Three Important Criteria for Lead Scoring

Three Important Criteria for Lead ScoringScoring the quality of leads is not an exact science, but there are ways to determine if a lead is worth nurturing toward a sales engagement. Lead scoring includes metrics that account for buying authority, interest level, budget availability, and purchase timing. In order to accurately qualify a lead’s readiness for a sales engagement, your lead scoring framework should include three criteria: match, activity, and depreciation.

Match as a Criteria for Lead Scoring

The first step in qualifying any lead is to determine if a lead matches an optimal lead profile (OLP). The OLP includes all the attributes which make a lead a solid candidate for a sales engagement. The most qualified leads will fit the profile completely; in some cases, a lead might match some profile criteria but require nurturing in order to determine whether she is a complete match. Your marketing tools should extract enough details about each lead to allow you to determine if a lead is a match.

In order to receive a high score, a lead should possess the appropriate attributes of having buying authority (which can include decision-making influence), a budget that can accommodate the purchase, a need that can be fulfilled with your offering, and an imminent desire to purchase.

A match is primarily scored according to demographics such as industry, company position, revenues, location, company size, and other definable characteristics.

Activity as a Criteria for Lead Scoring

A lead’s behavior should also contribute to scoring his sales-readiness. The activities a lead performs while engaged with your marketing efforts will reveal his propensity to purchase, as well as identify his role in the buying process. A lead that appears to be actively researching available options should score higher within most automated marketing programs than a passive, curious lead.

Scoring should measure more than the type of activity a lead is engaged in. Scores should also reflect how involved he is in the buying process. What interest level is he at? What type of activities has he participated in? How many engagements have taken place? A fully engaged lead will hit several touch points during his research.

The duration of activities, such as website visits, or the frequency of actions, such as content downloads, can indicate the interest level. A lead that spends two minutes viewing a company profile on your website should score lower than one that spends ten minutes reading product descriptions.

Depreciation as a Criteria for Lead Scoring

Lead scoring should also account for gaps in time between marketing responses. The activity dormancy period should be scored according to its duration. How long has it been since a lead has responded to a message or has searched for your site, company or product? If there have been more than a few weeks between engagements, a lead’s score should be reduced. By decrementing a lead’s score to allow for engagement depreciation there is less likelihood of an untimely sales engagement.

Want to learn how Lead Liaison can help your company better qualify leads using lead scoring principles? Fill out the brief form on the top of this page.

How Lead Nurturing can help a Business in a Bad Economy

How Lead Nurturing can help a Business in a Bad Economy?When the economy is rough, it becomes increasingly important to nurture your contacts and connections to improve the chances of converting more leads into revenue. Focus has shifted from the top of the marketing funnel, where new leads are added, and it is now more focused on the bottom of the marketing funnel, where quality leads are being converted using effective lead nurturing. This is an effective strategy during a bad economy. In summary, lead nurturing can help a business in a bad economy.

Lead Nurturing Cuts Costs

In these lean economic times, every company should be trying to cut costs anyway that they can. Using lead nurturing has been proven to cut marketing costs significantly and companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at a 33% reduction in cost. Being able to bring in additional business at a fraction of the cost is the best strategy any company can have in a tough economy.

Nurture Savvy Consumers

Consumers are also looking to save money without the risk of bad service or future problems, which is why they are spending more time researching their options online. These savvy customers spend a significant amount of time online looking to be educated about their future purchases and that is where lead nurturing becomes essential. Quality content needs to be readily available to help point them in the right direction.

Lead Nurturing Builds Trust

Lead nurturing provides the consumer with free helpful content that gives them a better understanding of a product or service. It is not a promotional piece or a sales pitch, but something that establishes value or expertise. The essence of lead nurturing is to build trust prior to the sale and it is important the message is well received. Consumers are more likely to make multiple purchases with a company that has already earned their trust.

