You know that pleasant feeling when you walk into your local cafe and the waiter greets you as if he’d just seen a dear friend, leads you to your favorite table, and asks you if you’d like “the usual”? Personalization is not a new concept, though only recently has it become the standard customers expect from digital services.
There’s no doubt about the ROI of personalizing lead and customer communication. Amazon, which paved the way for one-on-one digital marketing, has recently reported that 35% of its sales come from product recommendations. The numbers on customer expectations look even more promising, with 56% willing to return to a website that offers a personal approach.
It’s only natural that the marketing world is now craving a slice of that cake.
So how can we effectively guide leads through the funnel and cater to their individual needs at each step of the buyer’s journey?
In this blog, we’re going to focus on one very effective method: Creating a cohesive survey strategy that will first help you understand your leads better, and, as a result, guide them towards a purchase in a natural, unobtrusive manner.
We’ll share survey personalization examples for all three steps of the buyer’s journey (so, the process in which a lead becomes aware of a need, and eventually purchases our product as a solution). We’ll also cover how we, at Survicate, recommend surveying leads that are either hard to qualify or have stopped returning to your website.
The pros of running surveys
Let’s start off with reviewing how surveys can exponentially support your lead and customer communication goals.
Surveys help you:
- Increase communication relevance & quality: If you ask your website visitors about the reason behind their visit, you’ll be able to give them exactly what they’re looking for. In simple terms—if you provide value, they’ll want to return. Simple as that. We’ll show you how it’s done with surveys further on in the post.
- Speed up lead qualification: A simple question about your visitors’ goals can help you understand whether they’re in the awareness, consideration, or decision stage. Here’s where a marketing automation tool with separate flows for each scenario will work wonders!
- Make sure your sales team doesn’t get engaged too early or too late: Nothing hurts as much as a lost sale opportunity. If you notice a lead starts visiting pricing pages and answers surveys in a way that indicates they’re considering a purchase, it’s time to start acting. Which brings us to…
- Drive conversion with customized follow-ups from sales and support: For SaaS companies, this might mean inviting your lead to a product demo or launching chat with a customer success team member. This can also take on the form of an automated email from one of your sales team members with pdf or article links relevant to the stage a given lead is in.
Another huge advantage of running pre-sales surveys? If you’re a user of other marketing tools such as CRM, customer feedback management software, and communicators, you won’t need to start with zero-to-none insights on your leads ( a.k.a. the cold start problem).
Using data from other marketing tools
If you’ve never used surveys on your website before (or have, but all responses were anonymous), then you’ll likely find integrating your survey tool with other marketing software invaluable. If you’ve been using a CRM, you may be able to not only segment your leads in your survey tool but also identify anonymous survey responses and assign them to the right lead account.
You might also benefit in checking your analytics tool, heatmaps, and user session recordings for anything that might shed more light on how your leads behave, and where they look for specific information.
Let’s take a look at what you can expect from your website visitors at each stage of the buyer’s journey, and what are the best ways to initiate contact.
To put it simply, leads in the awareness stage are, well…unaware of being a lead, so to say. It’s an early stage when your potential client doesn’t even look for solutions to a problem your product might solve. So what lead them to your website in the first place? To use the medical analogy, a patient sees symptoms, and so he/she goes to a doctor for a diagnosis. Similarly, your website visitor might be looking for educational content on the ‘symptoms’, or pain points, they are experiencing.
Not a great time to display a pop-up with a Black Friday deal for a yearly subscription, right?
When you create surveys for leads in the awareness stage, make sure the content and goals focus on the key takeaways your respondent expects from interacting with your company. Not the other way around, no pitching involved. Your role here is to make sure your website visitor knows they’ve come to the right place and thinks you’re an absolute expert in the field they’re researching.
Here are some ideas on where you can embed your survey, how you can ask, and what you can do to make your lead aware of the problem (so, moving them to the consideration phase):
Touchpoints for surveys: Educational content on the blog, free downloadables, downloadable expert reports, checklists, newsletters.
- “What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to…?”
- “What information are you most interested in?”
- “What topic would you like to read about the most?”
Action plan: Use survey results to create content that speaks to your audience’s most important challenges to keep them hooked. Build brand awareness and establish yourself as a knowledgeable source.
