What Are ROI Calculators? And How They Drive B2B Lead Generation
June 27, 2017 | Jessica Mehring
ROI (return on investment) calculators are not only one of the most effective content types today – they’re easier and more cost-effective than ever to create.
With no special coding skills at all, you can create a calculator that allows your target customers to see the tangible benefits of buying your solution.
In exchange for that valuable information, they provide you with data that helps you market your solution more effectively and improve the customer experience.
It’s a two-way win.
The customer is able to get more information about the pros and cons of buying a solution before ever speaking to a sales rep – and when they do talk to a sales rep, they’ve already engaged with the company, so the sales conversation is much easier.
Here’s a simple example from HubSpot:
These calculators are simple to create thanks to modern interactive content creation tools. You just need to determine what metric matters to your customer (money saved, leads generated, revenue produced), then follow the steps to create your calculator.
ROI calculators enhance the customer experience, but the really brilliant part is that the content itself is 100% user-driven. The customer inputs their information. The customer gets their result and makes their decision whether or not to pursue that particular solution.
Once the calculator is built and launched, it’s hands-off for the marketing team until it comes time to analyze the customer data.
Why ROI Calculators Are Valuable Tools Today
The most important reason to create an ROI calculator for your company is to empower your customers.
- About 83% of buyers look for information on supplier websites.
- The average B2B buyer is 57% of the way through the purchase process before they ever engage a sales rep, and 94% of B2B buyers say they conduct some online research before purchasing a business product.
If your customers can determine their potential ROI with a quick and easy calculator on your website, they see the value of your solution long before they speak with a sales rep. They sell themselves on your product or service.
In addition to clearly showing the benefits of your solution, they give customers hard numbers to assure them they’re making the right decision, or evidence to present to a higher-up who needs to sign off on the purchase.
Paycor uses calculators to help their prospective customers discover the benefits of their HR solution system. Below is an example of one of the pieces in their interactive strategy which has averaged a 79% lead submission rate overall.
Transparency Builds Trust Between Businesses and Customers
Today, a salesperson’s job is dramatically different than it used to be, simply because they’re no longer holding all the cards. A rep needs to be a helpful expert, available when the customer is ready to engage and ready to help the customer make the right decision for them.
Relationships between sales reps and customers are long games, now. In fact, study after study shows that sales cycles are only lengthening.
ROI calculators help establish and grow that long-term relationship by providing a non-pushy resource to customers. The company is painted as generous, helpful, and transparent before the customer has even spoken to a sales rep.
These interactive content tools also empower sales reps in the field. At a trade show, for example, showing (vs. telling) the customer the tangible benefits of your solution is as easy as pulling up the ROI calculator on the rep’s table.
Blackbaud is a great example of a company that uses an ROI calculator to help their sales reps become helpful experts.
Rather than pulling up stats or slides during sales conversations, Blackbaud’s reps pull up the ROI calculator.
They’re able to show the real-world value of their solution to prospective customers – no long, boring sales pitch needed. The company saw an additional $600k in new revenue the quarter they launched this powerful tool.
Where Interactivity and Personalization Meet
Personalization isn’t just a marketing trend, it’s a customer requirement these days. This survey from Infosys found that 78% of customers are more likely to develop long-term relationships with retailers if they receive personalized offers.
Calculators offer even more specific personalization than almost any other content type, because the content is driven by the data the customer themselves puts in. Customers get exact answers relevant to their specific situations.
Add interactivity to personalization, and you have a one-two power-punch of excellent customer experience.
A whopping 91% of B2B buyers want brands to offer more interactive and visual content. Create content that’s both personalized and interactive, and you’re sure to get better marketing and sales results.
Other aspects of ROI calculators that are not talked about much today are the length and lifespan. Calculators are short by their very nature – and that can be a really good thing. B2B buyers often prefer shorter content.
These content assets are also evergreen – they never expire or become out-of-date.
3 Ways to Use ROI Calculators to Boost Your Bottom Line
So how should you implement it for the best possible results of calculators for your business?
1. Collect Rich Data for Profitable Feedback Loops
Use your ROI calculator to improve your marketing intelligence.
Users are willingly inputting their data into this tool in order to get valuable information for themselves or their business – so thoughtfully consider what data you’re asking for. That information can be collected and analyzed to give you deep customer insights.
You can learn…
- More about your customers’ circumstances, wants, and needs
- What their major challenges are
- What benefits they’re really after, or what solution they think they need
- What their budgets are, and how much they’ve been spending
Use this information to flesh out your buyer personas and create more targeted marketing campaigns. You can also use calculators to more accurately score leads before sending them to the sales team.
2. Help Customers Put a Number on Your Value
You know your solution helps customers with certain problems – but your prospective customers need more convincing. Help them put a number on the value of your solution with an ROI calculator.
Not only does this help your company stand out as that helpful, go-to expert, but it helps customers show the benefit of your solution to purchase decision makers.
In many cases, purchase power goes through several other people outside the solution champion – and calculator content is easily shareable.
3. Keep Customers from Bouncing Away
Lowering the bounce rate of your webpages benefits everyone. Not just your SEO team.
Keeping customers on your website gives the marketing team more opportunities to engage prospective customers. It leads to better sales conversations for the sales team, because customers come to the table better informed.
And of course it’s great for your company’s SERP (search engine results pages) performance, too.
The key is to give your calculator some real estate on your website. By giving prospects the research tool they need right as the land on your site, they are much less likely to click away to Google to find out how to calculate the ROI of their purchase.
And as you’ve no doubt realized in your time as a marketer, once someone clicks away from your site to view more search engine results, there’s a slim chance they’re coming back to your site. It’s always better to entice visitors to stay while they’re on your website.
This calculator no doubt benefitted the company in other ways, too. Cash-strapped families were able to use this calculator to prepare for their treatment costs ahead of time, helping build trust between them and the company.
DocBraces employees probably saved a lot of time and energy, too, with preliminary conversations about financial commitments being reduced or eliminated with this calculator.
The Real ROI of Your ROI Calculator
Empowering your customers to make smart buying decisions, improving your relationship with your customers, standing out as a helpful expert in your industry … There are so many benefits to offering your customers an ROI calculator, it can be hard to calculate.
We thought we’d try and help by getting interactive. Use this ROI calculator to determine if an ROI calculator is right for you!