So, you’re rolling along with your content strategy, getting traffic via blog articles and generating new leads with awesome TOFU offers. But, how do you separate the good leads from the bad, the non-qualified from the qualified?
Lead scoring is an often overlooked, yet critical, aspect of smarketing, which we discussed in our last post on the importance of marketing and sales alignment. In fact, lead scoring is so underutilized that according to Marketing Sherpa, 79% of B2B marketers have not established lead scoring in their organizations. Lead scoring is such an important part of the marketing process that we decided that to call it out and give it the attention that it deserves in this post.
When you start to generate leads via TOFU offers, it’s exciting. Soon after, however, comes the question of just what to do with all of these new leads. Do they go to the sales team? Should you increase sales-readiness with a lead nurturing campaign? Ditch them altogether? It depends. Developing and utilizing a lead scoring system will help you determine just how sales-ready a lead is, which will help you to decide how to handle that lead.
Even if you have a lead scoring system in place now, if you haven’t been doing inbound marketing or your website hasn’t been a strong lead generation tool for you, then when you do start improving your online lead generation efforts, you will need a scoring system that takes that into consideration and can scale. Otherwise, you’ll end up with hot leads not being followed up on and your sales reps wasting their time qualifying prospects that just aren’t ready yet. Having a lead scoring system in place will help you in the following ways:
- Decide which leads to hand off to sales and when. After all, one of the common complaints that sales folks have about marketers is that we don’t generate quality leads. Having a solid lead scoring system in place helps you generate highly-qualified leads for your sales team.
- Prioritize sales follow-up. Without a lead scoring system in place, your sales team won’t know where to start. You don’t want to lose time or traction with opportunities that are ready to close. A lead scoring system helps to indicate which leads are most ready to sign on the dotted line.
- Identify which leads need nurturing. It turns out, according to Marketing Sherpa, that a whopping 79% of leads never convert into sales because the leads were not nurtured properly. This reinforces the fact that immediately handing leads off to sales is a big mistake. A lead nurturing campaign will help you advance new leads through the marketing funnel, resulting in a sales-ready lead.
- Ditch the bad leads. Not every lead is a good fit for your products or services, and that’s perfectly fine. The more information that you can collect on a lead, the better, even if it ultimately results in that particular lead being disqualified from the sales process.
As part of your alignment process, make sure that you have identified the criteria, including behavioral criteria, of a lead and assign point values. Then, based on their score and where they are in the process, you know where they go (inside sales rep, field sales rep, nurturing campaign, etc.).