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Automatically Identify Buy Signals for Sales

Automatically Identify Buy Signals for SalesIt’s almost always the case that sales could use more help from marketing to qualify leads. Marketing is glad to help; however, they’re up to their eye balls in work. Cranking out new content, preparing for the next big trade show, managing the company’s CRM, fine tuning the website and answering to other members of the leadership team to name a few. Wouldn’t it be nice if marketing could automatically identify buy signals for sales?

Now they can! With no effort…it’s all done automatically, behind the scenes using technology. Historically, vendors have struggled getting their marketing automation solutions adopted by B2B businesses. A typical system introduces way too much complexity and an overwhelming number of features; marketers need a simple solution. Case in point, it’s important to make it easy to automatically identify buy signals for sales. Some businesses don’t want to spend countless hours configuring “lead scoring” rules and setting up business logic. Here’s the good news – now they can do it out-of-the-box, with zero configuration.

Lead Liaison allows marketers to turn on/off the most common buy signals. For example, here’s a short list of what can be enabled/disabled to automatically identify buy signals for sales:

  • Clicking through multiple emails in a certain number of months
  • Multiple website visits in a certain number of weeks
  • Web form submissions
  • Total activity (a measure of how active and interested a lead is)
  • Website visitor viewing more than a certain number of web pages
  • Website visitor viewing a specific web page
  • Viewing a landing page

Even better, buy signals can be layered on top of one another. For example, a select number of buy signals could be enabled requiring all buy signal conditions are met before sales is contacted.

Quick lead follow up is also vital. Its imperative the sales person receives buy signal alerts from marketing via a text message (SMS) or an email to reduce delay in lead response time. More importantly, sales should be able to choose how they’re notifying and if they’re notified.

At Lead Liaison, we’re getting rid of the complexity in traditional marketing automation and helping marketing automatically identify buy signals for sales. Feel free to contact us to learn more about how we can help you solve your sales and marketing problems!

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Automatically Qualify Leads for Sales

Automatically Qualify Leads for SalesIf you’re in marketing then you’ve probably had your organization press you for more leads at some point. It’s usually sales that places high demands on marketing to continually generate more leads – and it’s usually marketing that claims they pump new leads into the funnel all the time. These debates on and on, back and forth, time after time until one group starts to form a negative opinion about the other. The walls of communication break down and trust disappears. Fortunately, there are two solutions to this problem. Define what is a lead is and automatically qualify leads for sales.

Create the Definition of a Lead

First, businesses should create a definition for a lead and establish certain criteria before “stamping” any old contact as a lead. Come up with certain criteria such as revenue, industry as well as level of interest before declaring all names in your system as a “lead”. Whatever your definition is, make sure it’s something both your sales and marketing team mutually agrees with. Place the definition into a Service Level Agreement (SLA) which should serve as a contractual agreement between sales and marketing.

Automatically Qualify Leads for Sales

Second, marketing can automatically qualify leads for sales. Many times sales people get frustrated by marketing as they feel marketing is just dumping business cards and “raw” contacts on their plate. Sales people feel like there’s been no screening or interviewing of the contact to qualify their interest. Instead of relying on your expensive sales team to qualify leads why not use technology to automatically qualify leads for sales. Lead Liaison’s revenue generation software can your marketing team automatically qualify leads for sales by:

1. measuring a prospects total “activities”. An activity could be a website page view, a form submission, a whitepaper download, an online chat and more. It’s a measure of how active the lead is. Based on this measurement leads can be filtered and distributed to your sales team.

2. using weighted measurement of a leads interest. Automatically qualify leads using a concept called “lead scoring”. For example, assign 20 points to a lead if they fill out a web form, add 10 points to a lead if they visit the pricing page and add 30 points to a lead if they visit your website more than two times in the past week. If the lead reaches 50 points or more then escalate awareness of the lead to sales and hand it off via email while automatically loading the lead into your CRM, such as Salesforce.com.

