Lead Scoring For Sales Prioritization

When the Major Home Oil Dealer Ran Out of Fuel a Special Board Was Activated for Emergency Deliveries. More Than 250 Homes Were without Oil. Cards on the Wall List Priorities 10/1973

In our marketing consulting, we are typically faced with one of two problems:

  1. There are not enough inbound leads
  2. There are too many inbound leads

Each of these requires a different marketing system.  For organizations which are inundated with many leads, there is a problem focused around the sales process.  Salespeople are not like marketing automation systems.  They have these constraints:

  • They can only work sequentially one call/email at a time.
  • They can only connect with a finite amount of people a day.
  • They are limited in how they can organize their call lists.
  • Their talent is finely tuned for closing the sale.

A marketing automation system can do the opposite:

  • It can deliver custom communications simultaneously to thousands of people.
  • It is limitless in the number of people that can be contacted.
  • It can be programmed to filter lists.
  • Its talent is tuned for nurturing the lead to a sale.

The differences are much like a factory worker and a factory robot; speed and predictability are greatly increased with the latter. However, in sales, human touch is highly relevant and important. Thus, working with automation does not mean exclusiveness.  It is complementary. One of the areas that can greatly augment a salesperson’s tasks is lead scoring. Lead scoring is the underlying automation rules which applies quantitative scores for the behaviors of a buyer online.

If your salesperson is limited in their time and finite in their personal engagements, why not prioritize their list for them using lead scoring.  Here are some areas where marketing automation can surface the highest priority leads for your sales force:

  • Strategic Landing Pages.  A landing page which is visited and reviewed can appoint a high lead score to signify interest and targeted prospecting for who to talk with.
  • Decision Maker roles.  If a lead form with a role or title field is filled out for an executive position, you are likely dealing with a decision maker.  This should be a prioritized score to raise the priority of this lead.
  • Content Downloads.  If you have people that read your content and consume value offering pieces, they are engaged.  Create different layers of content and for those visitors that seek higher levels of content in your buying process, score them high.  They are sales ready.

There are several other ways to use lead scoring to help your sales team in addition to these ideas.  As they are working through their call lists, the lists can prioritize based on such key criteria that surface the hottest leads.

In your world, how could lead scoring help your sales process be more effective?

Running An Inbound Marketing System

A recent article from Marketing Automation Software Guide hit on the main reason why many of our clients hire us for marketing:  running a complete system is difficult and requires perseverance.  Pieces have to be put together, tested, changed, refined and created again.  Getting into the mind of a specific buyer with their preferences and peculiarities needs to translate into a well-laid strategy.

Inbound marketing typically involves getting a visitor to find you and then helping that visitor convert into a lead by providing value.  Once they opt-in, then you can nurture them and ready them for the sales proces via marketing automation.

Here are the activities typically involved with running an inbound marketing system:

  • Strategy.  There has to be a vision for how the logic will work for visitor behaviors on the site.  This results in a decision tree that needs to be architected with the right content at the right time.
  • Scoring.  This is part of the strategy.  How leads are scored will arise from a definition of what a ready lead is to a sales person.  Their readiness should be quantified and the lead scoring should follow suit for the desirable behaviors to warrant sales interaction or more targeted marketing engagement.
  • SEO.  Tuning your content to get found online via search or social media is a relentless activity.  Your systems should have feedback to help refine your content so that it all matters and counts for driving traffic.  Both authority and relevance from a search engine standpoint are key metrics to monitor.
  • Analysis.  Watching visitor and lead behaviors needs to be continually monitored for trends.  As the data comes in such as what content is valuable and where people are clicking to on your landing sites, your analysis should provide action on refining the links, logic and layout of your inbound marketing system.
  • Segmentation.  New offers, richer content and specific events need to be developed based on timing, seasonality and the critical mass of your inbound leads.  Develop specific segmentations with personalized offers and lead processes.
  • Sales engagement.  Working with your sales team to understand if the lead scoring and nurturing is calibrated needs to be a continuous process.  Furthermore, gathering information from your CRM system to drive content and lead flow logic back into your marketing system needs to be part of the ongoing strategy.

Traditional marketing where there is an event and a response is a different mindset altogether.  Today’s marketing game for inbound leads and marketing automation is ongoing and changing.  Attention to the details and how the system supports the buyer experience rewards organizations with easier customer acquisitions and lower internal costs.

How are you doing marketing today to continually make it better?

Marketing Automation Is Not For The Faint Of Heart

Marketing has many new rules, and marketing automation is one of several major movements which has gained fanfare mixed with frustration.  The popularity has come from the possibilities of capitalizing on leads generated from inbound marketing efforts.  The frustration is from a lack of implementation and execution.

