B2B Lead Generation – How Much Information Should You Capture?

I just read an interesting article at Web Ink Now, titled New B2B Lead Generation Calculus.  Noted marketing thought leader David Meerman Scott revisits that often-debated topic of whether it is better to collect opt-in data before allowing people to download your content, or to make that content available without requiring anything from the website visitor.

As Scott explains, “There are those who believe in making content like white papers totally free without registration in order to spread the information as far as possible. For these folks, value comes from many more people being exposed to the content and spreading the free content via social networks. My research suggests that between 20 and 50 times more people download free content. But you get zero traditional “leads”.

Scott has a point and at Fusion Marketing Partners, we often deal with this issue.  If you ask a sales VP or CEO what they want out of marketing, they will say something like: “lots of high quality leads.”  And one of the attributes of a high quality lead is full information about the prospect.  What they fail to understand (until we show them the numbers) is that there is an inverse relationship between lead quantity and lead quality.

Our testing has shown that each additional piece of data required on a web landing page/lead capture form will depress the response rate by 10-20 percent.  To illustrate this, if, by using Scott’s formula, you get 2000 downloads (and no traditional leads) by offering a whitepaper with no registration requirement, our data suggests the following response rates:

  • Name and email only:  100 responses
  • Company and Title:   70 responses
  • Company, Title, Phone: 50 responses
  • Company, Title, Phone, Address:  42 responses
  • Company, Title, Phone, Address, Qualification Info:  25 responses

As you can see, asking for lots of data can undoubtedly generate leads that are more qualified, but there will be much fewer of them.  Of all the data fields, people are most sensitive about providing a phone number, and this is why the drop off in number of responses can be as much as 30 percent from requiring this one data element.  These numbers are average and your mileage may vary.  The relevant point is that you need to make an informed decision about your lead requirements and design the right information collection strategy. Here are a few factors to consider:

  1. How many leads do you need?  This is a critical piece of information – visit this article for full details on how to calculate this number.
  2. Your sales process.  Are you using a one-step process, where the transaction is immediate, or a multi-step process, where there are two or more steps involved, from initial contact through the close of the sale?
  3. Lead nurturing capabilities. Do you have inside lead qualification and nurturing capabilities as well as the ability to re-market to contacts that are not yet ready to purchase?  If so, you will probably want to ask for less information to generate more leads since you will only distribute qualified leads to the sales force.
  4. Strength of your website.   This is a biggie.  If you have a well-developed website, with lots of relevant information about your products and/or services – your prospect s can educate themselves and come to you whenthey are ready to engage in the buying process. In this case, you can get by with asking for little information or no information.  This is the essence of pull marketing and something most companies should strive to achieve.

You can read David Meerman Scott’s original post at www.webinknow.com.