Demand generation and lead scoring are key aspects of your marketing automation process.  At the point of digital opt-in you have officially created your prospects.  A prospect is a qualified lead; but not necessarily a lead who is ready to make a purchase. This is what Demand Generation does as part of the marketing automation process.

As the phrase implies, you are moving from generating leads to generating demand.  This part of the sales cycle can have a space of time that ranges from one day to twelve months or longer depending upon the product or service and what stage of buying the prospect really is at.  You want to be smart about how you handle this critical stage.  Push too hard and the prospect will leave the sales funnel.  Push too slowly and you can miss a sale.  Most of the time a salesperson or AE is not relevant to the customer until they actually need something… the key is to know when that time is about to occur.

A series of automated responses and lead scoring can help you make the path and the timing work well.  Depending upon what someone has opted-in for you will have a next-step that may include several of the following:

  • Webinar
  • Email
  • Newsletter
  • Ebook
  • Mobile app
  • Free trial
  • Phone call

Each interaction becomes another touchpoint, and you want to carefully monitor what happens.  Does a prospect click on a link in one email, but not another?  Do they start their free trial?  Do they download an ebook?  Each yes/no action creates the next automated point of engagement.  In other words, the timine, the Subject Line and the Content of a second e-mail will be determined by the reaction the Prospect has to the first one… and so on.

Digital Lead Scoring Defines (Automated) Next Steps

All along the path towards desired perception (where audiences understand your value proposition) and desired action (when audiences move toward a sale) the marketing automation system lead scores your prospects.  A lead scoring system helps you make more strategic decisions about the next step of engagement with prospects based upon their scores.

A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a lead or prospect who is more likely to become a customer based on a variety of profile elements and their activity on your site and your engagements prior to becoming a customer.  You can identify both the characteristics and the behaviors of your leads and prospects and assign point values or scores to these qualifications as part of the lead scoring system.  Then, determine at which scores the prospects reach different junctures to receive more automated messaging, or have contact with sales.

You assign a point value to everything that a lead and prospect does and all of the content, messaging and advertising they engage with.  The algorithm of the system helps determine the next level and timing of engagement and shows you when someone is simply a “tire kicker.”  When a lead score hits a pre-determined value it is moved seamlessly over to sales.   For example:

Activity                                       Point Value

They respond to a tweet.              2 points

They click on an ad.                        5 points

They open an email.                       4 points

They click through on an email.   6 points

They attend an event.                    15 points

Once you have been doing this for a while you can look at the history of sales conversions to inform your strategy for lead scoring and next-step demand generation activities.  The reason that marketing automation (i.e. computer intelligence) is critical is that each prospect’s activity can change on a daily basis depending upon their interactions.  With thousands, or hundreds of thousands of prospects, it is impossible to manually follow-up and make the correct assumptions.

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