Deliver the Right Content at the Right Stage of the Buy-Path

Recently, I asked 15 marketing automation leaders to define Lead Scoring for me. Every one gave me a different answer! That tells me there is no industry standard, and qualification is totally subjective. And that also tells me that X% of the names you’re ignoring are potential buyers, and Y% who you are following are NOT. But it’s possible:

  • to get rid of unworkable leads before handing them over to the sales team;
  • to help leads bring together the entire BDT even from a one-way communication;
  • to know exactly where prospects are on their buying path. But not using the current thinking.


Here are a few questions for those of you using marketing automation and lead scoring:

  • Do you know how viewed data is being used by your site visitors?
  • Do you know which stage of the buying decision path they are on?
  • Do you know which member of the Buying Decision Team has viewed/signed up on your site – and what percentage of the solution-choice vote they represent?
  • Do you know who else will learn about your data – from a 3rd or 4th source – and what exactly is being transferred? Is it the right message?
  • Do you know if all of the folks who will touch the solution are on board to purchase your solution?
  • Do you know if the person you’re scoring, or nurturing, or calling for an appointment is the right person, or has the capability to buy or transfer your data to the right people?

And, drum roll, here is the big one: How much money/time/resource are you wasting by focusing on inappropriate leads – and potentially missing the right ones?

You don’t know?? How many of these questions do you not have answers to? Why not?

I’m here to tell that it’s possible. But not using the current marketing automation -> data collection -> lead scoring -> nurturing -> selling model as it is currently being used.


We use marketing automation, and collect/score data at the wrong point (the last, solution choice, segment) on the buying decision path. As a result, we are collecting insufficient data to sell and qualify with, not scoring leads properly, have too many inappropriate leads in our pipeline, and are not differentiating ourselves from our buyers.

The sales and marketing models merely focus on the last 10% of the buying decision – and by that point, most of the internal decisions that actually bias the solution choice have already been made.


Think about this differently by considering the questions buyers must have answers to before they can choose a solution:

  • Are all of the Buying Decision Team members on board?
  • Is everyone who touches the solution in agreement?
  • What criteria will be used to choose one solution over another?
  • How will you choose a new solution/provider over a familiar resources?

Until or unless all of the above questions are managed, no buying decision will be made.

As you think about adding some new capability to your current processes (and, btw, I’ve developed a very simple  process to add to your current marketing automation processes to manage, follow, and influence, the back-end), here are some questions to ask yourselves:

What do you need to be doing differently to enter the buyer’s path in their private decision-making places? How can you help buyers manage their internal change issues to free them up for purchasing your solution? What can you do to help buyers get their full Buying Decision Team on board and ready to buy?  How can you qualify appropriately and only spend time on those who are going to close?

Until you manage all of the above, you will be wasting a lot of time and resource, and losing prospects who would buy if they knew how.


Let’s talk about my simple marketing automation solution that tells you where the buyer is on their buy cycle, and offers and collects the right data so they can be both served and sold to.

Read more about how buyers buy. Here are two sample chapters from Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it. Or just buy the book on amazon. com

Sharon-Drew is a featured speaker at the Search Insider Summit – May 4 – 7 , 2011

4 thoughts on “Deliver the Right Content at the Right Stage of the Buy-Path”

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  3. Pingback: Marketing automation follows a small segment of the buying decision path | Sharon-Drew Morgen

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