Use lead scoring to improve your sales team

Even if you manage a team of highly skilled sales representatives, there’s a good chance your employees need to refine their follow-up procedures. In most B2B industries, the sales cycle can last for months or even years. Approaching prospects at the wrong time can lead to a lost deal. Marketing automation can help your salespeople improve how and when they approach potential customers through lead scoring.

Following up can be especially difficult for small B2B firms that do not have a team of dedicated marketing employees. Marketers are often responsible for performing Internet lead generation activities and building the relationship before passing prospects over to the sales team. For companies that have marketers but lack integration between the two teams, follow ups can also suffer. The lead scoring capabilities gained through an online marketing system can help sales reps know when to approach prospects so they aren’t wasting time pitching to people who aren’t ready to buy.

The business benefits of lead scoring

Small B2B companies may only have the potential to close a few deals per year, so maximizing every opportunity is critical for revenue gains. One of the most significant gains that many firms see when they adopt marketing automation is a measurable return on investment for lead generation activities, according to a recent survey by Kentico.

The study analyzed the expectations of executives and the business realities from implementing advanced lead scoring processes. Buyers have access to greater amounts of information during the decision-making process, which is lengthening the sales cycle for many firms and adding to challenges for reps. Relying on lead scoring can improve conversion rates on opportunities from qualified leads. These tools allow sales managers to better forecast revenue gains and boost visibility in the sales cycle.

In addition, lead scoring allows salespeople to boost their productivity and efficiency. Based on prospects’ numerical scores, your team can eliminate some of the guess work from the sales process and approach leads when they’re ready to negotiate.

Companies that were seeing the best results from lead scoring were also using marketing automation platforms and integrating all data with their customer relationship management software. Keeping all information on prospect activity in one location can prevent salespeople from missing any critical indicators that leads are ready to make a purchase.

How does lead scoring work?

In the most basic sense, lead scoring applications function by assigning a number to prospects as they enter the sales funnel. Depending on the different characteristics that make up an ideal lead for your organization, you can set rules within the program for a more accurate ranking. Kentico found the median number of rules a company uses is 19.

In addition to setting rules for lead capture, businesses can add dimensions to their scoring programs. This can help companies that attract leads from multiple customer segments. Two-dimensional lead scoring typically measures visitor engagement along with client profiles. Sixteen percent of the respondents in the Kentico survey said having more than two dimensions was beneficial.

Dimensions and rules can significantly boost sales effectiveness. Scoring keeps sales reps from wasting time on prospects who are good matches for the company but have little interest in buying. It also helps your team avoid leads who are very interested in making a purchase but aren’t good matches for your business.

In terms of rules, some firms may analyze the depth of contact information left in website forms, according to CMSWire. Optional information, like company name and especially phone numbers, can generate a higher score. However, mandatory information – such as location or email address – will not give a lead as many points.

Lead scoring improves the revenue funnel

With a longer sales cycle and more educated prospects, B2B firms need to maximize the potential of every opportunity they get. More effective, streamlined processes can drive lead generation efforts because your team will be able to capture a higher number of sales-ready prospects, Business 2 Community stated. In the past, sales teams were forced to depend on methods such as cold calls, direct mail and trade shows to generate new leads and engage prospects, which was time-consuming and somewhat inefficient. Some of these tactics would result in unqualified or irrelevant leads because companies had very little ability to monitor activity and engagement.

Lead scoring reflects behaviors and demographic information in its rankings. Because your sales reps will waste less time chasing the wrong opportunities, your costs per sales can decrease, and procedures can be streamlined because employees will have access to more accurate information. In addition, these processes increase visibility into the sales cycle, which can give your company a competitive edge in how your reps communicate with prospects.

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