Lead generation is an integral part of customer acquisition and retention. It refers to how marketing and sales teams develop working strategies to find and compile the list of individuals who have indicated an interest in the company’s product or services.
Interestingly, with digital technology and its innovative tools, sales and marketing teams can now reach a wider audience and generate more leads.
Lending credence to the popular saying that “every advantage has its disadvantages,” the use of technology also comes with challenges, which sales reps and marketers are not left out of.
The downside of reaching more audiences is that a large part of the content might end up in the wrong places and to people who might not be serious about buying from you. They might have liked your content or interacted with the content, but that’s all there is to it. There’s an 80% chance that they won’t buy, which explains why lead scoring is important for B2B sales and marketing.
In this guide, we will discuss all you should know about lead scoring and its relevance to B2B sales reps and marketers. Also, find SaaS sales and tech sales.
Table of Content
- What is Lead scoring?
- Why is lead scoring relevant to sales and marketing teams?
- Lead scoring methods
- Lead scoring models
- Five (5) Lead scoring tips on how to identify high-quality leads
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What is Lead scoring?
A lead is an individual or prospect that has shown interest in your company’s product or service by downloading documents, subscribing to your mailing list, or calling to make inquiries.
Lead scoring is the process of sorting leads in the pipeline by assigning them a point value to differentiate quality leads from unqualified leads. It is done by sales and marketing reps to identify leads that are more likely to buy their product or services than those who won’t make a purchase.
In B2B sales, lead scoring is used to determine the sales readiness of a lead to move them through the different stages in the sales cycle. It helps marketing and sales reps prioritize leads and create the right strategies to nurture and increase their chances of becoming customers.
As a sales rep with a lot of pressure from the sales managers and business leaders to bring in deals, you don’t want to waste your time chasing leads that are not ready to make a purchase when you could have invested that time to nurture promising leads.
The use of lead scoring systems in B2B sales and marketing reduces the likelihood of these happening.
Why is lead scoring relevant to sales and marketing teams?
Lead scoring is very essential to sales and marketing efforts. By sorting and identifying promising leads from time wasters, marketers and salespeople can develop the right strategies and content to influence the right sets of people as well as maximize the lead scoring process.
Aside from these, we have identified more specific benefits of lead scoring to sales reps and marketing teams below;
1. Lower the cost of marketing
A large percentage of the duties of the marketing department lie in creating content and customer-focused marketing campaigns to increase brand awareness, promote the products or services, and influence people to buy.
Imagine how much time, effort, and resources will be saved when marketers channel their content and strategy on 50 promising leads more likely to buy than 200 leads that won’t make payment.
By scoring leads, marketers can spend less on campaigns and create more effective marketing strategies with a high possibility of generating more income.
2. Higher conversion rate
Sales and marketing teams can convert leads with lead-scoring solutions and move them down the sales funnel much faster by scoring them.
When a marketer understands the lead that is of the best value, they can create the right content and strategies to help them make purchase decisions faster.
Likewise, a sales team can develop a sales-oriented strategy to nurture leads and convert them to customers much faster.
3. Increased Revenue
When more leads convert to customers that buy from a company, it’s a given that the company’s revenue will increase. So the more qualified prospects that sales and marketing departments can work with and convert, the more lead sales and revenue a company will make.
Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is the amount of money a company spends to acquire new customers. Lead scoring can help reduce this cost and give sales reps a better chance at generating more high-quality prospects.
With the information generated from lead scoring such as demographics of the past leads that converted and the platforms that generated more quality leads, marketers can focus their marketing efforts on people with similar demographics and the website information to get higher prospects without spending so much on other platforms.
Lead scoring efforts can help salespeople reduce customer acquisition costs and increase their customer base.
5. It eliminates the waste of time
Time is of the essence to everyone, but for salespeople, time is even more crucial to close sales deals. The worst thing that can happen to a salesperson is to devote so much of their time to leads that won’t convert.
Luckily, all of this can be averted with a lead-scoring system. Sales reps can identify the leads that need their attention with the lead scoring data and work with these leads to sell to them.
Lead scoring methods
We have identified the three most effective lead scoring methods that you can use for your B2B leads scoring, they include;
Traditional lead scoring method
The traditional scoring method is the manual qualification of leads based on some scoring criteria set by the sales team.
In this method, the sales team uses some personal and professional criteria to assign a score to a lead to determine whether that lead is qualified or not to make a purchase and generate statistics on the duration of time it will take for them to convert .
Sales reps use two types of information to score leads;
- Explicit data: this includes information gotten from prospects like their job titles, company size, budget, authority, etc.
- Implicit data: this includes information gathered internally from their behaviors on the website and in the sales funnel like their email open rate, page view, number of content downloads
Sales reps and marketers can use the above information to assign point values (lead scores) to the leads.
Predictive Scoring method
Predictive lead scoring is an artificial intelligence (AI) based approach that uses algorithms to predict when a prospect will likely make a purchase.
Predictive lead scoring works by using existing customers’ purchase and behavioral data to assign a lead score to a lead to predict when and how long it’s most likely going to take to convert them.
Unlike the traditional lead scoring method where marketers and salespersons have to manually study data and use their experiences to guess which customers they need to focus on, predictive lead scoring automatically does the research and calculations to predict high-quality prospects.
