Those of us in B2B marketing know this: Not all leads are the same.
You spend value, time, and resources uncovering prospects and building beautiful campaigns, but do you really know when prospects are ready for your sales team?
Unfortunately, most leads we send to the sales team may not be ready to be qualified. In fact, according to Aberdeen Research, up to 73% of your B2B leads aren’t even ready to make a purchase.
However, there is a method you can use to determine when leads are sales-qualified. By implementing email lead scoring with your contacts, you can begin to gauge lead readiness.
This article will explain why email lead scoring is essential for business, and it will also provide tips to improve your lead scoring tactics and close more deals.
How email lead scoring works
Analyzing email performance is second-nature to most marketers. If you’re running a sophisticated email marketing program, then you likely already know how your campaigns are performing.
But while most marketers know about message effectiveness, few take the time to understand how individual contacts are performing.
You can easily determine this by setting up a lead score for each contact receiving your emails. This score assigns certain values or counts for specific actions your leads take.
For instance, opening a welcome email might count as one point. But attending a webinar might be worth thirty. Once contacts reach a certain number, they’re sales-ready.
This method separates unengaged leads from engaged ones, giving your sales team active prospects who are likely to make a purchase. You might deliver fewer leads to sales, but the leads you do pass along will be more valuable.
5 steps to improve your email lead score process
Even for the marketers who are using email lead scores, many admit their process needs improvement. According to Demand Gen Report, only 20% of marketers say their programs are highly effective. And sales teams echo this sentiment. Only 15% say sales teams consider their leads to be highly qualified or realistic.
These numbers are discouraging, but there isn’t necessarily a problem with strategy. Rather, marketers may just be focusing on the wrong things.
Here are five steps you can follow to immediately improve your email lead score effectiveness.
1. Work with sales to determine the best scoring criteria
It’s no secret that sales and marketing teams don’t always get along. It’s also no secret that the best marketing and sales success happens when these two teams are working closely together. And it appears that marketers are beginning to understand how important this relationship can be. 60% of marketers said they wanted to improve sales and marketing alignment as one of their top goals for 2018.
It’s essential that sales and marketing teams work together to develop email lead scoring categories and criteria. Marketing teams can learn about the digital campaigns that work well to keep leads engaged. And sales teams know from experience which leads are more likely to make a purchase, based on their prior activities.
For instance, sales might notice people who downloaded a specific report are more likely to speak with a salesperson directly. This is a valuable insight that should be shared and considered when creating values for your email lead scoring.
2. Weigh demographic attributes more heavily than behavior
It’s great to have a lead who follows the traditional behavioral steps in a sale. But it’s even better to have a lead that falls right into your ideal customer profile or buyer persona.
That’s why you should add more value to lead fit instead of lead interest. Lead fit would include one of the following demographic attributes:
- Email address: Leads who use their work email address are more likely to be engaged and willing to purchase, because they’re likely opening their emails while at work. Leads who use personal email addresses are looking at your messages in a non-work context.
- Company: Leads who work for a specific company or specific type of company might be more valuable than leads from a random sector or industry.
- Title: Nearly seven people are involved in the average B2B purchase decision. A contact that is an executive-level decision maker would be a more valuable lead than an entry-level worker who might have no say in the final purchase.
If you have a lead that falls into one of the demographic categories you’re looking for, you should score that contact fairly high. In most cases, this score should be higher than any of the lead interest or behavioral categories.
3. Add automatic qualifiers and disqualifiers to your email lead scoring model
Sometimes a lead comes along that’s just too good to pass up. If this contact fits one of your profiles, consider sending them directly to sales without waiting for behavioral scores.
For instance, let’s say you’re a cloud company with online gaming customers. You notice the SVP of a growing gaming company is currently receiving your emails, and they’re in a nearby city. This is a lead you might want to consider sending directly to your sales team.
At the same time, there are some leads unlikely to convert. Company size, annual revenue, location, and job title are all factors you might want to use to disqualify a lead. As long as they’re engaging with your emails, keep them on your distribution list. But don’t waste your sales teams’ time if it’s obvious a lead won’t buy.
4. Keep it simple
We all know the KISS acronym. Keep that philosophy in mind with your email lead scores.
Only grade what’s important based on conversations with your sales team. And only score behaviors that will increase the chances a lead will convert. Anything that’s less than 5% should be removed.
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It’s also important you don’t count individual email opens as part of your scoring metric. Otherwise, you might have a lead who opens every email you send but never clicks through. This is a key indicator of a lead who isn’t interested in learning more about your product or service. If you count all email opens, this contact will eventually be sent over to sales, but it’s not a highly qualified opportunity.
5. Crush your email drip campaigns
This suggestion is pretty self-explanatory.
Your leads will not magically reach the goal score you’ve set for them. They will rely on your careful segmentation and personalization to receive content that’s timely and valuable.
Email drip campaigns are a great way to nurture those contacts while they slowly interact with your content and raise their lead score. This strategy should be starting immediately with your welcome drip campaign.
Leads who provide their email addresses open this initial email 50% of the time. After your welcome campaign ends, you’ll begin to see which leads might be on their way to becoming sales-ready.
From there, you can segment your audience based on their preferences and actions. If they haven’t been qualified yet, you’ll nurture these leads with newsletters, educational content, and some product or service updates. Your goals here are for leads to click through or engage with your emails.
If they’re getting close to being qualified, you’ll add in more product-specific content and industry guidance. You might even include a downloadable report or webinar. At this phase, your leads should be more engaged and will be more likely to complete your call to action.
It’s important to be patient with your drip campaigns. Depending on the industry and buyer cycle, it may take some time for your leads to become qualified.
If you aren’t using an email lead score as part of your process for determining sales-ready leads, you need to start. This method will help provide your sales team with opportunities to close deals. It will also showcase the value of your marketing emails and digital campaigns.
Just remember, lead scoring isn’t something that can be created overnight. It takes careful planning and consideration to determine the types of actions and demographics that should be rewarded. Collaborate with your sales team to determine the types of leads you hope to target.
Are you ready to build a lead scoring system into your email marketing campaigns? Schedule a live demo today to learn how Delivra can help you deliver better leads to close more deals.