Lead Scoring

Use Lead Scoring to Refine Timing of Sales and Marketing Outreach

Timing is a critical factor when it comes to identifying qualified leads and nurturing these leads successfully through the buying cycle. You don’t want to overwhelm customers or scare prospects away by coming on too strong or too early, so you need ways of syncing your sales strategy with customer behavior as they shift from interest to intent. A defined lead scoring model helps identify and prioritize prospects by separating actions that are indicative of buying behavior for your company.

Analyze Successful Sales

In order to create an accurate lead scoring model, you need to understand what works for your unique company, with your specific product line, in your particular market, and at this moment in time. In other words, there is no “one size fits all” answer. 

The best place to begin, then, is by analyzing your recently closed sales, these particular customers, and their buying journey. Hopefully, you already have a data collection system in place so you can understand the firmographics, or the demographic and geographic makeup, of  your current customers.

You’ll want to delve deeply to understand when those now-customers entered your sales funnel, what actions they performed, and what behaviors they exhibited. This may include analyzing the time between visits to your website, which campaigns captured and held their attention, and what tools engaged them to communicate, ask questions, or request quotes.

Once you understand how those then-prospects interacted with your marketing materials, take a closer look at the point when they connected with the sales team. Consider the time and activities that took place during the final sales process including the buying time frame. Analyze any positive or negative actions they performed during this sales process.

By looking at the existing data, you can develop a more strategic lead scoring model that is customized to your unique business. Consider developing a lead scoring model using a proven tool such as the “Marketing Sensitivity Analysis”.

Use Existing Martech Tools

Leveraging the features and functionality to get the most out of your marketing automation (MA) platforms and customer relationship management (CRM) software to set up automation rules means working smarter, not necessarily harder. 

After all, Marketo touts that this is really the purpose of MA in its definition that “Marketing automation is a category of technology that allows companies to streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows, so they can increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster.”

These tools in your martech stack can help you consider what actions or events should trigger your alerts to sales and why they should do so. In addition, the details in the data collected across platforms can help you determine which marketing campaigns generate leads and engagement as well as what moments your prospects come back to your website, offerings, or content for additional guidance, information or assistance.

Research the moments in your overall sales funnel that resulted in lost prospects, often known as “leaks” within your funnel. Consider why they exited at that particular point. Exiting the funnel is not necessarily a bad thing. If a prospect has no need or intention of buying down the road, it’s actually better for them to exit before your company sinks time and resources into nurturing a relationship that will not result in a sale. Ideally, you provided an accurate picture of your products, services and solutions early on in the process when your prospects could make an informed decision.

However, if your “leaks” result from the fact that your prospects are confused, don’t understand your value proposition or are not excited about how your company can actually solve their problem, you have an opportunity for improvement at those points in the funnel.

Remember to use both positive and negative scoring actions to better refine your lead scoring model. This data can also help improve current marketing outreach or shape upcoming campaigns to be more effective.

An Ongoing Process

Refining your sales and marketing efforts will be an ongoing process to stay competitive in today’s fast-moving marketplace. Technology is changing at breakneck speed, and customers are unpredictable in terms of their buying behaviors as a result.

To avoid stagnation and to better understand lead behavior trends, you should regularly review all components of your lead scoring system. You may also want to take a look at best practices within your industry and talk with other martech professionals at conferences or online to keep your on the lookout for new ideas and perspectives to bring to these moments of review. Here are some tips:

  • Lead Generation Forms. Take a regular look at your lead generation forms. Be sure they are easy to read and use. Eliminate any redundant or useless questions and be sure you capture any missing data. You may want to run your lead generation forms by someone outside your organization to get a fresh perspective as well as review other company’s forms for ideas and format.
  • Frequency. Talk with your sales force to see how often they are using lead scoring to determine follow-up actions with potential customers. Find out what is most helpful to them, or if they are not using lead scoring often, why they are not.
  • Communication. An open and regular line of communication must exist between marketing and sales to gauge the effectiveness of lead scoring and marketing campaigns. Consider how often these professionals are talking with one another and whether cross-communications needs to be more deliberate.
  • New Offerings. When your company introduces new products, services, campaigns, or actions, be sure that your lead scoring system incorporates them immediately. The earlier you can gain data from those new offerings, the better.
  • Patterns and Trends. Use your lead scoring model to evaluate any purchasing patterns or trends that have recently emerged. Remember that these patterns and trends can change quickly so consider the metrics that are being used to determine them. Spend some time analyzing whether these patterns can be effectively acted upon in a timely manner to benefit the organization.
  • Data Gaps. As your company, its products, your customers and the market changes, it’s likely that you’ll find data gaps or inconsistencies over time. Left unattended, these gaps can prevent leads from becoming qualified within your scoring system, which means opportunities can be left on the table.

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