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10 Helpful B2B Lead Scoring Resources

I wrote this post because Chris, a regular reader of this blog, emailed me recently with a question on B2B lead scoring. First of all, thanks Chris for taking the time to read my posts and emailing me.

His question – “Could you briefly describe the tools/process you use to ‘score’ sales leads?”

Great question! Lead scoring is a key component of marketing automation and a very effective tool for aligning sales and marketing. However, it is not an easy one to answer in a quick blog post.

Instead, I’ll give you my “Go-To” list of online resources from marketing automation software companies.

I hope you find these resources helpful. (Note: Some of them do require you to register before downloading).

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Marketing Automation vs. Inbound Marketing

If you believe everything you read (and lately there’s been a lot) about marketing automation, you’d think it is the killer app to solve all your lead generation problems.

Then there are scores of B2B marketers who swear by inbound marketing as the path to lead generation nirvana.

How do you separate hype from reality, especially when it comes to industrial marketing? Are we comparing apples to oranges when we talk about marketing automation versus inbound marketing?

Let’s take a closer look at both.

How manufacturers are marketing today

“Quality of leads delivered” was considered as most important by 464 respondents from the manufacturing sector as reported in Trends in Industrial Marketing 2010 released by GlobalSpec. It scored 8.6 on a scale of one to ten. This was way ahead of quantity of leads and number of click-throughs to a company’s Web site. Read more

Variety of Content is the Key in the Early Stages of the Industrial Buy Cycle

In the early stages of the industrial buy cycle, you as the marketer have very little information about the visitor to help you tailor your marketing content to their needs.

In Needs Awareness and Research phases, the first two stages of the industrial buy cycle (see my earlier post Deconstructing the Four Stages of the Industrial Buy Cycle) your prospects and customers use a variety of online content to find solutions to their current problems and needs.

The chart below shows the variety of content used at different stages of the industrial buy cycle (Source: Understanding the Industrial Buy Cycle: How to Align Your Marketing with Your Customers’ Buying Process from GlobalSpec).

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Don’t Count on Marketing Automation to Solve All Your Lead Generation Problems

Some B2B marketers tend to think of Marketing Automation as the silver bullet that will solve their lead generation crisis. Of course, Marketing Automation alone cannot live up to those hyped up expectations and has to take the brunt of the blame.

That is unfortunate because Marketing Automation software is a very useful tool and in my opinion, a necessity these days. However, B2B and/or industrial marketers must learn to use it correctly in order to harness its true power.

Let’s get one thing straight from the get go, if you are in a declining market with low demand for your products and services, no amount of automation will help you generate new leads. You need to rethink your business model first and fast.

Marketing Automation software is widely used to execute key marketing functions like lead scoring and routing, nurturing via drip marketing, creating email campaigns and landing pages, tracking, measuring and reporting using a unified dashboard. There’s is no question that marketing departments do become a lot more efficient by automating many of these marketing tasks.

However, is improving efficiency enough to justify investing in Marketing Automation? Or do we need to show a verifiable ROI? To most C-level execs that really means answering the question, “How much revenue did it generate?” It is the second question that seems to cause the most problems. Read more

7 Key Components of a Successful Lead Generation System

After evaluating lead automation solutions from several vendors, I have developed my own list of seven key components that make up a successful lead generation system. A strategic lead automation system will lower your cost per lead; boost ROI and closely align sales and marketing. A unified lead definition leads to objective scoring and qualifying, resulting in higher quality leads. The sales team is motivated to score more wins because now there is an agreement on the quality of leads.

My list of seven key components are:

  1. Demand and inquiry generation using a variety of channels
  2. Convert site traffic into prospects with optimized landing pages and pre-populated forms
  3. Read more

Automating Lead Generation and Management

Why is it important to automate lead or demand generation efforts in B2B marketing? Because proving ROI is critical.

Marketers everywhere are under tremendous pressure to prove marketing ROI. You have to do more with less and have little to no room for errors. An automated lead generation and management system that is sophisticated, yet easy to use, is fast becoming a must-have tool for B2B marketers. It can dramatically improve demand generation and objectively measure every aspect of your marketing to prove ROI and justify budgets.

I have looked at marketing automation solutions from several companies. Most of these are available as “Software as a Service” (SaaS) offerings. Some are end-to-end solutions that track, measure and automate every step of the lead or demand generation and management process and some specialize only in certain aspects.

To quote Brian Carroll, noted lead generation expert, author of the popular book Lead Generation for the Complex Sale and CEO of InTouch, Inc., “It starts with a lead.”Most B2B marketers use their websites as the hub for all lead generation efforts. Therefore, marketing automation solutions focus on tracking and measuring activities on your website. Doesn’t Google Analytics do that? That’s a fair question.

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