Defining a lead and automatically qualifying a lead are two steps your marketing team can take to build relationships with your sales team and prioritize leads for your organization.

Contact Lead Liaison if you’d like to learn more about our solution to help your business automatically qualify leads for sales.

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Building a Lead Scoring Model

Building a Lead Scoring ModelWe posted a few articles over the past week on lead scoring, prioritizing leads and lead scoring criteria. Today, we’ll put this information to use and explain 5 simple steps to building a lead scoring model.

1. Hold an alignment meeting between sales and marketing

2. Categorize lead scoring events into 3 buckets

3. Define a lead scoring threshold

4. Assign a weight to lead scores

5. Assign a point value and test

Building a lead scoring model in 5 steps

Step 1: Meet

First, begin building a lead scoring model by getting key sales and marketing folks into a meeting. As much as marketing may desire complete ownership of the lead scoring model, it’s vital to involve sales. As Mac McConnell points out:

“Sales is the client of a lead scoring model.” Mac McConnell, bluebirdstrat.com

By bringing sales into the process early on you’ll garner their buy-in. Mac further explains, once they buy-in, they’ll know the meaning behind a lead score and how marketing qualified the lead. More importantly, they know what a truly “qualified” lead is and can offer valuable input on Step 2.

Step 2: Categorize

As discussed in our article on lead scoring criteria, use 3 buckets when building a lead scoring model – demographics, behavior and qualification. Write down relevant criteria that contributes to your company’s definition of a “lead” within each category. For example, under demographics you might list vice president of engineering as an important title to assign a lead score to if your company recognizes this role as a key persona in the B2B buying process.

Step 3: Define

Select a lead scoring threshold. The lead scoring threshold is somewhat arbitrary; however, it’s important as it objectively defines when the lead is ready to be handed to sales, or becomes a marketing qualified lead (MQL). For example, pick 75, 100 or 1000. The actual number is immaterial. Use a scale that is easy to remember and to track while building a lead scoring model. See our write-up on sales pipeline stages for further clarity on MQL and other phases of the funnel.

Step 4: Weight

Use stars or symbols to assign a weight to each lead scoring criteria instead of using point values. Using symbols is important at this stage for sales and marketing to avoid contention. It’s easier to agree on assigning 4 stars or 5 stars to something rather than assign arbitrary numeric values. In Mac’s video below he doesn’t use a precise way to derive the lead score from the weight, we’ll address this in Step 5.

Step 5: Score (and Test)

Assign points to your weights and test your model. We suggest using a consistent method when assigning scores. For example, if the lead scoring threshold were 70 it makes sense to say each star is worth 10 points. If the total lead score meets or exceeds 70 points (7 stars) the lead is ready for sales (a MQL). After building a lead scoring model, test your model by running through a handful of theoretical scenarios. Take recent leads and/or opportunities and apply them to your lead scoring model. How did the score turn out? If your model were live would the lead score be realistic and accurate? Would sales agree to this lead scoring model? Remember, building a lead scoring model is not a “set it and forget it” kind of thing. Review your lead scoring model frequently (every 3 months at a minimum) and tune it as needed.

Finally, input your lead scoring rules into revenue generation software, such as that from Lead Liaison. For a free consultation on building a lead scoring model using Lead Liaison’s software contact us.

For more information watch Mac McConnell’s presentation below on building a lead scoring model.

We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions. How are you building a lead scoring model?

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Lead Scoring Criteria

Lead Scoring CriteriaLead scoring is the process of automatically qualifying and prioritizing leads for sales. If you own revenue generation software and haven’t developed a lead scoring program yet or you’re considering investing in a lead scoring program you’re probably wondering how to get started. First, identify your lead scoring criteria.

Businesses typically categorize lead scoring criteria into three “buckets” – demographics, behavior and qualification. Segmenting lead scoring criteria into these three areas helps businesses organize their lead scoring rules and determine the weight/value to place on each rule. Here’s a breakdown of the three lead scoring criteria buckets.

