Lead Scoring Demystified

In today’s era, buyers behavior is changing very rapidly. Being a marketer, how do you ensure that you are passing most recent and engaged leads to sales? How do you ensure that you are sending the emails to the right prospect at right time? How to ensure the buying stage of your prospect is being captured correctly in your system?

Lead Scoring Program is the answer to all your above questions. Before we deep dive, let’s first understand what exactly Lead Scoring is?

#Lead Scoring is a ranking methodology that helps sales and marketing to identify the prospects at different engagement stages along with the best business fit. It helps to streamline the flow of leads into sales pipeline and only allow sales-ready leads to be passed through the throttle.

Different organizations use different notations for lead scoring. Some use “A”,”B”,”C”, and “D”, some use terms like “Cold”, “Warm” and “Hot” whereas some organizations use numbers to indicate leads engagement level.

What are the different types of lead scoring?

There are two types of leads scoring; Explicit a.k.a. Demographic Scoring and Implicit a.k.a. Behavioral scoring.

Explicit or Demographic Scoring

This type of scoring helps you find out the best fit for your business. The leads closest to your ideal customer’s persona, is the best fit for your business. You can use attributes like Job Title, Industry, Country, Annual Revenue, Number of Employees, etc. for this type of scoring.

Implicit or Behavioral Scoring

This type of scoring helps you determine the level of engagement of your leads. Inbound activities result in more engagement thus leading to more Behavioral score. You can consider activities like Product Page Visit, Clicked a Link in an Email, Submitted Contact Us form, Attended a Webinar, Visited Boothetc.

***It’s crucial to have both types of scoring system in place to determine the best bet (best fit and most engaged leads) for your business. The combination of both scores help marketing and sales to improve the sales efficiency with overall improved dollar value.

Who decides the lead scoring model?

It’s a billion dollar question. Well, it’ simple, both Marketing and Sales teams should agree on the final lead scoring model. Once implemented, these two teams must keep in touch and review the set process timely to perform before and after analysis. This will help in determining if the current lead scoring model is working fine or it’s flooding sales team with unqualified leads or the sales team is hardly getting any leads from marketing for followup. Make amendments as needed and then revisit the same again. If you repeat the same process again and again, you will soon get a satisfactory lead scoring model.

How lead scoring helps in better Marketing and Sales Alignment?

Since lead scoring tells you the best fit and level of engagement of the leads, you can define a certain threshold and handover the leads which have reached that threshold to sales team. As mentioned earlier, both marketing and sales teams should work together and agree on the threshold. You have to be very careful while defining the threshold because it can widen the throttle by passing unqualified leads to sales team or it can block the throttle by hardly passing any lead to sales team.

So, if you have a reasonable threshold, marketing will help sales improving their efficiency and let them spend more time on the qualified leads.

In short, lead scoring helps:

  • Defining a single definition of leads for sales and marketing teams
  • Simplifying the lead handover and feedback process
  • Sales team to focus on best leads that marketing provide and improve sales and marketing relationship
  • Defining service level agreement for lead follow up
  • Determining where a lead sits in the lead lifecycle

How to define rules/criteria for lead scoring?

Well, your marketing & sales data are your best bets here. Below are some steps that can help you here:

  • Collect the past opportunity data (consider all stages; open, closed won and lost), especially the
    • Demographic attributes of the associated Account and contacts
    • Marketing Activities of the associated contacts including but not limited to Web-foot prints(including web-form fills, web page visits;# visits and Frequency), email engagement, Ad-engagement, Event engagement (online and offline) etc.
    • What kind of products are being purchased more
  • Once you the above data, analyze
    • Which kind of activities are converting more opportunities
    • What kind of people/business are converting more or showing interest in your product
  • Based on this analysis, you will be able to see which kind of activities have high/least percentage of converting more opportunities. You will also have an understating who are exactly buying from you based on the demographic attributes.

Once you are done with the above, you will know what you have to do. Which lead should get a higher score and which should mark as unqualified.

If you don’t have sufficient sales data and activity data, then the approach will be to assign the score based on your guts feeling. Let the scoring system work for 3-6 months, revisit the scoring system and how it is performing. Analyse how many leads have been sent to sales and how many of them reached closed status and how many of them rejected by sales. If the rejection rate is on a higher side, look at the rejected leads and look for a pattern. Amend your lead scoring system and filter out leads matching that criteria and prevent unqualified leads going to sales.

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