Dreamforce 2009: Using Lead Nurturing and Scoring to Deliver More and Higher-Quality Sales Leads



Lead Nurturing and Scoring Session Last Wednesday I attended the Dreamforce session Using Lead Nurturing and Scoring to Deliver More and Higher-Quality Sales Leads.  My boss, Jon Miller, VP of Marketing at Marketo was presenting with two of our awesome customers, Emily Salus of CollabNet, Inc. and Dyke Hensen of PivotLink.  In this session, they discussed how to use lead scoring to identify and prioritize sales-ready leads.  They also discussed how to use lead nurturing to establish a relationship with prospects that are not sales ready.  This session was packed, with lots of marketers standing in the back trying to get inside.

Often, we see presentations like this broken into two sessions- lead nurturing and lead scoring.  But what I realized during this session is how the two really belong together- making each more powerful together.  For example, if an organization is not doing lead nurturing, then often there is not enough behavioral data to do accurate lead scoring.  Dyke and Emily illustrated this clearly in their presentations, with lead nurturing and lead scoring both playing off of each other throughout their talk.

In the beginning of the presentation, Jon  talked about the need for a lead management process, including how B2B marketers must:

  • Collaborate with sales to define sales-ready leads
  • Have a system for rating ‘qualified’ and ‘warm’ leads
  • Have a process for nurturing leads not-sales-ready
  • Have a process for handing leads back to marketing

He discussed how leads move through the sales cycle and the important role that nurturing plays, as all leads are not ready to buy at the same time.

Dyke Lead Nurturing Important He then introduced Dyke from Pivotlink who discussed exactly how critical nurturing was to his organization, saying 80% of his new leads are not ready to buy, but are ready to be educated.   Being able to educate these leads until they purchase is key, as the education he can provide these leads causes them to understand the value that Pivotlink brings.

Dyke also described how he uses Marketo and Salesforce to do:

  • Segmentation of his prospect database
  • Integration of nurturing demographic profiles
  • Lead scoring by both demographic and behavior metrics
  • Identification of buyer behavior from past success
  • Quantifying Ideal customer profiles
  • Highlighting “Fast Track” customer profiles

Beyond this, Dyke also talked about how they deal with leads that are stale (aka dead leads).  He said they:

  • Model the number of touches before pronouncing a response is “dead”
  • Set a goal for “reincarnation” to focus on existing organizations that have shown interest
  • If recently deceased – Defibrillate with an aggressive offer – push them into next stage
  • If “absolutely, positively, undeniably and reliable dead” – Target the department with a surround strategy

This strategy allows them to get the most out of their lead generation efforts, and providing lead to their sales team at the right time.

Demographic Lead Scoring Emily of Collabnet started off her part of the presentation by also talking about sales ready leads.  Many people might think these are just leads that have filled out a form on your website, but she said at her organization they are determined by all of the following:

  • Geography
  • Industry
  • Company size/Revenue
  • Role/Title
  • Recent Activity

She suggests working with your sales team and reviewing previous opportunities to decide what makes someone sales-ready at your organization.  She then discussed lead scoring, sharing samples of her scoring (see demographic scoring example to the right) and saying that when creating a lead scoring program you should:

  • Check in with Sales – do they agree?
  • Test it against leads you know are Sales Ready – would they have passed to Sales?
  • Test contacts for closed won deals – would they have gone to Sales given these criteria?
  • Test it for unqualified leads – would they have gone to Sales?

The results?  Emily says she has improved her lead flow, saved sales time by identifying the right leads, improved the relationship between sales and marketing, and has given marketing a strong role in their organization, sharing their success directly with executive staff and board via weekly marketing reports.

You can watch this entire session below or download the guide that over 6000 other B2B marketers are using to help them with their lead nurturing, The Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing.