Lead scoring is not for wimps. But it’s worth it.

Lead scoring is not for wimps. But it’s worth it.

Good lead generation brings in leads. Better lead generation uses lead scoring so you can segment follow up. But it’s really tricky to do right.

What is lead scoring? It’s assigning a point value to each lead that comes into your database based on the projected value. Points are assigned for demographics (title, industry, size of company, etc.) and behavior (how ready they appear to be to buy, how engaged they’ve been with your company, what content they downloaded, etc.). Then the leads are then placed on the appropriate follow up path.

If you’re setting up lead scoring, here are some things to consider:

  1. Make sure that you engage sales and marketing when developing your strategy and make sure that everyone is on the same page. You will not succeed unless you do.
  2. Set objectives. I know I harp on this. But it’s important. Define what you really want to improve. What does sales want? What can marketing realistically provide? You’re doing this for a reason – define what it is.
  3. Clearly define lead stages and be crystal clear on the definitions. Terms like “raw lead”, “prospect” and “qualified lead” don’t mean anything unless everyone understands the criteria.   For example, what exactly is an “opportunity” – 80% closed? BANT qualified? Had a demo?
  4. When you’re allocating points to leads, start by listing everything you currently know about prospects and all of the ways they interact with your company. Use demographic information to assign points for leads that look most like your ideal customer and to eliminate leads that will never buy. Then look at behavior. Typically, low levels of engagement like a website visit or opening an email get low point scores. Attending a webinar or a demo get higher. Filling out a “Contact Us” form would be the highest.
  5. Then determine the lead flow strategy. When does a lead become ripe enough that it’s worth passing to sales for contact? Which leads need marketing nurture? Don’t get paralyzed trying to get it perfect at the beginning – make your best guess so you can start testing.
  6. Here’s the tricky part. Even the best lead scoring programs can fall apart if either sales or marketing starts to break rules.   You can’t improve if people are playing funny with the numbers. A couple of typical scenarios – marketing wants to show they are making their number for qualified leads, so they inflate the scores. Or sales wants to show they are meeting their cold call objectives, so they reject marketing provided leads to create new ones for identical names that they “found on their own”. Or they reach into the database for leads that don’t score high enough for a call and then report that the quality isn’t there. Trust me, I can give a zillion examples. Before you start, decide how you’re going to use training, analytics and honest conversation to make sure that everyone is in compliance.
  7. In my opinion, taking a hard look at how employees are incented will make a big difference.   Smart employees will always chase the money, so make sure that your incentives and bonuses aren’t sabotaging your lead scoring program. Incent for quality, adherence to process and commitment to learning and refining.
  8. Develop reporting so you can gauge success and refine. Look at metrics like conversion to opportunity or sales accepted lead. Are your scoring assumptions working? Where do you need to make changes? I’d recommend adjusting the lead score about once a quarter until you feel you have it right.
  9. One note – lead scoring requires both marketing automation and someone to set it up properly to meet your goals.   You’ll need to commit to both.

Want to learn more? Let me know – I’m happy to work with you!

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