“We ask users to spend a lot of time on forms, yet for 10 years those forms just asked for the same information over and over again. It seems kind of silly when we could be much smarter about that interaction,” says Greg Lanier, Director Marketing Communications, Infoblox Inc.
Like most B-to-B marketers, Lanier’s team depends on registration forms to capture information about prospects who come to the Infoblox Web site to download white papers or register for webinars about their network services equipment.
But using the same form for every visitor created an undifferentiated pile of leads that required further qualification. As a result, the sales and marketing team abandoned many leads collected through the site for lack of information.
Lanier and his team wanted a more sophisticated approach to registration forms that would get prospects to reveal relevant information about themselves and their projects and help the marketing team qualify those leads for the sales team. And they needed to be careful of scaring off anyone by requesting too much information at any given point. CAMPAIGN
Instead of a generic registration form for all content, Lanier’s team developed a series of forms that asked different questions based on the type of material users were accessing and that individual’s previous interactions with the site.
This way, the system could build a detailed profile of users over time based on the marketing materials they downloaded and the project-related questions they answered with each subsequent visit.
Here’s how they developed and implemented the system:
-> Step #1. Identify themes based on specific business needs
To gather good lead qualification data, Lanier and his team needed a process to govern when different registration forms were served to return visitors. They focused on the typical ways prospects moved through the site when requesting information about a specific product line or searching for solutions to a particular business need.
This approach led them to specify five themes a prospect might explore and then assign each piece of marketing collateral to the right theme.
Those themes corresponded to the company’s primary application areas:
o Disaster Recovery
o IP Address Management
o Network Access Control
o DNS/DHCP Infrastructure
o Voice Over IP
The team then identified five pieces of collateral as core content within each theme. For example, if a customer was interested in IP Address Management products, they might look at specific product datasheets, download a white paper on that topic, register for an appropriate webinar, etc.
The goal was to drive users through all five of those marketing pieces, serving up a separate registration form each time to develop a full profile of the client and their project.
-> Step #2. Develop unique forms for each interaction
Next, they based their five-form series on two key principals:
o Make each form shorter than the standard registration form they had previously used (a limit of five or six questions)
o Ask new questions each time to collect more detailed information
The team created questions for each form that built on data already collected (prefilling forms with existing information). They started with non-intrusive questions on the first registration form and saved more sensitive questions, such as information about project time frame and budget, for later visits. “If I’ve given them five pieces of high-quality material, by that fifth interaction I feel perfectly comfortable asking if they indeed have a project.”
Here’s a breakdown of the forms:
Form #1. Basic contact information: email, name, company, geographic region, country and state (for routing to the proper sales person).
Form #2. Additional lead qualification questions: telephone number, job level, title, industry.
Form #3. Preliminary inquiry about a prospect’s computing environment: Number of computers on their network, solutions or applications that most interest them and their current vendor/solution for that area.
Form #4. Project information: timeframe, budget.
Form #5. Specific questions/comments: a text box to submit queries directly to Infoblox’s sales team.
The system relied on cookies to recognize repeat visitors and assign the right form. If a user disabled cookies, the Web site used a simple authentication system that asked if they had visited the site before and, if so, to enter an email address that would be tied to past visit data.
-> Step #3. Score leads and merge them with sales database
Next, Lanier and his team tied the registration form system into the company’s Salesforce.com database, so when a new visitor registered for marketing collateral, or a returning visitor accessed another piece of content, that lead could be assigned a score and added to the sales database (if appropriate).
Leads were scored as follows:
A - high quality, inside sales follow up
B - good quality, inside sales follow up
C - moderate quality, inside sales follow up as time allows
D - marketable opt-in lead, no follow up required
E - purchased/acquired list, non-opted in
F - junk lead
Scores were determined by the number of interactions, as well as how the prospect answered the questions on each forms. For example, even if a prospect got as far as the fifth form but indicated there was no project timeline or budget in place, that lead wouldn’t require an immediate follow-up. Instead, it would go into the marketable lead category and would continue to receive appropriate marketing messages based on interest areas and past behavior.
The system also was set up to support suppression rules, such as setting thresholds for when a lead would be populated from the registration system database into the Salesforce.com database -- e.g., only sending A, B or C leads.
-> Step #4. Combine registration information with additional data
Once in the sales database, leads from the registration system were further qualified with any additional information about that prospect, such as webinar attendance, details about where else the visitor clicked while on the Web site or response to email campaigns or phone calls.
A-level leads were flagged for a follow-up call within 24 hours, but inside sales and marketing staff also built contact lists for marketing campaigns or other forms of follow-up. For example, the team could search the database for CEOs in specific industries who have registered for two pieces of marketing collateral.
Since moving to multiple registration forms, Infoblox’s leads per quarter have nearly doubled in each of the past six quarters. “It’s really astounding given that our marketing budget has not gone up a corresponding amount,” Lanier says.
He attributed the increased quantity of leads to shorter, more user-friendly forms. But the higher quantity of leads has been matched by an increase in quality. The forms allow his team to collect better data about prospects, score them more effectively, and then deliver leads to the most appropriate salespeople. As a result, they reduced the number of abandoned leads (those who never received a follow-up) by 50%.
“Before, we just had a big list of names and all the sales team had to go on was whether the accounts were in their territory. Now, they have a whole host of information they can use to have more relevant, interesting, open conversations with people.”
Another benefit of the new system is the ease with which new forms can be developed or existing forms assigned to new sections of the site. The simple, templated system lets the marketing staff put forms wherever they want and launch new programs, such as webinar registration, according to their own deadlines -- rather than turning to the IT department for help. “There’s no dance with IT about trying to get it done on time, and to most marketing teams, that’s huge.”
That efficiency is paying dividends: Lanier’s marketing team has increased the number of marketing programs they can generate from between one and two programs per person per week to between three and five programs per person per week.Useful links related to this article
Creative samples from Infoblox's registration system:
Market2Lead - developed Infoblox’s registration form system: