Sales lead scoring is an essential part of a lead management system. Leads enter your pipeline at different stages of the buying cycle, so it’s important to calculate how ready each marketing lead is for engagement by your sales team. In order to set up a lead scoring system, input should be gathered from your marketing and sales departments. There are four initial steps to take when developing an effective lead scoring system:
- Define qualified leads. The first step is to separate the curious from the interested. How prepared is a lead for engagement? The sales team should provide input when determining who is qualified. Leads that indicate a need for your product, who have the ability and willingness to purchase, and have expressed interest in your offer are generally considered a qualified lead; the next step is to grade the lead according to level of interest.
- Establish scoring criteria. What factors should be used to differentiate your leads? There are no hard and fast rules used to determine scoring values, but a lead scoring system should include attributes that indicate a lead’s identity, industry, level of interest or engagement source. For example, the responding party to a marketing touch point (e.g. CEO or purchasing agent) is an important attribute. The lead source is another variable to include – did the engagement come through a white paper download or a webinar registration? Examine each attribute of your marketing channels and your markets that can be used to assign a value that reflects its importance.
- Determine the scoring weight (point value) for each attribute. For example, how important is the lead source? A lead who has viewed a white paper should be given more points than one that has followed a Google Ad to your website. Leads that complete a survey may be at a higher engagement level than those who have responded to an automated call. There should be point values assigned to each attribute which indicate a lead’s willingness to be contacted by the sales team. The level of engagement (i.e. the amount of time spent investigating your offer) is often used to calculate an attribute’s weight.
- Establish a scoring range and threshold for transferring the lead to the sales department. Determine a scoring range – it can be 0 – 5 or 0 – 100 – by which leads can be prioritized for future engagements. However, don’t use a lead scoring system that limits the maximum score and ability to slide scores up or down in large intervals. For example, systems that cap lead scores at 100 hampers flexibility. Try to use a marketing automation system that ranges up to 1,000 for maximum versatility. When choosing your range make sure it allows for all variables that will be included in the system or your process. Once the range is determined, a threshold should be set which will move the interested party from marketing lead to sales prospect. At what point should the lead be passed to sales? That should be determined with the help of the sales department, and the scoring threshold should reflect the greatest willingness to be engaged by salespeople and readiness to purchase your product.
Lead scoring takes the guesswork out of determining whether a sales agent should be alerted about a potential prospect or if the lead requires nurturing prior to a sales engagement. Once you’ve established a lead scoring system, it should be installed in your automated marketing program.