Most marketers would agree—effective business-to-business demand generation revolves around three tenets:
- Customize the message,
- Encourage involvement,
- Demonstrate financial benefits.
Fortunately, online value calculators meet all three of these masters. In fact, every day, sales reps use these calculators to successfully shorten the sales cycle and close deals. And many (if not most) B2B marketers have a calculator or two parked on their corporate websites.
But imagine the power of online value calculators when they are put directly in front of a larger group of prospects. Easy-to-use calculators that ask a few simple questions are a great way to help your prospects take the first step in understanding the value your solution can bring to their business. They can help you:
1. Spark an immediate reaction that generates more leads. As offers go, online calculators are uniquely engaging; prospects often find themselves interacting with the tool before they know it. Whether you ask your respondent to profile before using the calculator to maximize lead collection, or require them to profile to download a summary report to optimize lead quality, calculators are a proven way to generate stronger click-through and response rates than other, more traditional offers.
2. Engage prospects in ways that improve lead quality and conversion. A prospect who has used your online value calculator now understands your solution and its potential value to his or her business. Although other forms of online content (such as white papers, videos and infographics, for example) can be effective offers, they don’t have the power to provide a custom assessment of your solution’s financial benefits.
3. Cultivate existing leads and thus shorten the sales cycle. In addition to lead generation, online value calculators are ideal for use as part of lead nurturing. Exposure to one of these tools can take top-of-funnel leads and move them along the lead qualification spectrum by demonstrating to them the specific financial upside of your solution.
Ultimately, the best way to make the most of your online value calculator is to build a demand generation campaign around the tool. First, create a microsite to host the calculator and tell your marketing story. Drive prospects to the microsite by promoting it on your corporate website, promotional microsites, or in third-party media buys. Showcase the online calculator in email to cross-sell and up-sell current customers and prospects, or feature it in lead nurture streams. Plus, include links to your online calculator in your online user communities and social media properties.
No matter how you target your customers and prospects, a demand generation program built around an online calculator is an ideal way to ensure a wider audience has every opportunity to understand the true value of your solution.
Is it your experience that online calculators are more successful than other offers? Have demand generation campaigns focused around the tool provided a boost to your results. Share your thoughts in the comments section.
This article was written by Linda Lucido, Partner and Planning Director of Integrated Marketing Partners (www.imarketingpartners.com).