Tribbles

Contact forms?  So what’s the problem?

I am dating myself here (and outing my inner nerd), but does anyone remember that Star Trek Episode: The Trouble with Tribbles?

At first, Captain Kirk and his crew loved these fuzzy little creatures. Everyone wanted one. But, as they began to re-produce by the 1000’s the Tribbles became a big problem. Nobody was sure what to do with all of them!

Enter marketing automation. The savior of all things digital marketing. The adoption of marketing automation tools over past years has been vigorous to say the least. The institution created an entire industry around building content to “feed the machine”.  The goal being to produce the ever coveted conversion (read: contact form completion). These forms represent rapidly expanding galaxy of leads being created for B2B sales teams.

Contact Form Submitted . . . Guess what? It may be too late!

Do you find that the deal is mostly sealed by the time the prospect completes the most coveted form of all (the form asking for a conversation with a sales person)? Does it feel like the only thing left to negotiate is the price?

If you are reading this post, you probably agree that the B2B landscape has been changing. The transformation is largely due to a prolific amount of content on the web. Content designed to help the prospect maneuver their way along the buyer journey. Infographics, ebooks, whitepapers, videos, webinars, revenue calculators . . . . scores of content that helps the buyer form an opinion, set purchase criteria, make a “short-list” of vendors to consider and be pretty sure of the offering they like best (often with up to 70% certainty). Much of the previously mentioned checklist is well under way before a prospect completes a form requesting a conversation with a sales person.

Sales teams that wait for contact forms to be completed may be putting themselves in danger of being too far behind in the buyer journey.

The result:  Lost traction with the prospective buyer.  The sales person is forced into reactive mode, responding to RFQ’s with pre-defined requirements that are often more suited to the competition’s offering than their own. The opportunity for influence has gone out the window, and the scramble is on to find a way to preserve what little margin remains in the deal.

Successful sales organizations (and the marketers that support them) know that getting ahead of the buyer journey is key to a sales person’s success. By coupling a deeper understanding of their prospect’s digital body language and the ability to identify who is anonymously visiting their website can be very powerful.  This is especially true if you consider that often less than 5% of website visitors fill out a contact form. Gaining intelligence on these engaged prospects (most of whom are invisible to you. . .your CRM. . .and your automation tool), early in the buyer journey, could be just the thing you need to differentiate yourself from the competition.

If you are relying on contact form conversions as the ONLY source for identifying interested buyers, you could end up being late to the party.

Beam me up Scotty, time to go close some deals.