Not all sales leads are created equal. Some leads, because they match your buyer persona or because they have shown a strong interest in your product or service, have a higher probability of becoming conversions. Other leads, because they don’t fit that criteria, are less likely to convert and may actually end up costing you valuable time and resources. As in, your distributor spent too much time chasing an unlikely buyer, while your hot lead was contacted too late.
Sending leads to channel partners or distributors that haven’t been scored is at best inefficient and at worst setting them up to lose. Lead scoring is important because it helps determine the quality of your leads, which are ranked according to their sales potential. Often, the leads that show more interest in your product/service offering and those that fit your ideal buyer persona or target market will be tagged with the highest scores.
Ranking leads by priority from highest to lowest has numerous benefits for companies that sell through channel partners and distributors, including the ability to:
1. Effectively allocate resources
Knowing which of your sales leads have the highest potential to buy is key to effectively allocating your resources and optimizing your sales and marketing budget. The first step is to determine the criteria for assigning values to your leads, which is based on a host of buyer data. The criteria you set will ultimately guide your channel partners as they track and follow up on your prospects, and will help filter out those that are more or less likely to convert. This process will prevent you and your distributors from wasting time and money on bad leads.
2. Establish priorities
Determining whether a lead is “hot” or merely “lukewarm” before you send it to a distributor helps them prioritize their day and signals which leads should be contacted first. Rather than throwing all leads in the same priority bucket, higher priority leads are contacted first while lower priority leads can be given a longer follow-up period. You can even use your service level agreement (SLA) to address this. For example, a high priority lead must be contacted within four hours of receipt, while a lower score trade show lead can be allotted 48 hours.
3. Increase sales productivity and conversions
Lead scoring helps suppliers give distributors the information they need to personalize their sales pitch to customers. The scores also determine which nurture campaigns to place your leads in and the best time for channel partners to engage with those leads. And the more you are able to prioritize quality leads over cold leads, the faster you and your channel partners will see those conversion rates increase.
4. Improve partner engagement
All the benefits of lead scoring noted above will help contribute to a higher-performing channel relationship. But for indirect sellers, the benefits of lead scoring go beyond greater efficiencies and higher productivity. Suppliers who sell in the channel or distributor space know that partner engagement is an ongoing struggle. A manufacturer that can communicate lead priority, and provide additional supporting data, gains a competitive advantage over suppliers that don’t. The outcome of that higher-value communication is channel partners that will sell more and be better engaged with your brand.