Marketing automation: Lead Scoring for B2B and B2C

Did you know that lead scoring is a fundamental part of any automation strategy? However, given that the customer journey of B2B and B2C prospects is different. You must take this into account in order to properly qualify and nurture your prospects. Find out in this article how to do it.

What is lead scoring?

Lead scoring is a technique designed to automatically qualify leads in your database. To do this, you must take into account certain parameters related to the characteristics of the ideal customer (buyer) or his behavior.

When we talk about lead scoring in digital marketing, we simply mean giving a certain value to a user’s conversion potential. This value is based on known socio-demographic data about him and his online behavior.

The more the prospect is known implicitly or explicitly, the more precise the score that can be attributed to him. The more we qualify it, the more effective the lead scoring strategy that we deploy to lead it to conversion.

Why use lead scoring?

The objective of lead scoring is, among other things, to facilitate the coordination and collaboration of marketing and sales departments. This is done at the beginning of the lead management process through the classification of acquired leads. This is mostly done later through clear rules that determine when a lead is mature enough to be sold and what priority the sales department should give it.

These rules and standards are bundled into a lead scoring model that can be implemented primarily in B2B marketing, but also in B2C marketing and sales. This model makes it possible to decide whether a sales activity is transferred to the sales department, i.e. whether it moves to lead processing, or whether it continues to evolve towards lead nurturing.

What does lead scoring have to do with marketing automation?

The principle is simple. Once a certain number of leads have been marked, it becomes virtually impossible to qualify and manage them one by one. However, it remains essential to segment them correctly. Thus, resources and time can only be invested in leads with the best conversion opportunities.

Although the type of scoring used may be more general or specific depending on the buying process, you can generally distinguish three main types of leads:  » hot  » (or ready to buy),  » lukewarm (in the decision-making process) and  » cold (who fit the profile, but have not yet started the purchase process).

For example, the information you should send to a « hot » contact is not the same as the information you should send to a « lukewarm » contact. A « hot » contact came directly to your site to quote a product or service. A « lukewarm » contact came from a web search and subscribed to your newsletter.

How do I assign qualifications to a lead?

The score you assign to a lead will depend on what you know about them. In this sense, if you have an automation tool that allows you to get as much information as possible, you already have a considerable advantage.

Two types of information are used to qualify a lead: socio-demographic data related to the customer’s profile (age, gender, purchasing power, lifestyle, etc.) and data related to their search behavior. For example, some of the behavioral criteria for qualifying leads are:

  • Visit of the site (which pages?);
  • Frequency of visits;
  • Target channel (social networks? organic search? PPC advertising?);
  • Type of content you are looking for (TOFU, MOFU, BOFU);
  • Registration on the site;
  • Downloading content;
  • Subscription to the newsletter;
  • Request for information;
  • Interaction with a chatbot or virtual assistant;
  • Opening emails;
  • Adding products to the cart;
  • Etc…

In general, in marketing automation, lead scoring sequences are triggered by criteria that relate to both the user’s profile and the user’s behavior.

What are the differences in behavior between a B2B lead and a B2C lead?

There are several differences that you need to consider when marketing automation for B2B and B2C. However, the most important when it comes to lead scoring are:

B2B: How much do you NEED? vs. B2C: How many do you WANT?

Normally, a B2B lead only converts when they have all the technical information about the product or service. He then made a detailed comparison of virtually all available options. It is therefore normal that the purchase process is much longer and that its evolution is oriented towards:

  • Product logic;
  • Return on investment;
  • Your knowledge of the value proposition.

On the other hand, although a B2C lead also makes comparisons before making a purchase, the emotional factor plays a much bigger role. The latter tends to decrease or « cool » over time. It is therefore essential to make the most of it as soon as it manifests itself and try to speed up the buying process as much as possible.

Different contact forms for B2B and B2C

Often, user information that is completely relevant to a B2C sale has no relevance in a B2B context, and vice versa. The first thing to avoid is to ask for information that is not absolutely necessary. Indeed, the more information you have to provide on a form, the less likely you are to complete the application.

You need to be very clear about the minimum you need to progress towards your lead in the sales funnel and focus on it. Consider that it all depends on the relationship between your product and your customers. However, generally speaking, in the case of B2B, the best strategy is to collect data in order to offer a customized solution based on objective needs. In the B2C sector, it is a customized solution based on subjective tastes.

When does the sales manager come into action?

In B2B companies, sales managers normally jump into action when the automation process gives them « lukewarm » leads. That is, they already have a considerable amount of interest and information about the product or service. However, they still need this definitive argument of confidence or a very personalized added value to make the decision.

In most B2C transactions, it is desirable that most of the process be automated. The sales manager should only be present with « hot » or ready-to-buy leads. In fact, in many sectors it is usual that the process is already completely automatic, without the intervention of a commercial agent. This is the case, for example, with e-commerce or streaming services.

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