Content Matters

Discussing best practices in marketing automation, content marketing, and demand generation
Does Everyone Know The Score?

Aligning Sales and Marketing Reveals a Winning Strategy

Critical to the success of today’s automated content marketing programs are lead scoring and nurturing programs embraced by an organization’s marketing and sales groups. It’s essential to develop a joint effort between key sales and marketing stakeholders to refine and improve lead scoring and nurturing methodologies on an ongoing basis, as part of a persistent process of innovation. Lead scoring programs designed in a vacuum rarely perform effectively, since lead scoring and nurturing best practices benefit most from human insights. Performance metrics, seasonal trends, and company initiatives all play a significant role in defining (and redefining) lead scoring and nurturing best practices.

To get started, enlist key stakeholders from both groups to lead the effort. Form a committee of team members with intimate knowledge of all sides of the business, and task the team with the following:

Define the attributes of an ideal opportunity.

Outline the distinctions between great leads, good leads, and bad leads. Hold regular meetings to review successes, failures, fine-tune best practices, and to brainstorm revised approaches to improve results.

Design a scoring framework.

Determine what demographics, firmographics, and behaviors should increment a lead score and what should decrement the score. For example, if your target is an executive, and the prospect being scored is at an executive level or higher than they would receive X-number of points. Conversely, anyone with a title below an executive level would lose points. The higher scores programmatically accelerate the better prospects’ progress through the buying experience.

Gain performance visibility.

Prepare a table containing all metrics currently being collected for marketing content impact, delivery channel performance, and buyer’s journey assignments. Sales and marketing can then jointly assign point values for each engagement (for example, attending a webinar or downloading a piece of content). These scores should also be weighted, based on their value to a given target buyer’s journey.

Set the bar.

Diagram scoring thresholds at all stages of the sales cycle, for each unique type of target prospect. These levels determine the cumulative amount of scoring needed to move a prospect to the next stage in the buyer’s journey.

Understand the buyer’s journeys.

Gain clarity into what happens to each prospect from the moment it enters the sales funnel. The committee must achieve an ongoing understanding of the effectiveness of their efforts, within a cross-channel, multi-touch attribution model. Design a process workflow document to diagram best practices for (1) the steps to take when a prospect crosses each threshold, (2) how sales follows up, and (3) the point in the process where non-performing leads need to recycled.

While this will begin your organization’s lead scoring and nurturing approach, regular fine tuning and adjustments need to be made, to increase sales performance, ensure smooth flow, and identify opportunities to shorten the sales cycle.