At the end of the day, marketing automation is a system.  The system is, in turn, a project with specific requirements for a specific buyer.  Thus, there is a lot of work, thinking and strategy behind a marketing automation initiative.  A badly managed process can result in the frustration side of the equation.  A sound strategy and execution can provide systematic management of inbound leads.

Everyone Has A Lead Generation Problem

Businesses want more leads.  These come from how compelling your interaction and substance of your offering is.  A lead is someone that raises their hand.  We all want more.  It’s difficult to get attention when everyone is clicking around on Google and thumbing through their mobile devices.

Content which makes a true meaningful connection and is targeted for a person trying to solve a problem not only gets attention, but engages your buyer.  After this, it is about building trust and fanning the flame of their interest.  It is not for the faint of heart.  It is about commitment and continual refinement in the following ways:

  • Analysis of buyer behaviors.  You have a lot of data which tracks every movement of a website visitor.  The data needs to make sense and be analyzed for where the opportunities and drop-off points are.  It is an ongoing process.
  • Building content assets.  Your content lives.  It needs to continue to grow and build an online asset for getting found and nurturing the next wave of leads.  Past content needs to be integrated together to drive further exploration by leads.
  • Integrating Sales Feedback.  Lead scoring serves your sales process and sales people.  Their feedback on how the algorithms are working needs to drive further refinement of your scoring schema.

There is not a magic ball to peer into and figure out the perfect marketing automation mix.  You arrive at perfection by continually working hard at the system and processing  new lead experiences.  It is a game of improvement made possible by transparency into what buyers are doing.

Are there areas of lead generation and lead nurturing you find hard to upkeep?  What are they?

Refining Content For Your Marketing Funnel

Your site visitors communicate a lot of valuable marketing information to help you drive online search results.  It takes continuous vigilance to be able to monitor how your visitors and leads are attracted to your content and how they navigate your site.  This is known as digital body language.  Their interests and reactions to your brand are online and an effective marketing automation program works to decipher the movements of the various buying profiles on your site.

Of specific focus should be how your site pages are consumed and what people are looking at.  This helps you to refine further content as well as reposition past articles and pages on your site.  Here are some areas of focus which require analysis ongoing:

  1. Keyword search terms.  Ensure your analytics reporting shows real-time information and can prioritize keywords that are getting results.  These are working for you.  Cross-check these with Google keyword search to see what overall market traffic you are getting.
  2. Page content which is working.  Seeing which pages are effective helps to focus your future writing.  Use similar topics and keywords.  Also, there may be best practices you can establish from seeing what has worked.  Take your time examining this.  Try to make all your web pages count towards being found and consumed.
  3. Incoming links.  Knowing which pages have a direct link to popular blogs helps you combined with the time people are staying to read will help you assess how valuable the content is.  Furthermore, seeing more inbound links shows that others are finding value in the relevance of your content.
  4. Social media mentions.  Your content should have social media metrics which show how much something has been Tweeted, Facebooked, Google +1 and Trackbacked.  This is a trail which others will later follow.  Your content was worth mentioning and thereby being promoted.
There are many other aspects.  These are a few.  The analysis should focus your future content to become highly relevant.  If it is not happening, then your strategy needs to be examined.  You should be getting found. You should have people reading a lot of your website content.  You should get customers.  Those who provide value and are relevant reap such rewards.
How is your content doing?

Lead Nurturing With Education

If your buyer is not educated, then they will feel unready to engage the sales conversation with your team.  Filling this gap with strategic marketing automation lead flows in Loopfuse that help the buyer to ask the right questions sets up a qualified lead for your sales team.

If you sell a sophisticated product or service, expect that much of the focus of your marketing automation campaigns will revolve around education.  If you provide this value to potential buyers, then your expertise becomes established in their mind.

Here are some approaches we have used to in our marketing automation consulting to help our clients funnel their prospects through the buying process which will help you design your own processes:

  1. Focus on the problem. Use a sequence of autoresponse emails to articulate the specific problem your customers seek to solve.  The scenarios can vary.  You can segment each lead flow by problem definition to allow your landing page visitor to opt into a personalized experience with the problem they face.  Speaking about features and benefits is marketing talk.  Start with the problem and how your offering makes a difference and helps people every day.
  2. Ensure the copy is conversational. If you merely provide an encyclopedia of answers, people can turn to Wikipedia or other sterile sources of information.  Use plain language in your copy and connect as a human being.  Assume your buyers know very little about how your industry or market works.  Provide the rudiments and help them gain expertise in a sequential diet of information that makes sense to any person new to the industry.
  3. Provide branched lead flows. When your email campaigns reach a logical point, provide other calls to action for further lead flow opportunities that get further than preliminary education.  This could be an e-course or videos that go further into the education process.
  4. Score your leads for their opt-ins. As your leads opt into further lead flows, ascribe scoring that helps to qualify their lead status for your sales team.  If there is deep interest in the education process, then create a triggered task for your salesperson to make contact.  The sequence of Lead activities should reveal a high level of engagement and interest which makes sense for sales engagement.
  5. Break up the content. Our attention is sparse.  Instead of a thirty minute video, make 5 smaller videos.  Condense white paper content to multiple pieces or email template communications.  Create anticipation for the next Lead Flow sequence and integrate them together into a cohesive experience.  This creates fresh engagement for your buyers and keeps their attention and engagement.  Furthermore, your marketing automation rules can be further engineered to funnel the buyer for each interaction.

