It’s the question on your sales team’s minds when they see that new lead notification from marketing. With the myriad of tasks sales is juggling, it’s understandable they need a system to be able to prioritize which leads are “drop everything now and call” and which leads can be put into an automated follow up sequence.
So how can you better tag and prioritize leads for your sales team? That’s where lead scoring comes in.
Lead scoring measures the explicit and implicit behavior of the lead (more on that below) to rate the sales readiness of a new prospect, ultimately answering these two questions:
Is this lead ready to buy?
Propensity to Buy: Where are the prospects in the buying cycle? Are they ready to purchase your product tomorrow or two years from now? Are they just beginning their online search or are they evaluating you against your competitors? Are they ready for a demo or just kicking the tires to learn more about you?
Is this lead a good fit for our products or services?
Product Fit: Are the prospects a good fit for your business? Do they look like your best customers? Should sales be putting in the same level of effort to engage them if they won’t be able to use your products or services to the fullest extent?
Fortunately, many of those questions can be automatically answered for your sales team using lead scoring.
Lead scoring is the collaboration of sales and marketing to rank leads. By setting automated rules in Marketo to rank leads by A, B, C, or D (or hot, warm, cold), your sales team can gain more insight into which leads are ready to engage, which ones need more nurturing from marketing, and which leads just may never be a good fit for your business.
Getting the Basics Down
There are two components of lead scoring you need to understand to build out a successful lead scoring program: explicit scoring and implicit scoring.
With explicit scoring, prospects tell you information about themselves based on demographic or firmographic information. This can be through a form fill where a prospect tells you her job title, company size, geographic location, and so on. Or you can update this information from your own database. Explicit scoring is usually determined by your company’s sales targets. Which job titles or company size are the best fit for your company? Are you only accepting leads in certain areas of the world? Scoring a lead based on these factors tells your sales team how qualified this lead is by set factors in your target demographics.
With implicit scoring, you infer information based on the prospect’s behavior. This can be through webinar views, white paper downloads, web page visits, and so on. You can assign specific scores so that when a prospect fills out a contact us form she gets more points than, say, downloading a white paper. Or on the flip side, if a prospect unsubscribes from an email list or only visits the careers page on your website and no other pages, points are removed. These are all key behaviors that signal how ready a prospect is for your business.
In case you’re not yet convinced that lead scoring can help improve your sales and marketing processes, here are 4 benefits of lead scoring that many of our clients see:
- Better align sales and marketing, so only qualified leads are going to sales and leads that need more time are being actively nurtured.
- Define a lead hand-off process that makes both sales and marketing more efficient and productive.
- Better estimate the deals in your pipeline so you can plan according to what deals are more likely to close, and when.
- Save your sales team time and effort by making sure they’re focusing on the contacts and accounts with the best fit for your business.
“A solid lead scoring approach not only helps to rank prospects against one another, but can smooth the lead flow and serve as the baseline for building a range of business rules that include ownership, role and activities.” -SiriusDecisions, What’s the Score
Lead scoring is a great foundation to build better alignment between your sales and marketing teams, and strengthen the impact of your marketing efforts. By ensuring you’re only engaging with prospects at a time when it will resonate the most, you’re saving time, money and effort!
Have any questions about getting started with lead scoring or taking your lead scoring to the next level? Contact us.