Demographic lead scoring criteria

Demographic lead scoring refers to any information about a company or a person. In the video below, Mac McConnell uses a creative way to interpret demographic lead scoring criteria as any information typically seen on a business card. Some industry experts refer to this as “firmographics”, or any company related information while demographics are information on a person. An example of lead scoring criteria in this bucket is below:

• Company name

• Revenue

• Industry

• Geography

• Name

• Title/position

Behavior lead scoring criteria

Behavior lead scoring refers to any information about an individual’s online behavior such as their interaction with marketing assets. For example, it’s possible to track the following behavioral lead scoring criteria using lead tracking technology:

• Website visits (# of pages viewed, specific pages visited – like a pricing page)

• Online registrations (document downloads, webinar requests)

• Email opens and/or links clicked in an email

• Time spent on a website

Qualification lead scoring criteria

Qualification lead scoring refers to any information about a lead which identifies whether a lead is in profile (ideal buyer) or out of profile. For example, at Lead Liaison our ideal customers are B2B companies, not B2C. To collect this information ask your sales people to log this data into your CRM. Alternatively, use progressive profiling technology to ask for this information in a web form. Progressive profiling allows marketers to ask for different qualification criteria once and only once. For example, you could ask where someone is in the buying process on their first form submission. When the visitor returns to complete a second form, progress profiling with automatically replace the question with another qualifying question. Over time you’ll build a more holistic profile of your prospect.

It’s important to place the proper “weight” on each of the three lead scoring criteria buckets. As Mac points out, people tend to provide inaccurate demographic information; however, it’s not possible to lie on behavioral information since that’s activity based.

Adding the lead score from each of the three lead scoring criteria buckets gives you a total lead score, which tells you how to prioritize leads and when to elevate attention towards particular leads.

Check out our Lead Scoring Solutions Guide for more examples of lead scoring criteria. For help prioritizing leads see this post. Please contact Lead Liaison for a free consultation to see how our revenue generation software technology can help your company score leads and implement progressive profiling to create, manage, qualify and nurture leads.

Here’s the short presentation from Mac McConnell on lead scoring criteria.

Lead Scoring Criteria, by Mac McConnell:

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We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions. How does your company define lead scoring criteria?

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Prioritizing Leads

Prioritizing LeadsMost sales organizations rely on their marketing team to carry the “burden” of lead generation. Numerous lead sources exist, making sorting and prioritizing leads challenging for marketers. We know many marketers struggle prioritizing leads as experts sight 80% of all marketing leads passed to sales are unqualified. How can marketing prioritize leads?

The answer is, with lead scoring. Lead scoring technology automatically qualifies a lead. In practice, the higher a lead score the more qualified the leads is. More importantly, the lead score is a measure of how interested the lead is in your company’s offering. It also helps sales and marketers understand where the lead is in the B2B buying process. A lead score tells a marketer when the lead is ready to be handed to sales. Prioritizing leads using lead scoring helps sales understand who’s hot and who’s not.

In conjunction with Software Advice, Mac McConnell, partner and founder of BlueBird Strategies published a three part series covering lead scoring. We’re delighted to share the first session with you, which covers lead scoring and how to prioritize leads. Mac also talks about the “Buddha Funnel”, where leads get stuck in the pipeline.

How to Prioritize Leads, by Mac McConnell:

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Mac uses sales pipeline stages to help marketers understand how they can “stretch out” the pipeline to accommodate marketing’s increased involvement in prioritizing leads for sales.

We’ll also point out that Mac uses terminology that may be foreign to many marketers, such as MQL and SQL. Check out our post on sales pipeline stages for further explanation of these terms. If you’re interested in learning how Lead Liaison’s technology can help your organization start prioritizing leads and nurturing leads through the “Buddha Funnel” we welcome your inquiry.

We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions. How is your company prioritizing leads?

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