As we wrote in the prior post to this blog, market surveys certainly provide enterprise IT ISVs with a highly useful vehicle to engage with businesses on topics that can engender a relaxed and forthcoming attitude from respondents. In fact, it is not at all atypical to find that respondents do most of the talking during a telephone survey. Therefore, the information collected from surveys can be highly useful and, where surveys are carefully designed and worded, highly informative, especially on the question of whether or not respondents have a high probability to develop into sales prospects. Of course, for high probability respondents it makes sense to design a program to maintain contact and, thereby, “nurture” these leads as they develop into sales-ready opportunities.
On the other hand, surveys will not lend themselves to this type of application where product marketing has not finished its job. If a clear picture of a qualified sales prospect is not at hand, it does not make sense to spend much time on surveys. The only exception to this prescription is a plan to use a survey to find out where a market is headed. Usually research firms will sponsor this type of market sampling activity. However, it does make sense for enterprise IT ISVs to use the same approach as they consider renovating existing products, or even as they go about the job of collecting the information they require to plan new products and/or new entrances to markets.
We plan on writing a post or two on market sampling surveys in the future. For the purposes of this post, we are specifically discussing how to use a questionnaire to identify companies that ought to be on a “watch list” based upon indicators of qualification for specific products/services/integrated solutions. As we just mentioned, a clear picture of a highly qualified prospect must be available. At a minimum, a section of the survey should be designed to include the questions that need to be asked to collect these qualifiers. If a survey is correctly designed, and promoted to respondents, there should be nothing unnatural about this set of questions. Rather, they should flow right out of the overall theme of the survey. Nevertheless, the answers collected from respondents to the questions included in these sections can prove to be highly reliable indicators of sales prospect potential.
If you are looking to develop a lead nurturing program, you should think about starting the job of cultivating these opportunities from the seeds of qualification collected from your surveys. If, for one reason or another, you either lack a clear sense of a qualified prospect for your product, or do not have the internal resources to put together a survey correctly for this type of objective, then you ought to contract with a third party to get the job done.
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