Conversions start with conversations

B2B technology marketers today have more data, and more sophisticated tools, at our disposal than ever before. On the face of it, it should be child’s play to get a pretty detailed picture of each lead – who they are, likely value, what their level of interest is, etc.

We all know it’s important, too. It’s no surprise that Aberdeen Research have found companies with a proper lead scoring strategy can improve their lead qualification rate by nearly 200%.

More and more companies are utilising marketing automation and lead scoring but why are so many not hitting the mark?

People v processes

Any level of lead scoring will use basic behavioural and statistical insights to prioritise opportunities based upon their potential size and likelihood of conversion. But, really, it needs to go deeper.

After all, conversations – with a person – makes human beings tick. And lead scoring is about interpreting those interactions, and providing a framework to define the next course of action for them.

If you look at the marketing press regularly, the next trend is “3D Scoring”. Apparently this takes the prospect’s sales lifecycle into account as well as the behavioural and statistical insights… Like most trends, everything is in the name and is rarely “NEW”.

Anyway, this got me thinking and in the process of fine-tuning our Lead-to-Revenue model here at MOI, we continue to find that the all-round qualification process naturally takes automated lead scoring to another level, really understanding online engagement and interaction with a brand. Maybe we should give this a name and start a trend!

In turn, the better you’re engaged with your prospect through marketing, the clearer and more holistic your view of their needs.

Because you understand them, and you are engaging with them online and in-person, lead scoring stops feeling forced and process-led, and starts to feel natural. Human, even. And that’s when you really start getting somewhere as you build a deeper, richer profile.

Sales and marketing… in harmony?

It’s not all about conversations with your prospects, either.

Getting lead scoring right relies upon sales and marketing working together to talk about customers’ buying journeys, and define what really works as a qualified lead.

The good news is, this works both ways.

With mutual agreement over what a really hot lead looks like, sales begin to trust and value their marketing counterparts, and results starts to flow. Their feedback helps you refine the process, and your insights help them seal the deal.

From proving to improving

With such a focus on improving sales conversion rates, it’s only natural that marketing will become more focused on real, bottom line outcomes instead of intangible outcomes.

That’s great news when justifying budgets to the Board, of course. But it can also make your marketing more efficient.

After all, if you can take your marketing activities, and look at them not just in terms of how many leads you achieved, but the quality of those leads – and, ultimately, how well they impacted on business success – then that gives a really clear indication of where to focus your attention and resources next time.

Humans first, technology second

Sooner or later, all marketing is about connecting with people.

That’s not to say there’s no place for technology, far from it. Digital behaviour and social engagement can provide valuable data about a prospect’s activity, engagement, and influence – so that means marketers and agencies alike need to consider multiple platforms to aggregate and synthesise all that juicy data into actionable insight.

Understanding that human stuff, prioritising it, and then using automation to facilitate deeper engagement – rather than the other way around – can turn lead scoring from a box-ticking exercise into something that really delivers value: to the sales team, to marketing, and to the organisation as a whole.