Lead scoring sets your team up for success

With the increasingly complex B2B sales cycle, it can be difficult to outline how you will form connections with leads in various stages of the customer journey. Determining how you will interact with leads can be much easier when you have a better idea of their levels of interest and fit for your organization. An online marketing system generates a score when potential customers enter the funnel. This not only improves task assigning, but it also can be an indication of the type of lead nurturing activities you need to employ before converting a prospect.

Citing CSO Insights, Denis Pombriant wrote for TechTarget that B2B vendors closed less than half of their predicted deals last year. In fact, part of the problem could be because sales team aren’t able to identify which contracts aren’t going to close. With better visibility into the sales cycle, sales employees can devote resources to prospects who have a better chance of becoming customers. Lead scoring can help organizations solve this problem.

This sales model gives a quantitative score to certain behaviors to indicate how interested a prospect is, the article stated. However, there are more complex factors at play in the sales cycle. While downloading a white paper can signal that a lead is interested, you need to account for the buyer’s demographics, such as his or her company or job title, to determine whether he or she is truly a good fit for your products or services. Many marketing automation platforms can rank leads based on a combination of factors to determine a score based on a lead’s expressed interest in the product along with his or her fit for your offerings. This can help your sales team craft its approach to approaching prospects.

Lead scoring creates better visibility as soon as leads enter the funnel

Many B2B firms cater to varied customer segments and buyer personas, which makes it difficult for your sales representatives to take a personalized approach to each. In fact, some companies mistakenly believe that all leads enter at the top of the funnel, but this isn’t necessarily true, according to an article for Marketing Action Blog by contributor Chris Hardeman. Leads may discover your business or product later in their research processes, and certain behaviors can indicate a higher level of interest.

Before starting a lead scoring strategy, you need to identify a number of factors about what makes a good lead. If most of your prospects come from a particular industry, this type of lead should be given a higher score upon entering the funnel. In addition, you have to outline the behaviors that provide the strongest signs of high interest, such as visiting the pricing page on your website. For example, attending a webinar could be a better indication of interest than reading your blog, so these participants should be given a higher score. This prevents sales employees from wasting their time communicating information these leads already have.

Lead scoring can also keep your sales team from pursuing website visitors who aren’t really leads, the article said. If someone is visiting the Careers page on your site, he or she probably isn’t interested in buying software or factory equipment. Marketing automation allows you to make the most of your Internet lead generation efforts by providing negative scores on these types of behaviors that don’t fit with the actions of a sales-ready lead. Your sales employees can be a lot more effective when they are only following up with the most relevant leads.

Using marketing automation to score leads

While an online marketing system has a variety of capabilities that can boost sales effectiveness, lead scoring can improve your team’s approach from the beginning of the process. Here are several ways that companies can make the most out of lead scoring:

  • Gather as much information as possible: The more lead data you have, the more accurate the initial score will be, Pombriant wrote. Lead scoring can better align marketing and sales teams because all employees will have a better idea of the kinds of leads needed.
  • Automatically score leads: B2B companies can manually rank their prospects, but marketing automation platforms can do this task automatically as leads enter the funnel.
  • Prioritize leads: Even seasoned sales professionals can get distracted by trying to follow up with too many leads at once. They could end up missing a prospect who was ready to negotiate. Lead scoring ranks leads by importance so sales employees know who to contact immediately, Hardeman said. This decreases the chances of losing business.
  • Real-time alerts: Because scores change as leads move through the funnel, your marketing automation platform can send notifications when an optimal score has been reached so a rep can follow up right away. This prevents sales-ready prospects from slipping through the cracks.