Best practices on lead scoring

Lead Scoring: When a 100 Is Not Enough

Lead scoring is among the top three strengths of B2B lead management/marketing automation platforms. Yet early adopters of marketing automation are still struggling with the nuances and changing buying habits of the digital buyer. Predefined lead scoring models make marketing automation setup easier and provideUnique Lead Scoring Model an architecture for ranking and prioritizing leads. However, we recommend establishing a unique scoring model (based upon a customer persona) that more accurately defines the quality of your leads.

It’s important to recognize that lead conversion, and ultimately close rates, are by their very nature challenging to forecast. Even within a lead management/marketing automation platform, the lead scoring functionality is only as effective as the model that has been built. Lead scoring defines the quality of a lead by its attributes and digital footprints. But even the most finely honed scoring models can leak unprepared and/or unqualified leads into your CRM.

That’s because using the total score (which is typically used to determine lead migration to a CRM) doesn’t tell the whole story. Hidden challenges can be hiding behind any automatically nurtured lead score.

Even a lead that is migrated to a CRM with a score of 100 may not be fully sales-qualified. Look at this example:

A lead enters your CRM with a overall score of 95 (out of a maximum 100). The lead achieved a A grade for intrinsic qualities like company size, revenues, and # of employees. For the behavioral scoring, the lead achieved a 98 score. This lead looks like a sure conversion based upon its overall score. But missing in that terrific score is a factor that wasn’t scored: the contact is finishing a month-long resignation and the purchasing decisions will be transferred to another position. The lead owner does not recognize this transition until first touch after migrating to the CRM.

How did the lead achieve that score? Was it primarily due to lead attributes (industry, contact title, etc.) or due to online behavior? Sales agents using integrated marketing automation platforms now have the capability to review leads as they move through the marketing funnel. Your sales reps should be advised to review the details of the lead’s score early in the engagement process. This will allow them to understand clearly how the lead got to their prospect pools, discover selling opportunities, and uncover deficiencies that may need to be overcome to convert that lead.

One tactic that helps to sharpen your scoring model is to mix in minor sales engagements along the nurturing path. Information gathered through preliminary qualification calls can provide guidance when it comes to adjusting weights or adding variables to your lead scoring model.

Sure, you can’t account for every circumstance and situation but developing an accurate, rigid yet adaptable scoring model – with as many parameters included as possible and appropriate weighting of each parameter – will help prevent ineffective measurement of the quality and interest of your B2B leads.

Why Your Sales Team Needs to Understand a Lead Score

Why Your Sales Team Needs to Understand a Lead ScoreLead scoring is a common component to marketing automation. Often, when a lead achieves a specific scoring threshold, that record is automatically migrated to a CRM for sales contact. However, not all lead scores are the same when they are passed to the sales team. In order for sales to be effective at converting a marketing-qualified lead to a win, it’s beneficial to for each sales agent to understand how a fresh MQL has been scored.

The total lead score is often comprised of a letter grade (A, B, C, etc.) that represents the lead’s explicit attributes (company size, industry, job title, etc.) and a numeric score (70, 80, 90, etc.), which represents the lead’s implicit characteristics as evidenced by its online footprint (web page views, email open, social click, etc.). The lead is graded against other suspects according to how well it fits a lead profile or customer persona then given points for engagement activities with your brand.

Why a Score Breakout is Important

The lead grade is fairly standard. The closer it fits to your typical customer, the higher the grade. CRM users can typically view the information used to generate a lead grade in the CRM interface. It’s the implicit score that a sales agent is typically blind to. If your sales agents see a lead score in the CRM, it is usually the total score. But how did the MA system calculate that total score? If your salespeople can identify what factors contributed to a lead’s total score, they will be better prepared to approach that lead and understand his or her motivators, research strategy, and MA awareness level.

Our Lead Management Automation™ platform breaks your lead score “out of the box”. Users can see what tracks a lead has taken to earn its implicit score. Various point values are assigned for each activity. For example, a single ‘email open’ activity may receive 5 points; a web form submission may receive 30 points. Each activity-related parameter is assigned a value which contributes to the implicit score.

This implicit score can reveal a lot about how the lead behaves, where he or she is in the buying cycle, how influential the lead may be in the purchase decision process, and other factors that can be critical to both the salesperson’s approach and the likelihood of conversion.

Scoring Weights

Every digital footstep doesn’t deserve the same scoring weight. Website pricing page views typically reflect a higher level of interest than a home page view. A lead that has engaged in a chat is often more sales-ready than one who has submitted a web form. Therefore, it’s critical to improving sales productivity for sales agents to view the lead scoring baseline in order to get a more complete impression of a sales lead.

