So far, in this three-part series on creating a nurture that fills your pipeline, we’ve covered best types and timing of content, how to set up nurtures, making your nurture multi-channel and personalization through behaviour as well as demographic aspects.  Hopefully, some of those tips were useful and your pipeline is starting to fill!  

But how do you ensure that the leads you ultimately pass on to your sales team are likely to buy, rather than simply waste valuable sales team time and cause friction between you and them?   Sales people need concrete evidence of a reason to engage, not just a broad expression of interest in a topic or piece of content.  In this, final post in the series, it’s time to complete the jigsaw by qualifying those leads to ensure sales is set up for success in closing a deal.

At this phase of the nurture, there are three aspects to consider for a successful handover:

–        Lead scoring

–        Sales enablement

–        Alignment between marketing and sales teams

Let’s look at each element individually:

1)     Lead scoring

Ensuring leads are marketing qualified and ready to be passed to sales is time consuming, complex and, often, inaccurate if done manually. Fortunately, though, help is at hand in the form of your marketing automation platform which will help you increase efficiency and accuracy by automating the process, scoring leads based on data.

Scores are assigned based on two criteria:

1)     Behavioral engagements: clicks of an email, visits to a webpage, downloads of a whitepaper, sign up to events etc.  All these actions will earn scores for a lead and demonstrate their level of engagement

2)     Demographic attributes: what is their job title?  Which company do they work for?  What is the size of that organization?  What industry are they in?  Again, scores will be assigned to a lead according to attributes possessed that are more likely to see them become a customer.  By adding these demographic attributes to a lead’s overall score, you can eliminate those who, although engaged, may not be a potential buyer.  Students, for example, may download lots of whitepapers, or sign up to lots of events, but they would be unlikely to purchase.

Lead scoring considerations:

By building up a clear picture of your target audience, your marketing automation platform will successfully automate the process of qualifying the hottest leads, as well as disqualifying those who are irrelevant, in an efficient and accurate manner.  

2)     Sales enablement

For the magic to happen, the sales team needs to be set up for success.  So, when marketing passes that lead baton to the sales team, in addition to having pre-qualified leads, they would ideally know the background to that lead, be timely in their conversations and understand, at a glance, which leads are a priority.  Fortunately, automation can simplify the lives of sales teams, too.  

Tools to help:

Whether you choose to use such tools or not, syncing your marketing automation platform with your CRM means that, as soon as a record hits the MQL threshold, they are passed directly through to your CRM in real time and assigned immediately. It’s crucial here that appropriate assignment roles are set up to ensure that, when a lead is ready for follow up, they’re passed to the right salesperson to do so in a timely manner.  In addition, having a clear agreement – or setting up SLAs – between the marketing and sales teams ensures that leads are followed up within a minimum period of time. 

3)     Sales and marketing alignment

A familiar conundrum, ensuring sales teams are happy with the leads marketing teams are passing them requires regular coordination and alignment between the two camps.  

Communication is the name of the game.

Setting up nurtures that work is a delicate process and, if you want to do it at scale, you almost certainly have to automate the process.  But the machines can’t do it all!  Hopefully this three-part series will help ensure you are delivering the right content at the right time, across multiple channels and with the right level of personalisation to ensure you are handing the caliber of leads your sales team is looking for.

If you’d like to chat further about your individual challenges or needs, we’d love to hear from you!