Rule-based lead scoring
As the name implies, this lead scoring method sets some rules to score leads to determine their readiness to buy.
Based on the software you choose to decide to use for this, you can set the lead scoring rules using some of the existing data available with some of the functionality of the software to score leads.
A lead scoring rule can be set up from behaviors or characteristics a lead must possess to move down the sales funnel. When a lead shows any of the set attributes or performs any of the set tasks, their lead score automatically increases.
Lead scoring model
A lead scoring model refers to the system for evaluating leads. It determines how you assign values to your prospects.
As we explained in the previous section that leads are qualified using different methods and point values. Lead scoring models are the various characteristics or attributes that make up the point values.
You can use the lead scoring model to easily qualify leads that are most likely to make a purchase and discard the unqualified ones.
As a result, we have identified some of the key factors to consider when scoring your leads;
Demographics are the information that helps to know a person better based on age, race, employment status, job titles, marital status, education, etc.
You can score a lead based on their demographic data points and determine how best they fit the criteria of those that are likely to become customers. To achieve this, consider adding demographics as a requirement to the forms on your website, landing pages, and social media to easily filter the qualified prospects from unqualified ones.
For example, if you sell your products to people in a particular location and employment status, you can sort the list of leads to include the ones in your preferred location.
In a nutshell, the people that fit into your demographic criteria will get a higher lead score.
2. Company information
Company information applies to B2B firms that sell to other companies. You need to identify the types of industries you are going to sell to or have patronized you the most in the past.
Just like demographics, you should consider creating forms and adding them to websites, landing pages, or other touchpoints, to help you identify the companies you wish to work with from others and fit your criteria from the others.
Once they qualify as your desired company, you can add to their lead score and move down the funnel.
3. Online behavior
How do your leads interact on your website? What kind of actions do they perform on your website? And what does their interaction on your website tell you about their interest in buying your products or services?
Ask yourself the above questions to determine their fit for your products or services.
Consider checking existing data on previous actions or online behavior of your current customers with a lead scoring system to pay close attention to the exact action they performed before converting and use this to determine their new lead scores.
4. Email engagement
You can determine a lead’s qualification for sales by checking their email engagement rate. While it can be hard to identify a qualified prospect from their interest in your emails, you can check their open and click-through rates to get a better idea of their interest level.
A lead scoring system can help your sales and marketing team identify who to channel their sales efforts to and how to prioritize them to become income-generating customers.
You can give a higher lead score to leads that open and click through some of the promotional emails and high-value emails.
5. Social media engagement
Aside from the other lead scoring models, you should also consider how the leads engage with your company on social media to determine their qualifications for sales.
Use a lead scoring system to award points score to your leads based on the number of times they liked or clicked through your Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn posts as well as the number of times they shared or retweeted or comment on your posts?
6. Negative scoring
When assigning point values to your leads, you must identify some actions of the prospect that could be a potential red flag.
As we have emphasized in this guide, lead scoring is necessary to identify leads that are likely to make a purchase. Negative scoring enables you to weed out the prospects that are going to be time-wasters and focus on the right ones.
Some of the actions or pointers to look out for include;
- Unsubscribing from your email list.
- Visiting your career page – implies they are looking for a job.
- A job title or industry unrelated to your product or service.
- A rival company.
Five (5) Lead scoring tips on how to identify high-quality leads
Now that you know some of the factors to consider when scoring your leads, it’s also important that you know how to identify high-quality prospects.
Hence, we have listed some lead scoring tips to find and convert your highest quality leads.
1. Verify your leads
This involves verifying the list of leads that you have. Leads verification is the first step to determining the leads that can become customers.
You don’t want to work with leads with incorrect data points and can’t verify their ability to afford your products or services. Consider using a lead scoring software to achieve this.
2. Define criteria for your sales-qualified lead (SQL)
A sales qualified lead (SQL) is a lead that has been vetted and confirmed ready for direct follow-up from the sales team. These leads are at the third stage of the sales funnel.
SQLs are important for sales teams to identify the leads that need to be nurtured and prioritized in the sales process. Sales leads must implement lead scoring strategies to define the lead scores that qualify as SQLs.
3. Build Buyer personas
A buyer persona is a key brand development document that gives business developers and marketers an idea of their prospective customers.
It helps salespeople and marketers define their customers by their demographics, goals, and pain points and determine how their products or services can solve the problems.
Consider building buyer personas with an effective lead scoring strategy to help you identify qualified leads with pain points that you can solve.
4. Generate insights from your top-converting web pages
As explained under lead behavior, there are some web pages or actions that your qualified leads perform to rank them as qualified prospects.
Consider generating data on the website pages or touch points that your existing customers have used to determine the leads that are more likely to make a purchase.
5. Use the BANT approach
The BANT system helps the marketing and sales department identify qualified prospects;
Budget refers to the financial capability of the lead. You can determine this with questions like – Do they have the budget to buy the product or service?
What power do they have to make purchasing decisions?
How relevant is your business solution to their business and pain points?
How long or how soon are they planning to make a purchase decision? The sooner, the higher their chance of becoming sales-qualified.
Ensure that you find answers to the above questions to identify high-quality leads. Also, check out the sales related guides, B2B sales process, sales opportunity management and sales qualified lead.
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