Within your scoring matrix, the implicit activities should be weighted to account for the importance of each activity to the buying process.

If you’ve gone to the effort of deploying a marketing automation system, you should be able to view a breakout of the lead score. If your system provides this granularity, make sure your sales team is leveraging the information provided within initial and follow up contacts. Your sales conversion rate will rise and your sales team will become more efficient.

If your lead management/marketing automation system does not have a lead score breakout, take a look at our Lead Management Automation platform!

New Release from Lead Liaison Makes Lead Scoring Simple and Flexible

Allen, TX (PRWEB) July 15, 2013 – Lead Liaison, one of the fastest growing marketing automation and lead management software providers in the United States, has added another feature to its flagship Lead Management Automation™ (LMA) platform. The company has developed an out of the box lead scoring module that sets point values for common online activities that buyers of business products and services often perform. The powerful combination of Lead Liaison’s off-the-shelf lead scoring with custom lead scoring creates a unique offering to help B2B marketers qualify leads, faster, with less setup and hassle making lead scoring simple.

LMA users now have a complete view of the typical digital activities that contribute to a lead score, such as web page views or opening an email message, which is automatically calculated as a sales lead engages with digital marketing assets. Out of the box point values may be adjusted from preconfigured values assigned to each activity. For example, a web form submission may be assigned a point value of 100 instead of the default 50 by simply clicking the field value for that activity and entering a different value.

“The new feature adds a level of granularity and simplicity that allows marketers and sales people to define which activities should score higher or lower within their unique scoring paradigm,” said vice president of corporate communications Alex Brown. “For some companies email responses may be more valuable than social post engagements. For others it may be the reverse. We built out of the box lead scoring to make the process of setting up lead qualification for sales people flexible and easy. Our clients can choose to use the preconfigured scoring values for common behaviors or customize their own values with our custom lead scoring capability – which has been a smash hit to date.”

Alex Brown
Alex BrownVP Corporate CommunicationsLead Liaison

Lead scoring is an essential element to lead management practices. Systems such as LMA rely on lead scoring to measure the relevance and interest level of leads within the marketing pipeline and to notify sales agents of leads that deserve attention based on both company attributes and digital footprints. Lead scoring is also one of multiple parameters used by Lead Liaison to calculate lead priority for sales. Instead of a sales team dealing with a ‘flat’ database, they get a prioritized database and benefit from increased efficiency in the sales process.

“Out of the box lead scoring blows away complex lead scoring configuration typically seen in many systems. Those users cannot easily adjust the scoring matrix to suit proprietary models,” said Brown.

To learn more about Lead Liaison’s new out of the box lead scoring and other recent upgrades and releases,request a 10-minute B2B lead management demonstration.

****

Lead Liaison is an application development company that designs, develops, and sells cloud-based sales and marketing automation software. The company markets to small and medium-sized businesses worldwide, and focuses on creating the broadest and most user-friendly revenue generation software platform. Applications cover all phases of lead management automation including sales prospecting, lead generation, and marketing automation functions that directly influence revenue generation. It’s innovative and robust lead management platform combines unparalleled sales prospecting, lead capture, real-time lead tracking, lead qualification, lead distribution, database segmentation, lead nurturing and ROI reporting. The Software as a Service (SaaS) model delivers an effective user experience and integrated cloud computing capabilities.

For More Information:

Alex Brown
VP, Corporate Communications
abrown(at)leadliaison(dot)com
888.895.3237 (888 89 LEADS)

Out of the Box Lead Scoring

Out of the Box Lead ScoringOut of the Box Lead Scoring – Huh?

What is out of the box lead scoring? According to Wikipedia, “an out of the box feature or functionality, particularly in software, is a feature or functionality of a product that works immediately after install without any configuration or modification.” That’s exactly what we’ve brought to the table. We heard from many of our prospects and customers how other marketing automation systems had overly complex lead scoring techniques that took too long to map out and configure. When you really sit down and think about it, the majority of activities that a marketer and sales person want to capture and use in a scoring model are consistent across companies. The basic stuff like web form submissions, landing page views, email opens, etc.

We’ve introduced the industries most simplistic model – but we did that after introducing the industries most flexible model, our custom lead scoring. Our main goal was to keep things simple and get them working right away without compromising the deep customization that some companies covet. Now we’ve got the power of out of the box, instantly ready, lead scoring that marketers can harness and extend with custom lead scoring capability.

Why Should Marketers and Sales People Care about Out of the Box Lead Scoring?

