Lead Scoring for B2B Demand Gen — a Critical Tactic for Lead Nurturing Success
Background – The Adoption of Demand Generation and Marketing Automation
During the pandemic we witnessed a dramatic shift towards content marketing and the pursuit of multiple digital channels to generate leads. And according to Gartner’s latest survey, we also witnessed a dramatic shift to a Digital First sales process to replace the historical pre-sales education tasks of the Sales Development Rep with extremely positive results. That’s where lead scoring for B2B demand gen comes in.
The Impact on Leads
As a result, Buyers have now started their digital education far in advance of being ready to buy.
- Less than 5% of Email Click Throughs are Ready to Buy – 96% of leads are not ready to buy when they first hit your website or landing page. (Aberdeen)
- Less Than 25% of Inbound Form Fills are Ready to Buy – 78% of buyers requesting information on your company today will not purchase for at least 3 to 6 months – and 28% will take 12 or more months to buy. (Sirius Decisions)
And simultaneously, Buyers started to expect Sellers to provide digital pre-sales education much deeper into the sales funnel.
- Buyers conduct over half their pre-sales education online. 74% of business buyers conduct more than half of their research and solution education online before engaging with a sales rep.
- 80% of Buyers want to avoid Sales Reps until they have done their pre-sales research. 80% of Buyers want to delay dealing with sales reps until they have completed initial research and are ready to shortlist for a decision. (Marketing Sherpa)
Lead Nurturing and Marketing Automation Are Now Requirements
As a result, successful marketing operations teams have moved beyond content marketing for lead gen and are now accountable for providing well educated buyers to their sales reps as part of an integrated pre-sales and content marketing process. These marketing teams now implement Digital Demand Generation programs to nurture buyers through the pre-sales process to provide their sales team with well-educated buyers.
According to Gartner, over 58% of successful B2B sales and marketing operation teams are now leveraging a marketing automation platform to manage this nurturing process (and another 12% are planning to implement an automation platform within the next twelve months).
They use a marketing automation platform because it is the central technology required to successfully execute Demand Generation with the sustained nurturing that is now required for success. A marketing automation platform is critical for demand generation because it allows you to do four things:
- Email Marketing – Send sustained email nurturing campaigns to targeted leads
- Track a Buyer’s Digital Engagement – The platform allows you track the digital engagement of your lead’s activities, as well as their interaction with specific pieces of online content
- Lead Scoring – Allows you to score leads and they engage with your digital content and nurturing campaigns
- Alert/Prioritize Sales to Hottest Leads – Send alerts, notifications and prioritize leads for your sales team once a lead is “Sales-Ready”
What is Lead Scoring for B2B Demand Gen and How Does it Work?
Lead scoring is the process of giving each lead a numerical score to predict and rank the sales-readiness of each lead.
That numerical score is calculated in three ways:
- Explicit Contact Data
- The Buyer’s activity
- Predictive Content Engagement
Video – Nurturing, Lead Scoring for B2B Demand Gen and How it Works with Digital Demand Center™
(Watch Time – 3:00 Minutes)
One – Explicit Contact Data
Targeting the right market should already be a top priority for your sales and marketing operations team. Great targeting leads to better results and a better ROI on your marketing investment. A well-built database of targeted leads can help make this easier, but having a perfect lead database is not a realistic goal.
If you are targeting a broad market or generating a great deal of suspect PPC inbound leads, the first step is to give the best targets a higher score. This can be done directly in the Marketing Automation Platform based on your ideal fit. Below is a quick example of the customization that can be programed in the Marketing Automation Platform.
Two – The Buyer’s Activity
Lead scoring allows you to track a Buyer’s activity in a number of ways including:
- Email Opens
- Email Clicks
- Video Plays
- Duration of Video Watched
- Form Visits
- Number of Page Views
- Visits to Your Website
- Repeat Visits
- Time on The Website
These scores continue to accrue over time every time your potential buyer comes back to your site(s).
Three – Predictive Content Engagement – The Most Critical Lead Scoring Step
Not all types of activities and engagement are created equal. An effective demand generation program requires that you nurture a buyer deeper into their pre-sales journey using different types of content to meet the buyers increasing needs as they get closer to a decision.
The deeper the buyer moves into the sales funnel the higher the numerical score associated with that that specific type/piece of content becomes.
Your marketing automation platform then allows you to weight your content score based what stage the content indicates they engaged with as part of their Buyer’s Journey. If the buyer is still at the “Awareness” stage that engagement will get a score of 10. If they move on to checking out a piece of content (like a Demo Video) that indicates they are at the “Preference” stage they will get an additional score of 250”.
In addition to prioritizing leads that may be “Sales Ready” directly in your CRM. Lead Scoring also allows your marketing team to trigger alerts for leads that are Buyer that are demonstrating buying signals for quick and/or immediate follow up so they never miss an opportunity.
One of the most effective ways to score leads and predict when a buyer is ready to buy is a buyer’s engagement with video. You can learn more about this in our article – What Videos Are Most Effective B2B Lead Scoring and Sales Automation.
These alerts are typically shared via email and are predominantly one of three types of notifications.
- Predictive Engagement – The lead is engaging with content that typically indicates they are moving from “Consideration” to “Preference” or “Decision” stages.
- Predictive Score – The lead is engaging with digital education in a meaningful way. The “Buyer” is becoming a “Well Educated Buyer” and their engagement and activities indicates they are trying to solve a problem in a way in which your solution looks like a potential fit.
- Inbound Request – Sales team is immediately notified when any inbound requests are made by a potential Buyer.
Lead Nurturing is quickly becoming critical to the success of B2B Sales and Marketing Operation because B2B Buyers reward Sellers for a Digital First Pre-Sales Education process.
- Businesses using marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified opportunities.
- 95% of buyers short list a solution provider that “Provided them with ample content to help navigate through each stage of the buying process” (DemandGen Report)
- You are 2X as likely to win business over your competitor if you provide a substantive digital education experience for your prospects throughout their buying process (McKinsey)
And Leads Scoring is the critical process to capture the most sales value from this process. Nurturing without Lead Scoring is like ordering food and then leaving the table when it’s time to eat.
About Digital Demand Center™ (and Gabriel Sales)
Gabriel Sales has been helping companies build successful sales and marketing operations for over 20 years. As part of these efforts, we have implemented marketing automation platforms over 150 times for companies ranging in size from Start Ups, through Small and Mid-Market businesses as well as serving the Fortune 500.
Digital Demand Center is a turnkey solution designed specifically for the small and medium sized businesses. Our cost effective solution is engineered for companies that are serious about meeting the challenges and capturing the rewards of executing an automated digital first sales process. DDC allows us to deploy our expertise and lead scoring best practices (cross pollinated) across all the successful organizations we support and serve. For a detailed overview of the needs of the modern buyer, more about the problems we can help you solve and how that happens you can watch the video below and read our quick article Why Outsource Demand Generation and Lead Nurturing?.
Video – The Modern Digital First B2B Buyer and Digital Demand Center™
(Watch Time – 10:00 Minutes) Learn How to Successfully Meet the Needs of the Modern B2B Buyer with Digital Demand Center™ and Provide Your Sales Team with a Steady Flow of Well Educated “Sales Ready” Leads
If you are still not convinced nurturing, pre-sales automation and lead scoring is critical or feel like you would like a much deeper crash course on all challenges, budget, technology and tactics required for success, we invite you to check out our Educational Video Series on The Digital First Transformation.