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Author's profile photo Victor Silva

Nurture Leads to Increase Sales Pipeline

Increase sales pipeline is one of the most important goals for Marketing teams, identifying and qualifying prospective contacts for new opportunities. Digital marketing helps you reaching more contacts at scale, nurturing their interest, and sending qualified leads to sales teams.

The process of nurturing leads starts with identifying potential customers and classifying what stage they are in your marketing funnel. A marketer can then define which information should be shared with these groups at each stage to move them forward on the marketing funnel.

Lead conversion is an important metric to avoid that sales teams spend their time with leads that will not be converted into sale, hence it is important to nurture and qualify leads with digital marketing before sending it to sales. Marketing and Sales departments should discuss the requirements for lead conversion and individualized activities, so Marketing and Sales touchpoints are clear and relevant.


Lead Qualification Scenarios

Leads can be qualified in three scenarios: Buyer-Led Qualification, Account Related and Lead Qualification Framework. All scenarios are meant to run in parallel.

Buyer-Led Qualification

Buyers interact digitally demonstrating high interest and sales readiness. Examples: Requesting Quote, Demo, Free Trial, etc.

Buyers with this level of readiness should proceed to the front of the line and engage with a knowledgeable expert. Each passing minute is a minute in which interest can be lost and redirected to a responsive competitor.

Account Related scenarios

Marketers can identify account related scenarios ready for Lead conversion. Examples: participants of specific event, Spotlighting account, etc.

SAP Marketing Cloud has a set a capabilities and tools that can help increase the value of support of sales while driving additional revenue on behalf of or side-by-side with sales teams.

Lead Qualification Framework

With the requirements for Lead conversion in mind, the marketing team can define Lead Staging to understand the current state of marketing funnel.

Marketers can define micro-journeys to move the buyers from one stage to the next or within stages, allocate focus and resources where needed, and identify when contact can be handed over to sales (lead generation).


The requirements for lead conversion usually covers contact data fulfillment and engagement frequency and quality. In SAP Marketing Cloud, you can create custom scores to map with lead stage requirements.


Defining Qualification Scores

One or more scoring models can be developed to understand the current engagement, interest and quality of the lead being qualified. The developed scoring models will be used when defining the criteria for each of the lead stages defined. Thresholds are used to define movement forward and backwards within the marketing funnel.

In the Score Builder app, you can design rules and thresholds for score calculation. In this example we are going to create an Engagement score (RFE – Recency, Frequency and Engagement) and Lead Qualification score to measure contact data fulfillment.


For Lead Qualification we will measure if basic contact data is fulfilled, such as Email, Phone number and Address.

For RFE we will measure the interactions in the last months. You can give higher scores to certain interactions like shopping cart related or individualized interactions like Phone Calls.

These scores will be used to define Lead Stages and Marketing Campaigns for Lead Conversion.


Defining your Lead Stages

The marketing funnel should help you tracking inactive buyers and nurture them to qualified leads. In this example we will create the marketing funnel with the following Stages.

Inactive Leads: Contacts that have never engaged or not engaged within a specific period.

Unqualified Prospects: Contacts that have engaged but don’t have data fulfillment.

Qualified Prospect: Contacts that have engaged and have fulfilled profile.

Marketing Qualified Lead: Contacts with highly relevant interactions and fulfilled profile.


In SAP Marketing Cloud, you can create Building Blocks to segment contacts on each Lead Stage. In this example we will segment contacts with Lead Qualification score (data fulfillment) and RFE score (relevant engagement).

In the Lead Stages app, you can assign these Building Blocks to your Lead Stages.

With clear Lead Stages in place, you can start running marketing campaigns targeted to contacts on specific stages. You can then reuse the Building Blocks to create your target groups.


Marketing and Sales Touchpoints

With SAP Marketing Cloud and SAP Sales Cloud you can define a clear integration between Marketing and Sales departments. SAP Marketing Cloud will help nurturing contacts at scale and sending qualified Leads to SAP Sales Cloud.

In many cases lead nurturing can include not only digital information but also individual activities to assess and improve lead qualification, like tasks requesting additional data from the customer or a Phone Call to finish lead qualification. In SAP Sales Cloud, sales representatives can run the last mile to convert these Leads to Sales Opportunities.

Be cautious of the volume of individual activities to avoid overloading sales teams.


With out-of-the-box integration SAP Marketing Cloud can send qualified Leads to SAP Sales Cloud. This integration also allows sending follow up activities like Appointments, Phone Calls and Tasks to nurture contacts individually in SAP Sales Cloud.


Creating a Campaigns for Lead Conversion

In SAP Marketing Cloud, you can use 2 types of Lead Campaigns:

Lead Transfer: Simple Lead Transfer based on specific Target Group. Leads will be sent to the connected SAP Sales Cloud system. Each contact will receive one lead.

Targeted Lead Creation: Send specific marketing information and react on response to Convert the Lead.


In this example we will use Contacts on Marketing Qualified Lead Building Block and run a campaign for contacts interested on specific item.

With your Segmentation Model in place, create a Target Group to run your Campaign.

In this Targeted Lead Creation campaign, we will create a Lead in SAP Sales Cloud if the contact opens the email. On your campaign design you can also find actions to Create Task, Appointment and Phone Call in SAP Sales Cloud. In this example, a Phone Call is requested to qualify the lead in case contact doesn’t open the email and a Task is created in case the email cannot be delivered.

Once Campaign is released and executed you can also track the Performance and Number of Leads created.

In SAP Sales Cloud, sales representatives will receive the leads and can proceed with the last steps to convert Lead to an Opportunity. Consider defining Activity Plans in SAP Sales Cloud to map your lead conversion process in the system.


Having a clear alignment between Marketing and Sales departments is crucial to convert more leads. Marketing teams should nurture contacts to move them through the marketing funnel. Qualified leads are sent to Sales teams, increasing Sales Pipeline.

In this blog you’ve seen how SAP Marketing Cloud can define Lead Qualification and Lead Stages to identify current state of marketing pipeline; how to design targeted campaigns for Lead conversion and how sales teams can receive Leads in SAP Sales Cloud.


We hope this blog gives you some ideas to design your own Lead Stages and use them to nurture your contacts.

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      Author's profile photo Tobias Schneider
      Tobias Schneider

      Very nice blog post, thanks Victor! 🙂

      Author's profile photo Maximilian Haensler
      Maximilian Haensler

      Thank you for the blogpost Victor Silva
      It is very helpful. I am trying to create something similar at the moment within a project.
      I am wondering (as I cannot find it from the Application Documentation) to what extent the score is limited; meaning if I add several scores with different attributes and values how high can the sum of all the scores be. In other words is there a maximum score per rule model?
      Best regards