Merritt Group Blog

Segment, Grade and Score Your Leads to Increase Deal Sizes

Blog postTwo major KPIs that we use for our clients to measure marketing effectiveness is decreasing Cost Per Acquisition (CPAs) and increasing deal size. There are a variety of ways you can impact both KPIs, but one of the most strategic is the combination of lead grading and scoring, and segmentation as a precursor to both.

The premise is simple. The more “on-target” prospects – ones who are most similar to your existing or target customers – you drive through your sales pipeline, the higher the likelihood of lowering your cost per lead and increasing your deal size. The bottom line is that good segmentation, grading and scoring will drive more qualified prospects through your funnel.

Good Customer Segmentation is FUN-damental

Segmentation is self-explanatory, but also one of the most powerful tools for driving growth and cost savings. Most companies segment at some point in their life, but many don’t evolve their segmentation as buyer and market needs shift. Essentially, customer segmentation is your ideal buyer profile.

There are different ways to skin this cat, but we do segmentation across four basic profile areas. And, typically, our clients have varying levels of information in each of these categories from one prospect to another. The type of segmentation we use are:

  • Demographic (age, gender, income, education, etc.)
  • Firmographic (business size, company locations, industries, etc.)
  • Needs-based (technology needs and expectations, business needs, interest in value-added services, etc.)
  • Authority (title, role, primary or secondary decision-maker, etc.)

As you can imagine the most interesting – and hardest to get – information is in those last two categories. A strategic data acquisition strategy can help. You can read more on the topic of data acquisition in another blog post I wrote.

Grade and Score Your Leads to Get to the Head of the Class

Lead grading and scoring are two sides of the leads nurture coin that save time and money, improve close rates and create better marketing and sales alignment. In fact, according to analyst firm Forrester, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50 percent more sales-ready leads at 33 percent lower cost. However, there is a clear difference between the two, and marketers often confuse them, or use them incorrectly.

Once you are happy with your segmentation categories, use your ideal customer profile to grade your existing leads into as many groups as needed, from the perfect target customer to aspirational ones. Grading your leads means that you are evaluating the information you have on each prospect against your customer segmentation. It is often literally grading – from A to F – your prospects to match your ideal customer profile. Graded prospects should be put in categories, from most likely to buy from you right away, to longer-term leads and those that are unlikely to buy.

Conversely, lead scoring is more behavioral in its focus. As your leads are nurtured through the sales funnel, lead scoring measures how interested leads are in your company and product. Every time they click, search, download and view content, their score goes higher. The idea is that the more a prospect actively engages with your brand, or interacts with your company, the more likely they’re interested.

The triumvirate of segmentation, grading and scoring are powerful tools to help find your best possible customer prospects in the most efficient way. And today’s marketing automation software (MAS) like Hubspot, Pardot, Marketo, ActOn, etc. allow for grading and scoring in different ways, at scale. In the end, more qualified leads further down your sales pipeline ultimately mean decreased cost per acquisition and increased deal sizes.

Feel free to reach out to us to learn more about how Merritt Group can help you drive more qualified leads through the funnel and turn them into sales opportunities.

And, in the meantime, download our Playbook (this one specifically for our cybersecurity clients, but with insights for all B2B tech marketers) on other ways to turn leads into paying customers.

Topics: Security Healthcare government emerging technologies performance marketing 2019