Marketers come out looking like heroes when new leads are automatically qualified within minutes of implementing Lead Liaison. We’re still providing our Lead Scoring Model Designer which is a great tool to help companies put their lead scoring interests on paper. The only change now is that we’ve simplified the process. Our unique lead qualification capabilities gives marketers about five different individual parameters that get combined into a single priority rating for leads. How simple is that? What’s hot and what’s not, sales just wants to know. For marketers, what we find is that most marketers will use a fraction of the power of a marketing automation platform and often times lead scoring was de-prioritized over lead tracking, lead nurturing and other essential solutions. Our main differentiator in the marketplace is ease of use and simplicity. I think we’ve just upped the annie…brace yourself – or get back in the box ;-)

Why Do You Need Lead Scoring?

Why Do You Need Lead ScoringIf salespeople of the world know anything, they know one thing – persistence is key. When you make multiple efforts to contact and follow up with customers, you’re doing a few things in the process.

You’re showing them you want their business. Sales teams who make a few follow ups, then fall off the map lose sales that may have converted over time.

You’re showing them you care. If you care enough to follow up, customers expect the same level of persistence and service when you actually do serve them.

You’re showing them you want the sale. If you develop a rapport with customers, you’re more likely to make the connection that sells.

For many organizations, the problem is not in closing sales for qualified customers – the problem is drawing the fine line between customers who are qualified and those who you could lose if you continue to contact them. Sales tracking and lead scoring helps you make the determination as to who’s qualified and who could convert in the longer term. Let’s answer the question, why do you need lead scoring?

Deploying Lead Scoring

Many companies don’t bother to implement lead scoring because it would take time to actually come up with a system. It’s a catch 22 – you want to get your team scoring leads so you can save time and get better sales coming in, but to actually make the time to develop the system will cost time on the phones and time for you to implement.

This is why marketing automation is changing the game. With a small investment and the help of a qualified marketing automation company, lead scoring and qualification couldn’t be easier. It works like this: You explain your sales process and your thoughts on lead scoring to your marketing automation company. They’ll streamline everything, set it up with your guidance and assistance – then the system does everything for you.

Onboarding Employees

This is typically not a daunting process. With Lead Liaison, employees are typically getting the hang of new processes and managing leads better than ever in under a week. Plus, your marketing department will love the ease of accessing metrics and necessary info all in one place.

Here’s a scenario many companies face: Bob has developed a great rapport with a client, but leaves to go to another sales job. After he leaves, John (a new salesperson) is ready to take on that old client, but has little information that does him any good. The details Bob typed into the CRM are helpful, but aren’t really going to address what John needs to know at the organizational level to approach the client. He loses the sale.

With lead scoring, your sales people don’t just discuss the finer details but have a clear cut process about how likely the client is to purchase and where they’re at in the funnel. This means that regardless of who’s following up, the follow up is solid and conducted under organizational guidelines that meet what can be accurately offered to the client. This is a great way to streamline your sales team’s organizational efforts as well as better appeal to clients.

It’s time to take a look at how marketing automation can streamline your funnel. Take a look at Lead Liaison’s robust offerings today!

How to Use Lead Scoring to Land Qualified Leads

How to Use Lead Scoring to Land Qualified LeadsMarketing automation generates a significant amount of leads, but it is the lead scoring process that filters and prioritizes leads to determine which are most qualified. Not every lead has the same potential. Lead scoring determines who has the highest chance of conversion, so the sales team is only focusing their energy on landing qualified leads. We’ll show you how to use lead scoring to land qualified leads.

Compare Leads against Current Customers

A lead will have a greater chance of conversion if their behavioral and demographic characteristics are similar to existing clientele. This is usually a strong sign they will have the same needs. Marketing automation can land more qualified leads by basing their criteria on their current customers.

Uses the Sales Team to Understand Customer’s Needs

Marketers should always ask the sales team for their opinion when they are developing lead scoring criteria and lead nurturing content. The sales team works directly with the company’s existing clients and they understand what they truly want.

Rank Criteria based on Relevancy

Every characteristic of a potential leads should be weighed based on relevancy. For example, a lead that clicks on a DIY video could imply that they are just using the site as a resource for information versus a lead that clicks on a page that contains product pricing and specifications. Higher value should be put on behavior that demonstrates sincere interest, like if someone volunteers personal information in an online registry to gain access to information.

Test Different Lead Scoring Criteria

There are some criteria that will have obvious relevancy, like whether or not someone clicks on a company’s contact page while other characteristics like a person’s purchasing history may not matter as much as you originally estimated. It is important to test different lead scoring criteria by not only changing the criteria, but by also adjusting the value assigned to the criteria.

