Lead scoring is a method of ranking your prospects to determine their value and placement in your sales funnel. Beneficial to sales teams in countless ways, lead scoring allows for maximum sales efficiency by focusing on the leads that will convert, while also allowing sales staff to avoid pitching to prospects that need further nurturing or can easily be disqualified.
Identifying a Qualified Lead
The first, and most important step in lead scoring, is understanding what a qualified lead looks like. It is important to understand the average buying path of a customer in order to create a model of the lead that is ready to convert. This can be accomplished with processes such as;
- Analyzing leads that have already become customers
- Looking at what content the customer engaged with prior to purchase
- Counting how many times the average customer had contact with the company before buying
Scoring a Lead
When scoring a lead, point values are assigned based on the lead’s activities that show interest in the product and intent to buy. This gives the sales team a better understanding of how engaged the lead is. A smaller point value is given to leads who show interest through activities such as non-product page views, press releases, clicks from ads that bounce, etc.
Higher scores are assigned to those requesting information on your product, recently viewing white papers on the solution or technology or downloading an infographics or buying guide. And the highest point values are assigned when leads engage in activities that show intent to purchase soon, such as, visiting pricing pages, attending a webinar, or watching a demo.
Leads can also receive negative scores. If the lead has been idle for certain amount of time you will want reduce their score to reflect the decrease in engagement. Other things that might decrease a lead score include activities by the lead that would imply they are interested in your company for other reasons like employment, investing, school research, recruiting, etc.
Grading a Lead
Lead grading reflects the opposite side of lead scoring, depicted as a letter grade, it represents the interest you have in the lead. The grade allows you to compare the lead to your ideal prospect and decide if they are the right fit for your product. Consider the lead's demographics, where do they work, how much to they earn, do they have purchasing authority. This saves sales reps time by separating out the leads that have no intention of purchasing.
When grading a lead consider B.A.N.T. (Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing).
Matching Leads to Sales People
Just as important as discovering the lead’s fit for the product is understanding the lead’s fit for the sales person. Look over your sales record and examine the demographics of the leads that converted for you previously. You might notice patterns like you are more effective when speaking to women as opposed to men, or you more often convert leads that are over 50 years old. Another common factor is whether you interact better with introverts or extroverts, you might even find that you have the ability to flex between these personalities. Take this information and include it in the profile of your ideal lead. This process should be done for all sales persons to further increase sales efficiency in assignment of leads.
Scoring Over Time
It is important to understand the activities of a prospect will change over time, and so will their score. When handling large numbers of leads this process of constantly scoring, re-scoring, grading, and re-grading can become tedious; it is not recommended to perform this task manually. To fully utilize the benefits of scoring and grading practices it is recommended that you automate the process with a CRM solution.
In the ideal situation a lead will have a high grade, representing that they are a good fit, a high score, signaling that lead is engaged with your product, and match the ideal profile for the salesperson. This scenario should prioritize the lead by informing the sales person that the lead is ready to purchase and will increase the likelihood of a sales conversion.