In 2016 according to Forrester we witnessed the near universal embrace of content marketing with 93% of B2B “marketers” claiming that they have at least tested content marketing in some part of their sales and marketing efforts.
And as an outsourced sales and marketing company, we are fully committed to generating more qualified sales opportunities with content marketing and lead scoring. But as outsourced sales company, we understand that the C-Suite and owners of small to medium sized business remain skeptical going all in:
- 82% want to prove content marketing automation is tied to lead generation
- 52% want to ensure they can measure the ROI of their investment
- 35% claim lack of budget
And some of these executives may be correct. This article is meant to help them evaluate if they are right or they consider giving lead scoring with and outsourced sales team a shot.
How to Decide if Your Business Needs (or Is Ready) For Lead Scoring
While 99% of the both the B2B and B2C Fortune 2000 is fully committed to content marketing, lead scoring, and automation systems, small and mid-sized business remain skeptical.
The fact is that lead scoring and automation is not a must have for all businesses. To evaluate if lead scoring is right for your business, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
Do I spend money on leads monthly and then abandon after I get a fresh set of lead?
Is your business spending money on fresh leads every month? Does your sales team attempt these leads a handful of times and then wait for the fresh leads and stop following up with last month’s leads? If you are in a business where deals typically close in 30 days or less from initial interest you may want to continue doing what you are doing. If first touch to close is 30 days or more lead scoring may have significant benefits.
Do I have the minimum sized database and content to get started?
Because 70% of buyers now prefer to learn about new products and solutions by email (sharing educational content) most companies have at least tested content marketing. In fact, 90% of B2B companies now started content marketing in at least a small way. But content is not enough. At a minimum you also need a database of at least 3,000 to 5,000 buyers to get started. You also need to create enough basic educational content to touch these buyers at least 2 times per month for B2B sales and slightly more for B2B sales. If you do not have enough leads you will need to invest in a leads database first. The same goes for content. Content can be as simple as blog posts and short videos. Gabriel Sales offers cost effective packages to help with both.
Is my sales team or outsourced sales team educating buyers that don’t buy?
Is my market so large that I can target and sell to hundreds of thousands of buyers? Have I generated so many inbound leads that my sales team cannot keep up? Is my product so disruptive that everyone would be willing to take a call on the topic? If you have a broad market with tire kickers you should have been scoring leads 5 years ago.
Is my product/solution not an “If” but “When” decision?
Professional Services and software in areas like accounting, compliance, HR, IT, BPO and marketing, printing are not “If” but “When” decisions. Timing is everything. Staying top of mind with buyers so when they are ready to buy is critical so your sales team calls when the window is open. Automation and lead scoring make this possible.
Does my sales team complain about the quality of leads I send them?
Do your sales reps always complain about bad leads? Lead scoring will solve this problem but not on its own. Before launching your lead scoring engine you need to have both sales and marketing agree on what a scored lead is with concrete criteria. Once you agree to these criteria lead scoring will work. It is also a way for you to objectively and subjectively evaluate if you have a sales issue as opposed to a lead quality issue. When Gabriel Sales outsourced sales team set appointments scored leads can help your internal sales team embrace rather than reject leads.
Are my sales engineers and senior sales team educating buyers that don’t buy?
Do you have a great deal of leads that hit the early stage funnel that go through an introductory meeting and/or product demo that never transact? Chances are you have one of two problems. First, your business development reps are not qualifying correctly. Or tire kickers are going straight to senior staff because you don’t have the content necessary to do this initial early stage buyer education. Lead scoring and some basic content that demonstrates your solution can save you tremendous time, money and resources. If a buyer is not interested enough to educate themselves online prior to meeting with your senior resources the prospect is probably not worth their time sell to the buyers yet.
Is there more than one buyer involved in purchasing my solution?
If your sale requires a champion on the buyer side then that champion will need content to educate themselves about your solution so they can move that deal forward. They will also need to share that content with other people on the buying committee. If there are multiple buyers involved in the buying decision they will engage with content more frequently and have a larger digital footprint. Do you have more than one buyer?
Do you have a pricing page, case studies, product pages, demos or demo registrations online?
If these pages are not part of your website or content marketing strategy you should probably consider them. If a buyer hits any of these pages they are strong predictive indicators that your buyer is ready for sales engagement. Notifying your reps or outsourced sale reps when buyers hit these pages can put your team at the front of the line.
How Gabriel Sales Can Help
If you are considering lead scoring for your business, you can begin with us in two ways:
As a B2B Outsourced Sales and Outsourced Marketing company, we understand that ROI is important. Both of these packages include a free preliminary assessment to see if lead scoring and outsourced sales is the right solution for your business. To learn more about our approach you can also visit the About Us page.
As an inside sales outsourcing company that builds automation engines we understand there is a great deal of confusion about what lead scoring is and why it matters today. This article will address both of these topics.
What is Lead Scoring?
Lead Scoring is an objective ranking of one sales lead against another. Leads are ranked to prioritize what buyer targets are most likely to buy to determine where sales should focus their efforts first.
Until recently most companies did this at the front end of the sales cycle by identifying what decision makers had budget authority and what verticals and industries had the greatest need. A company would then buy this list, hand the list to sales and cold call.
