How to Use a Survey for Lead Generation and New Business – Part II
The kids were in deep, deep trouble.
Their failing vaudevillian parents left them to go on the road, the sheriff was threatening to send them to a state work farm, and they needed to prove to their parents that they had what it takes to make it in show business.
Mickey Moran (Mickey Rooney) gets a blockbuster idea. “Hey gang,” he says, “I know! Let’s put on a show!”
Patsy Barton (Judy Garland), who has a thing for Mickey, goes overboard.
"We've gotta have a great show, with a million laughs... and color... and a lot of lights to make it sparkle! And songs - wonderful songs! And after we get the people in that hall, we've gotta start em in laughing right away! Oh, can't you just see it ...?"
So that’s Mickey and Judy in Babes in Arms.
In my version, called CPAs in Arms, instead of avoiding a march off to the state farm, a niche practice leader in cahoots with the Marketing Director gets their moment of Zen (Goodbye and thanks Jon Stewart!) for building the niche:
“We gotta have a monster survey with a million questions ... and data ... and lots of insights to showcase or thought leadership! And pie charts ... wonderful pie charts! And after we do hours and hours and hours of analysis, discussion, writing, graphics and layout we’ve gotta make it look pretty and then give it away! Oh, can’t you just see it ...?"
Hey Gang, Let’s Put on a Survey AND Generate Lots and Lots of Leads!
In my last blog post I discussed a number of benefits that a CPA, consulting or other professional service can realize from doing a survey. Maybe I’m a bit biased – OK, make that A LOT biased – but it’s my belief that if you build a survey that doesn’t have lead generation has as one of its primary objectives, then you’re wasting time, money, intellectual resources and business development opportunities.
Firms doing surveys often make the assumption that the sheer effort and intellectual capital that went into the survey is the motivator for a suspect to become a prospect and then a lead ... kind of a “Vedi. Vidi. Emi.” moment (“I came. I saw. I bought.”).
Now I’m not saying that couldn’t happen, but the truth of the matter is that firms pay too much attention to using surveys as branding devices and not enough attention on using it for lead acquisition.
10 “Must- Do’s” for Using Surveys for Lead Generation
Here’s some guidance on how to use a survey for both branding and lead generation:
1. Set a goal for the number of respondents, leads and new business objectives for the survey. A lead is defined as someone who fills out a form to participate in the survey or to get any of the thought leadership pieces that come out of the survey.
The greater the number of respondents, the greater the number of leads:
Motivate firms to respond with an offer for full report results.
When marketing for respondents, emphasize that those who do not respond will be put at a significant competitive disadvantage because of the quantity and quality of the data and analysis that respondents will get.
Give your business development of sales team a seat at the table from the very first (and all subsequent) survey meetings so they can influence how to use outcomes for sales purposes.
At the very first meeting of the survey team, define the deliverables you’ll be using for lead generation – full report, executive summary, webinar/seminars, videos, PowerPoint presentations, and so on. All of these get tucked behind a form for lead acquisition purposes and for the really astute, woven into an integrated lead gen campaign powered by marketing automation technology.
One of the most powerful outcomes for purposes of leads and sales is an output that a business developer can bring to a prospect that shows that prospect’s results benchmarked against other similar respondents.
Pay extra special careful attention to segmentation, both in terms of who you’ll be recruiting for the survey and in terms of who actually completes the survey. Demographic data - size, location, job titles, etc. – is a powerful starting block for lead generation activities.
Construct the survey’s questions with lead generation in mind, but without being advertorial. For example asking a respondent if they’re happy with their current firm in a survey vehicle designed for thought leadership is tacky.
At the very first meeting, brainstorm ways that you’ll use survey results for public relations – both on and off site. There should be a wealth of press releases, feature articles, blog posts and the lie that will come from the effort, and planning for these from the get/go is a best practice.
Have a comprehensive plan in place to promote survey results for lead generation. That will include landing pages for lead capture (i.e. “Get the Executive Summary ...”, placement of call to action buttons in strategic locations around your website, use of social media to drive eyeballs to landing pages, and more).
Consider an alliance or partnership with a relevant trade association who can use their membership (and brand) to secure additional respondents, and who can be a key part of lead generation efforts and activities. For example, one best practice is a “Member’s Only” preview of survey results.
Spoiler Alert: At the End, the Show ...
... is a spectacular success (of course) despite romantic and production problems (of course).
The show gets signed up for a Broadway production, and Mickey helps his father, whose tour has failed, by hiring him for the show. The best part: an ending with a lavish Busby Berkeley production number celebrating American life and values.
Spoiler alert #2: We’ve done a lot of the strategic marketing planning and execution of surveys for professional service firms with really, really good results. Because of the number of moving parts, we’ve learned that it’s not an endeavor that can be taken lightly, but when done correctly, has huge upsides ranging from new business to brand building to outstanding competitive advantages.
So go ahead gang, put on a survey and with a dose of Busby Berkeley panache, make those pie charts sing and dance to the tune of new business!