Yesterday I looked at whether you can get prospects to reveal the seriousness of their enquiry voluntarily, and that meant looking at the sort of data you need to request from them. I can’t let that discussion pass without revisiting the topic of whether you need to ask for any information at all.
We don’t have many clients who put everything behind a gateway, but there are one or two who do; even the humblest PDF data sheet has to be requested with full name-and-address details. My best guess, from looking at the data, is that such companies only get about a quarter as many downloads. However, they’ll argue that even one name is better than none. I can see their point, but I don’t agree. I believe that although from 1 “gated” download you’ll get 1 name and address, the quality is variable; whereas from 4 anonymous downloads, you’re likely to get at least 1 person come back to you, and they’d always be of good quality.
Of course, the difficulty is in measuring how many people came back to you after downloading a data sheet anonymously, but you can make a start on this as well as encouraging them to get in touch. This is done by adding a page to the data sheet, which links to an online “how to contact us to discuss things further” web page. Naturally, this web page would include every method of contacting you, including the harder-to-measure telephone number, but would also include an email address (which you could measure, with a bit of thought), and a web-based contact form (which you could definitely measure).