For example: Let’s say that right now lead scoring determines that leads between the age of 40 and 50 are less relevant and therefore are assigned one point and leads ranked between the age of 20 and 30 are given four points because the product appeals to a younger demographic. If marketers notice that the business is now attracting an older audience, they can test the lead scoring by boosting the age 40 to 50 criteria up to two or three points. If older clients are truly interested in the product, this change could help the business land more qualified leads.

Include Criteria to Measure Inactivity

If a lead was active for a significant period of time and then they suddenly stop visiting the site, that behavior should also be considered as part of lead scoring. It may be an indicator that the lead nurturing content is not answering their needs or that they have already chosen to go purchase elsewhere.

Marketing automation was created to capture and land more qualified leads. This will be easier to accomplish if marketers use the right lead scoring criteria by involving sales in the process, basing it on relevancy, testing various criteria, and including inactivity. Lead scoring can be a powerful tool for ranking and prioritizing leads, so sales professionals are always focused on the people who have the highest potential for conversion.

Building Your B2B Lead Scoring Profile

B2B Lead Scoring ProfileBuild a B2B lead scoring profile for your business to standardize lead qualification. The most effective strategy to use when you’re deploying a marketing automation platform for your B2B company is to establish an accurate lead scoring matrix. The scores that are assigned to leads as they proceed through the sales pipeline can be a critical difference between committing a sales agent too early or too late and contacting a marketing lead at the right time in the buying cycle. Building a high-yielding scoring matrix first requires marketing and sales managers to contemplate who is their best customer.

We recommend creating a scoring model that reflects the qualities of your customers. Who are they and what do they do when their company is considering a purchase? Optimally, both sales and marketing staff should be involved in the scoring model development process. There is a process of model development that has been successful for many of our clients (which we can talk with you about). However, there are a few mistakes that companies new to marketing automation should avoid when building a lead scoring model.

First, don’t build a scoring model without first developing an optimal B2B lead profile. Define the most common characteristics of your primary markets and create a profile from that information. If your company has multiple market segments (such as 6-8 year old males and their 35-45 year old parents), create a profile for each segment then build a lead scoring model specific to that profile.

Include an adequate number of parameters for your lead scoring model – but don’t include everything. B2B lead profiles can typically be refined into a dozen or so parameters which will include attributes and behaviors. Roughly half of the parameters should represent demographic and business-graphic details of each lead. The other half should represent online behaviors.

Do not assign the same weight to all scoring parameters. Sure, every activity and job or industry-related attribute is an important component to a good lead profile, but some factors are likely more important than others. We offer a free Lead Scoring Model Designer which helps managers build a suitable scoring profile. Users can test scoring models by applying different weights to the scoring parameters.

Do not score all online activity the same. Engagement levels vary within each activity and across all online activities. Your lead scoring profile should account for the variability in message impact and lead engagement associated with each digital marketing asset. For instance, a lead that visits a static web page multiple times is often less impacted each time the page is visited; however, some marketers consider multiple webpage views as a sign of sales-readiness, therefore, worthy of a higher score for that lead scoring parameter. But consumer behavior studies have shown that the impact the repeated message has on a lead is frequently lower each time the page is viewed. Be sure to consider the impact each activity has on your leads and score online behaviors appropriately.

Lastly, don’t create a rigid profile; allow for lead profile refinement as time goes by. Although the general makeup of your leads may not change substantially over time, new strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) will likely emerge that may change certain aspects of your lead profile. So it’s important for you to be able to tweak your profile as situations develop.

If you’re building a lead profile to use in our Lead Management Automation™ platform, we can help you design an appropriate scoring model. Contact us with any questions you may have.

Lead Liaison Provides Another Lead Management Tool to Sales and Marketing Executives

Allen, TX (PRWEB) March 19, 2013 - Lead Liaison, a leader in marketing automation, has released another free lead management tool: the Lead Scoring Model Designer (LSMD). This time their implementation team has created a lead management asset that not only assists executives in building scoring rules for leads in their databases but also provides hypothetical testing capabilities and helps broker alignment between sales and marketing teams.

This lead scoring tool is built within a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet which allows users to adjust data. It is intended to be used by executives from sales and marketing, along with other relevant parties, when they meet to discuss lead management issues.

The Lead Scoring Model Designer employs a system of one to five stars that are used to represent the impact of each scoring parameter on a lead’s sales-readiness score. The layout organizes lead scoring parameters into three buckets that characterize demographic, behavioral, and qualification status. The 25 fields of predefined and user-entry parameters are adjustable to meet unique sales and marketing practices.

