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Not all leads are created equally.

Your prospects are turning to online channels to research products, services, and best practices. They might be at different stages of the buying process – Some might be in the early stages, only interested in thought leadership content whereas others might be sales ready.

According to a report by RainToday, less than 25% of new leads are sales ready.

Engaging with the prospects too early impacts your sales team’s productivity and leaving it for too late impacts their sales numbers.

Lead scoring helps you to determine the right stage when your sales team should engage with your prospects.

What is Lead Scoring?

Lead scoring is a shared sales and marketing methodology for ranking leads based on firmographic details and web behavior to determine their sales readiness.

It can help you increase your efficiency and productivity by determining which prospects need to be fast-tracked to sales and which prospects need to be nurtured further before they are ready.

Sophisticated lead scoring rules help focus sales pipeline activity which drives customer-facing reps to engage in more targeted, relevant and meaningful conversations, helping us result in a 32% increase in qualified lead conversion rates and a 125% improvement in average lead conversion time.

–Sally Lowery, Bronto Software

Prospect’s Fit and Pain are at the Core of Lead Scoring System

You need to consider two different kinds of information in your lead scoring mechanism: explicit and implicit.

Explicit information is the information which is publicly available and can also be gathered through forms. This contains demographic and firmographic information and is useful in analyzing the fit of the prospects.

Implicit information is the information that is inferred through your prospects’ behavior. This information is useful in determining the pain level of the prospects.

When you bring together both the types of information, you build a true picture of value: the prospects’ value to your business and your business’s value to them.

How to Design a Lead Scoring System?

Designing a lead scoring system is a 2-step process:

Step 1: Identify Lead Scoring Factors

The first thing that you’ll need to do is to decide, which factors make up for a marketing qualified lead based on its fit and pain. As discussed above, it could be demographic and firmographic factors like company size, location, industry etc. or it could be behavioral factors like the number of clicks, types of pages viewed etc. or it could be a mix of both.

Marketo has identified more than 250 factors in their Guide to Lead Scoring

Step 2: Assign Scores

The next step is to assign numerical values to those factors and then categorize the leads into buckets of “hot”, “warm” and “cold”.

 For Example: 

Your product’s ideal fit is a customer who is an IT decision maker at a mid-sized company in the healthcare space and is based out of North India. In the past, this decision maker has interacted with your website, read your e-mails and watched your webinars.

Depending on what you’ve identified, you would assign scores to each factor:

Explicit

  • Role – IT Decision Maker – +5
  • Company Size – Medium-sized – +3
  • Industry – Healthcare – +5

Implicit

  • Interacted with Website – +3
  • Read E-mails – +1
  • Watched Webinars – +10

Then based on the final score, you will categorize whether that decision maker is a “hot”, “warm” or a “cold” lead.

This can then help you prioritize your sales resources and decide which lead is sales ready and which lead needs further nurturing.

How to Determine the Target Score

The target score shows when a lead has reached a certain level of FIT and PAIN and is ready to be passed to the sales team for further qualification.

The only way to build your lead scoring engine is to meet the sales team, build common definitions, and assign scores based on a common understanding of the buying process.

Determining the right target score is an imperfect science and only improves over time with the right feedback.

Once you do that, you need to define a structured check-up process to assess lead scoring campaigns on a continuous basis. This would help you to answer questions like:

– How many leads have my sales team received with the current scoring setup?

– Where do the majority of the leads lie? Are there any scoring methodology errors?

– Which content asset performed best?

– Which online behavior most correlated with moving to the opportunity stage?

– Who in the organization is pivotal to closing the deal?

You can accordingly make changes and capture adjustments in your lead scoring system to perfect it over time. This will also help you to understand your customers better and engage with them effectively on other channels as well.

Conclusion

Lead scoring is an integral part of lead management. When you invest your time, effort and money into this system, you make the most out of every lead that enters your database.

This increases the success of your marketing campaigns leading to increased conversion rates and returns on your marketing dollars.

Resources

Lead scoring worksheet by Marketo

How do you plan to incorporate lead scoring in your business? Please comment below