When do you capture data? When is the optimal point to capture what type of data? Truth is, I don’t know but I know who does… you!
First, let’s touch upon when you can capture data and what you can capture at that time. Here’s a collection of typical touch points:
- Website inquiry for more information about business
You can’t ask for a whole lot of information here – enough to communicate with them and get back to them with relevant information. Asking for too much information or very personal information will turn people off and away from using your form.
- Website registration for additional content
Get the critical information so you can communicate with them – anything more will adversely impact your conversion rate and lead database.
- Inbound phone call
Wonderful opportunity to get important information, even if it is not personal. How did you find us? (Lead Source) What products/services are you calling about? (Product Interest) Once you have delivered some value to the caller, ask to follow-up with them.
- Online Chat
Online Chat is an important tool. When you are on the phone you can have one conversation; chat, on the other hand, let’s you speak to many people at once. I chatted with one of my favorite CRM companies the other day, they auto-generate the first line: “Hello. I am happy to assist you today. To better serve you, may I have the name of your company?”
- Initial Consultation or Free Item
You can get quite a bit more when you give something of value out for free. Honestly, whatever you’re offering isn’t free – you will give it for free in exchange for actionable data from that person.
- Signup for Service
Once trust is there you can start asking for additional data through intake forms, contact forms, etc. It doesn’t have to be all up-front but ask the most information at the highest moment of trust or value delivery.
Notice the sequence of the items above – escalating points of lead/client engagement. As the engagement continues, you are moving the lead further down your funnel and, hopefully, building trust and delivering value. As you do that you can ask progressively further information.
Build Your Database with Progressive Profiling
“Progressively” is the word I want to call out. “Progressive Profiling” is the term used to describe this method of asking for more and more information about the person (their profile) as your relationship progresses. The progression doesn’t necessarily have to be from one stage to the next. For example, if you have 4 whitepapers and someone wants to download them all, each time they download a whitepaper you could ask them one additional piece of information (and never information they’ve already given you).
Designing this process for whitepapers is challenging so don’t worry if you aren’t there. You can still implement this by keeping the principle in mind: every time you interact with a prospect is a chance to add data to their profile… so ask for it! You’ll find the right balance of not asking for too much and not asking for information that is too personal.