At this point, your lead has already put a name to the problem or need at hand and is starting to research solutions (which also means your competition). As far as blog content is concerned, articles that focus on product features are more and more relatable. Most importantly, your lead is becoming ready to speak to your sales team so it might be time to take action. And so, your surveys should focus on underlining what makes you stand out on the market and why you’re the perfect solution.
Touchpoints for surveys: Landing pages of your services/products, product features, product content on the blog, comparison pages (your product vs. competition).
- “Is there a feature you’d like to hear more about?”
- “Would you like to participate in a free demo with our sales team?”
- “Which service providers, apart from us, are you also currently looking at?“
Action plan: Use survey insights to deliver content that shows your advantages against the competition. Personalize sales team communication with your leads to highlight your services’ strong suits. Do thorough research of all the companies the lead has mentioned considering.
Similarly to the consideration phase, your lead might be open to scheduling a demo call. Although, this time the decision can be expected much sooner—right after or during the call. As our experience shows at Survicate, some leads become convinced you’re a good choice and become your customers even before the scheduled demo.
The point being, in the decision stage, things happen fast—it’s either you or your competition, so make sure you invest in your marketing and sales efforts till the very end!
Touchpoints for surveys: Pricing pages, product landing pages, registration page, as well as free user accounts for users who are on an unpaid or trial plan.
- “Would you like to participate in a free demo call with our sales team?”
- “Is there anything you would like us to focus on during the demo?”
- “Which other service providers, apart from us, are you currently considering?”
Action plan: Display a contact form with a demo proposal. If the lead agrees to the call, send him/her a pre-demo survey similar to the one described above for the consideration phase leads.
Make it super easy to schedule the call—automatically redirect the respondent to your sales team’s calendar. Alternatively, launch a chat with a sales team member if the respondent is still online. Your sales team should personalize their demo plan by reviewing the pre-demo survey responses. It’s also worth checking information in other channels, such as your CRM, and view previous survey history to get the full picture.
Now, what about leads who are hard to qualify? Let’s assume there’s a group of site visitors, who haven’t returned to your site for a while, or abandoned the registration process? How can surveys take them further down the journey (if they’re still in awareness or consideration phases) or regain their interest in your business (if they’d decided not to purchase, or had gone with a solution from your competition)?
Getting leads back on track—a novel approach
Here’s a personalized survey example we’re huge fans of at Survicate. Each answer has a separate logic and provides solutions that align with the exact reasons why your lead stopped moving down the funnel.
To make use of this approach, you’ll need to derive a list of email addresses of the leads you’d like to reactivate.
Here’s a question to identify why your leads have gone missing and a breakdown of each response path:
What’s stopping you from purchasing from us?
- I’m just looking around. Encourage your lead to subscribe to your newsletter, or provide links to your finest content at the end of the survey
- Too expensive. Arrange a call with a sales team member. Your lead might think you’re too expensive because they are unaware of how extensive your tool is. Alternatively, you might be able to negotiate a custom service and/or planning solution. Perhaps you run a startup or NGO discount program?
- I chose your competition. Ask whom they purchased from. Send a non-expirable discount code for your services. Follow-up in six months to see if your ex-lead is still happy with the competitive solution. Encourage them to sign up to your newsletter to keep some form of contact and maintain brand awareness.
- I don’t have the authority to make this decision. You can send your respondent an info pack they can forward to the decision maker.
- Still making the decision. Send links to comparison-to-competition pages on your site, offer a demo call.
Your sales and marketing teams should be kept in the loop for each answer that falls into this category and brainstorm a custom method.
What this survey does is:
- Provides an immediate reaction to the problem/need declared by your lead
- Lets you immediately qualify the lead to an appropriate segment, enrich your CRM data, not to mention drive your company towards a customer-centric direction.
Survey personalization at it’s finest! Wouldn’t you agree? And it’s just one of the many practical examples you can inspire yourself with!
Personalized surveys for improved customer experience
As you’ve seen in the examples above, a personalized survey approach will take your brand a long way. Surveys can be both the driving force of your lead generation efforts, as well as your go-to method for future personalization of services for paying customers. Like no other customer-centric approach, deciding on personalizing your feedback collection strategy brings everyone at your company to the table—your sales, customer success, and marketing teams. The result? A cohesive communication strategy and brand experience clients love and share.