But with the rise of automation software and content marketing, you can now engage a buyer with your online content and measure and analyze a buyer’s digital footprint. You can use this analysis to predict a buyer’s level of interest and where they are in their buying cycle. Combined with targeting the right buyers, you can now prioritize leads based on a buyer’s propensity to buy.
Lead Scoring ultimately gives your sales team a prioritized a list of leads for based on:
- Right Vertical Fit and Company Size
- Buyer Title
- Their level of interest based on their engagement with your digital content
As an inside sales outsourcing company prioritized leads are critical for successful delivery for our clients.
Why Does Lead Scoring Matter Today for Sales Outsourcing?
1. Lead Scoring Lowers Your Cost and Increases The Effectiveness of Calling
The mantra for most small business is to do more with less. Over the past several years we have experienced a major shift in buyer behavior that has turned selling with the conventional sales process of cold calling, qualifying a lead, presentation, and objection handling on its head. Sales still requires sales conversations. However, over the past several years buyers have stopped picking up the phone. Call-to-connect ratios have dropped from 18%-22% to 5%-10%. This means every connection you make now needs to count. Here is why:
- Five years ago every time a sales rep picked up the phone and called a prospect the prospect would pick up the phone 1:4 times or 1:5 times. So five years ago, making 100 calls a day you could expect to speak with 20 to 25 prospective buyers. If you typically converted 10% of your connections to next steps and you could you could move 1-3 deals forward per 100 calls.
- Today with a call to connect ratio. 1:10 to 1:20 you can expect a buyer to pick up the phone as little as 5 to 10 times per day if you are making 100 calls. So you can only expect to speak with 10 buyers a day. If you are not scoring leads and calling buyers cold you can still expect that 10% will convert. This means your success rate per 100 will be 0.5 to 1 deal moving forward per day at best. If you are scoring leads and call interested buyers you can expect 30% will move forward. This takes you back to the same conversion ratios we experienced when connection ratios were 1:4 to 1:5 five years ago. Lead Scoring does not solve the challenge of buyers not picking up the phone. Lead Scoring improves the results of the connections when they do occur.
Calling leads that are not interested in your solution is now counter-productive to your inside sales outsourcing efforts, causes enormous inefficiencies, and now dramatically impacts your cost of sales. Your sales reps work furiously to stay afloat while at the same time becoming less efficient in their daily tasks. If you are not talking to interested buyers you are running to stand still.
2. Lead Scoring Measures and Reports on Your Buyers Digital Engagement
The buying process for most solutions now starts with an initial phone call to share information, an inbound lead, or an outbound email campaign. Buyers then typically want you to educate them digitally before they will engage with a sales rep. In fact, according to Marketing Sherpa’s 2016 report, 70% of buyers want to learn about new products and solutions with an email that contains an educational article that they can share with others involved in the buying process. The buyer is then open to a meeting but expects you to continue to share additional content they can share with other decision makers and influencers.
|90% of buying decisions now require at least two buyers or a committee.
(Harvard Business Review – 2010)
|Decision Making Committees consume 5-7 pieces of content before engaging with sales
Success now requires content that helps your buyers learn about your solution digitally. In most cases, this replaces sitting through intro pitches by business development reps. This is a great time savings for your business, but this also means you lose the insights that were gained by the sales rep during this early sales activity. Lead scoring allows you to capture information from that digital conversation by measuring what content the buyer is engaging with. This buying behavior can be reported to your sales team.
Lead Scoring Gives Your Sales Team
The Ability to Track the Digital Conversation
& To Notify Sales when The Buyer is Sales Ready
3. Lead Scoring Gives Sales a Faster Path to Revenue at Lower Costs
This data from Sirius Media demonstrates how lead scoring can impact your success rate at multiple stages of the funnel. The key metrics are how many connections you need to convert a cold lead vs. a warm lead and then a warm lead to a qualified opportunity. Better connections at the right time means more conversions with less calls at every sales stage.
And while you are connecting with targets that are not interested (if you are still calling cold leads), you are also missing dozens of hot leads and real opportunities—because you have not tracked their digital engagement and moved them to the top of your calling list. Ultimately, your inside sales outsourcing team are at least 4X less efficient.
With fewer deals available, your sales reps need every advantage to get in front of active opportunities and connect with them before the competition. To do that, they need to be working with prioritized leads. Especially since today, buyers start gathering information long before they have established things like budget and timeline. According to Sandler Sales Trainers the first mover still has a 60% advantage if they are the first seller in front of the buyer.
And this “Digital Body Language” reveals a great deal of honest information about a lead’s level of interest in your company and where they are in their buying cycle. It often serves as a more powerful and honest indicator than data collected over the phone or on a web form website. In addition, having this information ensures you will be engaged at the front of the buying cycle and not a late entry.
How We Can Help
Gabriel Sales builds sales automation engines for B2B companies and helps support our marketing efforts by also supplying insides sales outsourcing teams that combined both marketers and reps following up with highly scored leads. If you would like to learn about our approach visit our About Us Page or feel free to Contact Us to learn more about how we can help with your insides sales outsourcing and outsourced marketing needs.