Lead Nurturing Takes Time

Consumers are not rushing to make purchase decisions since they are being more selective with how they spend their money. The first article or blog that is sent to a lead is most likely not enough to persuade them into making a decision. It takes a strategically planned marketing campaign that builds a relationship slowly over time. Once a consumer finds a company that they can rely on, they will be more likely to stick with that company for as long as they need the product or service. The time invested in converting the lead will be worth it for their future loyalty.

A bad economy needs to be taken seriously. Companies that actively look for ways to cut expenses, pursue new business opportunities, and strengthen their reputation are more likely to survive in tough times.  Lead nurturing helps in a bad economy because it reduces marketing costs, increases the conversion rate of qualified leads, and builds lasting relationship with long-term customers and prospects that will be there when the good times come around.

Should You Invest in Lead Nurturing?

Even in today’s competitive B2B environment, there are still some executives wondering if they should invest in lead nurturing. Let’s take a look at why lead nurturing should be incorporated into your lead management strategy.

Research done in 2012 reveals that nurturing leads increases sales opportunities 20% over non-nurtured leads. Another 2012 study shows that an effective lead nurturing strategy can:

  • Increase sales-ready leads by at least 50%
  • Reduce cost per lead by an average of 33%
  • Lower ignored or discarded leads from 80% to as low as 25%
  • Increase sales quota achievement by 9%
  • Reduce “no decisions” by 6%

So operational returns can be improved significantly, but what about financial returns?

Calculating ROI

There are several options when calculating a return on your lead nurturing investment. As an example, let’s use the number of leads converting from a prospect status to sales-ready lead in the sales funnel, with and without nurturing. Using a database of 1,000 existing leads, let’s assume a non-nurtured conversion rate of 5% – or 50 sales-ready leads. Next, estimate a reasonable increase in conversion from lead nurturing activities of 2.5x the existing conversion rate (Industry analysts suggest using an average increase of 2.0-3.0 times non-nurtured leads). Then multiply the non-nurtured conversions (50) by the nurturing conversion rate (2.5), which results in 125. This is an increase of 75 sales-ready leads.

Now, if you’re monthly marketing budget is $10,000, with 10% devoted to lead nurturing, you’ll spend $1,000 for lead nurturing activities. Divide that amount by the total new sales-ready leads (1000/125); this will give you an average cost per lead of $8.

If your average sales amount is $50 per close then your cost per lead is 16% of sales. Not a bad return.

Compare that result to the cost per lead without nurturing. If your budget is $10,000 to convert 50 sales-ready leads, then the cost per lead would be $20.00. By nurturing leads toward a sales engagement, your total cost per lead decreases by 60%!

By incorporating Lead Liaison’s proven lead nurturing strategies, you can boost your marketing results and decrease your cost per lead. Find out how – contact a Lead Liaison representative today!

How B2B Lead Nurturing can Convert Even Seasoned Buyers

How B2B Lead Nurturing can Convert Even Seasoned BuyersSeasoned buyers have higher standards and are typically harder to convert without an effective lead nurturing strategy. It makes you wonder, how B2B lead nurturing can convert even seasoned buyers? The longer someone has been purchasing for a company, the less susceptible they are to sales pitches and traditional closing tools. The only thing that is going to convince them to buy is hard facts and solid proof that it is a worthwhile or cost effective investment. Buyers will ask themselves whether or not your solution will help them make money or save money.

The foundation of B2B lead nurturing is building trusting relationships with potential buyers, so they want to willingly give a company their business out of respect and appreciation. Nurturing leads means creating a lasting connection with a potential buyer using worthwhile content and then allowing them to come to their own conclusion once they are ready to commit. It is not a series of forceful or obvious promotional pieces that are used to rush them into a decision.

Seasoned buyers are the toughest customers which is why B2B lead nurturing has to first brand the business as being an expert in their field. By regularly providing a purchaser with free and useful information, they will experience the benefit of the relationship prior to making a purchase. It will make the lead view the business as a valuable resource instead of a vendor who is only trying to score a new deal.

