Lead Scoring: A Beautiful Theory, An Ugly Truth
Let’s discuss the idea of lead scoring within marketing automation and why inbound marketing embedded with a scoring system doesn’t quite make a sales qualified lead. Content is where it’s at nowadays, or should I say, Quality content is where it’s at. However, I’ve been reading content about the process of lead scoring, (guiding the prospect through the sales process, down the funnel so that you can then pass sales qualified leads directly to the sales people). Now, understanding the scoring model of marketing automation systems, it can be a very useful tool. It provides us a way to really dissect our prospects intentions, interests and feeling towards our company and our products. It’s a bit of marketing voyeurism, to watch the journey and learn their preferences, all from a far, with a pair of marketing automation binoculars. However, no matter the number of clicks, the specific downloaded content, or visits to related pages, how do you know if the prospect is truly ready to be contacted by a sales person?
The ugly truth is, you don’t really know. What you have is an educated and calculated guess. It is a beautiful theory that lead scoring will help us to seamlessly separate the SQL’s from the MQL’s. It will cure our problem of true qualification and will make our sales people beam with joy over being able to hand them qualified leads. However, unless that prospect has filled out an online form, specifically stating, “I am interested in your products and would like to be contacted by a sales rep,” you have no idea the true motivation behind a prospect’s actions.
So, what to do? Serious Decisions added “Telequalification” to their sales funnel this year; recognizing the need for some type of human interaction to better assess the motivation of all these website activities the prospect completed. This step provides the missing WHY of the “who, what, when and how” question that is the most essential piece of information regarding a prospect or a lead. This is the CI (critical intelligence) the marketing team absolutely needs in order to qualify a prospect as a marketing qualified lead that needs to be nurtured, or a Sales qualified lead that has a pain, has authority (and has influence with others who also have authority) and has their wallet open and their calendar ready. It is only when you obtain this information that you can truly qualify the prospect. Without it, you create an environment of lost time, inefficiency, lengthy sales cycles and pure waste of talent.
Light Bulb- Just because there is interest, does not mean there is intention to buy. The lack of a cohesive definition between an MQL and an SQL in marketing and sales yields a far higher level of inefficiency in the organization. You must look at process and definition, implement your tools, and then further qualify, all before any lead is ready to be handed to sales. Marketing automation and lead scoring are great ways to gain insight, but the truth is, they are not a replacement or a cure all for lead qualification. Use it wisely, but be aware, no matter how high the prospect scores, they are not a pure Sales Qualified Opportunity. What are your thoughts on lead scoring and if it can produce truly Qualified Sales Opportunities?