Lead Scoring – Prioritize your Prospects

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The first step to the conversion of leads to the customer is ensuring the awareness of your online presence and creating a more significant visitor base to your website. Leads are the audience and visitors showing prominent interest in your product or service and have a higher probability of conversion. The tracking of your visitor’s digital footprint can provide you sufficient data for visitor classification and determination of their interest levels and engagement to label them as “leads”. You need to collaborate with the sales team for the targeted communication through different channels to influence the visitor’s purchasing decisions.

Lead scoring is a vital step for sales funnel automation. It is the procedure used for ranking the leads in form numerical points. Your leads’ scoring can be done based on several attributes like their professional information and the extent of engagement with your website and your brand. The lead scoring allows your company’s marketing and sales teams to prioritize the leads, follow-up, engage, and respond appropriately and increase the conversion rate of leads becoming customers. Also, the leads with low scores are to be nurtured with the targeted, personalized content to increase their lead scores and eventual conversion. Lead scoring enables the enhanced overall productivity of your sales team by reducing the amount of time and efforts required to attain the conversions, hence ensuring steady revenue generation for your business success.

Importance and benefits of Lead Scoring

Lead scoring performs an essential task of keeping the sales team’s focus only on the best opportunities. It paves the path in creating enhanced and unique customer experiences. Lead scoring can be helpful for you in several ways.

Identification and targeting of leads that require nurturing

The leads with a score less than the threshold may require further nurturing to increase their engagement and enthusiasm. Through marketing automation tools, leads can be segmented based on their score range and delivered for targeted nurturing campaigns to advance them towards sales-ready leads.

Assumptions testing about the target market and sales process

You can develop a predictive model for lead scoring to develop a better understanding of their customers’ behavior patterns and their characteristics that leads to buying. It can be used for your revenue forecast if it proves to be accurate with time and refinement.

Identification of ardent fans and net promoters

Lead scoring can be very helpful in the identification of highly engaged and delighted fans and believers of your brand and the company. These happy customers will willingly recommend your product or service when the opportunity comes, and through the automated campaigns, you should encourage it.

Standardization of lead discussion and evaluation

The common language in the form of numbers and data provides an aligned platform for the marketing and sales team to discuss the quality and quantity of leads. The marketing team can make efforts to target particular factors for the generation of more leads matching those specific criteria.

Refinement of your marketing messages

Segmentation of your contacts based on the best match for your business allows you to test several different approaches that might not be applicable for your less enthusiastic leads.

Effective marketing campaigns

The identification of campaigns and channels with high quality leads as the outcome is facilitated by lead scoring. It can help in tailoring the marketing strategy for the generation of more qualified leads.

Sales and marketing alignment

You should ensure establishing proper alignment and communication between his marketing and sales departments. This will result in assuring every lead passed to the sales team is qualified for lead scoring. It will also build up a strong rapport between the sales and marketing teams working to advance your business.

Increased revenue

Lead scoring facilitates the sales department in prioritization of selected leads for follow-up. It allows the application of scientific and analytical methods to manage the leads cost-effectively. The timely approach to qualified leads can have a significant impact on revenue.

Lead scoring has four primary dimensions.

Lead Fit

Utilization of data for the success of your marketing campaign and refining the lead search, which fits well. The four ingredients for this identification are termed as BANT acronym.

  • Budget
  • Authority
  • Need
  • Time

Each buyer persona has a different score implicating their differential buying potential.

Lead Interest

The knowledge of your lead’s degree of engagement and interest in your brand in the form of browsing your web page, opening your emails, attending webinars, or downloading the resources can help you determine their readiness for purchase.

Lead Behavior

The analysis of the prospect’s engagement in buying behavior like reading your blog, requesting for calls or demos is an integral part of lead scoring. Behavior can include purchasing, viewing, subscribing, unsubscribing, clicking, or commenting.

Buying

The entrepreneur can determine the meaning of the lead score by defining the buying stage. If the lead score is low, it indicates the early stage of your sales funnel.

After determining these factors, the next step is building your lead scoring model.

Building a lead scoring model (Implementation of the lead scoring system)

Lead scoring models ensure that the assigned values to each lead depict the actual compatibility with your product or service. The steps involved in building a lead scoring model are discussed below.

Identification of ideal leads and buyer personas creation

The first and foremost task is identifying ideal lead characteristics for attaining a high lead score for your model. The best way is to identify the lead characteristics present in your current successful customers. Through the creation of buyer personas, a holistic understanding of your customers is developed, resulting in the precise lead scoring efforts.

 You should be able to answer the following questions for identification.

  1. What is the company size?
  2. What are the company’s earnings?
  3. The number of employees working for the company.
  4. What is the designation of the employees?
  5. What is the company’s location?
  6. Which industry does the company belongs to?
  7. Which department uses your solution?
  8. What is the number of employees working in that department?

