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B2B Lead Generation Sales Team Performance

How to implement B2B sales lead scoring

Once you’ve got a reliable B2B sales lead pipeline, your focus shifts from getting those leads to identifying, nurturing, and closing them in order to make sales. But not all sales leads are created equal. You shouldn’t spend the same amount of time on every one that comes across your doorstep. Many companies have great website traffic, visitor engagement and repeat visitors that could all be considered warm leads. Developing specific scoring criteria on what is and isn’t a lead can be the difference between salespeople wasting their time and investing it against real prospects.

So how do you determine which ones are ready to commit to a purchase, which ones are lukewarm and need nurturing, and which are just kicking tires and not worth spending any time on?

Many advantages of a B2B sales lead scoring system

The way to answer those questions is to create a B2B sales lead scoring system. Lead scoring gives each one of those sales leads a ranking based on their activities – whether that’s on your website or through any of your content marketing devices, e.g. newsletters, social media posts or ads. The lead scorecard for each company will differ but not having one means there is no benchmark for determining what you classify as a sales-ready lead.

The power of scoring leads goes beyond simply boosting sales. You will find that it gives both sales and marketing a common language that helps to align them. Marketing will have a numerical value for each lead and can alter inbound marketing to target specific factors to generate more leads that meet specific criteria. It also allows marketing to better refine its messaging for top leads, testing approaches that might not work for less interested leads. For instance, you might be able to contact these leads more often or be more aggressive with your calls to action (CTAs). It also allows you to identify those highly satisfied customers who can act as champions for your company, especially when given encouragement through a targeted campaign.

How to keep B2B sales score

Setting up a scorecard can be relatively simple, by identifying the most important factors and giving them more weight than the “nice-to-haves.” First you need to establish the minimum criteria by which a customer is defined. These are qualifying characteristics, like: Must be in a specific service area, or Must be 21 years of age or older.  Then, identify the qualities that your targets usually possess. These are common but not necessarily essential, like the table stakes criteria we just discussed. The marketing department should be able to provide data here as they’ve likely done extensive research into who your typical customer is. Third step is to identify your ideal customer, those who the sales team would regard as having the most potential. What makes one prospect better than another? Someone in control of a certain size budget? A short timeframe in which to make a purchase?

Now that the characteristics have been listed it’s time to assess the behaviour of leads, the kinds of activities that suggest their level of interest and readiness to purchase. These activities are what moves them up or down the rankings, depending on the kind of activities they’ve engaged in and how frequently they’ve interacted.

Make a list of behaviours

Begin by listing all possible behaviour sales leads can engage in. While some behaviours are more important than others, it can be helpful to assign a point value to all behaviour (even if it is a very small value). So, don’t leave anything out just because it seems unimportant. Your scorecard should include site visits, fill forms, download requests, webinar participation and more. Here are some of the lead’s activities that earn points in the lead scoring model:

  • Visited a webpage
  • Number of website sessions
  • Participated in a webinar
  • Looked at pricing
  • Started a free trial
  • Filled out a contact form
  • Downloaded a lead magnet, like a white paper
  • Opened an email
  • Clicked on a link in a newsletter
  • Replied or forwarded an email
  • Shared content on social media

Some of these behaviors will be “critical conversion behaviours” (activities that most of your leads do prior to becoming customers). These might be things like signing up for a free trial or requesting a sales demo. A thorough analysis of your Google Analytics data should make these defining behaviours obvious.  Mark your critical conversion behaviours with a star so you can give them appropriate emphasis when it’s time to assign points to rules.

Assigning points

For most companies a straightforward 1-to-100-point model will be enough. For B2B lead generation, a company might want to use a thousand-digit ranking, giving small, medium and large businesses a 1, 2 and 3 first digit. So, a lead with a score of 3062 would be a large company with a 62-point score. Another technique is to define the three (or more) minimum criteria – “table stakes” – to be considered eligible as a lead. If you assign 100 points to each of these, and decide they need to have at least three of these essential characteristics to qualify, then a lead with a score of 435 would go into the pool, but one with a score of 282 would not. This ensures that a bad lead never makes its way to the sales team, no matter how many of the behaviours rules they trigger.

Reassess lead scoring criteria regularly

Setting up a sales lead scoring system can be as simple, or as complicated, as you can get, given your marketing data. You’ll have to tweak it as you use it and check it against conversions regularly to ensure you have set up a system that works. Remember: no matter how qualified a lead is, some will never convert. So be prepared to see some inconsistencies when reviewing results.

We know all about lead scoring because we’ve implemented it for dozens of our B2B clients in all kinds of industries. Learn more about how 360 Leads can help you put together a winning lead scoring system, by contacting us.

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B2B Lead Generation Insights and Ideas

A TV appearance can help with sales leads

Think of how much it costs to buy a television ad to help you generate sales leads, and consider that, with a little tactical manoeuvring, you can get even better exposure on television without paying a dime.

Not only do you save loads of money on advertising, but a single TV appearance can lead to new business or a partnership. Plus, it’s great inbound marketing that could drive qualified sales leads, depending on the topic and your appearance. Most importantly, you are building expertise and authority in your subject matter and that can generate more appearances and a higher profile, for you and your B2B company.

While television producers have regular guests and columnists they rely on for news, business or health coverage, as a B2B business leader, you have very specific knowledge of something most people do not.

When breaking news happens in your industry you want to be the person ‘chase producers’ think of when they are madly trying to line up guest to provide commentary. You want to get on their radar before the news story happens, so they will think of you when it does. In this case, it helps to be a regular contributor to public discussions around topics you are expert in.

When a news story breaks, news producers do what they do: they google to see what hot takes there are on the topic, and they’ll check you out – on LinkedIn, Twitter, your company website or any other platform – to ensure you’re the ideal guest who will enliven and engage their audience. Because you are being vetted without your knowledge, it’s smart to Google yourself on a regular basis to see what comes up and how your expertise is showcased.

Reach out as part of your sales leads strategy

A more direct route is to find the producers at your favourite network shows, where you would love to be a guest, and send them a commentary on a breaking news item that you have special knowledge of. If you are writing a company blog, you’re in a great position to get noticed. Jump on any news opportunity to comment and draft a compelling piece that provides your learned perspective on the issue at hand. Think of this as auditioning for a spot on their show. The next time that topic is a hot issue, they will remember your expertise and call you in for comment.

What’s next

Once you have a track record of posts on your company blog, seek out other publishing opportunities to spread your name and boost your credibility. If you come up frequently in searches on certain topics, and if you are published on widely read blogs or national websites, you stand a very good chance of being called up to the big leagues: a network TV show.

Becoming the go-to person on a given topic takes perseverance and patience. Her are a few pointers on how to do it slowly but strategically as part of an overall lead generation campaign:

  • Cultivate trusted relationships with journalists and producers by showing an interest in their articles or shows.
  • Give them exclusives once in awhile to build trust and rapport.
  • Be persistent and patient. Set a goal each week, to post a blog, or be mentioned in another industry blog.
  • Always send out your best work. If you need an editor or proof-reader, make sure everything you write gets read by at least one other person. If your style is drab, think about getting writing lessons.

With persistence, solid media relationships and ensuring your voice is “out there” where the important conversations are happening, you will stand a much better chance of getting on television. It’s a repeatable process since producers are ecstatic to have found an expert and will have you on repeatedly, and it has potentially great value for your business! What could be better. Go forth and put yourself out there as a ‘thought leader’ or ‘subject matter expert’, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. Need some help, give us a shout.