3 Essential Tools for B2B Data Collection

Picture this: a potential buyer types a search into Google, clicks on one of your pay-per-click ads, and is led to a page that matches the look and feel of your site. The page presents some information related to the ad that the buyer clicked on, and includes a form that can be filled out in order to download more information.

After submitting the form, your site visitor peruses the “Thank You” content and clicks on an additional resource, which directs them to a second page with a separate offer. The form fields on this landing page differ from the previous form that the buyer completed, preventing the visitor from having to enter redundant information. The form is submitted, the content downloaded, and your site visitor happily continues on their way.

This scenario, which represents a typical flow of a visitor’s interaction with your site, demonstrates all of the following data collection features of a marketing automation platform:

  • landing pages
  • forms
  • progressive profiling

If you’ve been reading our blog this month, then you know that we’re exploring ways that marketers and salespeople can personalize the selling experience for their buyers — and data collection is where it all begins. Using automation features like landing pages and forms, you can build a 360-degree profile of your buyers, then execute on that data to create one-to-one web and marketing experiences. Let’s take a look at how:

Essential Tool #1: Landing Pages

A landing page is a specific web page that a visitor typically reaches after clicking a link or advertisement. This page, if done right, should display content that is specific to the advertisement, search keyword, or link clicked. Landing pages are most commonly used to present an offer to a site visitor and encourage them to submit their information via a form.

Instead of driving visitors directly to your homepage, which presents too many choices and negatively impacts conversion rates, a landing page presents a streamlined path designed to elicit a specific response from the visitor (i.e filling out a form).

Essential Tool #2: Forms

Forms can be used in tandem with landing pages (or directly on your website) to collect information from anonymous visitors and turn them into identified prospects. By embedding forms on your site, you can “gate” items like white papers, webinar downloads, product demonstrations, and more — meaning that visitors must submit their information in order to access your content. This is an easy way to supplement your lead generation efforts and fill your database with prospect data.

57% of consumers are okay with providing personal information on a website as long as it’s for their benefit and being used in responsible ways. (Janrain)

77% would trust businesses more if they explained how they’re using personal information to improve their online experience. (Janrain)

Essential Tool #3: Progressive Profiling

It’s a common conundrum for marketers: we want to collect as much information from our buyers as possible, but the more form fields we present them with, the less willing they are to convert. At Pardot, we recommend sticking to three or four form fields on each form (first name, last name, and email address, for starters), but that doesn’t mean they have to be the same four form fields.

With automation features like progressive profiling, you can present your site visitors with different form fields based on the information you already have present in your database. Has this particular visitor already supplied their company name and industry? On the next form they submit, use progressive profiling to ask for their job title instead. This is an easy way to improve your conversion rates while still maximizing the amount of information you can collect from each buyer.

Want to learn more about how you can use this data once you’ve begun collecting it? Take a look at our newly released white paper, “Personalization with Automation: The Complete Guide,” to see how marketers can use prospect data to target email communications and nurture leads — and how sales can take a database of information and turn it into their secret weapon.

personalization with automation