Over 85% of B2B companies say lead generation is the most critical marketing goal, so it’s top of mind for most B2B marketers. No doubt, generating leads is the first step in selling, but it’s only half the battle. The real challenge lies in converting those leads into paying customers. In fact, according to recent studies, as much as 80% of new leads never translate into sales. That shocking statistic underscores the importance of a well-planned lead nurturing strategy. One key element of that strategy is lead scoring – assigning a numerical value to each lead based on their level of engagement and fit with your ideal customer persona.
In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of lead scoring. We guide you through the factors to consider in creating a successful lead-nurturing strategy that drives conversions and grows your business.
How B2B marketers approach lead scoring
Effective lead scoring hinges on a solid understanding of your ideal customer profile. e.g. factors like their behaviour and demographics. A lead’s current affinity with your brand heavily impacts a lead score. So, it would be best to have the right mix of short- and long-term marketing strategies to have enough touchpoints to measure a lead’s engagement. In B2B markets, you must also consider the industry, company size, job responsibilities, and any predisposition to similar and alternative solutions to their challenges.
There are various approaches to lead scoring used by B2B marketers, including demographic-based, behaviour-based, and hybrid models. Demographic-based models assign scores based on job title, company size, and industry, while behaviour-based models track a lead’s interactions with your website, content, and email campaigns. Hybrid models combine demographic and behaviour-based factors for a more comprehensive approach to lead scoring. Ultimately, the key is to identify the factors most predictive of a lead’s likelihood to convert and tailor your scoring system accordingly.
Factors to consider when creating a lead scoring system
If you’ve got sales leads, you’ll know that not all leads are equal. Lead scoring helps you know where to focus by identifying leads most likely to convert and weed out those who are not. Scoring each opportunity as they come into your sales pipeline is a godsend as it allows marketing to pass on Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) that salespeople can confidently follow up. So, what factors do you need to consider when creating a lead scoring system?
Engagement with your brand is a crucial factor in lead scoring. The factor indicates the level of interest a lead has in your product or service. You can measure the extent of a lead’s interaction with your website, content downloads, follows of your social channels, and email opens.
Depending on your industry, specific lead scoring demographics about your leads will be necessary. For instance, factors such as job title and level in the organisation and industry could be used for lead scoring. These considerations help you prioritise leads based on their fit with your ideal customer persona.
Firmographics is more crucial in B2B lead scoring as it focuses on key attributes of the company where the lead originated. Company revenue, location, attitude to risk, and existing technology stack could determine whether this lead will convert.
How a lead interacts with your website and content can be used in lead scoring. Gather data on which pages they visit and how long they spend on each page. If the lead spends time reading relevant content such as articles and case studies, you can attribute a higher score to the lead, as they are further down the funnel and more likely to convert.
A lead engaging with your content could be an important indicator of a lead’s score. You should give a different score to leads that engage early in the buying journey compared to one that engages later in the process. For instance, engaging early could mean more urgency, so there is a greater chance of closing the deal sooner.
Besides positive scoring, negative scoring can also be used to identify leads that are not a good fit for your business or are not as far down the sales funnel. For example, if a lead is not engaging with your content or has a low email open rate, they may receive a negative score. You might also assign a negative score if the lead is not in the decision-making team. Also, in cases where you need more information about their buying vision, a negative score may apply.
Less common factors that impact lead scoring
Other factors affect the score you give a lead. B2B marketing is often complex, with several touchpoints across several media by different stakeholders. It’s prudent to whittle down your lead scoring criteria, yet, you should keep an eye on these less common factors.
Social Media Activity
Tracking a lead’s activity on social media platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter can provide valuable insights into their interests, engagement level, and potential fit with your product or service. If a lead participates in conversations about challenges that your offering can help overcome, this is a good indicator of a high-quality lead.
A lead’s affinity for your brand is their emotional connection towards it. Is the lead already an advocate of your brand? Some indicators of brand affinity are whether you’ve won business before from them, they’ve made a referral, or there have been past positive reviews from this lead. High brand affinity can show their likelihood to convert.
Time on Site
While engagement on your website is a standard factor in lead scoring, the actual amount of time a lead spends on your site can provide more insight into their level of interest and engagement. For example, a quick look of less than one minute doesn’t score as much as a 4-minute read of your most relevant blog.
In B2B marketing, you need more insight into their role and immediate priorities when considering job tenure. For instance, a long tenure might indicate more decision-making authority. Yet, a short tenure could show the lead’s need to quickly make a difference in their organisation by solving a significant challenge.
By considering the impact of these factors on your lead scoring system, you can gain a more holistic view of your leads and better prioritise your resources towards those most likely converting.
Examples of using lead scoring
Depending on what’s most important for your organisation, select a set of criteria that you use to score your leads. No two leads are the same, so the more you understand the lead’s requirements, decision-making process, and motivations, the more valuable your lead score is. Decision-making influence and urgency are two of the biggest challenges for sellers, so here is the simple starting point for scoring leads based on these factors.
Scoring based on decision-making influence
A simple way to score decision-making influence is to evaluate whether you are in contact with only one decision-maker or if you have several touchpoints within the lead’s organisation. Score the lead low if you are only in touch with one of several decision-makers and score high if you have connected and can reach out to any member of the decision-making team.
Scoring based on urgency
In 2022, 42% of sellers said that building urgency is the number one challenge in sales. Urgency usually comes from a compelling event in the lead’s market, industry, or organisation. If there’s no urgency, it’s likely to be a negative score, as there isn’t enough motivation for the lead to convert. Leads with some urgency, such as a new market entrant, new legislation, or a drive to meet revenue goals, will score higher. If there’s a realistic deadline and an established live date for solving the challenge, this attracts higher scores to the lead.
If you want to find out more about incorporating lead scoring into your B2B marketing strategy, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on social media.