There are five facets in the Lead Scoring Model Designer that help guide sales and marketing through an alignment process which allows both teams to contribute to a lead scoring model. The first step in the alignment process is to bring both function silos to the table so the LSMD includes a meeting attendance verification mechanism. Attendance can be confirmed and the total meeting participants are calculated within the first section in the tool.

Following attendance verification, users then determine a star rating that reflects the importance of each scoring parameter. After each parameter is assigned one to five stars, users define thresholds that represent significant values for moving leads from one classification (for instance, warm lead) to another through the marketing pipeline and, eventually, into a customer relationship management (CRM) application such as the Salesforce.com Sales Cloud.

Once threshold values have been determined, users assign weights to each bucket included in the scoring matrix. Weighting from 0% to 100% can be applied to indicate the impact of each bucket towards an overall lead score. Next a point value for each star is assigned. For example, a parameter that is assigned four stars with point values of 10 contributes 40 points towards the overall lead score.

Finally, users can test the validity of the scoring model by determining if each parameter appropriately represents its contribution to the overall score. Sales and marketing executives can see the total lead score then apply the total score to each threshold in the marketing pipeline in order to evaluate if each parameter is defined accurately.

The Lead Scoring Model Designer can be used to design models for specific marketing campaigns or as a comprehensive model for lead management practices.

Download the Lead Scoring Model Designer here. It is available at no charge for existing customers and other interested parties. For more information contact Lead Liaison at 888 895 3237.

****

Lead Liaison is an application development company that designs, develops, and sells cloud-based marketing and sales automation software. The company markets to small and medium-sized businesses worldwide, and focuses on creating the broadest and most user-friendly revenue generation software platform. Applications cover all phases of lead management automation including sales prospecting, lead generation, and marketing automation functions that directly influence revenue generation. It’s innovative and robust lead management platform combines unparalleled sales prospecting, lead capture, real-time lead tracking, lead qualification, lead distribution, database segmentation, lead nurturing and ROI reporting. The Software as a Service (SaaS) model delivers an effective user experience and integrated cloud computing capabilities.

Media Contacts:
Alex Brown
VP Corporate Communications
abrown(at)leadliaison(dot)com
888.89.53237 (LEADS)

Key Factors that Must Be Considered in B2B Lead Scoring

Key Factors that Must Be Considered in B2B Lead ScoringLead scoring can be an incredibly valuable tool that can produce more qualified sales-ready leads provided that you start with the right criteria. Start by combining both the marketing and sales department’s knowledge of existing customers and develop a profile that represents a typical buyer’s demographics and behavior.

When creating effective and informative B2B lead scoring criteria, be sure to consider the following key factors:

1) Ask strategic questions to determine demographic characteristics that will identify if they are a decision maker.

  • What is your job title?
  • How many years of experience do you have in the industry?
  • How many years of experience do you have with the company?

 2) Identify demographic indicators that will determine whether a company has the ability to make the purchase. Create questions that will answer the following questions.

  • Do they have the budget for that particular product or service?
  • Do they have a need for that particular product or service?
  • Have they ever purchased a similar product or service?

 3) Look for behavioral indicators that will show a lead’s current engagement level.

  • Has there been an increase in the frequency of visits?
  • Did they registering for a newsletter or sign up for a mailing list?
  • Has there been an increase in the amount of time they spend per visit?

 4) Record behavioral factors that demonstrate they have an interest in a specific product or service.

  • Did they download a specific article or tutorial related to a product?
  • Did they watch a demo video on a certain product or service?
  • Did they sign up for a free trial for a particular product or service?

 5) Watch for the key behavioral indicators that demonstrate that they are ready to make a purchase.

  • Visiting a company’s contact page is a great sign that they are close to making a decision in your favor.
  • A return visit after downloading relevant material is another sign that someone is ready to make a purchase.
  • Anytime a person or business willing offers their contact information, especially a cell phone number, is an obvious sign that they are ready for the sales department.

Once a complete list of all characteristics and triggers has been created, they will need to be ranked based on how closely that attribute signifies a sales-ready lead. For example, visiting a contact page should be weighted heavier than if their budget matches your price. Indicators that display a higher engagement level will be ranked higher, since it shows sincere interest in a product or service.

These key factors are essential for creating a B2B lead scoring model that will effectively rank and prioritize leads. Double check these against the list you have created to ensure that you are asking all the right questions, so you have all the right answers.