Top tips for scoring b-to-b leads

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Thor Johnson
Thor Johnson

As b-to-b marketing becomes more sophisticated and advanced, it's easy to forget that our primary purpose is to help salespeople close sales. We need to take a step back and view lead scoring at its most fundamental level.

Successful salespeople can calculate in an instant how likely a prospect is to buy based on their tone of voice, body language and other subtle clues. However, with all information now available to prospects electronically, it's becoming much more difficult for salespeople to effectively score their own leads.

Visits to your company's Web site, for example, happen without ever encounter­ing a sales person. Advanced marketing automation solutions enable marketers to profile their prospects and capture online behavior so salespeople can read “digital” body language — just as they process the clues they encounter in person.

How useful this new information is to the sales force rests largely on how well marketers score leads. Finger-pointing over whether marketing delivered quality leads or if sales failed to close them are usually the result of a flawed lead scoring process, not necessarily the quality of marketing efforts or the skill of the sales force.

To avoid this, you must come to an agree­ment about the definition of a sales-ready lead. Find out whether the process for lead follow-up is working, what data are most important to know about a lead to suc­cessfully engage the prospect, which data captured on the Web site are most valuable and what digital behavior implies real in­terest from prospects.

Use what you learn to develop a numerical system for scoring leads with the agreed upon criteria you identified. Today's advanced marketing automation solutions can not only score the leads you receive based on this information, but even bring the information to sales' attention when a prospect's action indicates that the time is right for a representative to engage them.

By directly involving sales in the lead scoring process, you'll gain more from the marketing automation system you have in place, increase the impact of your cam­paigns and earn strong allies among those that sell. Most importantly, you'll help ensure that the sales representatives you ultimately serve devote their time to deals they can close.

thor.johnson@eloqua.com

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