B2B Articles - August 31, 2016

What is Progressive Profiling?

What is progressive profiling? It’s a practice modern marketers use, often with the help of marketing automation, to gather lead intel incrementally to benefit conversion rates.

Hubspot CRM lead profile

How does progressive profiling work?

With marketing automation software offering dynamic or smart form fields, the marketer can progressively profile leads. With iterative forms, the marketer can designate which questions appear on a form, based on what is already known about that lead.

For example, on a first site visit someone who downloads a buyer’s tip sheet will typically be asked for name and email. Yet on another interaction with the site, the form field for company name might be replaced with job title and instead of email address the marketer might ask for a twitter handle to enable sales to learn more about the lead on social media.

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Progressive profiling and lead capture forms and form fields

Why should you use progressive profiling?

Progressive profiling can increase sales leads and promote better conversion rates. Unless they are learning more about themselves or their relationships (Cosmo quiz any one?), people are typically reluctant to complete forms. Shortening the form by asking different questions over time lets the marketing team provide the sales team with detailed contact files for qualified leads, but saves the lead from having to answer 14 questions when they’ve only just started identifying a need in the first place.

Related reading: 5 Simple Ways to Increase Sales Leads

Avoiding repetition in forms encourages people to complete the process as well. Existing leads are much more likely to redeem offers, subscribe to blogs, or download gated content if they aren’t having to provide all of the same data each time they return to the site. Progressive profiling helps remove the tedious burden of filling out long winded forms, while still having the benefit of lead capture.

Progressive profiling can also help the marketer to better identify qualified leads, helping to shorten the sales cycle. In targeting the right audience for the right questions, marketers set themselves up to ask more direct questions. For example, after the lead has visited the site several times, a form question might become: “What is your timeframe to buy?” or “What products do you use currently?”

Best way to use progressive profiling?

It may sound as if we’re endorsing a short, sweet form at the beginning, waiting to gain more insight into the lead as they continue to visit the site. This is true only in that progressive profiling embraces a succinct form.

Progressive profiling

Marketing automation software streamlines lead nurturing workflows. Progressive profiling saves the marketer time by helping identify leads in varying stages of the buyer’s journey. Still, you want to ask for the most important information up front to enable proper audience segmentation and provide relevant content to that lead.

B2B buyer persona icon

Using progressive profiling to drive segmentation makes sense. With buyer personas in mind, the form content can be used to filter an IT team member to a landing page talking about technology while a COO might be sent to a landing page that instead addresses business ROI.

In planning the progression of the iterative form fields, consider the logical progression of questions you might ask the lead if speaking to them in person for a sales call. This is, of course, a great opportunity to get sales involved in marketing process to better align both departments’ efforts.

Related Reading: How a CRM can help align marketing and sales

Improve lead generation efforts. B2B lead generation agency.

Vaughan, P. (2013, Feb. 7). How to Capture More (and Better) Lead Intel With Progressive Profiling. https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/34155/How-to-Capture-More-and-Better-Lead-Intel-With-Progressive-Profiling.aspx#sm.00012g66czam8e61x1p1jlvdtvz6t

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