More and more, prospects and business buyers are turning to online channels to conduct research before they make a purchase. From webinars and whitepapers to e-books and blogs, these buyers are engaging and researching long before they are ready to buy. Businesses want to connect with those who are reaching the end of the research funnel and are ready to make a purchase. However, with lead nurturing, you can connect with a potential customer no matter where they are in the sales cycle, score them and then create content mapped for each step of the buying process so that when it comes time to buy, your brand is top of mind. According to Marketing Sherpa, only 27% of leads are sales-qualified. When this is the case, businesses need to pay attention to the majority who aren't ready to buy and focus on establishing the relationship with a lead nurture campaign by delivering the information buyers need to make a purchasing decision. In Part I of Lead Nurturing Through Scoring, we'll discuss how your business should score leads for greater success. What Is Lead Scoring and Why Should I Do It? Lead scoring is when companies assign leads scores based on points or a ranking system that takes into account how far along someone is in the buying process. By utilizing a scoring system, sales and marketing departments can begin to work more closely for greater overall success while helping your company determine whether or not a prospect is sales-ready. According to SiriusDecisions, of the 20% of leads that sales reps follow up on, 70% are disqualified. It's a mistake to ignore those leads. Just because someone isn't ready to buy now doesn't mean you should cross them off your list as a lost lead. After all, 80% of prospects that don't make the grade today will go on to buy from you or a competitor within the next 24 months. Marketo reports that a 10% increase in lead quality, such as through a scoring system, can translate into a 40% increase in sales productivity. Lead scoring allows you to reach ready-to-buy customers now while helping you nurture leads who are still in the research and comparison shopping phase of the sales funnel. Generate leads, score them, then hold on and nurture those who need it. How Can I Set Up a Scoring System? Setting up and implementing a scoring system for prospects isn't something you should take lightly. It requires research and analysis. A faulty system could lead to a negative impact on lead conversions. However, if you put in the time and effort to create an accurate scoring system for your prospects, you can create an effective solution that generates a deeper understanding of leads for better nurturing and ultimately, greater conversion rates. Gather Information: Take a look at your data to see what actions prospects that converted took before making a decision. Focus on Your Target: Use information such as demographics, behavior, registration information, level of interest and level of engagement to determine your perfect prospect. Establish a Methodology: You can use a weighted point system, term rankings or letter grades to indicate how close a prospect is to being sales-ready using the information you collected and the qualifications in what constitutes a perfect prospect. Determine Your Threshold: You'll need to determine the point at which a buyer goes from needing nurturing to sales-ready. Test and Analyze Your Scoring System: Compare your new scoring methodology to past customers who converted to see where your system needs tweaking before you implement it. Your scoring system can be as complex or as simple as you need it to be. Starting out with a simpler scoring system can help you determine which things need to changed and which are successful so that you can tailor the scoring system more accurately for your individual business. A system that is too loose or too tight won't be successful. Once you have the scoring system in place, you can spend time nurturing the leads who are deemed to be not sales-ready. With the scoring system, you'll be able to gear content more closely to align with demographics and industry while boosting their interest level and engagement level and creating higher-quality leads. Your sales team will become more efficient and your marketing team can better segment their content and strategies. Part II will discuss your options in creating the right content, dependent on your scoring system, to nurture leads and increase conversions. Does your business score leads? How?