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How to Qualify Opportunities with Lead Scoring

Lead ScoreAll businesses need leads, but one of the primary problems is the pressure to generate qualified leads and route the right ones to sales. Perhaps your inbound marketing strategy has helped generate a database full of leads, through varying campaigns. You have a bevy of potential customers interested in your products or services, but are they ready to make a purchase?

It is certainly obvious that not all of your new leads are a the same stage in the buying process. Some will need convincing to move over to the next level. The best way to meet these leads with relevant and appropriate messaging is through lead scoring. This is a technique of segmentation to ensure you send a message that truly interests each lead.

Don’t qualify leads manually

You can’t judge new leads based on a gut method or hit-and-miss. Otherwise, sales and marketing would be quite frustrated. Not to mention, this method is highly unreliable. The reason why manual processes are set up for failure is because humans eventually make mistakes.

If you’re sorting through a large list of mixed-quality leads, you can quickly feel exhausted and demotivated. Soon, you find yourself making snap judgements as you run out of time. What happens is you risk overlooking many leads that might have made a purchase if someone was there to give the lead attention.

In addition, manual lead qualification usually accounts for leads that may be ready to buy in a few months. If a salesperson gets the impression that a lead is disinterested, they might throw that lead a way. Yet, if the lead was nurtured for a few months, they might end up making a large purchase.

Start with marketing automation

In order to quickly and efficiently process leads, you need to deploy marketing automation. This way, you can scale campaigns through a lead scoring model. Moreover, you can integrate your campaigns with your inbound efforts. Marketing automation helps to eliminate human error. You can also use marketing automation to qualify leads based on their online behavior. Of course, it is important to develop a successful lead scoring model.

Think of how you attract leads

What does the marketing department do to attract leads? Online advertising? Social media? Webinars? Blogs? All of the above and more? How can you tell when a lead is ready to purchase? Have they visited your pricing page more than once and watched an in-depth demo? Now think of a lead who is in the researching stage; perhaps they’ve downloaded a webinar two weeks ago.

On a scale of 1-100, how would you score each of those leads? Which lead would you spend the most time with? What types of messaging would you send each lead? This is the basis of lead scoring. You assign a number to a lead based on the types of actions they have taken in terms of buying from your company. A lead that has watched a webinar, downloaded an eBook and looked at your pricing page might be sales ready.

On the other hand, a lead that has opened an email and browsed your site may be ready in a few months if nurtured properly. Your marketing automation tool can assign a score based on prospects’ behaviors and assign numbers based on the parameters you set. Then, leads can be automatically routed to sales when they are close to making a purchase.

Setting up your lead scoring system

You want to formulate your company’s scoring system by having marketing and sales work together. When you set up a scoring system, it would be similar to adding rules. You can also add as many parameters as you like. In fact, the more rules you set up, the smarter your automation system will be. The objective is to set rules that specify a behavior and award a positive or negative number. When a lead takes this specific action, he or she is awarded points or they are deducted. Some rules might include:

  • Email clickthrough
  • Facebook ad clicks
  • Price page visit
  • Downloaded eBook
  • Viewed webinar
  • Twitter clicks
  • LinkedIn click
  • Blog click
  • Phone call
  • Requested information

Then what?

Once leads are rated, targeted marketing techniques can be applied. Also, each lead can be cultivated more accurately. A lead with a lower score might feel overwhelmed if you schedule a one-hour online demo. In contrast, a sales-ready lead would appreciate an in-depth online demo. Yet, you won’t know their level of interest without lead scoring.

Learn as you go

Lead scoring and nurturing takes time and practice to nail down. Although, keep in mind that the wrong message at the wrong time can ruin what could have been a successful conversion. You don’t want your sales team contacting leads who have not shown much interest in your product.

Instead of selling to them right away, nurture leads by educating and leading them through your conversion funnel. Sales should only be involved when their score says they are ready. Sometimes, a lead may disappear for a few months then suddenly pop back in at a different stage. Lead scoring can help you keep a handle on how inclined they have been to buy over the past few months.

Interested in gearing up for Lead Scoring? Request a personalized demonstration, and we’ll show you that capability of our software, plus so much more!

Author Bio

Katrina Manning is a content marketing specialist who has penned thousands of articles on business, tech, lifestyle and digital marketing for a wide variety of global B2B clients. She mostly writes for Leadpath.com and she is also the author of three books and is currently working on her fourth. In her free time, she enjoys fundraising for charitable causes, playing with her cat and baking.

What is Lead Scoring?

What is Lead ScoringWhat is lead scoring? Lead scoring is the process of using technology to automatically qualify leads for sales. Many organizations are flooded with inquiries and/or have a large database of contacts collected over time. Lead scoring helps businesses filter through inquiries and contacts and start prioritizing leads for sales.

