As a SaaS business leader, you understand the critical importance of the customer experience with your product. That’s why SaaS companies collect reams of raw data on prospects and their activities within marketing efforts as well as freemium plans and other trial programs. In fact, there’s so much data that your sales and marketing teams can struggle to wrap their arms around the most salient points, and could end up making poorly timed or inapt decisions.
Hence, the rise of the lead scoring model. This practice not only maximizes the impact of your data but unifies your teams and builds efficiency into your marketing and sales activities.
What Is Lead Scoring?
Lead scoring is the process of applying weights or scores to information submitted by prospects, as well as to actions taken when they’re on your website or interacting with your marketing efforts. Each action or piece of information is weighted based on how well that information matches your business’ ideal customer profile. The sum of those weights then determines the value of the lead and what happens to it next.
And lead scoring works. Research has shown that businesses that excel at lead nurturing gain 50 percent more sales-ready leads at 33-percent less cost. Your team can’t effectively nurture leads unless they understand and can act upon the relative value of those leads.
Here are five practical applications of a strong lead scoring system for SaaS companies.
1. Quickly act upon the hottest leads
Lead scoring isn’t just about qualifying leads; it’s also about empowering your sales team to take effective action. For some leads, that may mean funneling them into your CRM where they are segmented into a relevant marketing campaign. For “hot” leads, however, your team needs to be ready to jump into action.
For instance, leads who request product demos, attend webinars, and instigate chat conversations should be followed up with quickly – within hours or even minutes. However, “hot” leads can cool off quickly, so it’s important your lead scoring include a “half-life” function. That way, a “warm” lead can be reassigned and developed over time.
2. Target your marketing efforts according to lead quality
Analyzing the combination of overall score and actions taken can assign warm leads to automated marketing workflows where they receive messaging specific to their actions. For instance, a contact who downloads the trial package but doesn’t activate it feeds into a workflow that automatically provides the ground-level how-to guides. If a lead responds to a blog post about personalization, they feed into the workflow that sends emails about other personalization-related content like webinars and thought papers. And if a contact has visited the pricing page more than three times in a certain time period, maybe it’s time to move them to “hot” status.
3. Quantify the value of marketing campaigns
With lead scoring in place, you can compare lead sources to determine which campaigns and channels produce the highest quality (or quantity) leads. This allows you to calculate important metrics such as CPA (cost per acquisition) or CPQL (cost per qualified lead). These metrics allow you to make important decisions about whether to continue or even expand campaigns, invest in particular channels, etc. For example, the quality of leads from LinkedIn is traditionally known to be very high – but so is the cost per lead. In comparison, the cost per lead from Facebook is usually very low, but the lead quality may be such that more legwork and information could be required to determine which leads are valuable.
Along those lines, when it’s time to create a new promotion or campaign, your data on previous campaigns and channels will help shape the right tactics to most efficiently target a particular segment.
4. Gain insight into key moments in your user journey
It’s been said that product engagement lies at the heart of SaaS lead scoring – and this makes sense. How any customer interacts with your trial product and your company can tell you a lot about how likely they are to buy and how long they could be a client. Typical user engagement metrics like number of sessions within a certain time frame or number of active users on one domain should be combined with lead scoring to develop a profile of each lead’s relationship with your company. The goal is to understand which actions, among all possible options, correlate most highly with solid product usage and buying behaviors.
Soon you’ll note trends that indicate the points in the user journey when they’ve moved beyond the basics and might have more advanced questions, would appreciate a free class, or are ready to purchase. You’ll also develop an understanding of how long most users typically interact with your product (by time or by session) before they’re ready to make a decision or need more information.
5. Increase the productivity of both your sales and marketing teams
We hinted at this above: Most SaaS companies work with staff numbers on the lean side. Smaller teams make for better agility, but they also put a higher emphasis on individual productivity and efficiency, as well as successful interactions between teams. Lead scoring provides the framework and data that can help align your marketing and sales teams on what is a qualified, valuable lead for your business. For instance, a lead score above, say, 81 could funnel that lead directly to the sales team for immediate action; however, a score below 50 would mark a lead as low priority, where the data would be saved but no more action would be required at that time. Scores at certain ranges in between would be automatically funneled into the most relevant campaigns.
Good lead scoring will also help develop different customer profiles, automatically segment leads into these new workflows, and let your employees focus their time on more valuable pursuits.
Keep Up the Good Work
As you might expect, lead scoring is never finalized; the system can always be refined to more clearly reflect your ideal customer profile or expanded as you move into new markets. However, building a great lead-scoring system from the ground up can be a daunting proposition. The good news is you don’t have to build it yourself. Bay Leaf Digital has 7 years of experience in lead scoring and marketing automation. We specialize in growing B2B SaaS and technology companies and are passionate about helping our clients grow to new levels.
Contact us for a free consultation to learn how we can grow together