HubSpot maintains that generating more leads is the top priority for marketers in 2020. In fact, lead generation, lead nurturing, and sales are the “top three organizational objectives for content marketers.” While most marketers aim to bring in more leads through a combination of different marketing strategies, what is the next step when they achieve that goal?
The next course of action is Lead Scoring.
As a marketer, whether you want to drive more and more leads into the sales funnel or decide to keep them at the heart of your marketing strategy (flywheel model), the real challenge lies in identifying the high quality leads from those that will probably not turn into customers. Thus, once you have the desired volume of leads in your funnel, you must identify the leads who are actually interested in your brand and its offerings. This is where you implement lead scoring.
What is lead scoring?
Lead scoring is a technique of ranking leads or prospects and comparing them against a scale representing the perceived value of each lead for a company or organization. Through lead scoring, you can assign numerical values to each lead to help categorize your new contacts by their level of commitment towards your brand. Usually, lead scoring is based on multiple attributes (personal information, online behavior, email engagement, social engagement, and spam detection) that depict how they engage and interact with your website and what are their intentions towards your brand. Lead scoring is highly time-savvy since instead of wasting time on unworthy prospects, you can focus on those who are further into the buyer cycle (customer journey).
Essentially, lead scoring enables you to separate the good quality leads from the flaky and half-hearted leads. Naturally, your sales and marketing teams can focus all their marketing strategies around the most high-quality leads, customize marketing campaigns and promotional messages for them, draft appropriate responses for their queries/grievances, and boost the conversion rate.
Why is lead scoring crucial for your business?
According to HubSpot, while 46% of marketers with well-structured lead management strategies are backed up by sales teams that follow up on over 75% of leads, 61% of marketers claim that traffic and lead generation are two of their top challenge. Adding to these challenges is a Gartner study that states, almost 70% of leads are lost due to poor follow-up techniques and practices. This happens when your sales teams don’t know, which leads to pursue and which to let go.
According to Laura Ramos, VP, and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research:
“B2B marketers who emphasize lead volume over lead quality reduce sales efficiency, increase campaign costs, and fuel the gap between sales and marketing. To generate qualified demand, marketers need technology and processes that capture lead quality information; validate, score, and classify leads.”
How, then, do you address these marketing challenges?
As you might have guessed it by now, the answer is lead scoring.
Lead scoring is a core aspect of lead management strategy. A well-planned lead management strategy mandates that the sales teams dedicate a substantial amount of time in following up with prospects who show genuine interest in a product or service. If done right, lead scoring can bring in three key benefits for your business – increase in ROI, improved conversion rate, and enhanced sales productivity.
Apart from these quantifiable benefits, lead scoring can also automate the processes of:
- Identifying the most promising leads
- Eliminating all the flaky and irrelevant leads
- Nurturing medium-commitment leads
Lead scoring help create a unique “recommendation engine” that further helps to streamline your marketing activities towards a more targeted audience. This is why lead scoring is a top revenue contributor for over 68% of marketers who experience 77% higher lead generation ROI than marketers who don’t implement lead scoring.
We’ll give you a real-world example to help you better understand the benefits of lead scoring. Digital Media Solutions developed a real-time lead scoring model to enhance the visibility of the projected lead quality. The agency leveraged and reviewed historical data to identify the markers (data points) that can predict future success and based the score of the incoming leads on these markers. While the lead scoring model successfully rejected leads with lower scores (having low propensity of conversion), it helped the sales team identify and prioritize the leads with the highest scores. After five months of implementing the lead scoring model, the agency found that:
- The media spend decreased by 17%.
- The conversion rate increased to 76%.
- The conversion volume increased to 44%.
- The cost-per-conversion went down by 43%.
How to implement Lead Scoring in your marketing strategy?
The first step to break the ice with lead scoring is to build a rock-solid lead scoring model. Here are the three types of lead scoring model that you could consider:
This is a standard business model that most marketers use to score their prospects. However, the demographic model is only suitable if you want to target contacts from a particular group, such as you may want to target only adults or only children for specific products.
As the name suggests, this model is based on the demographic info of your target audience. So, you can leverage landing page forms to collect demographic information (age, location, job, etc.) about your target audience. The most common way to obtain this information is through landing pages.
This is the simplest way to eliminating outliers from your sales team’s list – anyone who doesn’t meet your set requirements is removed from your marketing list. You can also subtract points from the lead score of every prospect who doesn’t fit the bill.
This model is based on the online behavior of your prospects. The behavior model studies the online behavior of your prospects to identify the leads who converted and to understand the path of their conversion. To create an online behavior model, you must find answers to the following questions:
- What pages on your website did your prospects visit?
- How many pages did they visit?
- How long did they spend on a page?
- What offers did they download?
- Did they sign up for emails?
- Did they follow your social media handles?
By finding the answers to such questions, you’ll get a more profound insight into the online behavior of your target audience. Based on the information you gather through this, you can assign high scores to leads that frequent the high-value pages of your website (product page, pricing page, etc.), to those who visit and spend more time on multiple pages, and so on. Similarly, you can subtract points of those leads who have the least engagement with your site (for example, if there’s a significant time gap since the last interaction of a lead with your website).
Thus, the online behavior model allows you to identify the most high-quality and relevant prospects by analyzing their online engagement and interaction patterns with your website. So, you can target your marketing strategies towards people who show genuine interest in your brand through their online activities on your site.
This model is quite similar to the online behavior model. However, unlike the behavior model, the engagement model’s primary focus is “how” leads interact with your brand. So, instead of considering the leads’ path of conversion, this model aims to study and analyze how leads engage and communicate with your business. The main driving principle here is, the leads who engage most with your brand are more likely to convert into your loyal customers.
The first aspect you need to analyze is the leads’ behavior towards your email marketing strategies. Here, you will focus on the leads that subscribe to your email marketing campaign and study their interaction patterns with your emails. So, you will consider the top engagement factors that most interested leads depict – who opens your every email, who clicks through the emails, how many emails they open, and if they scroll to the bottom of the email to read the complete message, among other things.
The second aspect you have to analyze is social engagement. Here, you will focus on the leads that engage with your brand on social networks like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. The engagement triggers to look for include liking your posts, retweeting, sharing, commenting, and brand mentions.
In both the steps, you can assign point values accordingly to determine which leads interact most with your brand and which don’t. This will help you separate the high-quality leads from the low-potential ones.
Five ways lead scoring can increase ROI and improve conversions
Although we’ve already mentioned the benefits that lead scoring can bring for your business, it’s time to highlight how lead scoring increases ROI and boosts conversions. Lead scoring enables you to gain a deeper understanding of the leads that hold the maximum potential for conversion, thereby allowing your sales teams to accordingly communicating with them to increase customer-brand engagement.
Here are the top five ways in which lead scoring increases ROI and improves conversions:
It aligns the sales and marketing efforts
Thanks to the ever-increasing demand for personalization, now it has become more important than ever for businesses to align their sales and marketing efforts. If your sales and marketing efforts aren’t aligned towards the same goals, the customer experience is bound to suffer.
Lead scoring helps keep the lines of communication open between your sales and marketing teams. When you implement lead scoring in your lead generation strategy, your sales team becomes aware of the leads that hold the highest potential to convert. Thus, the sales team can then provide the marketing team the most relevant information for those leads, thereby allowing them to craft highly customized marketing messages, content, and campaigns. This will inevitably result in a higher sale volume.
It brings in more volume of higher quality conversions
When it comes to lead scoring, the popular belief is that lead scoring aims to increase the volume of leads. On the contrary, the main goal of lead scoring is to bring in more “high-quality” leads. Wouldn’t you prefer that 55 out of 100 leads convert into customers rather than 30/35 leads out of 100? The equation is simple.
Since lead scoring brings to light the most relevant leads that are highly likely to convert in the sales cycle of the customer journey, your marketing team will know which leads they should nurture. Your marketing team can then send out attractive offers, discounts, and coupons, to drive those leads further into the purchasing mindset, which will boost sales.
It boosts ROI
Predictive lead scoring leverages predictive analytics to extract data from multiple sources such as social media, CRM systems, marketing automation platforms, etc. after carefully analyzing this data, the predictive lead scoring system uses advanced algorithms to calculate and predict the buying behavior of your prospects and assigns a score to them based on this calculation. The algorithm is designed to learn from real-time data on the leads continually and adjusts itself accordingly. This means that your predictive lead scoring system will continually improve.
As predictive lead scoring system allows marketers to track and monitor the analytics of their marketing campaigns, they can increase ROI by:
- Analyzing historical data by using the predictive model to determine the success rate of a campaign/strategy and tweak the new marketing operations accordingly.
- Presenting a clear picture of the lead-to-sales conversion success rate so that the sales and marketing team can adjust lead generation and conversion strategies.
It helps to re-engage leads
Lead scoring lets marketers see how far along the leads are in their customer journey. The lead scores tell marketers which lead is at what stage in the sales funnel and what kind of strategy you should implement next. Thus, while the marketing and sales team focuses on leads who are on the edge of their buyer journey, they can also simultaneously re-engage those leads who aren’t sales-ready yet. So rather than completely abandoning potential leads are mid-way in their buyer journey, marketers can push them further down the sales funnel.
It eliminates guesswork from the equation
Without a predictive lead scoring model in place, marketers have to rely solely on their gut feeling and intuition. Unfortunately, intuition does not always sell. A predictive lead scoring model completely eliminates the guesswork out of the equation. It combines thousands of data points (based on the real data of leads and marketing campaigns) to create the ideal customer profiles for your business and also factors in conversion data from previous transactions/campaigns to determine the accurate behavior score. This is what makes predictive lead scoring the best and most accurate way of scoring future leads.
Wondering how to kickstart your lead scoring strategy? Use HubSpot to implement lead scoring for your business – set up a consultation today!