Lead Scoring is Not Lead Qualification

Lead Nurturing ‌• August 1, 2011

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CSO Insights just recently published their latest Lead Management Optimization Survey. Their latest research shows that >70% of the firms surveyed either have no lead scoring process or an informal lead scoring process in place. The same survey indicated that over 50% of the survey respondents have no consensus or agreement in place between sales and marketing on what constitutes the definition of a qualified sales lead. Clearly this is problematic.

Renowned Psychologist Abraham Maslow coined the phrase “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” in the 1960’s. This is certainly true today for the marketing automation software vendors. With all the data suggesting that lead scoring or the lack thereof is a problem, then all you need is marketing automation software and it’s fixed – right? Wrong!!

Today’s marketing automation software is architected around contacts not accounts. Unfortunately, in the B2B world, it’s accounts that actually buy things. Thus, lead scoring all the contacts that respond to digital-based marketing messages does not help create more qualified leads for B2B sales professionals. Closing the gap on this requires finding the right influencers and decision makers in the accounts and then having conversations with them to identify their objectives, pain points, motivations for change, etc. With these critical pieces of intelligence in hand, a lead can be properly scored and qualified into sales ready or not.

All of this requires human intervention in the lead management process. As inquiries generated by marketing are augmented with new contacts through conversations, referrals and research, the collection of interactions both digital and conversational make their way into bona-fide sales leads. Only when these personal contacts and interactions occur can a lead be effectively qualified and handed off to sales as sales-ready opportunities. If you would like to learn more about our best practices in lead management, download our white paper “Six Pillars to an Effective Lead Management Program.”

Sam McCue
Inbound Marketing guru, avid fisherman, and all-around backcountry enthusiast.

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