Webinars and other virtual events are a great way not only to attract leads, but also to nurture and educate them about your product, and to qualify them at the appropriate time as a prospect that is ready to be contacted by sales.
The customer journey, and the lead-scoring formula that arises from that customer journey, is different for every company — and indeed, no two customer journeys are the same.
Lead-scoring is simply attributing a score to certain behaviours and characteristics an individual lead exhibits in order to quickly and automatically identify those that are likely to be ready to make a purchase.
There are some basic principles that should be followed when it comes to incorporating webinars into your lead-scoring formula.
The value of webinars in lead-scoring
If a lead has registered to attend, or attended, a webinar, that indicates a significant commitment due to the time it takes to view a live webinar or watch the on-demand video. There are plenty of other things your prospect could be doing, so if they’re choosing to spend time viewing your webinar, that’s an opportunity you need to take advantage of.
At a minimum — even if they register but fail to attend — it indicates awareness of your brand and a willingness to spend time consuming your content.
If they view an entire webinar and ask questions or vote in your online polls, it indicates a further willingness to interact with your brand and therefore, a level of comfort and trust.
If that webinar is actually a product demonstration, or ‘deminar’, it may indicate a willingness to buy and your sales team should strike while the iron is hot.
How to assess particular leads
In scoring webinar interactions, it’s important to look at two things: the demographics of the lead and the behaviour they demonstrate. In particular, you should consider:
1. Are they in your ideal customer profile? Are they located in the right geographic market, if relevant. What’s their job title? Are they a likely buyer of your product?
2. Where in the customer journey are they likely to be? Did they view a top-of-funnel webinar about a broadly interesting topic loosely related to your brand? Or did they watch a deminar and ask pointed questions about your product? Does their behaviour indicate a willingness to interact or purchase? Look for behaviour that indicates they have a problem you can solve.
3. How invested are they? How much time did they spend with your brand? Or were they in and out, the digital equivalent of a tyre-kicker?
4. Specifically what did they reveal? If your prospect asked questions during a webinar, what did they ask? Did you email out a pre-registration question? Did they answer it? Did you conduct a post-webinar survey? Did they respond to any open questions? Did they download any resources?
5. Are they willing to continue interacting with your brand? Did you flag upcoming events at the end of your webinar? Did they view or RSVP to them? Or did they unsubscribe? Flag the leads that exhibit the right behaviours.
6. What other behaviours have they demonstrated? Did they visit your website? Are they clicking on your emails? Are they exhibiting active buyer behaviour?
Assess their behaviour throughout the customer journey
Integrate your webinar analytics platform with your single source of customer truth, whether that’s your marketing automation program or your CRM, and any other relevant tools, such as your online chat provider — so you have as complete a view as possible of your prospects’ behaviour.
If a lead that viewed one of your webinars then visits your website, spends time on your product page, downloads product-specific content or actively asks questions on chat, score them highly as you may be able to qualify them quickly for sales outreach.
If a lead registered to view your webinar but didn’t tune in live, offering them the on-demand version will give them the option of watching it later and may also cause them to do some product research on your website.
Cater for different customer journeys
The idea of a logical, trackable, sequential customer journey is great in theory, but your webinar registrant or viewer may not follow the pattern you expect.
In order to give your brand the best possible chance of nurturing and converting that lead, offer relevant content and downloads at each stage of the funnel.
If your webinar is a general topic of interest in your industry, don’t offer a sales brochure as a downloadable asset. However, if you’re running a product deminar, a brochure would make more sense.
Put your lead on the correct content nurture track for their persona and buying stage and try to move them closer to the point of purchase with content that gradually moves closer to the buying stage.
And always include contact information in case your lead decides to skip ahead and talk to one of your consultants!
Take negative behaviour into account
Sales teams are often reluctant to rule out leads, but it’s worth taking into account negative characteristics and behaviours, and scoring your lead for decay to avoid wasting everyone’s time. If they’re not in the market to buy right now (or in the foreseeable future), you don’t want to be wasting time trying to contact them.
For example, if they don’t use a business email address to register for your webinar, or they spend months receiving your emails but not interacting with any of them, apply a negative score to their total.
In general, if a lead rapidly amasses points (for example, by watching 2 webinars in a row and then downloading a product sheet) but then becomes inactive, they should lose points at a similar rate.
Finally, look at whether the company your lead comes from is the right sort of company to buy from you or benefit from using your product.
After all, if they love your product but don’t have the budget to buy it, they’re unlikely to become a buyer.
Developing your lead-scoring model
Your lead-scoring model, and the role of your webinars in it, should always reflect your business priorities and strategy.
Involve all the right stakeholders in your marketing, content and sales teams and build consensus about the key priority so you focus on the biggest need first.
If there’s low awareness of your brand, but high conversion once buyers know about it, webinars conducted in conjunction with better-known partners can help generate exposure and get your brand on the radar of potential buyers.
If it takes your sales team six months to close a deal and you’d like to reduce that to three, webinars that help build trust and credibility while converting prospects to buyers should be on your radar: a studio-shot, in-depth customer interview-style webinar with live audience Q&A is a great option for providing proof points and getting deals across the line more quickly.
Typically you would develop a score of up to 100, where 100+ qualifies the lead as a marketing-qualified lead, and your marketing team is effectively recommending to sales that that prospect is worth contacting.
Don’t forget to up-weight the things that you think are very important: for example, if a lead comes in from one of your 3 target sectors, that should be reflected in a higher weighting for their demographic information.
It is then up to sales to accept the lead by contacting and determining if they BANT — budget, authority to purchase, need and timeframe.
Follow these five steps:
- Define your scoring objectives
- Involve the right stakeholders across the business so sales and marketing are aligned
- Define an MQL (marketing-qualified lead) and SAL (sales accepted lead)
- Define your personas and scoring values and validate them against actual customer journeys
- Determine the resulting revenue model (if your strategy works, what will the outcome be).
How you score your leads will change for every company and the stage and objectives they have.
If leads that come in with the right demographic characteristics are the most important factor in determining if that lead will convert, then up-weight those factors.
Or if your product video or deminar does a great job for you, score it highly.
Here is a basic example formula you can use to score leads:
[+ve Demographic Score2]] – [-ve Demographic Score2] + Behaviour – Decay = Score
How might that work in practice?
- Lead registers to view a top-of funnel webinar conducted in conjunction with a partner brand [+ 5 points]
- Lead has all the right demographic characteristics, which are a key determinant [+ 7 points or 49 points]. Score: 54 points
- Lead provides real details. Score remains 54 points.
- Two weeks later, lead watches webinar all the way through [+20 points] then visits the website home page [+5 points] and product page [+15 points]. Score: 94 points
- Your lead is inactive for two weeks [-50 points]. Score: 44 points
- Lead clicks on an email [+5 points], views a product deminar [+50 points] and downloads a brochure [+25 points]. Score: 124 points
- Your lead is an MQL and should be referred to sales.
Every company will have a different lead-scoring formula. Whatever form yours takes, don’t undervalue the role webinars can play to attract, nurture and convert leads throughout your customer journey.