When the sales and marketing teams within a B2B industrial company don’t communicate, one of two things is probably broken. 1. One of the two groups isn’t doing its job, which creates a lack of respect for that group. 2. The two groups aren’t aware of what the other is doing with its time.
On the flip side, when industrial sales and industrial marketing teams align their goals and communicate, they together form a powerful business development unit. Both groups understand the buyer personas they want to reach. In turn, marketing becomes the greatest supporter of sales. Marketing works to generate awareness and website traffic from within those target persona groups. They put qualified leads on the table for the sales team to pursue. And they help the sales team close more leads by warming up cooler ones while sales focuses on the hotter ones. Not only must marketing and sales coexist, they must work hand in hand with aligned objectives.
Collecting lead intelligence
At Gorilla, we talk A LOT about how to convert website visitors into real leads through conversion paths made up of a call-to-action, a lead-capture page and a form. After your website visitor moves through that conversion path and fills out the form, she enters your marketing database. But if you’re using a marketing automation platform like Hubspot, this is where the fun just begins. Each time that new lead returns, your website will remember her and document her actions and page views within her profile. If she fills out other forms in exchange for different premium content offers, your website will ask her new questions to add additional data to her profile. Before long, this data paints an insightful picture about her that includes:
- Her name, company, email address and phone number
- Her industry
- Which service/product pages she has viewed
- Her content interests
- How she discovered you
- The types of problems she needs solved
You’ll also receive email alerts every time she returns to your site, so you know when she’s in the right mindset. This kind of lead intelligence sets the stage for more informed and effective sales calls that are catered to the needs of that individual. This intelligence also makes possible our next topic – lead scoring.
Building a lead scoring system
When inbound marketing starts working, industrial sales teams get bogged down. Lead scoring exists to help identify which leads are good fits, as well as those who are closer to a buying decision. Lead scoring also helps weed out contacts that don’t need to be on your sales radar, whether those people are vendors, competitors, students or just bad fits. An understanding of your leads dictates where your sales team should spend its valuable time.
So what is lead scoring? In short, it’s a system for automatically assigning “points” to each lead in your marketing database, based on who that person is, what she has done on your website and how engaged she is with your content. Marketing automation platforms like Hubspot build lead scoring into their software.
Lead scores can be constructed around three sets of criteria:
- Information a visitor submits though your website
- Actions taken by the visitor on your website
- The visitor’s engagement with content on your website and within your marketing emails
1. Scoring leads based on information they submit
Don’t take the information you collect through lead-capture forms on your website at face value. You have an opportunity to use the information to score the hottest leads and separate them from the warm leads and those who aren’t in your target audience. Marketing automation software platforms allow you to preassign points to users based on answers they provide. The stronger a lead is, the more points you would assign. You can also assign negative points to those you don’t want to target at all. If your target buyer personas fall within the healthcare industry, you would assign points to any contact that indicates she’s in healthcare. If you target people within the states of Missouri and Illinois ONLY, you might deduct points from those OUTSIDE of these states. If you specialize in delivering a specific service and a website visitor indicates her need for that exact service, you would add a lot of points.
2. Scoring leads base on website activity
Assign plenty of points to those digging around your site. A visitor who returns to your pricing page five times is probably further along in her buying process than others. And if she has also read three of your case studies, she’s likely considering you as a potential partner.
3. Scoring leads based on engagement and re-engagement
Add points when a visitor returns to your site for the fifth time. And tack on some points for every marketing email she opens. Engaged leads who consume your marketing information and return again and again to your site are more likely to close as customers.
Segmenting your leads
Lead intelligence and an effective lead scoring system allow you to segment contacts in a smarter way. While most companies can only segment their contacts by criteria like industry and “qualified vs. not-qualified,” marketing automation software lets us put our lead intelligence to work. We can build automated lists that slice and dice our leads in countless ways.
For example, we might develop a “smart list” of contacts with lead scores surpassing 500, a second list of contacts in the healthcare industry that have also downloaded two or more white papers, and a third list of contacts that are CEOs at companies with 100 or more employees who have also visited our site in the past three days. Construct lists that will help you identify who needs a hard sell right now and who needs the help of a very targeted lead-nurturing campaign to warm her up.
Go get started
In the end, industrial sales and marketing teams have the same goal: drive business. The problem is that these groups often fail to collaborate and equip the other with the tools and information each needs. The first step is open dialogue. The second step is a set of aligned objectives. And the third is the sharing of information in a useful, productive way, as outlined in this post. For more about online business growth for your company, download our Tactical Guide to Industrial Lead Generation.