lead scoringIn yesterday’s post about lead scoring, I mentioned that one of the basic things small business owners can do to help determine which of their leads are ready to engage in a sales conversation is to take notice of which leads demonstrate interest by their actions.

Here is how that works if very general terms. Actions are the different ways that someone can interact with your company. They are often associated with your website and\or marketing content – web page visits, file downloads, webinar registrations, clicking on newsletter links, etc. Each action is assigned a score to denote it’s relative importance as an indicator of sales readiness. For example, registering for a product demonstration usually receives a higher score than visiting the company’s career page on their website.

You can also assign a negative score if a lead exhibits a behavior that indicates a low level of interest, i.e., they used their hotmail account rather than their business email when they downloaded your whitepaper.

One of the frustrations small businesses owners have when starting out with lead scoring (or content marketing in general) is they have only one way to measure interest. They typically have a whitepaper that can be downloaded. They follow up right away after someone downloads the whitepaper but are disappointed when that person is not immediately ready to buy.

Some of these leads may not be qualified but even if they are, chances are they are being asked to make a decision too early in their buying process. They probably found your website during their research phase; that’s why they download your whitepaper, they are conducting research. They often “don’t know what they don’t know” at this point, making it very uncomfortable to have a sales conversation.

This is why it is important to have an understanding of your customer’s buying process. Once you understand their buying process you can create content that answers the questions your leads need to help them move to the next stage in their process. Using this framework, you can gauge where leads are in their process and what you should offer them next to continue to move them towards a sales conversation.

Even if you don’t have a formal lead scoring process, having an understanding of your customers buying process along with educational content that helps them feel comfortable moving to the next stage in that process will put you head and shoulders above your competition.

Bill Brelsford Small Business Marketing Consultant