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How To Make Lead Scores Relevant For Your Sales Team Again

Does this sound familiar? You rolled out your marketing automation program over the past two years, aligned with your sales counter parts and delivered your scored leads. One of two things happened – one, it was a huge hit and sales is asking for what’s next or two, it fell flat and you have to build that trust again. How can you ensure that lead scores are taken seriously again?

According to a recent survey by Decision Tree Labs, nearly 44 percent of marketers are doing some type of lead scoring today. Many of which are utilizing their marketing automation technology to generate a rules-based lead score that factors in fit, engagement and behavioral characteristics, or what marketing and sales have available to score. This formula is often based on a gut instinct from marketing, sales or a combination of the two. With the help of marketing automation, we can track and monitor digital body language – the online footprint of your prospect including activities such as downloading an ebook or watching a video – to help enrich any rules-based score. But it is important to remember that digital body language is a metric of engagement and not necessarily indicative of or synonymous with buying intent.

How Can Digital Body Language Be Improved?

There are many successful marketers who use marketing automation to track digital body language and score prospects. But some marketers are looking for ways to improve upon digital body language due to changes in the way companies are making purchase decisions today. Specifically:

We all know that companies are buying by committee. It is rare that one person can sign off entirely on a purchase. It takes multiple people to understand the value and approve of the deal.The buying process starts before you know it. Buyers are taking on more responsibility to educate themselves about potential solutions, anonymously evaluating product and sales teams often enter the picture towards the end of the buying’s journey. According to CEB, up to 57 percent of the buying process occurs before a sales rep is engaged. SiriusDecisions estimates that the typical journey is nearly 70 percent complete by the time a sales rep is engaged.What’s more, companies are rarely gating content anymore, resulting in a lack of visibility into digital body language (the behavior component leads are scored from!)Measured behavior and the triggers for sales engagement are not aligned with the buyer’s journey.

To better understand the difference, let’s walk through an example. One marketing team utilizes marketing automation and has developed a rules-based lead score. After working with the sales team, they have determined a minimum score that needs to be reached on order to convert a lead to a marketing qualified lead (MQL). They walked through the exercise to assign values to different online activities such as reading a whitepaper and watching a video. Over time, they collect more and more digital body language from their prospects and ultimately pass along 25-50 percent of the leads in their database to the sales team for follow up.

This process has worked for many companies but it begs one question. Are they really buyers, and are you missing the true buyers? Did you know that according to SiriusDecisions 94 percent of MQL never turned into close won business? What about folks you did not pass to sales? Even though these leads weren’t actively engaging with the company’s content and exhibiting digital body language, doesn’t mean that they are unlikely buyers.

Rules-Based Lead Scoring vs. Predictive Lead Scoring

This is the main difference with Lattice Predictive Lead Scoring and traditional rules-based lead scoring. By monitoring and including all available data about your prospects and customers, Lattice Predictive Lead Scoring helps marketers identify likely buyers based on true buying signals – not engagement alone. Potential predictors that occur outside of marketing automation and CRM may include:

Hiring trendsSocial media profiles and mentionsVenture capital fundingCredit rankingsTechnology usageOffice expansionEtc.

The big win? Predictively scored leads close on average 6 to 8 times higher than MA solutions alone.

The lead scoring process can ultimately help or hurt marketing and sales alignment. If marketing is passing leads over that aren’t quite ready to be engaged by the sales team, a sense of distrust can be enlisted and may drive the behavior to ignore MQLs in the future. Since behavioral interest isn’t indicative of real buying intent, it only works half of the time, leaving many sales reps in an uncomfortable place. A predictive approach to lead scoring can help ensure that lead scores are always relevant.

   Image Credit(s):                rosannadana                    

Written by

Keith Burrows
May 12, 2014