The premise for the existence of Marketing Automation solutions is that before any purchase decision, the buyer will visit a company website at least once. And it is this visit that marketing automation platforms promise to capture as leads for a company to pursue.
But many a times this very purpose is defeated by the Lead Scoring techniques used by various marketing automation platforms and companies to qualify their leads.
Marketing Departments using a marketing automation platform rely on different scoring models to establish a score that defines “Sales-Ready”. It is a well known fact that one of the main gaps in Sales & Marketing alignment is the difference in definitions between the 2 departments of ‘sales readiness’ attributes of the leads.
Currently the most common method of qualifying a lead is – to score leads on both fit and behavior in response to a company’s marketing programs. Companies can rank leads based on their level of qualification, which may include lead attributes (industry, title, etc), purchase intent (budget, timeline, authority), and level of interest in your company and offering (website visits, whitepapers downloaded, search terms).
While this qualification works great for finding good leads who can be nurtured into prospects and then converted to a sale – such scoring fails to capture the ‘Hot leads’ – those who are ready to buy and should be called by the sales teams with a pitch immediately.
This is because, lead attributes only provide info on whether a visitor is a possible prospect; Purchase intent – only provides information on whether your solution fits his budgets and is relevant to the visitor; The last level of scoring is based on the activities a person performs on the site – like the frequency of his visits or content downloads. None of this actually tells you if a lead is sale-ready and can be actioned on immediately.
In clear terms as per the current scoring techniques – only if a Lead fills an inquiry form on the site will he be even considered as a ‘hot lead’ to be pursued directly by the sales team.
If we go by the simple logic that a visitor might just visit the website before he decides to purchase – then none of the above – scoring techniques will find his intent and pass him onto the Sales team – asking them to go for the kill. In all likelihood such leads would end up with the marketing teams for more lead nurturing – both a waste of opportunity and resources.
The other aspect that the existing lead scoring techniques fail to take into account are the enterprise visitors – most B2B decisions are taken by multiple people – each might visit the website individually and perform activities differently – how will the score then evaluate, where in the decision making process is the visiting enterprise and what should be the way forward?
It is these loopholes in the lead scoring process that make the technique redundant for finding ‘hot leads’
Then how do you find those ‘hot leads’ and ‘absolute business opportunities’ and nail them?
A new dimension needs to be added to the qualification process – that of finding the intent of the visitor or intent tracking.
A visitor might visit a website and may not perform any activities like – downloading a whitepaper or case study or filling a form, but still through his browsing behavior, he gives away a lot of information on the intent behind his visit.
The pages he visited, the time he spent on each, the keywords he hovered his mouse on, the pattern he followed to seek the information – all gives a clear idea on, the solution he is looking for, which of your offerings piqued his interests and where is he in the process of decision making.
Also, intent inference technique can be used to find the intent of all enterprise visitors – knowing exactly, what each one is looking for and where are they in the decision making process as a company, such data is actionable.
An ideal 360 degree tracking of the visitor would be one which measures the visitor across the following dimensions:
i) Visits Frequency : Capturing the timing and frequency of the visits.
ii) Time Spent on the website : The amount of time spent on the website with the page remaining in focus of the view and activity of the visitor. Time spent in either hovering the mouse on the important areas and reading the literature of interest on the site.
iii) Activity carried out on the website : Actionable activity carried out on the site. From page visit, multipage visit, form fills, downloads, sign ups etc… forming few of the activities helping qualify a visitor.
iv) Visitor Intent : The important dimension which captures a snapshot of the frame of mind demonstrated by the visitor in the present visit. A collection of the data of multiple visits clubbed with the activity done over that period and the intent captured for each visit gives insight into the thought process of the visitor over a period of time. This in turn helps determine in a educated manner a Qualified Hot Lead.
In the age of Marketing Automation 2.0 the traditional scoring techniques work better for the marketing team – as the data derived sets the tone for their lead nurturing programs. When it comes to closing those hot leads – Visitor Intent inference can be key. The technique provides enough actionable data to get your sales teams into the conquering mode.