What is lead scoring similar too?

When building a lead scoring model, make sure you look at scoring like dating or getting married. Your score should take into account criteria from both parties, not just one. Is the prospect a good fit for your business? Equally important, is the prospect interested in buying? Categorize your scoring into different ‘buckets’. Develop criteria for what you consider a good lead such as industry relevance, company size, and target buyer/role. Then, come up with a set of criteria that your team feels is indicative of prospects intent to purchase. For example, if a prospect visits your pricing page, visits 5 or more pages or makes multiple website visits within a certain period of time – all examples of online behavior that technology can automatically detect.

What is lead scoring without..?

Opposite lead scoring

For every positive lead score consider using a negative lead score. For example, visiting a web page on pricing might be a good sign; however, visiting a page with job postings might be a bad sign and deserve a negative score for that specific action. In summary, make sure your lead scoring solution allows scores to be incremented and decremented.

Limits

Make sure your lead scoring solution doesn’t have limits, such as capping at 100. Having a cap limits differentiation of one lead against another, making it more difficult for sales to figure out whose hot and who’s not.

The ability to score your existing database

Make sure your lead scoring solution allows you to statically score your existing contacts. For example, run a set of scoring rules across your CRM leads and/or contacts based on criteria. Being able to score your database as well as future inquiries makes sure your scoring program is consistent across past and future leads.

The end result of a solid lead scoring program is a hyper-efficient lead management process that produces higher quality leads for sales and allows marketing to make revenue contributions. Marketers get a stake in the sales process and get to work closer with their sales force, creating a more cohesive organization.

What do you feel is important in a lead scoring model? What is lead scoring to you?

Contact Lead Liaison to learn more about how your business can benefit from lead scoring with Lead Liaison’s proprietary technology that uses a three-prong approach to lead qualification.

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Lead Scoring Criteria

Lead Scoring CriteriaLead scoring is the process of automatically qualifying and prioritizing leads for sales. If you own revenue generation software and haven’t developed a lead scoring program yet or you’re considering investing in a lead scoring program you’re probably wondering how to get started. First, identify your lead scoring criteria.

Businesses typically categorize lead scoring criteria into three “buckets” – demographics, behavior and qualification. Segmenting lead scoring criteria into these three areas helps businesses organize their lead scoring rules and determine the weight/value to place on each rule. Here’s a breakdown of the three lead scoring criteria buckets.

Demographic lead scoring criteria

Demographic lead scoring refers to any information about a company or a person. In the video below, Mac McConnell uses a creative way to interpret demographic lead scoring criteria as any information typically seen on a business card. Some industry experts refer to this as “firmographics”, or any company related information while demographics are information on a person. An example of lead scoring criteria in this bucket is below:

• Company name

• Revenue

• Industry

• Geography

• Name

• Title/position

Behavior lead scoring criteria

Behavior lead scoring refers to any information about an individual’s online behavior such as their interaction with marketing assets. For example, it’s possible to track the following behavioral lead scoring criteria using lead tracking technology:

• Website visits (# of pages viewed, specific pages visited – like a pricing page)

• Online registrations (document downloads, webinar requests)

• Email opens and/or links clicked in an email

• Time spent on a website

Qualification lead scoring criteria

Qualification lead scoring refers to any information about a lead which identifies whether a lead is in profile (ideal buyer) or out of profile. For example, at Lead Liaison our ideal customers are B2B companies, not B2C. To collect this information ask your sales people to log this data into your CRM. Alternatively, use progressive profiling technology to ask for this information in a web form. Progressive profiling allows marketers to ask for different qualification criteria once and only once. For example, you could ask where someone is in the buying process on their first form submission. When the visitor returns to complete a second form, progress profiling with automatically replace the question with another qualifying question. Over time you’ll build a more holistic profile of your prospect.

It’s important to place the proper “weight” on each of the three lead scoring criteria buckets. As Mac points out, people tend to provide inaccurate demographic information; however, it’s not possible to lie on behavioral information since that’s activity based.

Adding the lead score from each of the three lead scoring criteria buckets gives you a total lead score, which tells you how to prioritize leads and when to elevate attention towards particular leads.

Check out our Lead Scoring Solutions Guide for more examples of lead scoring criteria. For help prioritizing leads see this post. Please contact Lead Liaison for a free consultation to see how our revenue generation software technology can help your company score leads and implement progressive profiling to create, manage, qualify and nurture leads.

Here’s the short presentation from Mac McConnell on lead scoring criteria.

Lead Scoring Criteria, by Mac McConnell:

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We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions. How does your company define lead scoring criteria?

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