We’ve all had it happen. A new lead comes in — they even have a substantial budget. After a few conversations, the prospect falls off the map never to be heard from again. The problem wasn’t you — the majority of leads that come through the website are just not sales ready.
Lead scoring helps by determining when a prospect is most likely to buy. It does this by allowing you to prioritize which leads are most interested, qualify the leads for you, and keep track of long-term opportunities that usually are given up on after the first try.
When is a lead sales-ready?
Before you start scoring leads you need to determine what makes a lead sales-ready. It’s best to look at data that you already have (former web leads that have converted). Take a look at past sales and look for common trends that might indicate when that prospect was ready to buy.
Did they look at a specific page? Was there an e-book or case study that really motivated a prospect to take action? Perhaps there is a set budget range that really hits your sweet spot. It could even be the person looking whether that’s a CEO or a marketing director.
Creating your criteria.
Now that you’ve defined when a prospect is sales-ready you need to create a list of criteria and give it an appropriate score. Typically each criteria element should have a score of 1-10 with the total being up to you.
Here is some criteria you might want to consider:
Contact information. Have they so far just given an email? What about a job title or phone number? The more information a prospect gives the more likely they are to buy.
Budget. Did the prospect view your pricing page? Did a sales rep find out that they have a substantial budget? If they can or cannot afford you is a great indicator of where they are in the sales pipeline.
Position. Are they a C-Level executive? Do they have the power to even pull the trigger if they want to move forward? Your score should be greatly impacted by where you’re marketing efforts are going. Someone who doesn’t have the authority to pull the trigger doesn’t deserve the same score as someone who can decide today if they should move forward.
Location. Is most of your business local? Do you convert prospects who are closer to your business? If so these leads need a higher score.
Brand engagement. Are they following you on twitter? Do they regularly open your emails? Every email they open indicates interest and should be given points.
Content. Which content a prospect views is a great indicator at how interested they are. Someone who goes from your home page to a contact form isn’t nearly as interested as someone who found you through a blog post; visited your services page, and pricing
How lead scoring works
When a prospect visits your website, fills out a form, or interacts with your brand you start tracking each interaction and scoring it. Every interaction will have a point between 1-10 assigned to it. Someone who views your case studies might receive 5 points, and a CEO might receive 10 where a secretary might receive a 3 for the decision maker.
Here is what a prospect might look like:
Visited pricing page: 5 points.
Downloaded a white paper: 10 points.
Located within 60 miles: 5 points.
Filled out contact form: 15 points
This current prospect is at a score of 45 points, but maybe we’ve decided we need a score of 60 before we can consider them sales ready. While most organizations would completely write this prospect off or possibly follow up within a year. We can track our current marketing efforts with them. Let’s say we send out a monthly newsletter which brings the prospect back to our website over the next six months to help increase his score. The prospect now:
Signs up for a webinar: 10 points
Find out their job title is CEO: 5 points
Follows you on social media: 7 points
Through our lead scoring, we now know this is a prospect we need to reach out to immediately because they align very close to our criteria of what leads convert into sales.
The purpose of lead scoring isn’t to identify the warm leads and ignore the rest as a lot of firms currently do. The ultimate goal of lead scoring is to identify which leads we need to move on today and which leads need further development and nurturing before they become a sale.
This methodology helps you zero in on your most promising leads separating the high quality leads from the people who are just looking around. Attaching scores to each prospect based on their professional information and how they communicate with your brand has greatly improved the sales and marketing process.
Are you still wasting your marketing efforts on prospects who are not ready to buy?