Should B2C Companies Practice Lead Scoring?
Most marketers agree that lead scoring for B2B consumers is a crucial part of an effective marketing strategy. And they’re right! But that doesn’t mean that scoring your B2C leads isn’t important as well. In fact, depending on what your company produces and sells, your target audience segments, or your overall business goals, B2C lead scoring might be absolutely essential (which means you might be missing out).
Today we’re going to answer a few pertinent questions, including:
- What is B2C lead scoring?
- What are some B2C lead scoring best practices?
- What are the benefits of B2C lead scoring?
- What does B2C lead scoring look like in action?
Hopefully, by the time we’ve finished, you’ll have a firm grasp on whether your company should be scoring your B2C leads and how to do so. Keep reading to become a B2C lead scoring pro!
What Is B2C Lead Scoring?
B2C lead scoring is the process of assigning numeric values to actions taken by your direct consumers — and crafting customer experiences that reflect your lead’s growing (or declining) score to help them continue to advance through the sales funnel.
Business consumers usually take longer to research and purchase a new product or service than individual consumers and also have multiple stakeholders invested in the outcome. As a result, most of us think of lead scoring as a tactic reserved for B2B marketers as they gradually progress through a manicured sales funnel. However, as more and more consumers are turning to digital channels to conduct their own research and take control of the buyer journey, many B2C marketers are now incorporating lead scoring to better understand customer preferences and cater to individuals making more educated and considered purchases.
B2C Lead Scoring Best Practices
For many B2B companies, collecting firmographic data is absolutely essential. It allows them to nurture their leads based on things like their industry, position within the company, annual revenue, company size, and much more.
When marketing directly to individual consumers, however, firmographics are usually irrelevant. Instead, you want to be laser-focused on your prospects’ demographics (age, gender, location, income, etc.). For example, if you’re a financial advisor who specializes in estate planning, your baseline score for someone in their 60’s with a substantial net worth would be much higher than a newlywed in their 20’s trying to provide a little security for his new bride in case the unthinkable happens.
Even more than demographics, online prospect behavior and digital interactions with your brand will help you score and understand their location in the sales funnel and alert you to when more drastic sales tactics are appropriate. These behaviors commonly include things like:
- Email subscriptions
- Email engagement (opens/clicks/unsubscribes)
- Lead magnet downloads (fact sheets/discount user codes)
- Webpage visits
- Live chat discussions
- Social media interactions
- Free trial submissions
If a prospect visits a website, interacts with a live chatbot, or downloads a contact form, these actions should increase their overall lead score because the prospect is exhibiting increased buying intent. Once a lead reaches a threshold of your choosing, you can either pass them to your sales team for individual outreach or take more aggressive sales actions through your digital channels.
If you operate an e-commerce site, you can use behavioral and buyer data to serve up more specific product recommendations as they continue to interact with your brand and purchase your wares. And you can even offer individuals a promo code via email or chatbot to motivate them to return to their online shopping cart and check out.
Conversely, if the lead unsubscribes from your email list or visits the “Careers” section of your website, they should be assigned negative points, as these actions imply they’re not interested in purchasing from your company. Or, if someone downloads a piece of content from your website and identifies as “Student” in your occupation drop down menu, you should probably eliminate the contact, as they’re likely researching a class assignment and not actually interested in buying your product.
You should score each of these actions differently depending on how they indicate buyer intent for your industry. Work closely with your team members across departments to develop a system that works for your company, and continue to improve your efforts over time based on your results. You should also periodically survey your customers to find out what influenced them to take an interest in your product or make a purchase. You can use these answers to update your scoring model and then personalize your marketing accordingly.
What Are the Benefits of B2C Lead Scoring?
While B2B lead scoring helps inform account-based marketing strategies to generate focused pipeline and minimize wasted resources, B2C lead scoring also helps marketers and sales professionals hone in on their ideal customer base — albeit direct consumers rather than business stakeholders.
Instead of casting a wide net and delivering one static message to your entire customer base, B2C lead scoring helps you to better understand the consumer’s interests and pain points, which allows you to communicate with them on a more personal level. This drastically improves the customer experience, prevents overselling from the outset, and builds trust and rapport between the consumer and the brand.
By focusing on the data points listed above, B2C marketers are able to put the bulk of their efforts into attracting and closing their typical customers rather than wasting time and resources marketing to consumers who aren’t interested in what they’re selling.
Simply put, if a lead isn’t qualified, why work it? There’s a strong possibility that you’ll alienate the individual by overdoing things too early in the process, damaging any future hope you have of converting the sale. Instead, focus on the low-hanging fruit with targeted messaging and campaigns for maximum efficiency, personalization, and results.
B2C Lead Scoring Example
Let’s say you work for a regional car dealership specializing in all kinds of passenger vehicles — sedans, mini-vans, work trucks, SUVs… you name it! Your owner just opened another dealership, bringing your grand total to six under the company umbrella.
As you continue to grow, you’re looking for new ways to improve the sales process. With the help of a practical marketing automation platform, you’ve recently developed an automated lead scoring system that you think will help indicate buyer intent. You’ve assigned point values to dozens of digital activities you expect your prospects to take and set your MQL threshold at 30.
A prospect visits your website and enters the model of the vehicle they’re interested in, along with their name and email address. Well, that’s a pretty good sign that they’re considering buying a car from you. Assign them 10 points, and enter them into an automated email campaign that focuses on that car and your dealership’s history selling and servicing them. If the prospective buyer opens one of your emails (3 points) and then clicks on the link you included in the message (7 points), they’re up to 20 points!
A few days later, they visit your website again, but this time they click on your “Directions” page. Boom! That’s 20 points right there because it indicates heavy intent, which means your prospect is now well past the 30-point MQL requirement. At this point, your sales team should reach out directly via email (or, better yet, SMS or phone call — if you’ve collected their phone number) to schedule some time for the prospective buyer to come in and test drive the car they’re interested in.
Implement Effective Lead Scoring Models With Act-On
Whether you market to businesses, consumers, or both, Act-On is the powerful and sophisticated marketing automation platform you need to take your marketing efforts to the next level. Marketers of all experience levels and skill sets can accurately and effectively score leads as your nurturing efforts guide them through a well-orchestrated sales funnel on their unique path to purchase.
Our easy-to-use software makes it simple to create and apply intuitive lead scoring that helps you create personalized content and campaigns for an immersive customer journey that results in better opportunities and more sales. You can even develop separate scoring models for different audience segments with multiple score sheets, allowing you to overcome dated one-size-fits-none scoring programs and tailor your scoring to each persona.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Act-On can help you score your B2B or B2C leads and deliver targeted marketing campaigns to businesses and individual consumers alike, please click here to schedule a demo with one of our marketing automation experts.
Or, if you’re not quite ready to have that conversation, please download our eBook, 7 Steps Toward Setting Up Your Next Lead Nurturing Campaign, to learn proven best practices and innovative techniques for developing compelling customer journeys that guide your prospects through a manicured and engaging sales funnel!