B2B lead nurturing has to be cleverly disguised as an attempt to inform and educate the buyer rather than as a sales promotion sent to everyone in hopes that someone will bite. Always focus on how a product or service can make their job easier or their business more efficient. Don’t try to directly sell the product or service. The emphasis should be on how it will benefit the purchaser without actually suggesting they buy. It is a delicate balance that takes time to perfect.

A company loses credibility if every article or blog ends with some catchy sales phrase trying to convince the reader to “act now, before it’s too late.” Someone who purchases for a living will find this offensive, since they know the same offer (or a similar enticing offer) will be made whenever they are ready. If B2B lead nurturing is done right, the buyer will decide on their own when they are ready to move forward with a purchase.

Seasoned buyers are not easily persuaded, but that is what makes lead nurturing so effective on them. They are looking for established and helpful companies that are focused on creating mutually beneficial relationships. The foundation of lead nurturing is developing mutually beneficial relationships which is why nurturing leads can convert even the toughest customer.

So, if you are interested in Lead Liaison to help increase your company’s revenue act now, before it’s too late! Just kidding!

Five Components in Every Effective Lead Nurturing Campaign

Five Components in Every Effective Lead Nurturing CampaignThere are certain necessary components to an effective lead nurturing campaign that every business should consider. Neglecting to first segment leads, rushing the relationship with obvious sales pitches, or offending customers by sending them irrelevant content will have a noticeably negative impact on results. Fortunately there are proven methods to improve the chances of converting a qualified lead into a sale.

Here are the top five components in every effective lead nurturing campaign.

Qualified and Segmented Leads

The first step in any lead nurturing campaign is to qualify and segment each lead. Lead nurturing is based on providing relevant content to each lead and it is too difficult to personalize the content for every individual lead. If each lead is divided into groups based on their demographics, online profile, and personal interests, campaigns can be created for each group instead of each person.

An Intent on Building a Lasting Relationship

Lead nurturing is not supposed to be used as a gimmick to quickly convert leads into sales. All lead nurturing efforts must be focused on building a long-term relationship based on trust. By establishing a business as an expert in their respective field, the potential consumer will be more likely to buy from them in the future, when they are ready. If the sales pitch is too strong or obvious, it could rush the decision and lose the customer in the process.

A Strategic Timeline

The frequency of lead nurturing attempts is also crucial to success. Most leads do not want to receive a new article or tutorial from the same business every day. Their inbox’s are already filled with messages from work, family, and friends. If lead nurturing is done too often, the lead could become annoyed and opt out of future messages. The same negative result can happen if the content is not sent often enough, since a lead will pay very little attention to a message they receive from some random company every few months. Depending on the business, 2-4 times per month seems to hold a lead’s interest without overwhelming them.

Interesting and Informative Content

The material that is being sent out to each lead needs to offer value to their lives or their business.  It has to capture their attention and make them want to continue reading. Use the information gathered through the lead segmentation process to determine what the lead is interested in learning. Focus on general information that highlights the benefits of specific products or services without making it sound like a pushy sales ploy.

Method for Measuring Each Campaign`s Effectiveness

Every lead nurturing campaign will bring different results and it is essential that there is a way to analysis the results and their effectiveness. Certain content will draw a greater response and it is important to recognize which lead nurturing campaigns have the greatest conversion rate. Analyze results monthly to determine which nurturing campaigns are working and which need revision. Use a CRM to attribute revenue back to your nurture marketing campaign to measure ROI. Feed your prospects nurture campaigns that produce the highest ROI.

Lead nurturing has been proven time and time again to effectively convert leads into sales, but it has to be done right. Leads need to be qualified and segmented first and then a lasting relationship needs to be built using useful content over a strategic timeline, which will later be measured for effectiveness. Failure to consider any of these five components could negatively impact the effectiveness of a lead nurturing campaign.