What The Hell Is Lead Scoring And Why Do I Need To Know About It?

July 31, 2014 Francois Mathieu

“The leads are weak!” shouted Shelley Levene in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross.

You see, not all leads are created equal, and salespeople know it. Time is a salesperson's scarcest resource and of course, your sales team wants to invest its time talking with premium leads. Shoveling even more leads into the sales pipeline won’t be of any help if  you're already operating at capacity, unless you can help your team identify the premium leads within the lot. This is where lead scoring comes into play, as it allows you to prioritize incoming leads.

What exactly is lead scoring?

Lead scoring is the quantitative measurement of the predicted (or perceived) value of a lead, based on a predefined set of rules. A good lead scoring program generally includes two types of information: explicit data and implicit data. Explicit data is what you collect using forms, surveys (or simply by talking to your prospects!) and implicit data is what you gather by tracking online events and behavior using analytics tools.

Which rules should I include in my score?

Marketo identified 250 rules that you could use in your lead scoring formula, but in reality you only need a handful of them. There is no magical formula for lead scoring because it has to be tailored to your business needs and should be constantly improved based on results and feedback from your sales team.

When selecting the ingredients for your score, ask your organization these questions:

  • What do current customers have in common? (buyer personas)
  • Who makes the buying decision for your product? (job title)
  • What event usually happens right before upgrading to a customer? (last interaction attribution model)
  • How many emails did your current customers opened or clicked before upgrading? (warming up leads)
  • What is a prerequisite for using your product? (technological integration)
  • Etc.

Both sales and marketing teams should be involved in defining the set of rules for your score. Since the sales team talks with prospects daily, they're usually in the best position to know what makes a good lead. Start with assumptions and use data to verify if there is a correlation between a criterion and turning from a lead to a customer. 

What are the next steps?

Once you have defined a formula for your lead scoring program, you need to decide what is the minimum score before a lead is passed to the sales team. There must be a balance between the sales readiness of your lead and the capacity of your sales team to follow up.

The best practice is to automate the process so the score is automatically updated and available for all. You will also need to alert the sales representatives when a lead enters the sweet spot or when a current opportunity’s score move significantly.

Using the right software will make everything easier. For example, at Uberflip we use our own content marketing platform to collect the data and our marketing automation software automatically computes the score. Our sales team can access the score using the CRM and are alerted of incoming leads. 

The last step — but not the least — is to frequently review your lead scoring program. It may take a while before you can measure the performance of your program because of the length of your sales cycle, but you can still tweak your formula based on the feedback you receive from your sales team.

What are the key benefits?

The benefit of a lead scoring program with a strong buy-in from both the sales and marketing team is a better alignment between departments. The marketing team will know exactly what type of leads they should be bringing in from their activities and they will ask them the right questions in order to move them up the scale and uncover the premium leads. The sales team, on their end, will spend more time talking to the right prospects and less time sorting out lists of hundreds of unqualified leads. How does that sound?

Improve sales and marketing alignment by implementing the metrics from our free eBook, "10 Metrics To Close The Gap Between Marketing And Sales."

About the Author

Francois Mathieu

Francois Mathieu is a growth marketer at Opencare.com. He previously led demand generation at Uberflip.

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