How to use your Benchmark Survey to increase leads

A Benchmark Survey is a powerful tool to discover best practices from your target market or industry. You can use these insights to generate more qualified leads and build relationships. Prospects can participate in your research to learn from their peers, compare their strategies, and see what others plan for the future. Therefore, the first step is to design your survey in a way that fosters relationship-building. After that, you can use your survey to engage with your network and attract more respondents, who can become potential leads.


Step 1: Pick a Topic for the Survey

Before starting to work on the survey and selecting the topic, think about the reason why you’re conducting the survey. What are your expectations? What should the results serve for? 

There are several possible goals for conducting a survey:

  1. Uncover some answers
  2. Evoke discussion about important topics
  3. Get data to base decisions on
  4. Benchmark (compare results)

Pro Tip: When you finish defining the goal of your survey - you need to think about whether you have a hypothesis or not. In case you have a hypothesis, your survey needs to be crafted in a way to prove or disprove it - and this is its sole purpose. A survey or research doesn’t need to have a hypothesis, though. It may also be conducted without it, in case you want to find out something new. 

Ideally, the topic of the survey should revolve around a single overarching question. This will ensure that the survey is targeted and relevant and delivers optimal results. 

Topic examples:

  1. What is the impact of uncertainty on marketing and sales outlooks and spending?
  2. How software companies find and close new business in 2023?
  3. State of Landing Page Performance for B2B SaaS + Technology Companies

Pro Tip: When considering the topic of the survey, it's important to focus on its end result: the Report. The Report should provide valuable and genuinely useful knowledge to its audience (i.e. blog readers). The best approach is to uncover best practices for addressing your audience’s pain points or satisfying their curiosity about an important topic.

Step 2: Market the Survey

When you design a survey, email your contacts asking them to participate in your research. If you have a newsletter, include a brief callout there as well. You can also post the survey on LinkedIn. This will allow you to get initial responses fast. 

At this point, you will just be asking for help with your research. Mostly the people who already know you will respond, but that's fine because you will generate demand and leads later.

Here’s an example of a LinkedIn post you can use to get some initial responses fast:

Pro Tip: Make sure that you ask your network to share your post with those who may be interested.

Step 3: Having 1:1 Conversations

After you, and your network, publish one or more posts about your research, naturally a number of people will engage. Follow up with each person who engaged with the posts via direct message and ask them to share their expertise and offer to feature them in your content. 

Make sure to make it clear what they will gain from this. For example, they might get featured in an article you’ll publish. 

Here’s an example of a direct message on LinkedIn you can use:

At this stage, you should be patient and don’t treat the people you reach out to as leads yet.  You just want them to participate in your research. The more respondents you collect, the more insights you will uncover, which you can use to publish more posts. The more interesting the data, the more people will engage and ultimately more people to connect with. 

Pro Tip: You need to put in the effort, be patient, and keep repeating this process.

Find More Contributors With Cold targeting on LinkedIn

At this stage, you can additionally use LinkedIn search, to find people that might be a good fit to participate in your survey. You can connect with them and share a link to one of your posts. Ask them what they think about the insights you uncover. This is an awesome way to start conversations and ultimately to suggest to them to collaborate in your research and share it with their network. 

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to compliment! Using appropriate, authentic compliments can increase someone's receptiveness and goodwill when done effectively. This involves more than generic flattery - the aim is to validate and connect with the person you reach out to.

Step 4: Personalized Follow-ups

Follow Up With a Contributor

You can set up the software you use (Survey Monkey, HubSpot, Google Forms, etc.) so that every time someone completes the survey, you will receive an email notification with their responses.

You can start a conversation based on one of their answers that you found interesting.

Here’s an example:

Pro Tip: Make sure that include in the survey 2-3 open-ended questions. This will allow you to collect quotes for your report later, and also to start conversations with the contributors.

Re-engage With a Contributor

The more responses your survey gets, the more valuable insights your survey will uncover. This means that you can reach out to the previous respondents and let them know that more useful data has been collected.  

Through this process, there can be multiple opportunities to engage in a meaningful way.

Pro Tip: Salespeople know this challenge pretty well. A usual follow-up is “I wanted to touch base regarding…”. No more these types of followups! A survey allows you to offer something of value and get on the top of the minds of your leads regularly. 

Warmed Up Prospects

By engaging in relevant discussions, you can build relationships, which lead to sales calls or referrals. Your survey has warmed up the prospects for you.