Lead generation is an important activity for any B2B company. So much so that a lot of B2B marketers spend their time generating the leads, but not doing anything with them. And in their minds, that's okay, because that's all they were told to do.
"Generate more leads!" management said. So they did.
However that's not where the work ends. In fact, B2B lead generation is just the beginning. After all, the end goal of any marketer is to actually make a sale, not just generate the lead. Sales often finds out just how "good" Marketing is at generating leads when they start going through them all. They discover that while the pile of leads is HUGE, the quality is very LOW. This leads to a lot of frustration and finger-pointing.
Avoid all of this by figuring out what kind of leads you have, and then deciding on a course of action. In other words, lead scoring.
At a basic level, lead scoring is simply a way to determine how serious a lead is to buy your product. There are all sorts of methodologies you can use for lead scoring, but it ultimately comes down to two things: Fit and Engagement.
According to Eloqua, when you qualify a lead's "fit", you're looking at the individual and organization the lead belongs to. Based on information like their job title, industry, geography, company revenue, and more, a lead will be a better or worse fit.
This is the lead's level of buying interest. Using characteristics like their online activity and response to marketing programs, resource downloads, social media shares, event attendance, and more, B2B marketers can determine the lead's level of buying interest.
Acting on your lead scores
After you've decided which elements to measure, it's time to measure them. Having formalized lead scoring thresholds will make it easier for B2B marketers to determine when to make the next move.
- Under a certain number, and it's a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL), meaning they need to see some more content before they're ready to buy.
- Over a certain number, and it's a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL), meaning they're ready to buy and Sales should contact them immediately.
Knowing when to act
Regardless if it's an MQL or SQL, studies show that moving quickly to respond to those leads is the key. Of course for B2B marketers that means entering the lead's buying moment at just the right time. When that happens, studies show that you've got an excellent chance of closing the sale.
Having enough resources helps too
According to eConsultancy, many companies (52%) say they need more resources to improve their conversion rates. For B2B marketers, that means having enough content to feed leads throughout the buying cycle. Case studies, white papers, corporate blog posts, articles, checklists, webinars, events — all of these resources are needed for today's B2B marketer. After all, it takes at least four different pieces of content to even get your name on a vendor shortlist, so be prepared!
Set yourself up the right way
Marketing in the B2B world is a marathon, not a sprint. Preparing your Marketing and Sales teams with the same expectations and the same tools and resources, and you'll be on your way to converting all those leads you're already good at generating.