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Everything You Need To Know About B2B Lead Scoring

Ajay Jay
May 7, 2024
5 min read

Imagine you're a sailor lost in the vast sea, and qualified leads are your sea stars, guiding your B2B business towards growth and success. Without the right navigation techniques, however, you might end up lost in the swarm of countless stars. This is where lead scoring comes into play. But what is B2B lead scoring, you may ask? And why should it be a high-priority task on your business strategy list?

Let's step in and shed some light on this mysterious subject. B2B lead scoring is an accurate mathematical approach, a strategy of assigning a 'score' to leads based on their value or potential. It assists you in identifying the most promising leads, hence allowing you to focus your marketing campaigns efforts more efficiently.

We're here on this exciting journey to delve deeper into the powerful world of B2B lead scoring. By the end of this article, you'll understand all the critical factors of B2B lead scoring, and be equipped with actionable tactics to fuel your business growth. Keep your eyes locked, and let's embark.

What is lead scoring?

Lead scoring is essentially a methodology applied in the world of business-to-business (or B2B) to rank prospective customers—leads—according to their perceived potential financial worth. Through leveraging both quantitative and qualitative data, lead scoring aids in categorizing leads based on their likelihood to convert into bona fide customers.

It’s a strategic and smart process that helps businesses prioritize leads that possess high conversion potential, thus maximizing the efficacy of sales and marketing efforts. Through utilizing a lead scoring system, companies can quickly identify high-value leads that warrant immediate attention and those that require continued nurturing before they're ripe for the sales pitch.

Lead scoring is carried out using a point system. Points are assigned based on various parameters such as behavior of the lead, interaction with the brand, demographics, among others. Higher the lead score, higher is the potential of a sale, thereby helping teams focus resources on leads that bring maximum revenue prospects.

Many organizations opt to use lead scoring software to automate and refine this process. Equipping your team with one such tool can be a game-changer, taking the guesswork out of the equation while helping sales reps reach out to leads at the most opportune moments.

Explicit lead scoring

Implicit lead scoring is undeniably valuable; however, explicit lead scoring plays an equally vital role in understanding the readiness and suitability of a lead. It's reliant on the information leads voluntarily provide, making it a straightforward, data-driven method to gauge a lead's interest and fit.

Explicit data could come from a variety of sources, such as a form filled out by potential clients on your website, feedbacks given during a phone call, or their business information like industry, job title, and company size to further estimate their need for your product or service. Unlike implicit scoring, explicit scoring doesn’t focus on behavior, instead it takes a practical approach, using facts to determine the potential of a lead.

One method of explicit lead scoring is using models, like the PAIN and FIT system by Merodio, which is designed to help sales teams focus on promising unqualified leads that have the potential to translate into sales. Another popular system is Adobe Marketo Engage's process, which prioritizes unqualified leads based on demographic factors and customer behavior. Both models utilize explicit data to streamline the lead nurturing process and better allocate resources.

Ultimately, explicit lead scoring is the cornerstone of any effective B2B lead management. It allows you to initiate and differentiate outreach based on lead scores, enabling you to target your promising leads in an efficient and effective manner. As a business, your goal should be to balance both implicit and explicit lead scoring data to generate a hybrid model for a comprehensive, holistic view of your leads.

Implicit lead scoring

The beauty of implicit lead scoring lies in its ability to detect and capitalize on both active and passive buying behaviors. It's like having a powerful magnifying glass that lets you examine the subtle actions your leads are taking. Leads are scored based on their interactivity - such as downloading gated content, taking virtual tours on your website, viewing promotional product videos, or even casually engaging on your social media platforms.

Imagine lead scoring as a meticulous process where every lead is examined under a microscope. The activities they display, like subscribing to your email list or filling out a contact form, can considerably influence their score. But remember, the scoring could swing either way. Yes, leads can generate negative scores as well. A lead that unsubscribes from your email list or rarely engages with your website may receive a lower score, signaling a lesser likelihood of a purchase.

Developing a lead scoring model can be done in various ways - from manual to probability-based scoring, and even predictive scoring using advanced Artificial Intelligence algorithms. Throughout this process, it's crucial to keep in mind what characteristics or behaviors indicate a best-fit lead, or signal an imminent purchase. Your lead scoring model should work as your secret tool for identifying the compatibility between a lead and your offerings, increasing the efficiency and success rate of your sales process and strategy.

Why do you need lead scoring in your B2B business?

Lead scoring in B2B companies isn't just a trend, it's a proven strategy that has shown significant results in increasing sales performance. But why is it such a crucial element? The answer is quite simple. It facilitates a streamlined process that aids sales representatives to zero in on leads with the highest conversion potential. By prioritizing these contexts, sales reps can give their utmost attention to valuable leads that matter the most, enhancing their productivity and effectiveness.

Aligning Sales and Marketing Efforts

On a strategic level, lead scoring aids in aligning sales and marketing efforts. It provides a shared criteria for both entities, fostering effective communication and eliciting cohesive strategies. An effective lead scoring system enables the marketing team to fill the sales funnel only with high-quality leads that perfectly fit your Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs). By doing so, it improves the complete picture of a buyer experience and increases the chances of boosting conversion rates.

Nurture Your Leads to Conversion

Moreover, lead scoring is not just about identifying imminent sales. It also helps to detect leads that need further nurturing. Guiding these leads through the buying journey with a tailored and engaging approach can redirect them back into the sales funnel. This fostering process is often overlooked but is incredibly valuable as these nurtured leads may convert into potential customers down the line.

