All leads are not created equal. Even if companies know how to generate leads, many have no lead management system in place to evaluate the quality of a lead. The thinking is, as long as it comes from a carbon-based life form and has a pulse it goes directly to the sales team.
This no-system system is costly. Why not improve sales results by determining which leads get passed along now and which will benefit from nurturing. It’s a sales and marketing strategy that pays big dividends.
Lead-Scoring is a methodology to help prioritize leads for action. Marketing can direct sales-ready leads to Sales, retain others for nurturing, and assign the rest to the dust bin. No brainer alert: this saves your company money!
- When presented with better qualified leads, sales can close more sales more quickly.
- The cost per lead can be reduced as a result.
- Customer acquisition costs are lowered as well.
Lead scores need to be developed jointly by Sales and Marketing, with both departments having equal input. There are several criteria to be measured and there may be differing perspectives to be reconciled then, once defined, the process is largely managed by marketing.
What factors should you consider in developing a lead scoring system? A great place to start is to evaluate the qualities and traits of your best customers – after all, you don’t just want more business – you want great customers. Create a buyer profile or profiles that fit the traits of these customers.
For a complex sale there are opportunities to dig deeper and get more detailed information from leads as part of nurturing campaigns. This provides an opportunity to build trust and gain valuable insight into the buyer and his company. Transactional type sales don’t lend themselves to that level of detail, but there are still valid measurements to be made.
Here’s a list to get you started. This is by no means complete but should help you think about what matters to your company.
- Is this the first visit to your company’s website?
- How often has s/he visited the site?
- Are you getting visited by multiple people from the same company?
- What was the level of interaction (pages visits, length of time spent, response to calls to actions, forms completed, downloads, etc.).
- Was a link in an outbound email clicked?
- A long visit to the Careers page should result in a negative score!
Are they already a customer? It’s not unusual in large corporations for one division to be kicking tires even though the company is already a customer at another location.
Title or Role
The prospect’s position may have a big impact. For example:
- A VP may get a higher rating than a Manager, and a Director highest of all.
- Someone who doesn’t fit your buying profile may be rated “0”.
- Depending on your product and market, a purchasing agent might get a negative score.
Is the company in your target industry?
Location, company size, annual revenue are attributes you’re most likely to learn as you move a lead through an online marketing funnel. In larger, big ticket sales with longer cycles, it can be worth proactively searching for this this information.
Your leads get points relative to importance of the criteria. For example, if the prospect is in a location you can’t service that’s obviously a huge negative. The scoring measurements need to be weighted to reflect “deal killer” attributes.
The process you develop is a starting point. You’ll need to evaluate and adjust as you learn more about how to weight scores to identify the best sales opportunities. Make sure that your processes are established and understood before selecting the technology to support it.
What can you expect once everything is in place? Aside from improved morale, expect a more robust sales pipeline, a shortened sales cycle, and, ultimately, more sales.