Being a successful B2B marketing professional today can be compared to being a successful race car pit crew chief. You are trying to make sure your lead generation vehicles are driven efficiently and effectively—with marketing automation as your engine—to beat your competitors to the finish line. Pit crews have a limited amount of tires and fuel. You have a limited amount of budget and resources. Both are always looking for any slight enhancement to get an advantage.

As with the race car pit crew, you cannot except to win every single time your car goes out to race. Yet, that is what many marketers do with their marketing automation and lead management vehicles. They spend some amount of time initially setting up lead scoring with explicit and implicit considerations such as title, industry, viewed web pages, and white paper downloads, and then they are off to the races.

However, professional race car teams “set up” their cars and engines for every race. They make adjustments for ever-changing conditions such as weather, road surface, etc. Market conditions are continually changing as well. Marketers should be periodically fine-tuning their automated lead scoring to better determine which leads should go to sales and which leads should stay with marketing for nurturing.

In your continuous search for the “perfect sales leads” for your company, you can literally apply hundreds of scores for positive behaviors surrounding trade shows, seminars, livestreamed events, web pages, microsites, online courses, certifications, community, podcasts, videocasts, and so much more.

However, I recommend that you have your marketing automation vehicle come in for a pitstop so that you can fine-tune your automated lead scoring for “bad” contact behaviors. Adding negative scores to certain behaviors will help ensure that your lead scoring is more accurate and that only the most qualified leads make it to the sales team. Activities that deserve a negative score include:

  • Email unsubscribe
  • Non-product web visit: Career page, press room, investor page, leadership page
  • No website activity for a long time
  • Change in purchase timeframe
  • No progression in buying cycle
  • Added to “Do Not Call” list
  • Spam complaint
  • Negative social media comment
  • Declines contract/warrant renewal

By applying these negative scoring attributes in conjunction with other positive scoring methods when fine-tuning your lead scoring, you will see a more accurate qualification in your lead management process.

One last point, since your marketing automation vehicle is already in a pitstop, now would be a good time to work with sales management and evaluate the Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) that you pass on to sales. Sometimes during the course of a year you may need to adjust the qualification criteria of an MQL to push a higher quality lead or just more leads to the sales team based on its needs. It is very important that sales and marketing are in agreement when it comes to lead qualification and scoring just as it is important for the pit crew chief and driver to be in agreement during a race. That is often the difference in winning a race and losing a race.