When Is A Lead Sales-Ready?
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Whether you’re an enterprise company with huge marketing and sales teams or a small business owner piecing everything together yourself, figuring out when a lead is ready to buy can be tricky business. Knowing this is the essential starting point for defining the roles and aligning of work between marketing and sales.
A sales-ready lead is defined as one that is pre-qualified and scored by the marketing team for the sales department using qualifying criteria. The criteria is pre-defined and agreed on by both teams. Once a lead becomes sales ready, sales assumes the primary responsibility for managing that relationship.
Things to consider for identifying sales-ready leads include: company size, industry, location, budget, job role and genuine interest.
Lead scoring is a key element to lead nurturing that helps businesses determine whether prospects need to be passed directly to sales or nurtured further. There are four basic elements to scoring a lead:
- Buyer’s journey stage
Each element will help you assign a point value to actions and characteristics that create a “score” for each lead. All you have to do then is determine what score makes him qualified for a sales contact using your pre-defined criteria.
Scoring lead fit simply means collecting some data on your prospect. You could collect data with an online form for gated content, such as webinar registrations, ebook and template downloads. Other areas of data collection include demographics and firmographics.
Demographics are the information on the lead themself, such as their job title, years of experience, etc. Firmographics are the information you want to capture about organisations, like the company size, revenue, and locations served. Calculating an initial lead fit score will help you focus on those who might actually become sales.
Determining a leads interest involves monitoring a prospect’s interest and interaction with your content and networks. This score will tell you how interested someone is in your brand, in addition to your information. Monitor behaviours such as email opens and click-throughs, social media engagement and content downloads.
Monitoring lead behaviour starts to go beyond determining if a lead is a good fit, to determining where they are in the buyer’s journey. These scores are developed and honed over time, but if you know your audience and your industry, you can put together a strong initial estimate.
Consider which behaviours and online activities tend to correlate with leads which eventually become customers. Those are “active behaviours,” and should come with high scores. Conversely, “latent behaviours” like awareness-stage content and blog posts, earn much lower scores.
Buyer's Journey Stage
Determining a lead’s buying stage is the final touch to pinpointing where they are on the buyer’s journey. One simple way to structure and score the buying stage is to align it with a traditional sales funnel.
- Awareness stage - The buyer realises that they have a problem. They will read blog posts, download infographics, and may share content via social media.
- Consideration stage - The buyer defines their problem and researches options to solve it.
- Decision stage - The buyer chooses a solution. This is when they might reach out to contact your sales team.
Once you establish criteria for your buying stages, it will be much easier to score leads and get an objective perspective on where they are on the buying journey.
Lead Nurturing Means Lead Scoring
It’s never too late to put a system in place for scoring leads, and no business is too big or too small. Start at the top by identifying some of the simple lead fit data points that characterise your target audience, and then score your current leads against them. Before you know it, you’ll be nurturing more effectively, timing sales calls perfectly, and closing more business.
Now start generating leads and put this into practice with our guide to getting more leads!