The websites of companies worldwide are becoming more and more important as tools to convert website visitors into customers. Recent industry research however shows that most of the website visitors are never followed up by sales people. And those sales people who do follow up are often too late because too much time has passed by. Sales teams simply don't know that there are sophisticated tools available to help them scoring leads. With "scoring leads" we mean to say: converting website visitors, also called prospects, into customers.
Lead scoring automation.
These tools are able to determine if a lead is ready to buy and if not, these instruments can give more detailed information on how to convince prospects later in the process to buy the product or service offered. Being able as a company to qualify and disqualify potential customers is a huge advantage in terms of sales and time management. The lead scoring tools I'm talking about here enable companies to give high rankings to the "hottest" leads and lower rankings to those who are not likely to buy. Automatic software telling the marketing department "how far" a lead is in the sales process takes away the burden to follow up every lead manually either by email, phone or otherwise. The old lead scoring system BANT (budget, authority, needs and timeframe) has left too many errors on the table leading to excluding good leads and trying to sell to the "bad" ones. In order to resolve this issue some companies now successfully combine BANT with demographics and lead behaviour thereby eliminating the mentioned errors. Here's and example on how to do it:
Use a consistent method to rank leads.
Create optimal buyer profiles
Determine the score threshold for leads who are ready to buy.
Create lead scoring rules.(Demographic and Behavioural information).
Consider more than one scoring scenario for gaining greater insight into the level of interest in different products or services.
Define an expiration date for scores that align with the sales cycle.
Of course the main objective is not the lead score but the sale. It's all about the money and if a lead isn't "hot" enough there should be a clear instruction for the marketing team on what the next action should be. This could be "let it go", or "one last phone call", an invitation to a news letter subscription etc.
Lead scoring isn't perfect. It can be compared to the algorithms of search engines. This means that errors can arise such as missing vital data or lack of reality checks. A good example is the website visitor who is looking for a job. Instead of going to the Careers page the visitor downloads product information and subscribes to a news letter. Good lead scoring software accounts for such anomalies and will recognise the prospect as a job seeker in the beginning of his or her online activities. Another mistake is solely relying on BANT. Basically, the more dimensions are included the better it is on the condition that each of them, and the combination of multiple dimensions, always lead to clear conclusions. If not. then the number of dimensions should be decreased. It requires a lot of psychological knowledge and skills in order to fully understand lead behavior since every website visitor has his or her own unique approach to the product or service. The art of the game is to implement all possible customer categories into the automatic software including exceptional or unclear behavior that can then be followed up manually. Marketing and Sales should constantly work together in the evaluation process of lead scoring in order to achieve optimum results.
Prospects not ready to buy should be nurtured. Nurturing means that you regularly follow up with not yet ready to buy leads in a non intrusive and pleasant way. You can think of offering something for free such as webinars, videos, ebooks, news letters, whitepapers, case studies etc. The content of these offers should be leveled to the leads needs of that specific moment. It's a matter of engaging the lead into positive activities that may ultimately lead to a sale. Now you would think that lead scoring and nurturing is a time consuming and expensive process. Well, it's not if you leave the work to expert companies. Most companies that are specialised in lead scoring and nurturing offer very affordable prices for their automated programs that, in general, lead to substantial increase in profits.
Examples of companies specialised in lead scoring.
Optify: With Optify's tools, sales departments are able to qualify and score prospects, focus sales efforts, create specific alerts, align marketing and sales teams, and make more sales by giving the right leads to the right sales person at exactly the right time. It offers multiple lead scores, which can be customised -- allowing companies to prioritise leads in Salesforce. The system makes it very simple for sales and marketing to know which leads are the most important ones.
Genius: Genius identifies qualified leads while the prospect is still on your site. Best yet, you don’t even have to tag your site in order to track behavior. With Genius, companies track a website visitors behavior even before you know who or where they are, so when the visitor fills out a form or responds to email, their history is already in the lead scoring tool.
Marketo: This company uses RPM (Revenue Performance Management), which brings Sales and Marketing together to work in concert toward a common sales goal. The company's solutions include prospect scoring and prospect management.
Eloqua: pairs a business application with revenue analytics and reporting software. The process includes execution of campaigns, testing, lead profiling and nurturing. The platform offers personalized direct mail, voice mail and cell phone messaging to target scored prospects.