How To Start & Grow Your Business

The Benefits of Progressive Profiling

Ben Castelli
Jan 29th, 2015
  • Estimated reading time: 5 min read
  • Hummy's
    Highlights

    1Profile your leads with an automated tool. 2Zero in on your leads most likely to convert. 3Provide value to leads, receive their valuable info.
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Analytics

Marketing-clothes display in fashion store Photo Credit: zhu difeng Shutterstock

You have worked hard to develop content that provides value and drives conversion. Progressive profiling will take that content and turn it into path that walks leads through the buyer journey.

What is progressive profiling?

Progressive profiling is a feature built into many marketing automation platforms. It allows you to designate which form fields to show based on what you already know about the lead. Each time a lead fills out a form to receive content, you are collecting valuable new information. For example, you may already know a visitor’s company size, role, region etc… because they are an existing lead in your database – well you don’t need to ask for this information again! You can keep your forms short and display new fields to generate more robust information about each lead.

Think of it as queuing up a series of questions and each time you run into that lead you are asking them a few new questions versus barraging them with 10 questions at once

Benefits of progressive profiling:

  • Increase website conversion rates with shorter forms. Studies show that conversion rates increase as the number of form fields decrease.
  • Capture additional valuable lead data without repeating the same form questions for existing leads.
  • More lead data gives you the opportunity to better segment and provide key messaging based on lead attributes.
  • Your sales team will definitely appreciate more lead data to better help qualify and sell to leads.

Match Form Fields to the Buying Process

Get the critical information you need to effectively segment and nurture from the the first form fill, typically a top of funnel content asset. For example, this may include: name, email, and company

Get more detailed info as they move down the funnel toward consideration and are requesting higher commitment assets such as webinars or product comparisons. For example: size of company, industry, title, budget, country and state.

Ask questions that might trigger an urgent sales request. For example: How soon are you looking to make a decision.

Think about the process like a sales call. You would start broad and then get more detailed as the lead displayed more interest.

Progressive Profiling Tips

  • It is important to require a country up front if you are an international company and will need to segment by country and/or state – this is why it is important for marketing to talk to sales!
  • Be cautious when driving people into trial too early on in the buying process, particularly if your software is complex or requires a level of knowledge to use.
  • Include the lead’s name and email address at the top of each subsequent form they are presented and give them the ability to update this data. This will help ensure accurate lead information

Note: Cookies are required for forms enabled with progressive profiling to work properly. Cookies indicate which forms have previously been completed.

Here are a few of the leading marketing automation platforms that offer progressive profiling and links to each provider talking about their offering:

  • Marketo
  • Hubspot
  • Eloqua
  • Pardot

It is important to determine what demographic data is important to your marketing. This becomes the form fields which generate lead attributes important for segmentation, lead scoring and qualification for effective sales. Queue up the form fields to ask a few questions with each content asset in order to improve conversion rates while getting meaningful information.

Where to Begin:

Once you have set up your automated marketing platform to profile leads, you can sit back and watch the process work for you. Instead of stalking every lead that visits your website, your sales team can make better use of their time by focusing on the quality leads that are most likely to convert.  Ready to begin?

Step one: Gather members from your sales and marketing team, and have them discuss what information is most important to gather about customers that makes sales easier. Will you need their email address to use to contact them? Maybe you have regional offices and need to find out what state they live in. Asking questions about their interests may help you place customers into segments. Compile these questions in a list.

Step two: Decide what is most important. If you present leads with your entire list of question off the bat, you risk scaring them away. Few people have the patience or the desire to fill out long forms (remember, responses increase as the number of form field decrease). Pick out the minimum viable questions that you need to move forward with a lead. The most important questions will depend greatly on your business and offering, but a way to contact the lead is usually a good place to start.

Step three: Prioritize all of the remaining questions. One advantage of using automated marketing is the ability to track users across various visits to your website, or through their actions. Once you have the basics covered what will you want to know next? These secondary questions are items you’ll want to include in forms later down the line. They should help you provide even more value to the customer. Consider the buyer journey, and how you’ll tie forms into your marketing systems.

Step four: Integrate your questions into forms. Provide something of value to the lead in exchange for their information, and track each user so you know where to point them next. Read Smarter Content Gates to learn more about what content to place behind a form.

This article was written by Ben Castelli and published by Room 214.

At work, Ben is endearingly referred to as “The Captain.” Beyond that he’s addicted to cycling, good beer, cookies, and tea.

Room 214 is a team of people dedicated to being remarkable. Focused on digital marketing since 2004, companies hire us to take their social and digital to the next level: from awareness and leads, to sales and advocacy.