5 Ways Predictive Lead Scoring Aligns Your Sales And Marketing Teams

Sales and marketing can sometimes feel like oil and water. Ultimately, both functions have the same goal: delighting customers and producing positive business results. So if everyone’s chasing the same outcome, why are sales and marketing out of sync so often? A recent study suggests that only 16% of sales and marketing teams feel aligned with each other. 

The answer is simple: the buyer’s journey is complicated, and in an effort to simplify, lines are drawn at the strategic level that separate marketing and sales into different stages of the funnel. Normally, marketing produces leads and hands them off to sales, which then handles the rest of the journey. But this division of labor assumes that all leads are created equal (you can hear the laughter from the sales team now). Think about your own organization. Do you have MQL’s (Marketing Qualified Leads)? Do you have SQL’s (Sales Qualified Leads)? How about just plain “qualified leads” with no distinction between sales and marketing? I didn’t think so…

Marketing teams tend to apply lead scoring models based on anecdotal evidence, opinions or limited data. Inevitably, bad leads slip through and good leads get lost, complicating the work of sales and widening the marketing/sales divide. Let’s be clear: this is not a marketing problem; it’s a human problem. Our human brains can’t process the quantity of data it would take to implement a lead scoring system that produces truly qualified leads. 

The good news is all of this can be solved by predictive lead scoring technology that takes the complication out of lead qualification and aligns marketing and sales in a way never before possible.  Here are 5 ways predictive lead scoring will set up you up for sales and marketing bliss.

1. Remove the complexity and guesswork from the buyer’s journey 

Intuition is not a selling or marketing strategy, yet without a predictive lead scoring model, intuition is exactly what teams are relying on. Predictive lead scoring models take the guesswork out of the process, combining thousands of data points to determine your ideal customer profile and then factoring in conversion data from previous deals to determine a behavior score. Since the model uses real data points from your actual leads and deals, this is the most accurate and predictive way to score future leads.   

2. Increase marketing ROI fast

Every organization is looking for the secret sauce for success, but it can be a costly learning curve to figure out what lead sources will pay off – in fact, it can be a going-out-of-business strategy. With a predictive lead scoring platform, that process is automatic. That’s how Ziprecruiter was able to increase ROI on marketing programs by 12X in just 60 days. Using a predictive lead-scoring system that applied machine learning algorithms to their own database, they were able to segment their leads into four categories: A, B, C and D. This allowed them to spend their sales energy on the leads most likely to convert. Effectively, it allowed the sales team to double down on the “hot” leads, and the results speak for themselves. This alignment of sales effort to qualified leads seems like a no-brainer, but without a predictive lead scoring model, it’s just not possible. 

3. Give sales data-driven insights into buyer behavior 

What if marketing could explain the reasoning behind every qualified lead, every time a lead got assigned, and do it in real-time? If you do this without a predictive lead-scoring platform, you either don’t have enough leads or you have way too much time on your hands (probably both). With a predictive lead scoring system that integrates sales intelligence, all of this data is available on every lead in real time. 

4. Pipeline forecasting

Whether you consider yourself a B2B Marketer, B2C Marketer, Demand Generation Marketer, Revenue Marketer or Super Amazing Lead Generating Guru (aka, annoying), there’s no doubt that you need to fill your pipeline and forecast the results. Most organizations assume the same click-to-lead, lead-to-opportunity, opportunity-to-deal rates for all their leads, but as we learned earlier, that logic is flawed. In order to create a predictable pipeline, you will need to implement a predictive lead scoring model that factors in the quality of each lead to determine real pipeline conversions. The team at Act-On was able to deliver a weekly pipeline forecast at 99% accuracy by implementing this strategy. As you can see, “C” and “D” leads convert at a much lower rate than “A” and “B” leads, so by factoring this in, the team effectively had a crystal ball in pipeline forecasting.  

5. Predictive lead scoring turns into predictive demand generation

It is not enough to just predict pipeline. The real secret sauce comes when you can fill your pipeline with more qualified leads that have a high likelihood to convert. Similar to the sales team doubling down on high-quality leads, the marketing team has to double down on lead sources that produce these leads. By leveraging a list scoring system, marketing is able to predict lead generation by lead source. The result is a more effective demand generation budget with a high ROI.

Implementing Predictive Lead Scoring

It’s not very often that one solution can have such an overwhelming impact on results, but this happens to be one of those rare occasions. An accurate predictive lead scoring platform can focus your sales efforts, drive much higher win rates and bring sales and marketing into alignment in short order. As you evaluate predictive lead scoring platforms it’s important to ensure the following features are available, in order to achieve sales and marketing alignment:

  • Behavioral lead scoring – ability to predict pipeline conversion rates to achieve a “Smart Funnel”
  • Demographic lead scoring – ability to evaluate and score millions of possible data point combinations to generate a score that signals a lead’s likelihood to convert.
  • Integrations into your marketing automation and CRM platforms – create transparency and visibility into each lead record for your sales team.
  • Data enrichment – enhance and append your data in real-time

If you are still ducking your head and avoiding eye contact on the sales floor, it’s time to try Infer. 

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