The fast approaching 2016 CanWeld Expo has us thinking.
CanWeld is a leading gathering for businesses in the welding, fabricating, metal forming and finishing industries. ActiveConversion’s CEO, Fred Yee, has been invited to speak at this years’ conference, which is now in its seventh year. It is an exciting opportunity to engage with industrial businesses and discuss how technology can help generate more reliable revenue streams.
More important to our thought process, though, CanWeld 2016 is a great example of the modern industrial sales cycle at work. Trade shows continue to be a significant marketing investment for many industrial businesses. It makes sense; the trade show floor is a feeding frenzy full of potential industry buyers. However, not all trade show attendees are created equal. To ensure a return on marketing investment, it is important to separate actual sales prospects from the ones just trying to fill their swag-bag.
Therefore, we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to discuss lead scoring.
Lead scoring is the most effective way to identify serious buyers while filtering the tire kickers. Better yet, it is not unique to trade show leads, it can (and should) be applied to leads generated from all marketing initiatives.
So what exactly is lead scoring?
Lead scoring is a system for ranking sales leads in order to identify the most promising sales opportunities. tweet
A lead scoring system considers the qualitative behaviors exhibited by prospects and compares them in a measurable quantitative way. By assigning a score (number or rank) to each lead it is easy to determine where they are in the sales cycle and whether or not they are ready to make a buying decision.
This results in greater alignment between marketing and sales departments, which can lead to higher close rates.
By agreeing on a score that likely indicates when a lead is sales-ready, marketing can be sure it is passing along quality leads. Sales will follow up with more of marketing’s leads since they know they have already expressed an interest in the products or services being offered. Since sales will be working with higher quality leads, close rates tend to be higher.
Let’s use an industrial fabricator/manufacturer to paint a clearer picture.
It decides that a score of 60 (out of 100) is generally a sales ready lead. Different activities on a website are assigned different values. Reaching an introductory goal page might be worth five points, but downloading a related case study could be worth 20. Reading a spec sheet might even be worth 30 points. Once a prospect has performed a number of these actions, and reached a score of 60, sales can be relatively certain that there is interest in the products they are selling and can follow up appropriately.
The first step in establishing a lead scoring system is to identify the criteria that indicate when a lead is likely to be sales ready. This requires some effort on your part to review data from past customers and determine which behaviors are common among customers prior to making a purchase. It is then important to determine which factors should be weighted heavier than others based on their significance to the sales cycle. Once established, it is simply a matter of monitoring the scores.
Now if that last section seems overly simplified, it’s because it is – but with good reason.
Developing, implementing, and following a manual lead scoring system is complicated and unnecessary. There are too many opportunities for error and it is an inefficient use of time. Instead, marketing automation tools can handle all aspects of lead scoring, without the need for tedious setup and monitoring. Automation systems will track the actions a lead performs on a website or during email communications and informs management once a lead is ready to speak with sales.
Successful trade show exhibitors know that a trade show begins long before a show starts and continues well after the booth comes down. A score is assigned to prospects who visit a company booth, and is recognized by automation software once contacts from the show are uploaded into the system. If these same prospects have engaged with a business prior to a trade show, their score will automatically be higher. Likewise, those who visit a website after a trade show ends, or open follow-up emails, will have a higher score. With the right system in place, the leads that are interested in a product or service will reveal themselves.
Understanding where the most promising sales opportunities lie, at trade shows and beyond, is an important part of generating a strong return on investment. Lead scoring, especially when combined with modern tools, is one of the most efficient ways to identify the most interested prospects and generate strong return on marketing investments.
If you would like to hear Fred speak about how technology is changing the modern industrial sales cycle, but can’t attend CanWeld this year, register here and we’ll be sure to send you a summary presentation you can review at your own pace.
For more information about this year’s event visit the CanWeld website
About Samuel Fordham
Samuel brings energy and enthusiasm to the marketing team at ActiveConversion. With a background in communications and digital journalism, Samuel focuses marketing efforts towards the goal of increasing opportunities for business growth.