You want the highest conversion rate potential for your business. And this means appealing to as many qualified leads as possible. A great sales process will help you every step of the way — from lead generation to closing the sale. When you’ve got plenty of leads in your sales funnel, however, it’s time to get smart about your lead management process. Not all leads are created equal, and those at different stages of readiness to buy require different types of nurturing to lead them along the sales funnel. This is where lead scoring comes in.
What Is Lead Scoring?
We’ve spoken briefly about lead scoring in our previous post about a lead process. It’s an important part of the lead management process and works as a measure of the sales readiness of your leads. It’s a scoring system that assigns a value to each lead based on a set of criteria. These criteria determine how ready a lead is for a sale.
Why Is It so Useful?
Lead scoring is useful primarily because it increases the efficiency of your business. It bridges the gap between the marketing and sales teams and provides data that better informs your marketing strategies.
Your marketing teams will be able to prioritize leads that are almost ready to be passed off to the sales team, making their efforts more efficient. As we’ve said before, you’ll also be able to use appropriate nurturing campaigns for different types of leads. Naturally, leads that have gone cold will respond to different types of input than leads that are nearly ready to buy.
Essential Lead Scoring Models
Demographic and Company Data
These are the most basic types of data when it comes to defining a target audience, but there are some effective ways to apply it to lead scoring for B2B marketing.
A key part of any lead scoring method is to also assign negative scores. If there are some demographics you simply don’t sell to, such as people who live too far away or companies too small in size, you’ll probably want to assign them a negative score.
An instance that could dictate assigning extra points is if the lead provides optional demographic information in a form when they don’t have to.
Asking these key demographic and company questions will lead to their scores:
- What industry is your ideal client a part of?
- How big is their organization?
- What is the buyer’s job title?
You can request this information on the landing page of your website, or in exchange for premium content such as a free trial or a demo video. Then, by assigning points based on the criteria that fit your ideal client, you’ll have the right information to direct your lead management process.
How your leads interact with your website and your online content can be a great source of information. Some behaviors that could signal a higher interest in buying would be visiting the pricing page or filling out a form.
If you’ve had your website up for a longer period of time, you should be able to look back and see patterns that can inform your lead scoring method.
How did leads that became customers first interact with your content?
Which pages did they visit and how many times?
A change in a lead’s behavior can also signal their readiness to buy. If a lead is interacting with blog posts on your site on a daily or weekly basis and then disappears, there’s a good chance they’ve lost interest. In this case, lowering the lead’s score will more accurately represent their interest.
What Makes a Strong Lead Scoring Model?
Connecting Marketing and Sales
One of the biggest advantages of a smart lead scoring system is the coherence it brings to the sales process. Sales and marketing departments are ultimately working toward the same goal, but their aims can get confused. If the teams aren’t on the same page, it can be easy for sales to start to feel like marketing isn’t handing them hot enough leads. Likewise, the marketing team might think the sales team is throwing away the great leads they’re receiving.
The magic of a lead scoring model happens when the two departments collaborate to define what most effectively motivates leads. For example, sales reps should use their experience to educate the marketing team on which types of customers close most frequently. This lets the marketing team know where they should focus their efforts. It also informs how leads are scored. When done well, the content created by the marketing team is more effective at generating business and the leads passed off to sales are already closer to conversion.
Use It or Lose It
A lead scoring system works best when it’s used, and used often. As with most business systems, consistency is key. When sales reps and the marketing team rely on lead scoring to do their job, the system will only get better. If it isn’t used with any regularity, you’ll get inaccurate feedback and ROI data. It will render the resources spent installing the system a loss.
Regularly Scheduled Updates
Your business certainly isn’t the same as it was when you started it, and it will undoubtedly continue to change. Your lead scoring process needs to change with it.
By regularly scheduling maintenance checks for your lead scoring process, you’ll be able to keep up with the other developments of your business. When your marketing team develops new content, your sales process becomes more refined, or your offers change, it’s time to adjust.
Elevate Your Efficiency
The buyer’s journey is seldom straightforward. In today’s business environment, there is an endless variety of marketing channels that can lead in multiple directions. Any tool to help streamline the process and keep your company operating efficiently is a tool worth using. An intelligent lead scoring process used wisely can do just this and more.
We Can Help Your Team with Sales Leads
To expedite meeting and exceeding your sales goals, it might be time to call in reinforcements. Schedule your free consultation here to find out how we help sales teams break sales records.