60 – $80 leads are too rich for your blood, play around with the incentive. Offer discounts or cheaper gift cards or no incentive at all and see if people still respond.
Which survey questions work best?
Make sure that your survey comes across as research first and lead gen second.
Here’s the first question we asked in the survey we sent to agencies.
What are the biggest challenges your business is facing? Rate the following from 1 to 5, where 1 is “not challenging” and 5 is “extremely challenging.”
Finding qualified leads
Managing sales pipeline
Technical aspects of integrating new solutions (APIs, SSO, etc.)
Logistical aspects of integrating new solutions (marketing resources, team training, client awareness, etc.)
Setting and managing client expectations
Billing and accounting
For each of the options above, we then dove deeper and asked follow-up questions.
What are your biggest challenges in regards to finding qualified leads? Rate the following from 1 to 5, where 1 is “not challenging” and 5 is “extremely challenging.”
Identifying my target market
Contacting decision makers
Creating marketing collateral
High cost per lead
Other (please specify)
What are your biggest challenges in regards to managing sales pipeline? Rate the following from 1 to 5, where 1 is “not challenging” and 5 is “extremely challenging.”
Tracking the efficiency of our sales team
Tracking sales opportunities and pipeline
Training our sales team on digital marketing
Sales team education on pricing and margins
Incentivizing our sales team to sell digital
Other (please specify)
After digging into each of the topics from question #1, we wrapped up with a few questions about how respondents were solving their challenges.
What are you currently doing to overcome your challenges?
Any additional comments about the challenges your business is facing?
Lastly, for the call to action at the end of the survey, we tested a few soft asks to see if people would like to hear more about our solutions. Here are a few that worked well:
Please provide your email address to get a copy of the published study.
Are you interested in hearing about our products & services to help you with __________, __________, and __________?
Want your business to be featured in our study that will reach thousands of influencers? Provide a quote about _______. We’ll feature the best ones and link to your site.
Overall, surveys are great conversation starters. By asking questions about people’s challenges, you hear what they have to say and come across as knowledgeable, empathetic, and helpful.