Brands are missing out on the one metric that will help them identify the prospects who are ready to buy.

Over the past few years, companies have shifted resources from traditional to digital in hopes of expanding their reach. Many expected their investment to yield more leads – which may have been the case – but did not anticipate how few quality leads would be acquired.

Again and again, sales teams complain of weak leads generated from their website. When marketing teams hear this feedback their natural tendency is to double their efforts which can further complicate the issue. Luckily there is one metric that identifies qualified buyers and when leveraged can ease the tug-of-war between sales and marketing teams. Let’s break it down.

Lead quantity is not a substitute for quality.

Many companies have deployed intelligent marketing systems to track and score prospects as they come into contact with their brand. A marketing automation system such as Marketo or Hubspot most often fills this requirement. Equipped with the latest and greatest technology, teams cheer as new leads move through the sales pipeline as ‘ready to buy’ prospects. However, it’s not uncommon for them to find buyer intent low. These buyers are not MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead) ready.

Often overlooked, marketing can play a pivotal role in educating and entertaining prospects at each point of sales funnel. Your website visitors likely have a business problem they think you can solve. Rather than telling them how great your product is, educate them on how your offering addresses their specific need by delivering content that reflects their immediate concerns. As a prospect engages with your content their engagement score will be tracked with each piece of content they view – automatically tracking their progress from prospect to ‘ready to buy’. Best of all, once engagement scoring is in place, your marketing and sales team will see the immediate reward.

Not all engagement is the same

The strength of an engagement score varies by industry and level of purchase involvement. One company could have a markedly different threshold level than another. To understand what is best for your situation, you should establish benchmarks that reflect your knowledge of the industry. Once you begin sending campaigns, you’ll gain deeper insight into what is considered suitable for your situation. If you’re new to engagement score it may be worthwhile to partner with an agency that has extensive expertise in marketing automation.

Whether your company is well versed in marketing automation or just getting started with this technology, it’s easy to overlook the importance of engagement score. Here are a few key takeaways.

Don’t hard sell.

People visit your website because they have a business problem they feel you potentially can solve. Unless you’ve verified them, their content consumption becomes the yardstick for gauging interest. Give visitors lots of free content, and don’t immediately try to get them to book a demo or contact you – it’s too early and will turn more people away. Instead, build credibility and a relationship with visitors through interesting, industry-relevant articles again and again.

Keep Leads Engaged Throughout The Sales Funnel.

Determining what type of lead a marketing and sales team has on its hands is determined by the kind of content and length of time a visitor consumes the content. Gated content is often referred to as middle of the funnel with the goal of capturing visitor information in exchange for helpful content. Webinars, eBooks, case studies, surveys, research reports and white papers are the types of content typically referred to as middle of the funnel. Keep them moving through the process. You’re building a relationship with the prospect at this stage so don’t just send them one piece of content.

Measure engagement.

Add an engagement dimension to the marketing automation lead score. The prospect should not become an MQL until there is a requisite level of consumption. Lastly, configure real-time notifications to circulate to your team so they can take appropriate action.