You can’t know how to win a game if you don’t know what the score is. The same logic applies to successful marketing efforts. If you don’t have a way in which to assess the level of interest among your prospects, you’ll find it difficult to devise a marketing strategy that enables you to nurture new leads and convert them to legitimate sales-ready leads.
The good news is that there are tools and best practices out there that can help marketers better rank, manage and nurture leads generated through their websites. Lead scoring tools enable users to intelligently sort through all visitor interactions on a company’s website and rank them in terms of how likely they are to buy the company’s products.
The benefit is of these tools is twofold: to determine which leads are ready to be passed on to sales and to provide insight into which leads should be nurtured and how best to accomplish that.
Leading scoring systems typically use behavioral and demographic attributes or dimensions to rank leads, assigning those deemed sales-ready with the highest scores. To calculate lead scores, sales and marketing should work as a team to determine which dimensions are needed, what score should be assigned to each dimension, as well as additional weighting applied to particular dimensions. Additional attributes, such as buying cycle status, can also be used to fine-tune the lead score.
Examples of dimensions based on demographics might include: title, department, role in company and buying role. Examples of behavioral dimensions might include: web behavior, frequency of contact, recency of contact, specific actions (white paper download, comments on blog, etc.), or negative actions, such as unsubscribing.
The first step is to sit down with your sales team and establish a consistent lead scoring methodology by which to rank leads. In order for lead scoring to work, marketing and sales must continuously work together to define, evaluate and re-define the lead scoring processes. Keeping communication channels open with a strong feedback loop between sales and marketing is essential to success.
Another important step is to build out your buyer personas, which make it much easier to create super-targeted campaigns that appeal directly to specific groups of leads. For each of the dimensions decided upon, create lead scoring rules. For deeper insight into the level of interest in different products or campaigns, consider implementing multiple scoring scenarios. Lastly, define an expiration period for scores that align directly with the sales cycle.
Once you’ve determined who’s hot and who’s not in terms of sales readiness, it’s time to devise a strategy for converting the others. Leading scoring tools will assign values to each of these leads that will help direct you as to what steps should be taken with each one. This will provide a clearer picture of ideal buyer profiles and customer segmentation.
Lead scoring also provides marketers with a higher level of customer intelligence that can be seamlessly integrated with segmentation of contacts. Doing so can facilitate the delivery of custom content personalized for your prospects.
The obvious end goal of lead scoring is a higher number of sales-ready leads, but there are other benefits. Lead scoring helps marketers identify where each prospect is in the buying cycle so the proper follow-up is aligned with the corresponding inquiry. It also helps ensure that the best leads are followed up on immediately by prioritizing leads according to revenue potential and buyer readiness.
With automated marketing tools, such as lead scoring, marketers will be ready to say, “Game on.”
Barb Schmitz is professional writer with more than 20 years of experience writing for B2B and B2C publications and web sites. She served as an editor on Computer-Aided Engineering magazine for more than 10 years before starting her own PR/freelance writing business in 2000. Her expertise includes interviewing, researching and writing whitepapers, blogs, eBooks, case studies, and feature articles.
photo credit: RobHelfman
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