If your buyer feels educated, they feel empowered.  Furthermore, if you are the one providing the education, then you will have permission to engage in dialogue.

Help them know the right questions to ask and frame the sales discussion from the education process.

Using your Loopfuse system to design multiple educational Lead Flows will create the growing pipeline for lead qualification for your sales team.  You will notice a difference in the sales conversation with higher levels of trust and readiness to buy.

What are some areas that you could provide marketing automation for education?

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3 Loopfuse Sales Handoff Tips

Making Loopfuse work with your sales process is more than just integrating Salesforce.com and Loopfuse.  That is merely the technical aspect.  The process and synchronization of sales activities with marketing automation must be thought through, implemented and adopted by your team to extract maximum benefit from your Loopfuse implementation.

To drive Loopfuse success here are three tips which you can use to have maximum impact on converting leads:

1. Conduct Thorough Sales Training

Your sales team will have data available to them within their Lead records.  They need to make sense of the information and distinguish between knowledge and action.  The former helps them assess the quality of leads.  The latter helps them react tactically.

For instance, if they have open activities in their Lead records, there needs to be expectations set on completing the task to call or reach out to a prospect.  Help them understand the impact of being late and how that can affect a ready opportunity.  Explain how Loopfuse is helping the timing of their sales call.

2. Make Lead Scoring Mean Something

The Lead Flow processes you set up along with prospect activity capture will generate ongoing lead scores.  Your sales team needs to know what the scoring means and how to prioritize their activities.  Help them translate the scores into action and meaning.

You may need to create new filtered lists or reports in Salesforce.com ready your sales people on lead scoring.  Furthermore, triggered reports from Loopfuse to the sales team with the Top 100 Leads are also highly beneficial.

Let them know that the scoring will continually be optimized.  Have a thorough dialogue and ensure there is buy-in.  Future iterations to your Lead Flow campaigns will benefit from the trust and buy-in.

3. Allow Control Of Notifications

Your sales users have permissions in their Loopfuse accounts to set notification settings of events that will matter to them.  Review the options and allow them to toggle the notifications according to their level of need in their role.  They will understand what data will matter and what will merely clutter.

Show them examples of the notification emails and help the content to have meaning so it does not end up as an ignored email in their inbox.

Loopfuse Success

Loopfuse success relies on your sales team working with real-time marketing information which was previously inaccessible.  The digital data that sales now gets with their sales activities helps to drive a fluid buying experience.  In your sales handoff, be sure to paint the big picture and how marketing automation works hard for them in areas such as following up.

Be sure to review the entire buyer process as well so they understand what the buyer is personally experiencing.  This will set context and help them in their sales conversations.

What are issues you face with sales integration?

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Loopfuse Trackable Lead Activity Notifications

Living in a real-time world makes feedback and information a premium.  Marketing automation provides the intelligence for your decision making in the sales process as buyer activities are recorded.

A marketing automation strategy to incorporate for higher levels of success in Loopfuse is to enable and leverage trackable lead activities.  At any time, a salesperson can look at a prospect’s record in Loopfuse to see the activities of a past client. The information is just as valuable as outbound sales activities.  It is inbound lead activity information which reveals the interest and buying temperature or prospects.

Salespeople can benefit from email notifications of this very same data.  For example, we set up a sales process for one of our clients using Salesforce.com which enabled lead activity notifications for Lead Owners in Salesforce.com.  One of the key activities is a download and viewing of a specific white paper we developed as part of a Lead Flow process.  When this white paper was downloaded or opened, this triggered an email notification to the respective salesperson on the team.

From there, the salesperson can do one of the following:

  1. Add the person to their Watch List in Loopfuse and continue monitoring
  2. Call the person immediately and invite them to an online meeting
  3. Set a task to reach out when the Lead Score increases from further activity

If a person had enough interest and attention in their buying process to be educated from the offered content, then this signaled someone who is proceeding with interest.  Loopfuse activity notifications kept those such Leads front and center for salespeople wanting to work with the most ready Prospects.

Aligning your sales process using notifications helps your team to work with the most timely prospects.  The marketing automation strategy for your overall campaigns need to be well thought through and integrated.  This is one facet that gives you a strategic advantage around timeliness.

What are some key notifications which you would want to prompt your team with?

