How do you determine which leads are most likely to become buyers? And, how can you optimize campaigns to generate better leads? Enter: lead scoring, an effective model that helps sales and marketing departments identify which prospects are the most valuable to your company and its current sales process. Lead generation is a multi-faceted and highly profitable tool that requires a CEO who believes in its potential and fosters a culture within their sales team to support it. By focusing on the relationship between sales and marketing, any CEO can make a huge impact and reap the rewards.
With the right balance of marketing and sales strategies, your teams could experience a major increase in lead generation ROI. How does this happen exactly? Let’s go over the basic principles and methodology that makes this tool so powerful.
What is lead scoring
Lead scoring is a shared sales and marketing methodology for ranking leads in order to determine their sales-readiness. You score leads based on the interest they show in your business, their current status or stage in the buying cycle, and how well they align with your typical buyer profile.
How does lead scoring deliver value to your company?
Sales and marketing teams can better judge how close a prospect is to making a purchase with lead scoring. By looking at where the lead is in your sales process, teams can better prioritize their time and attention. This allows you to focus on prospects who are more likely to convert to customers, which may lead to higher conversion or close rates.
Lead scoring helps companies know whether prospects need to be fast-tracked to a demo or proposal or developed further with lead nurturing. Lead scoring will allow you to automate the process of tracking and labeling leads that exhibit sales-ready behaviors. Once you have this information, your sales team will be able to laser in on who exactly wants to buy, and when.
A lead scoring system only works when it is properly set up and used regularly. Unfortunately, many lead scoring models aren’t set up properly, which leads to poor conversion rates and sales process losses. By contacting customers too early in the sales process, you may prevent them from becoming interested enough to hear what your sales team members have to say.
How to implement your lead scoring
- Collect data: Prospects provide explicit data when completing a form on a website, and implicit data is gathered by knowing which content and pages the prospect is engaging with on your site. Knowing what data points matter, and how they work together, is key to lead scoring. The best lead scoring systems use demographic and firmographic attributes — like company size, industry, and job title — as well as behavioral scoring of engagements such as clicks and web visits. Every company has a different model for assigning points to score their leads, and one of the most common and effective ways is using data from the past leads to create the value system.
- Anticipate the next move: To properly score a lead in your sales process, you must decide the action that determines their shift from interest to intent. This action shows a lead has moved from the research phase, which includes actions such as watching a webinar or reading a blog post, to the next part of the process, where actions include completing a specific form, signing up for a free trial, or asking for a price quote.
- Use integrated platforms: When the consumer does something to trigger this particular action, their information can be sent to a sales team member. This is most easily done when your sales and marketing teams use integrated platforms that have a lead-scoring system. This automation makes it easier for salespeople to know whom to reach out to on any given day, instead of manually combing downloaded reports or contact forms for information.
That’s a lot of data to weed through. If you have a CRM set up, you’ve got a great starting point. But how do you know which data matters most? Should you find out from your sales team? Should you interview your customers? Should you dive into your analytics and run a few reports? Ideally, a combination of all three will help you piece together what content is most valuable for converting leads into customers, which will help you attach points to certain offers, emails, and so on.
CRM automation and lead scoring
CRM automation makes lead scoring easier with automatic data that can incorporate predictive scoring through machine learning. This allows the CRM to identify the highest quality leads for you based on data points or predetermined indicators.
If you’ve already been using marketing automation or a CRM for a period of time, you can use your historic data to clearly map the customer’s purchasing path and figure out what content they engaged with, how many touches it took, and if they built a relationship with anyone on your sales team. These data points can inform your CRM and improve the efficiency and accuracy of your lead scoring.
There are many other items to consider for your lead scoring system, but don’t be overwhelmed. Focus on what matters most — that is, what data points will you use to make decisions that will help the sales and marketing teams be most efficient with prospects? What variables can help you determine whether the message is right or what the next step in the process should be?