If lead scoring is done right, it increases efficiency, allows sales to focus on the leads most likely to convert and lets marketing nurture and ripen the rest. Bottom line – better for the sales team, a better experience for your prospect and better for marketing by reducing lead waste. But where do you start?
The concept is pretty simple – assign points for lead value, where the lead fits in priority and what the next step is. Here are some tips to get started:
- Set objectives for scoring. I know I harp on this, but that’s because it’s important. What does sales want? Filtered leads so they don’t waste time on unqualified prospects? Or more volume and it’s okay if some of them aren’t perfect? And on the other side, what can marketing realistically provide? Do you have the budget to bring in the volume that sales is requesting? What happens if you filter them for quality? Or if you need time to nurture leads to get them ripe? Really nail down the reason you want to score, how the numbers play out and if the objectives are obtainable.
- Get everyone on the same page on definitions. Terms like “ lead”, “prospect” and “qualified lead” can mean a lot of things. For example, what is a lead? Anyone with a pulse? Someone who had one interaction with your company like an asset download or tradeshow scan? What about a “qualified lead”? Certain company size or industry or title? Some level of engagement? What exactly is an “opportunity” – 80% closed? BANT qualified? Had a demo? Document these so you can build scoring to support them.
- Next determine which leads you want to filter off and never contact – too small, wrong title, wrong geo, etc. Reducing waste is the most effective part of scoring. Then look at the rest. Which ones are hot enough to jump to the top of the sales queue? And which look good, but need marketing nurture to gain engagement before sales sees them? (Don’t get paralyzed trying to get it perfect at the beginning – make your best guess so you can start testing.)
- For your lead score, start with:
- Firmographics – the company information. Industry, location, size of company, etc. Use this data to identify those that are in your sweet spot and take out leads you can’t use. For example, if your product only works for enterprise, score out small companies. Ditto for things like industries where your product doesn’t fit or geos you don’t serve. And if your product only works for a particular configuration, add this to your score. I’ve seen things like fleet size, tech stack or property ownership. Add points if the firmographics are right. Delete points if they’re not.
- Contact Data – this is how you vet the individuals. Are they the right title or in the right department? Are they at the head office? Same theory – add points for the good ones, delete points for less desirable.
- Engagement – this reflects how much have they interacted with your content. The more interaction, the more they know your company and the more interested and receptive they will be. Is it a tradeshow scan? Not very engaged and it should be scored accordingly. Attended a webinar? Better, but probably not ready to go to sales. But how about someone who visited more than one page on your site and downloaded more than one piece of content? Checked out the pricing? All of this activity could mean they are ready for a meeting. This is the part of the score that has a lot of creativity to it and where testing will get you to the right level.
- Here’s the tricky part. Once you set your scores, even the best lead scoring fall apart if anyone starts playing funny with the numbers. A couple of typical scenarios – marketing wants to meet their KPI for qualified leads, so they inflate scores or dump list buys in as “leads”. Or sales reaches into the database for leads that don’t score high enough for a call and then report low quality. So regularly confirm everyone complies. In my opinion, taking a hard look at how employees are incented makes a big difference. Incent for adherence to process and commitment to learning and refining.
- At the same time you set up scoring, create reports to see how well you’re meeting your objectives. Do you need to open the faucet to send more leads? Tighten it a bit because they’re not as qualified as you’d like? If you have a long sales cycle, you may need to give your score 6 months or more to work before adjusting, so I’d also suggest regular check-ins with sales. This gives you quick context on how things are going and also allows for clarification or training.
Lead scoring can be tricky if you’ve never done it before. Or if you’re working to get scoring back on track. Let me know if I can help.