The Process of Lead Scoring

Proper lead scoring involves factors such as company size, industry, job title, geographic location, and budget. The process involves identifying key criteria, defining ICPs, assigning scoring values, tracking lead behavior, calculating lead scores, setting scoring thresholds, and finally, analyzing and refining scoring systems. Lead scoring software can be a valuable tool in automating the process and delivering accurate results.

The Critical Role of Lead Scoring in B2B

In conclusion, the potency of lead scoring in a B2B context cannot be underestimated. It's crucial for businesses aiming for higher conversion rates, enhanced sales process and dynamics, and improved overall company revenue.


How To Develop A Lead Scoring System

Let's dive into the nitty-gritty of developing a lead scoring system. It may seem challenging, but by following the steps below, you'll be well on your way to creating an efficient scoring model for your business.

Identify Key Criteria

Everything starts with what defines your ideal customer base. What characteristics and behavior do they possess? These could range from demographics to specific actions taken on your site. Remember, these criteria should align with your business goals and objectives.

Define Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs)

Next, outline your perfect customer. Use the criteria previously defined to create your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). For example, if your business sells B2B software, an ICP might be a larger company owner who has visited your pricing page more than once.

Assign Scoring Values

Now, you need to decide the worth of each action. A lead visiting your pricing page might score higher than one who only visited your blog. Assign points to each characteristic and activity, higher points indicate higher interest or greater value.

Track Lead Behavior

Your system should be capable of tracking and documenting lead activities, which can serve as a crucial determinant in the scoring process. For instance, a lead who has downloaded a product catalogue or signed up for a newsletter might signify a high level of interest.

Calculate Lead Scores

Based on your pre-determined scoring system, start calculating your leads' scores. Usually, a lead scoring software can handle this task automatically. However, you can also do it manually if you're just starting out.

Set Scoring Thresholds

Decide on the score thresholds that trigger specific actions from your sales team. This could be scheduling a phone call or sending a personalized email. You can set up alert systems that notify your team when a lead reaches a specific threshold.

Analyze and Refine

Lead scoring is not a one-time setup. It requires frequent analysis of correlation between lead scores and conversion rates, and refines scoring criteria based on those insights. If high scoring leads aren’t translating to deals, it might be time to re-assess your scoring parameters.

Ultimately, developing an effective B2B lead scoring model is a process of continuous optimization. It's about walking a tightrope between giving your sales reps enough leads to hit their targets and not overwhelming them with low-quality prospects. Keep refining your criteria, experiment with different scores, and tap into advanced technologies like AI for predictive lead scoring to keep your historical sales pipeline healthy and efficient.

Using lead scoring to identify sales-ready leads in B2B

  • Lead scoring in B2B marketing uses predictive analytics to identify leads more likely to convert into customers, speeding up the sales cycle.

  • Lead scoring software plays a vital role. It functions as a tactical tool that helps sales teams to engage with leads at the most opportune moments.

  • The lead scoring process in B2B is comprehensive. It includes tracking lead behavior and interpreting it accurately to understand where a lead is in the sales pipeline.

  • Developing an effective Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is pivotal in lead scoring. Matching lead traits with the ICP can help identify those ready for a sales approach and those needing more nurturing.

  • Lead scoring fosters greater alignment between sales and marketing teams by setting a common goal of defining lead value.

Frequently asked questions

Curating the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) is a vital way of ensuring we provide all the necessary information you may need to understand and appreciate B2B lead scoring. Read on and get your questions answered.

1. What parameters are commonly used to score leads?

Lead scoring leverages a multitude of parameters related to the lead's profile and behavior. Common parameters include prospect's industry, company size, B2B/B2C focus, online behavior presence, and their informed decision-making authority. The lead behavior might cover aspects such as solution-seeking behavior, response to marketing audience materials, and online engagement activities.

2. How does lead scoring relate to a buyer's journey?

Lead scoring integrates quite seamlessly with the buyer's journey, starting from problem identification through solution seeking to the final purchasing decision. It allows businesses to track, measure, and score leads' engagement and activity at each stage of the buyer's journey - the awareness, consideration, and decision stages. This makes it a potent tool for nurturing leads to conversion.

3. What is the relevance of negative scores or 'spam' in lead scoring?

Negative scores, more commonly referred to as 'spam scores', play a significant role in lead scoring. They help in identifying and filtering out low-quality leads that are unlikely to convert, based on specific trigger actions or lack thereof. These could include unsubscribing from your newsletter, marked emails as spam, or non-engagement with your online content over an extended period.

4. Can you explain demographic- and firmographic-focused lead scoring?

Demographic and firmographic data are crucial in persona-focused lead scoring. Demographic data refers to personal attributes of a lead like age, gender, educational attainment, etc., usually relevant in B2C contexts. However, firmographic data, like company size, industry, and annual revenue, becomes more relevant in the B2B context. These data allow businesses to tailor their solutions better to individual leads or lead segments.

5. What are some lead scoring best practices?

Some best practices for lead scoring include developing ideal prospects profiles, assigning appropriate scoring values, analyzing and refining the scoring model regularly, setting scoring thresholds, and tracking lead behavior. Incorporating these practices ensures the development of a robust, effective lead scoring system that continually adapts and evolves with your business needs.


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