- How can a business optimize its lead generation process?
- First, by separating appointment setting from closing deals. Your sales reps will close more deals if they focus only on the highly qualified leads and do not waste time on unmotivated and flaky prospects.
- Second, by getting appointment setters to use lead scoring software. Long gone are days when score points were assigned manually. The existing lead scoring software allows a greater deal of precision and automation.
Furthermore, modern lead scoring software is based on predictive analysis and machine learning algorithms and provides more reliable results than traditional lead scoring. Given many nuances and details of the sales funnel, some businesses choose to outsource its early stages. It is possible to outsource not only lead scoring but also the entire set of B2B appointment setting services from professional appointment setting and lead generation providers. If, however, you want to untangle the tight knot of lead scoring and its benefits for your business, we have prepared some insights for you.
Why Predictive Lead Scoring is Better Than Traditional Lead Scoring?
It’s probably impossible to imagine a successful company now working without lead scoring: fewer deals get closed; sales reps get demoralized. However, traditional lead scoring solutions can be improved even further. If you have used only traditional lead scoring until now, you might have experienced the following:
- Some leads get arbitrary scoring due to individual judgments of managers and sales reps who enter data points based on their understanding
- Lack of data points if a business is new
- Inaccuracies in lead scoring because reps and managers forget or don’t find time to repeatedly enter new sales data
- Managers and sales reps who enter data points fail to do it regularly
Many CRM software providers – like Salesforce and Hubspot – have integrated analytic tools and lead scoring into their sales and marketing automation platforms. However, when Artificial Intelligence is added to the mix, it uplifts traditional lead scoring to the next level of predictive analysis and highly improves accuracy and impact.
Also called customer behavior modeling, predictive lead scoring uses your data from your CRM software to design algorithms and select ‘ready to buy’ prospects from the pool of unselected leads. Based on machine learning and AI, predictive scoring provides higher accuracy and efficiency in lead qualification than your marketing and sales teams.
Predictive scoring tools analyze both data that result in closed deals and failed offers. Algorithms compute demographic data to find out what your current customers have in common and what information can be extended to new leads. Traditionally, managers and sales reps responsible for lead scoring would use Excel to use formula-based logistic regression and calculate the likelihood of a prospect buying the product. AI-based predictive lead scoring automatically scores leads without additional efforts from your salespeople.
Furthermore, predictive lead scoring software can work with far less massive datasets than traditional lead scoring requires. Algorithms and machine learning are able to supplement the information you feed them by getting data from third-party sources
B2B Appointment Setting Activities
Let’s quickly discuss the role the appointment setters play in B2B companies. An appointment setter is an individual hired to do the prep work on lead generation by hand-picking and qualifying prospects and nurturing them into high-quality leads. This approach of using the services of appointment setters in addition to the sales team allows sales reps to work with a fewer number of leads but close more deals.
If you want to make the most out of lead generation, make sure you have B2B appointment setting integrated into the sales process in your company. There are two options regarding setting appointments in a business of any scale:
Using Services of Outbound Appointment Setters
You don’t need to get too deep into the theory and practice of lead scoring in particular and lead generation in general if you outsource appointment setting from a reputable B2B lead generation and appointment setting company. You will benefit from B2B appointment setting even more if you pay per appointment set.
Raising In-House Appointment Setters
It will take more time than outsourcing appointment setting but it is more profitable in the long run. Look for good communication skills, analytical aptitude, and a strong ability to handle rejections in your current employees to encourage them to do appointment setting. Or hire appointment setters from the side.
Limitations to Predictive Lead Scoring
Before you get all excited about the effectiveness of predictive scoring solutions, let’s take a look at shortcomings associated with the current state of AI-based predictive analysis in sales and marketing.
- Predictive lead scoring is data-driven. It means that if a business has just started and has not amassed at least two to three hundred deals, predictive scoring will not work out. In such a case, the professionalism of sales teams and the top management’s knowledge of the market is more important. Some predictive scoring software works on the global prediction models though (Read about Salesforce’s Einstein below).
- Predictive doesn’t mean prescriptive yet. If a sales rep doesn’t understand the reasons for this particular lead getting scored higher than another one, most predictive scoring systems will not tell them why. Prescriptive applications can give some insights though but they are not integrated with lead scoring yet and need to be used separately.
- Predictive lead scoring isn’t flexible. First, when a target market changes, existing sales data are no longer valid. Second, predictive scoring has not perfected yet the nuances of a circular customer journey. Today customers engage with brands in a non-linear manner but lead scoring models account mostly for the top of the sales funnel data like demographics and firmographics. Some predictive scoring solutions, like Infer, have integrations with SaaS-based marketing automation software Marketo but engagement data Marketo provides won’t yet go past the top of the funnel.
Top 3 Predictive Lead Scoring Software
Hubspot. Predictive lead scoring is integrated in Hubspot’s platform of sales, marketing and CRM software. Hubspot’s AI-based lead scoring feature combines both predictive scoring that gets smarter over time and traditional scoring that can be customized according to your own criteria. Coming in a default model, Hubspot’s lead scoring solution can be too complicated for smaller businesses but once you get the knack of it you will find it extremely useful: your sales reps will just need to check their dashboards to know which prospects to focus on.
Salesforce. Salesforce is another giant among automated sales and marketing software that provides an integrated lead scoring solution like Hubspot. If you are already using Salesforce, then its predictive analysis service Sales Cloud Einstein is available to you. Choosing from a variety of predictive models, Einstein singles out leads it considers the hottest. Once the new data enters the CRM, Einstein updates itself automatically. If you don’t have enough data, the application will use a global model drawing on Salesforce customers and will switch back to your data as soon as you reach a required number of lead conversions. Additionally, Einstein is enabled to give prescriptive suggestions too, such as best meeting times, follow-up strategies, etc.
Infer. Unlike Hubspot and Salesforce’s Einstein, Infer is a lead scoring solution designed to connect to your marketing automation platform and CRM. Infer uses a live API connection and provides built-in access to a worldwide database. The accuracy of predictions spans three weeks. Using the data from your marketing automation system and CRM and Infer’s database, the software assigns precise scores. As a result, your reps understand which leads are hot and warm and should be pursued and which are cold and are recommended to drop.
Traditional lead scoring could sometimes be seen as a wedge to divide sales and marketing teams because each has different assumptions about lead qualification. AI-based predictive analysis on the basis of today’s lead scoring puts an end to disagreements between the two departments. As part of lead generation and appointment setting, lead scoring is able to make a huge difference for your business if handled right. If by now you are probably feeling the burning sensation of laying your hands on the most effective lead scoring solutions, leverage the power of predictive analysis and boost your conversion rates and close rates. If you are not sure what software and hardware are the best for lead scoring, contact an experienced lead generation and appointment setting agency and get assistance immediately.