Whether you are an up-and-coming SaaS company or one that’s been established for some time, the success of your business depends heavily on the strength of your sales pipeline.
As you may already know, however, you should treat all leads differently. Prioritizing leads that are most likely to convert is the optimal approach, no matter what you’re selling. This approach is where lead scoring and nurturing become valuable to your process.
In this article, we will explore the processes of lead scoring and lead nurturing, their benefits, and how you can use them to boost your sales pipeline.
Importance of a Strong Sales Pipeline
A strong sales pipeline is directly connected to achieving consistent growth and profitability for your SaaS company. Without a steady stream of new clients, you cannot expect to continue expanding and generating revenue as a business.
A robust sales pipeline allows for better forecast income and enables you to plan for future growth more efficiently. Understanding the volume and quality of leads in your pipeline can significantly help you project future revenue and make strategic decisions about hiring, marketing, and other investments.
Furthermore, investing in a strong sales pipeline enables SaaS companies to optimize their sales processes and improve their products or services.
What is Lead Scoring?
Lead scoring assigns a numerical value to each lead based on a set of factors, but typically their behavior, demographics, and engagement with your brand.
The goal of lead scoring is to prioritize leads that are most likely to convert, allowing your sales team to focus their efforts on promising leads rather than wasting time on those that are unlikely to convert.
Factors used in lead scoring can include the following:
- Demographic data, i.e., factors such as job title, company size, and industry.
- Behavioral data, i.e., things like website activity, email engagement, and social media interactions.
- Fit data, i.e., the lead fits your product or service based on their needs and pain points.
Benefits of Lead Scoring
Some of the benefits of lead scoring include:
Boosted conversion rates
You can improve your overall conversion rate by focusing on leads most likely to convert.
Better sales results
Prioritizing high-scoring leads enables your sales team to effectively implement your company’s sales strategies and close more deals.
Improved alignment between sales and marketing
Lead scoring helps ensure that sales and marketing are on the same page about which leads to prioritize and how to move them through the sales funnel best.
Developing a lead scoring model is a fundamental step when prioritizing leads and improving your sales pipeline.
For that purpose, let’s look at the critical steps involved in this process.
Develop a Lead Scoring Model in 6 Steps
1. Understand your target audience
The first step in developing a lead scoring model is deeply understanding your target audience. To do this, you should have clear answers to questions like Who are your ideal customers? What types of clients, companies, and industries are most likely to benefit from your offer?
2. Map out your sales funnel
Once you pin down your target audience and its needs, the next step is to map out your sales funnel. Examine how your leads typically move through your pipeline, from initial awareness to eventual purchase.
What are the key touchpoints and actions that frequently lead to conversion? This step will help you identify the critical data points most indicative of a qualified lead.
3. Identify key data points
Relevant behavioral and demographic data points might include website activity, email engagement, job title, and company size.
Once you identify these data points for your leads, you can build a comprehensive picture of each one and eventually assign point values to each data point based on its relative importance.
4. Assign point values
After you’ve come up with your critical data points, the next step is assigning point values to each. For example, a lead’s job title might be worth more points than their industry, as it might be a stronger predictor of whether they have decision-making authority within their organization.
5. Establish lead qualification criteria
Based on the point values you’ve assigned, you should work to establish qualification criteria that define what constitutes a qualified lead versus a non-qualified lead.
These criteria might include a specific threshold score that a lead must achieve to be considered suitable and additional measures (e.g., budget, timeline, or particular struggles).
6. Refine your lead scoring model
As you collect more data and gain more insights into what drives sales for your SaaS products, you may need to adjust your point values or qualification criteria to ensure that your model remains accurate and effective.
Finally, it is necessary to review your lead scoring model to refine it continually.
What is lead nurturing?
Lead nurturing is building relationships with leads who must be ready to purchase, moving them through the sales pipeline, and eventually converting them into customers.
Lead nurturing involves providing relevant and valuable content to leads at each journey stage.
The goal is to keep leads engaged with your brand, educate them about your product or service, and build trust so that when they are ready to purchase, they will choose your company over your competitors.
Benefits of Lead Nurturing
SaaS companies can increase their chances of converting their leads into paying customers by establishing themselves as key opinion leaders and providing valuable information and resources.
Improved customer relationships
Providing ongoing value to customers through lead nurturing campaigns helps SaaS companies build strong relationships with leads. These campaigns can result in repeat business and positive word-of-mouth referrals.
SaaS businesses can reduce the costs associated with acquiring new customers by taking care of existing leads, as they are more likely to convert due to having already shown interest.
Lead nurturing efforts can provide valuable data about leads, such as their interests, behaviors, and preferences. You can use this data to inform and improve future marketing and sales efforts.
4 Steps to Create Effective Lead Nurturing Campaigns
There can only be talk of lead nurturing focusing on the campaigns you implement. Lead nurturing campaigns should be a primary focus for any SaaS company looking to build better relationships with potential customers and increase conversions.
Here is a basic outline of the steps you need to take to create an effective lead-nurturing campaign:
1. Create useful content
During the lead scoring phase, you should have already defined your target audience, after which you can create content that will provide value.
Depending on your niche and product or service offer, this content might include blog posts, whitepapers, case studies, or videos.
The key is to create content that addresses your audience’s challenges and interests, thus positioning your company as a trusted source of information.
2. Choose your marketing channels
Lead nurturing campaigns can be delivered through various channels, including email, social media, and even direct mail.
An omnichannel marketing approach is beneficial, as it allows SaaS companies to create a seamless and cohesive experience for leads, regardless of where they are in their customer journey.
3. Map out your campaign
Once you have your content and channels, it’s time to map out your campaign. This process includes deciding on the frequency and timing of your messages and the specific content you’ll deliver at each stage of the campaign.
4. Personalize your messages
Personalization can boost engagement and conversion rates. Consider personalizing your lead nurturing messages based on the interests and behaviors of your audience.
You might send different messages to leads who have downloaded a whitepaper.
Tools for a Better Sales Pipeline
Regarding other factors contributing to building a strong sales pipeline, a key one to consider is the technology you use to manage your sales process.
For example, scheduling software with online booking can increase your sales by simplifying scheduling appointments with your SaaS business.
Allowing potential customers to book appointments online at their convenience dramatically increases the chances of them following through with their appointment and ultimately becoming customers.
Scheduling software like the one described above can also provide insights to optimize your sales process by tracking metrics like booking appointment completion rates.
Data like this can additionally identify areas for improvement and refine your sales approach over time.
Another tool that can specifically improve the customer journey is live chat software. Live chat allows you to provide instant support to your website visitors, answering their questions and helping them navigate your website or product offer.
SaaS companies widely use this technology to improve customer satisfaction and increase conversions.
Finally, screen-sharing software is another option that can be highly effective in improving the customer experience with your SaaS company.
As the name suggests, screen-sharing software allows your support rep to share their screen with a customer or lead to provide real-time guidance or demonstrate how customers should use your service or product.
This feature can be handy for product demos or troubleshooting sessions, as you can walk the customer through the process step-by-step.
Over to You
Lead scoring and nurturing strategies can help your SaaS company identify and prioritize your most promising leads.
Through this process, you will be much better equipped to boost your sales pipeline, drive sustainable growth, and ensure long-term business success.
Nina Petrov is a content marketing specialist, passionate about graphic design, content marketing, and the new generation of green and social businesses. She starts the day scrolling her digest on recent digital trends while sipping coffee with milk and sugar. Her little white bunny tends to reply to your emails on vacation.