How Predictive Lead Scoring Can Align Sales and Marketing

Predictive lead scoring is changing the often-contentious dynamic between sales and marketing organizations. If you’ve ever worked in B2B sales or marketing, you’ve probably experienced this tension first-hand.

To oversimplify the dynamic between these two organizations, marketing is tasked with sourcing and qualifying leads and sales is incented to convert these leads into paying customers. When sales are sluggish, marketing is blamed for sending poor-quality leads to the sales pipeline. Marketing in turn responds by blaming sales for spending too much time complaining about the leads and not enough time selling. Communication is at the heart of the problem, but aligning potentially thousands of salespeople with hundreds of marketers seems like a tall task.

The question becomes, how can we better support these two organizations to create a harmonious relationship that systematically drives top-line revenue growth?

What Is Predictive Lead Scoring?

Predictive lead scoring is a methodology for ranking leads in order to determine their sales-readiness, using predictive modeling to discover the most accurate and relevant data points for which to score. The first step is analyzing patterns from customers’ historical win/loss data in their marketing automation platform and CRM to find common criteria that make up your ideal target. Scoring leads with a real-time account-based model with explicit information like business firmographics, industry spend, job growth and implicit behavioral data (such as web searches, white paper downloads and social activity) will determine a lead’s sales-readiness.

The more data you can find to help inform a lead’s intent, fit and propensity to buy your products, the better the lead score will perform. Remember though, garbage in is garbage out, so make sure you are purchasing high-quality data that is cleaned and updated on a regular cadence.

What Do I Do with a Lead Score?

By implementing a dynamic lead management strategy based on your lead scoring, you can create business processes and workflows to route leads to the right sales and marketing activities at the right time with the right message. If a lead is scoring on the lower end of your scale, it needs more nurturing from the marketing department, while a high-scoring lead can immediately be sent to sales with rationale as to why they are exhibiting buy signals.

How does an effective lead scoring model help sales and marketing work better together? Here are some of the key benefits.

Marketing can target more effectively. Using lead scores, team members can:

  • Understand which campaigns are driving the best leads, to optimize marketing spend
  • Nurture leads that are not sales-ready, rather than delivering low-quality leads to sales

Sales becomes more efficient. Using lead scores, sales reps can:

  • Focus sales efforts on prioritized leads that are most valuable and more likely to convert
  • Close deals faster with account-based context and talking points

The return on investment (ROI) for purchasing lead-scoring functionality is very real. Because it improves visibility within the sales pipeline, lead-scoring has the potential to:

  • Increase sales productivity and effectiveness
  • Improve conversion rate of leads to opportunities
  • Reduce time to close
  • Raise revenue per rep

One Big Happy Family

An effective lead-scoring program brings measurability, consistency, efficiency and control to the lead management process. Sales team members benefit from higher quality leads, which in turn improve their efficiency. Marketing understands how to spend its dollars in the right places and sees higher ROI from their investments. But the benefit that will ultimately bring the most value to a company is strengthening the relationship between marketing and sales, so they can finally exist in harmony.

Posted in Big Data, Data Quality, Sales & Marketing by Kevin Dexter

Kevin Dexter is Leader of Analytic Solutions for Dun & Bradstreet Global Alliances and Partnerships.

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