How These Tools Can Strengthen Your Lead Generation Strategies

progressive-profiling-lead-scoring-better-leads.jpgEvery sales team loves to get those hot leads who are chomping at the bit to purchase. And every marketing team wants to be able to confidently deliver those leads who will turn into “Closed Won” deals easily. Generating highly-qualified leads makes everyone’s job easier.

But how do you get those highly-qualified leads from your marketing efforts?

In order to quantify your marketing efforts and prove your department’s ROI, you need to be able to generate MQLs, or marketing qualified leads.

According to HubSpot, a marketing qualified lead is someone who is more likely to become a customer than other leads, based on lead intelligence gathered by closed-loop analytics.

Gathering Lead Intelligence

Gathering lead intelligence is easy when using a system like HubSpot, Marketo or Salesforce that tracks a lead’s interaction with your website, their demographics, or overall consumer behavior.

To begin, sit down with your sales team and identify the factors they find most important in a qualified lead. Consider such qualifications as:

  • Budget (Can they afford your product or service?)
  • Company Size (Can they benefit from your solutions?)
  • Job Title (Is the lead a decision-maker within their company?)
  • Purchase Timeline (Where are they in the buying cycle?)
  • Content Consumed (What content are they interacting with most on your website? Have they requested a free demo or just read a few blog posts?)

Use Google Analytics, your marketing automation software, or your CRM tool to analyze the data on your prospects’ behavior. By paying attention to pages visited, time spent on your website, content that is being consumed or forms being filled out, you can determine how your prospects are interacting with your website and your content. Even looking at email open rates and click-thru rates can help you gather adequate lead intelligence.

Armed with your list of what is most important to your sales team, you can develop a lead scoring system to assign a numeric value to these leads to help you determine the right time to send a hot MQL over to your sales team.

Developing Lead Scoring

Lead scoring is a somewhat more advanced strategy that helps you deliver MQLs to your sales team to avoid going after the wrong targets. Implementing a scoring system to assign points to each of your potential prospects can help you identify the strong leads who are more likely to become customers. Your sales team can then spend time following up with those leads who are truly interested, instead of spending valuable time and resources chasing after those people who are never going to become customers.

To set up a lead scoring system, you will need to gather the following information:

  • Your target buyer personas
  • The buying cycles of these personas
  • The most critical criteria your sales team needs to close the deal
  • The perceived value of these criteria

Once you know what is most important for your sales team in a MQL, you are ready to set up your lead scoring system.

First, set a threshold for what determines a marketing qualified lead. Is it a score of 50 points? 100? Maybe 500, if you really need to qualify your leads. Consider a starting threshold of 100 for easy math.

With your list of criteria, such as demographics, budget, title, etc., assign a point value to each based on the desired answer.

For instance, a lead may get a score of 75 points if their purchase timeline is 0-30 days but only 25 points if their timeline is 90-120 days.

You may also want to assign points each time a lead interacts with a piece of your content, opens an email, subscribes to your blog or downloads a white paper.


Using Progressive Profiling

More than likely, your leads are not going to meet the threshold upon their first conversion. (Unless your scoring threshold is set really low, in which case you may need to adjust your numbers.)

Those leads who visit your site multiple times, who continue to come back for more content, are more likely to become MQLs and customers than those who don’t. In order to track your leads as they interact with your site upon multiple visits, you need to continue to score them upon each visit.

You don’t want to make your leads fill out the same form every time they want to convert on an offer on your website. Asking their name, email address, company name and budget each time gets you no closer to cultivating MQLs.

This is where progressive profiling comes into play.

Progressive profiling is the act of collecting particular information from leads based on what you already know about them. Meaning that if someone has already provided you with their information in the past, each subsequent time they visit your site, they will be prompted with new questions instead.

Progressive profiling allows you to replace the omitted fields in a lead generation form with new ones that obtain fresh information from your website’s visitors. This allows you to gain more knowledge of a potential customer while also ensuring that you aren’t serving up stale, redundant information to returning visitors.

When you set up progressive profiling, you replace known information with new questions using dynamic form fields. So, instead of the five questions new site visitors see on a form, your returning visitors only have to answer three questions. And shorter forms often lead to higher conversion rates.

Using this technology allows you to spread out the questions you need to evaluate your leads over time in a way that better aligns with your lead’s place in the buying cycle.

Start by collecting critical information upon the first visit (name, email address, phone number, company name, etc.). Then, ask more detailed questions each time the person returns. On the second visit, you may want to ask about budget or solutions. After several repeated visits, you can start to ask more specific questions about your product or solution, such as “What other products are you using?” or “When do you expect to implement a solution?”

Using progressive profiling can help you shorten your sales cycle, since you will be able to more accurately identify sales-ready leads over casual visitors. Combined, lead scoring and progressive profiling can help you develop a list of highly-qualified leads that you can deliver to your sales team on a regular basis.