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Measuring Interest And Intent

When people find you, they have some kind of interest and intent.  They found you because:

  1. They were searching for something
  2. They saw an interesting link via social media from a friend or contact
  3. They were referred by a message
  4. You were selling brilliantly

Really, when someone finds you, they are looking for something.  You got their attention because they were focused on something that resonated.

If I am sick and tired of my weight, I start to notice diet tips and fitness advice where I might have ignored it previously.  If my car needs to be replaced, I become more aware of new car models and even tune into the radio ad.

Timing is everything if you are trying to connect.  However, when your buyer is trying to connect, then your market is everything.  There are likely an abundance of people looking for what you offer.  It just may not be at the same time or your desired time.

Timing

Your website visitors are there because something in their timing and attention got them to your content.  It resonated.  The depth of their interest and their intent needs to be measured and nurtured to do anything worthwhile.  Clicking away is too easy and too convenient.

Part of building successful content marketing and marketing automation requires observing how your potential buyer is moving through your content.  Sequencing what they are offered and seeing what they engage with is critical for helping your marketing systems become smarter and more automated.  This requires analysis of the drop off points and seeing where the sticking points are.

With such a vast pool of potential visitors, their timing is based on their initiative.  Ensure you can decipher the interest and intent coming from each of your visitors and focus on how your next steps in the buying process line up to your theories.

It is part of the art of automation with personalization.

What are the things you notice about how your visitors behave?

 

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Marketing Automation Campaign Designs

Marketing automation relies on a structured approach to avoid the paralysis rampant in complicated environments.  In our marketing automation consulting, we run into complexity too often because there is typically not a clear strategy for how to manage inbound leads.  This can be avoided with a larger picture in mind around campaigns.

A marketing automation campaign revolves around the Lead Flow and Lead Scoring rules of an outbound email campaign or an inbound Lead Form.  The logic built around how a site visitor to a landing page moves through the buying process has to be carefully thought through.  Here are some ways to ensure your campaigns are robust for a simpler and more manageable environment:

  • Segment Buyer Profiles.  Each prospective buyer needs to be identified and placed into special buckets for what their psychological profile and desires are.  Your salespeople typically know this information and it needs to be captured logically.  By so doing, you will be able to have an understanding of how to build specific one-to-one marketing campaigns that are customized to each type of buyer.
  • Map Out Buying Process Steps.  This has a lot to do with the buyer profiles you have built.  Create a flowchart or decision tree which outlines the natural steps a buyer will take for each profile.  This may create multiple types of communications, actions and offerings from your organization.
  • Create A Content Relevance List.  For each process, what are the content pieces that will bring the most value?  These need to be developed with personal, relevant and timely automation and delivery.  The checklist of content which needs to be created or curated has to be part of the overall campaign strategy and task list.
  • Apply Meaningful Scores.  When your buyer consumes content or behaves a certain way online with your landing site, pages or forms, augment their buyer profiles with increasing scores to help your sales team to take action.  The scoring needs to be tested, but the starting point should translate qualitative behaviors into quantifiable results for action.

The framework for building your marketing automation campaigns needs to consider these different approaches and setups.  Segment the various campaigns in your system in a logical and ordered way.  As you launch and test campaigns, some may become obsolete over time.  You can then work in a modular way to remove, change, enhance or reorganize your marketing automation system as needed.

How are you approaching your marketing automation campaigns?  Feel free to comment below.

Making Money With Marketing Automation

Marketing automation exists because the rules of marketing have changed.  If you could interrupt prospects and sell hard, then marketing automation would be irrelevant.  The old rules would still apply.

However, buying cycles take longer.  This is because buyers can take their time and evaluate information for themselves until they feel comfortable engaging with your sales process.

Timing

You do not have the luxury of seeing what your buyer is doing.  If they are interacting with carefully designed and timed content, then the next steps for nurturing your respective buyer can be taken by your marketing automation campaign.

The decision tree within the lead flow should be structured with timing of communications that trigger from opens, clicks and downloads.  The timing should feel natural and elegantly timed for the prospective buyer.  It should not feel like selling.  It should feel like helping and value.

Money

It’s easy to get a lot of site visitors.  It’s less easy to get leads.  You have to have valuable content which nurtures, enriches and educates the buyer.

It’s even harder to convert a lead to a customer.  Your marketing automation system has everything you need to make this happen.  The design and strategy of your campaigns will dictate whether you can convert the leads you have gained permission with to become customers.  They have to want to connect with you and the call to action should be both concrete and obvious.

Your money will be made from the percolating of leads within well-designed nurturing and scoring.  The feedback you should be getting from your sales team is that closing is easy.  The buyer knew the right questions to ask.  They were ready for the closing conversation.  This is the litmus test of your marketing automation doing the invisible, laborious job of delivering continual high value to your customer while they are working through their buying process.

The money is in the strategies which you measure and refine.

How is marketing automation working to make money for your organization?

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