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Understanding Lead Metrics to Convert Warm Leads
Increasingly, your marketing efforts must be in solid sync with your sales team to be effective. It’s essential to have sales understand the content you’re producing, both at the top of the sales funnel (to introduce yourself) and in the mid-funnel (to warm up leads).
At some point, however, both marketing and sales will have to agree on what prospects are ready for direct outreach from sales, or are in need of more nurturing. They do this by a points-based or letter-grade process known as lead scoring.
If you’re not dealing in great numbers of prospects, you can score your leads simply by indication of interest. As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, mid funnel prospects have already shown some interest in you, perhaps via website visits or downloaded content. If so, you can reach out directly to see if they’d like to know more about you and your company.
But to do this at any kind of volume, industry segmentation, or prospect title, it’s best to use technology — your CRM, email, or marketing automation platforms—to get into the details of who’s hot, who’s warm, and who’s just kicking the tires.
Here, you’ll want to set up lead-scoring criteria based on the data your platform collects. For example, you might track responses to your calls to action, page views and visits, or email interactions, all of which indicate interest. Other markers can include email opens and click-throughs, social media shares, downloads, or product demo requests.
These platforms then will assign a score to each prospect, whether they’re top of the sales funnel, middle, or ready to convert. Then you can serve up the content that’s right for their particular inclination and propensity to become customers.
Content Is King
The essential thing to remember about lead scoring is that it must be closely connected to your content marketing effort.
At the top of the funnel you’ll already have created educational and viral content such as blog posts, email newsletters, and guides to best printing practices. In the mid funnel to further engage prospects, your content may include data sheets, case studies, and how-to’s that showcase your services. With really warm prospects, your content may include product reviews and customer testimonials. And of course you’ll want to have a really trustworthy sales process to tie everything together.
In short, with lead scoring you’ll be able to identify who is who.
A good example of a marketing platform that keys on lead metrics and scoring is Salesforce. What began as a straightforward CRM platform is now a full-fledged marketing, content management, lead scoring, and sales analytics tool. Its traditional scoring method is augmented by a grading system that matches leads to your ideal customer profile, location, industry, job title, and company size.
There are numerous other sales and marketing platforms with lead-scoring capabilities, and CabinetM is a handy place to explore the ones that may suit you. Software Advice offers an even more comprehensive list, and includes details on such well-known platforms as HubSpot, Act-On, Pardot, and Mailchimp. One thing I like about Software Advice is that it ranks the platforms on price, from $ to $$$$$. You might want to explore which ones offer “freemium” versions, a limited or try-before-you-buy version.
Many of these platforms also can specify industry vertical and different data criteria. Your print products and services may be different when aimed at financial institutions, healthcare organizations, agencies, or marketing and sales departments. Look at platforms that have various scoring sheets, so you can customize leads accordingly.
With lead scoring and grading, you’ll know what type of content to feed to which prospects — and when the iron is hot to move these folks from the mid funnel to the bottom, where they’re ready to convert. Good luck!
Christopher Hosford is editor at large for Target Marketing. Former editor-in-chief of Nielsen’s Sales & Marketing Management magazine, he’s covered all aspects of sales, marketing, and cutting-edge marketing technologies.