5 Simple Steps to Effective Lead Scoring

Marketing and sales still can’t agree on the definition of a “qualified lead”? End the tension, bickering and unproductive arguments through establishing an objective lead scoring system.

Lead scoring is the answer to multiplying your resources and scaling your capacity while shorting your sales cycle through mining the critical information about each suspect or prospect using demographic and behavioral scoring.

1. Get Everyone on the Same Page

A prospects lead score is only valuable if both your sales and marketing teams agree on its validity.  Gather consensus, your sales and marketing teams must be aligned on the definition of a marketing qualified/sales ready lead.

2. Establishing an Objective System

Walk through each variable both demographic (e.g. job title, industry, buying timeline) and behavioral (e.g. number of pages visited, type of asset downloaded, email clicked through) to agree upon an individual score for each as a cohesive sales & marketing team.  Consider the weight of each variable. How many demographic or behavioral variables will have to be fulfilled before the marketing qualified lead will be passed to telemarketing?  Will each variable be weighted the same or will higher value assets, higher level titles and/or different product interests receive a higher score?

3. Automate Nurture with Lead Scoring Triggers

The magic of lead scoring is your suspects and prospects accumulate lead score without tying up your marketing or sales teams.  Utilize your automated nurture campaigns (e.g. emails, webinars, newsletters) by assigning a behavioral lead score to each nurture piece.  As the suspects and prospects interact with each nurture piece their lead score will increase and you will feed your database more information about their product interests, buying timeline, etc.

4. Don’t Forget to Debit

Lead scoring isn’t a one way street.  Your suspect and prospects must stay active to move ahead in the cycle.  Designate an agreed upon lead decay timeframe and slowly debit their score.  During the decay you can also trigger different campaigns outside of the normal nurture campaigns to rate whether the suspect or prospect has changed their buying timeline, their product interest, etc.  Debiting the lead score is particularly important while sales & marketing are still nailing down the details of their aligned lead scoring system.  Initial marketing qualified leads could be passed through to telemarketing and sales that in reality aren’t ready to buy.  When a lead gets passed back to marketing, their lead score should be debited, placing them below the marketing qualified threshold, requiring other behavioral activities before reaching telemarketing or sales again.

5. Reflect, Regroup & Revise

Establishing a lead scoring system is an evolutional process. It requires  ongoing evaluation, open feedback channels and revisiting/revising demographic and behavioral scores.  As your lead scoring system evolves, your sales & marketing team will visibly identify their alignments and misalignments – learning and adjusting along the way.  Don’t be afraid to test new assets and offers as heavier sales months approach.  Every marketing and sales activity should have a corresponding lead score, whether it is a one-time offer or event or an ongoing activity.

The Necessity of Lead Scoring

Effective lead scoring can not only align your sales & marketing teams by defining universal definitions of a marketing qualified/sales read lead, but it also ensures that no lead is left behind.

To learn more about lead scoring, here are a few great resources for getting started and maintaining your lead scoring system:

  1. Lead Scoring Cheat Sheet – http://www.marketo.com/library/LeadScoring_cheatsheet8_15.pdf?version=1
  2. How to Get Started with Lead Scoring – http://www.theinnovativemarketer.com/2006/04/how_to_get_star.html
  3. Best Practices in Lead Scoring – http://www.focus.com/research/best-practices-lead-scoring/

Do you have experience implementing or maintaining lead scoring systems? I’d love to hear about it – erica@salesworks.com.

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