It doesn’t matter what niche or sector you operate in – as a business, your ability to generate and nurture leads from a variety of sources will have a significant impact on your long-term success.
Armed with a wealth of valuable customer insights and a solid mix of lead engagement strategies, you will accelerate your commercial growth. But, while this is the case, internal conflicts between sales and marketing can seriously stunt organisational progress.
The sales and marketing lead management conundrum
Without a cohesive lead scoring and grading process, many businesses see an eternal struggle between their sales and marketing departments. Most leads are of poor quality. They are not ready to engage with sales (from a sales perspective) and, as a result, are not being followed up with properly (from a marketing perspective). Without a cohesive lead scoring, and grading and nurturing process, many businesses see an eternal struggle and disconnect between their sales and marketing departments. Many leads require more nurturing. They are not ready to engage with sales (from a sales perspective) and, as a result, are not being followed up with properly, which creates frustration (for marketing). (from a marketing perspective).
Did you know? According to research, 50% of leads are qualified but not yet ready to buy. Plus, 79% of B2B marketers have not established a lead scoring system, with 65% of B2B marketers lacking transparent lead nurturing processes.
By understanding how to implement lead scoring and grading, you will get empowered to invest in the right prospects while engaging and nurturing potentially rewarding clients or customers at exactly the right times in their journey.
The result? Transparency and co-ordination between your sales and marketing teams that will prompt a colossal boost to your lead generation return on investment (ROI) – an all-important edge on the competition and a boost to your bottom line.
Lead scoring is a method that determines the worthiness of leads across channels or touchpoints by attributing values to them based on various factors, including behaviours and levels of engagement.
With lead scoring, you can accurately decide which leads are worth pursuing. You can also gauge whether certain prospects are “sales-ready” or will benefit from more nurturing from marketing.
By investing in a lead scoring system, you can tailor your sales and marketing efforts to meet the exact needs of your prospects using the right channels at the time in their journey when they’re most likely to engage.
Along with scoring your business’s web or landing pages, setting specific thresholds (or quantifiable scores) for leads will give you an informed idea of how to approach your messaging or communications.
You could, for instance, create a rule that states, “No leads below a score of 50 should go to sales, as they’re unlikely to convert without additional nurturing from marketing.”
You can test this threshold to see if it improves your lead nurturing outcomes and refine it if necessary. If you feel that the threshold is a little too high, and you’re essentially starving the sales department of quality leads with little improvement, you can go back and refine your strategy.
For the best results, you should score your leads based on the information or data they have shared with your business while considering the following factors:
- Online behaviours across channels and touchpoints
- Email engagement
- Social media engagement
Lead grading is another important part of consistently transforming your prospects into paying clients or customers.
The lead grading process gravitates around your ideal customer personas or profiles. Based on your ideal customer – or, in the case of B2B organisations, your ideal target business (size, industry or sector) – you will attribute a certain grade to a lead based on their likelihood of engaging or converting.
It also depends on who you tend to engage within a certain business account (your core persona or personas) and whether the person who is engaging with a communication falls within your target personas.
For example, say your business targets operations managers in the manufacturing supply chain sector. Someone that meets your ideal customer profile requirements engages with your communications – in this case, they earn your highest lead grade. On the contrary, another potential prospect who engages with you but comes from a financial services business will receive a lower grade, as they’re less likely to convert.
To perform lead grading successfully, you must define your “ideal customer or business profile” criteria from the outset. There is no limit here – you simply need to decide what will offer your business the most value.
For instance, you could set a lead grading system of 0 to 20 based on four criteria with scores of 0 to 5:
- Industry or sector: 5/5
- Business size: 4/5
- Location: 4/5
- Role (within the business): 4/5
Total grading score: 17/20
Based on this grading score, the lead is hot and requires priority in terms of sales and marketing engagement and nurturing.
By developing a lead scoring and grading system, you can qualify leads based on both whether they fit the right profile and how likely they are to engage across different channels and touchpoints or at various stages in their buyer journey.
The bottom line here is: The higher the lead score and grading, the hotter the lead – and that’s where you should focus the lion’s share of your efforts. By gaining the ability to measure this information consistently, you will push yourself well ahead of the pack (and stay there).
“The way you position yourself at the beginning of a relationship has a profound impact on where you end up.” – Ron Karr, author & renowned marketing consultant.
Knowing which customer relationships are worth exploring and how to position yourself for maximum success are two key components every modern business should master. To develop a lead scoring, grading, and nurturing process that is accurate and efficient in equal measures, you need to work with the right tools.