Listing of criteria that qualify an ideal lead

Two categories of data are required for building an efficient lead scoring model.

Demographic Data

The characteristics like job title, industry type, company size, location, annual revenue, department, etc. can be easily identified through the form filled by the lead on your website or from the conversations with that lead.

Behavioral data

The second type of data required for the lead scoring model is the behavioral data representing the type and level of the lead’s interaction with your company. It may include the positive buying signals like opening and responding to your emails, free trial requests, content download, requesting a demo, visiting the pricing page, registering for product webinars, social media engagement, or signing up at your webpage. On the contrary, your lead’s behavior, like unsubscribing from the mailing list or visiting the careers page, indicates disinterest and negative signs of buying.

Building a lead score model requires both demographic and behavioral data.

Values assignment

The assignment of numerical values/scores to each activity is a critical and challenging step and should be done very carefully. One of the methods of value assignment can be the equal point distribution to demographic and behavioral data. 

Determining scores threshold

All the identified leads might not be ready to purchase your product or service. Therefore, entrepreneurs should define a threshold value for segmenting their leads. It will help in instant identification of the leads requiring attention and the leads that need nurturing.

Revisiting and testing your lead scoring model

The designed lead scoring models are based on the hypothesis. The market and the lead’s behavior may show new trends after a specific duration. Thus, it is advisable to vigilantly monitor your lead scoring data regularly so that the model is revised, incorporating the required changes. Ultimately, it will result in the improved version of your lead scoring model.

Utilizing sales and marketing automation tools

The use of marketing automation tools saves time and facilitates accurate data output in scoring the leads. Through automated processes, it’s easier to track the changes in lead scores with time. The automation tools allow scoring of leads and their update as they change.

Lead Scoring Software

Lead Scoring software automates lead scoring and helps in saving the sales team’s time. The essential features of the software that should be considered while choosing the software are:

1. It should be able to create and manage different lead ranking measures based on your business’s objectives and market status.

2. It gives the facility to users for scores assignment based on set criteria like budget, company size, and location.

3. It should be able to provide comparative lead scores, reporting, and analysis that can be utilized by the sales team.

4. The software can integrate with different teams of sales and marketing software solutions, advanced analytics, or lead intelligence.

5. Various options for data export and import to and from different file formats like PDF, spreadsheets, text, etc.

Few of the lead scoring software that can be chosen for business are:

  • VanillaSoft
  • Velocify Lead Manager
  • Infer
  • 6sense
  • Leadspace
  • EverString

Best practices for lead scoring

Ensure integration of marketing automation and CRM systems for scoring

The integration of a marketing automation system that tracks and scores leads and the company’s customer relationship management (CRM) solution helps create an effective lead scoring system. You can use either an all-in-one solution with a built-in integration or two separate systems integrated for data flow.

Award scores for actions that indicate purchase inclination 

Behavioral scoring encompasses scoring your leads when they show interest in your product or service. The leads can be scored every time they download the content.

Customize your scoring model

The entrepreneurs should be specific while assigning the scores. Scores cannot be awarded for the same type of several actions. Systematic defining of behavior categories and sub-categories will help in an efficient scoring process.

Establish a marketing qualification scoring threshold

A score threshold at which contacts are regarded as marketing qualified leads (MQLs) should be defined, thus helping in sales-ready leads identification. 

Incorporate automatic qualification

Few actions that are strong indicators of lead’s inclination of purchase can be awarded points automatically. When a lead requests for a product demo, it indicates the time for sales involvement.

Incorporate negative scores and score degradation

Negative scoring helps in screening out the leads that are not a good fit or are not interested in purchasing your product or service. The job seekers, content writers, or un-subscribers of your mailing list should get a negative score. Score degradation involves subtraction of scores from leads who didn’t interact with you, opened your email, or visited your website for a long time.

Disqualify dead-end leads

The dead-end leads that have zero probability of converting into customers can be automatically disqualified through marketing automation. Examples of such dead-end leads are students and academic researchers who have no plans to buy your product or service.

Automate alerts to sales for new MQLs

As soon as the lead gets qualified, the sales team should be notified.

Your odds of reaching a new sales lead drop over 10x if you wait longer than the first hour of shown interest, and the odds of [sales] qualifying that lead decrease 6x after the first 60 minutes.

Inside Sales

Revisiting your model regularly

The entrepreneurs should revisit the lead scoring model regularly for ensuring the accurate timing of qualifying leads. It will also help in getting the feedback of the mechanism and make necessary improvements.

Lead scoring is an integral part of sales automation, simplifying, and improvising many processes of your business, thus enhancing the overall productivity and effectiveness. 

In fact, organizations using a lead scoring system experience a 77% increase in lead generation ROI

Anonymous

Therefore, the lead scoring system should collaborate with your sales team to increase the number of qualified leads. 

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