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In the recent past, we’ve not only noticed an increased interest among businesses in lead scoring, but we’ve also observed that many are struggling with its implementation. Why do B2B companies have difficulties generating value with lead scoring given that this marketing methodology that has been around for nearly a decade?
In our latest Pulse Survey, 45% of CMOs and marketing leaders say that demonstrating a return on investment is a top priority for them. Consequently, it is time to have a closer look at how to make the most out of leads and reap the benefits of investments in marketing tech stacks.
Here's the good news: Many companies already have the essentials in place. So let’s focus on connecting the moving parts within marketing and sales teams – ranging from marketing activities to software applications and collaboration – in order to successfully profile users throughout the whole customer journey. While we’ll see how lead scoring can be a useful tool, we’ll also explore how to move beyond lead scoring and focus on creating a 360-degree view of the customer to generate value for B2B companies.
Lead scoring is a data-driven marketing practise, which allows you to rank leads according to their suitability and importance to your business. This enables marketing to systematically analyse the inflow of new leads, the existing contacts’ interactions with your online channels and to provide better support to the sales team by filling the sales funnel with potential prospects.
Every company has a different model for assigning numerical points to score their leads. At PwC Switzerland, we track interactions across digital channels and score the contact based on the value of the individual to PwC, level of interaction and interest in PwC services.
In our experience there are four useful components according to which interactions can be tracked and business value assigned:
Profile data points equals firmographics and profile fit. Engagement data points equals Engagement levels and affinity/interest.
Here’s some straight talk: B2B companies might miss real value if they solely focus on lead scoring. Imagine a scenario where marketing hands over leads to sales, but all the latter ends up with is an assigned score rather than detailed and actionable insights.
For B2B companies, the sales process is infrequently linear, but consists of complex and long cycles. Given the granularity of intelligence that marketing is able to hand over by pursuing a 360 -profiling approach, this can be a game changer for consultative sales.
By redirecting your focus on profiling individuals throughout the complete customer journey and identifying signals for purchase intent, the sales teams have a comprehensive picture and invaluable information to base their follow-up activities upon.
Let’s have a look at the most important upsides of 360 profiling:
As soon a purchase intent is detected, intelligence is available for follow-up activities in near real-time – to both marketing and sales.
Marketing can use the collected data to nurture customers further, for example with a targeted campaign.
Sales has the information necessary to deepen the relationship with the customer.
Both customer interaction and experience can be personalised, which brings value to the client.
A more comprehensive approach makes the right information available to the right person within the company, thus increasing efficiency and relevance.
How to evolve lead profiling with a clear focus on the sales process
Track and profile
Make use of the data from all customer touchpoints and gradually build up a 360-degree view of your leads and existing contacts. By doing so in a structured way, you’ll end up with actionable data for the sales process.
Profile: Determine an individual’s relevance to your business and the investment potential based on key indicators. Useful sources include CRM profile data, enrichment with third party data or sales data.
Engagement: Identify an individual’s engagement with your company – from traditional to digital channels. This may include information about website visits, subscriptions, event registration or email interaction.
Affinity: Categorise an individual’s interest and topics based on a structured taxonomy. You can detect customers’ affinity through their online interactions or, for example, with the help of their self-nominated interests.
Analyse and assemble
It is important to turn raw data into sales intelligence by having a clear understanding of what the data means and how it will be used to support your business goals. Compile and visualise marketing and sales data to hand over actionable intelligence to the sales team. Building in automatic triggers for detected sales opportunities and talking points can be very useful to B2B sales representatives for tailoring their follow-up activities to a specific profile.
Profile data can be leveraged for a variety of purposes, and it can be helpful to automate certain activations such as lead routing and lead queuing. A 360 profile would also provide you with the intelligence necessary to quickly pass along a promising lead to a sales representative by skipping the queue. It is therefore key to be able to listen out for particular buying signals and to make sense of them.
The structured and visualised profile data provides both sales and marketing with important insights for better up- and cross-selling activities, for personalisation and for more effectively nurturing customers along the whole journey, but also for retargeting via LinkedIn or Google ads.
While B2B marketing teams have been able to increase the number and quality of leads they generate, they are scarcely converted into sales opportunities. To cut the Gordian Knot, it is crucial to focus on the dissonance between marketing, sales and product owners, which is especially apparent in the lead hand-over process.
The value lies in the interplay between these teams and in a business-oriented strategy. The goal for marketing is to fill the sales funnel with profiled leads – it is up to sales, not marketing, to qualify them. The question that B2B companies need to ask themselves is how to use marketing produced data in a sales-enabling way. For this, fostering dialogue and collaboration among the teams is crucial to develop a clear understanding of their peers’ roles and needs when it comes to lead generation and conversion. Marketing, for example, should focus on providing intelligence to the sales team instead of filtering leads.
Many companies are already in a good starting position to make the leap to 360 profiling. However, it is a journey that is most effective when based on a comprehensive marketing and sales strategy.
There are three components to make this journey a successful and sustainable one:
Customer data platforms (CDPs) represent a breakthrough in enabling personalisation and customer experience optimisation by providing the infrastructure necessary to create a unified view of each customer from multiple sources. The platform helps you cleanse, verify, organise, optimise and secure data. Moreover, it enhances a company’s analytical capabilities: the platform calculates insights and activates personalised actions across systems of engagement by distributing information to other applications. The CDP can, for example, send a real-time signal to the website to show a customer a landing page with personalised content. As a result of this seamless integration, customers benefit from connected and singular experiences across all touchpoints catering to their interests and needs.
CMOs need to go beyond marketing to increase the return on their investments and to generate value. Profiling customers with a 360 approach will be pivotal in equipping both marketing and sales with the insights needed to make better decisions and to drive growth.
Lead scoring allows companies to rank their leads according to their suitability and importance to their business. For B2B companies, it is not enough to simply assign scores to leads. In order to successfully create real value, they need to adopt a 360-profiling approach. Having detailed and actionable insights empowers both marketing and sales teams to develop meaningful follow-up activities – in near real-time. However, this transformation demands a business-oriented strategy and close collaboration between marketing, sales, and product owners. To make this journey a sustainable one, CMOs need to focus on three components: people and organisation, process, as well as tech stack and customer data integration. Customer data platforms (CDPs) can be a useful tool for marketing and sales functions to achieve a 360-degree view of their customers and to help move beyond lead scoring.
If you like what you’re reading, please reach out to us to discuss the next steps in your business transformation. For more information on the topic of customer transformation, please visit our website.
A CDP has benefits beyond being able to personalise every interaction: Personalisation isn’t about the move from massmarketing to individual conversations. It’s about creating a unique and valuable experience for every customer, underpinned by a single, comprehensive source of truth.