Once you have all your marketing campaigns performing to the brim, the challenge then becomes of prioritization. How do you filter the leads and target the most hot ones first? After all while there may be 100 leads getting generated every month, all may not be willing to make the purchase now. Most might have a tendency to look around the options and then buy after a couple of days of nurturing.
And this is where lead scoring comes into the picture which is an essential component of the lead management process. Commonly found in most CRM software solutions (ready-made and tailor-made), lead scoring allows the marketing agents to score the leads based on the quality of engagement happened with them during the course of marketing. For instance, a lead that has opened all the promotional emails, spent adequate time in reading about the new products and also downloaded the white paper is scored highly compared to a lead who has only opened the mails but did not show any interest in downloading the related resources.
This ensures that accurate values are attached to every lead based on hard, objective data.
The key benefits of a lead scoring model
#1 Improved sales effectiveness:
This is the principal reason behind the formation of the lead scoring functionality. It enables the sales agents to focus on the most valuable and qualified leads who have a high buying inclination in the shortest period of time. Needless to say, through this prioritization process, there is an increase in the conversion rates as out of the whole bulk of leads passed on from the marketing fence, sales agents only prospect the ones that are qualified.
#2 Improved marketing effectiveness:
In experts' opinion while lead scoring is a prime tool for the sales agents, it holds unequivocal importance to the marketing team as well. For instance, lead scoring model helps the marketing agents to exactly judge the types of leads or lead characteristics that carry the highest chances of conversion. Inevitably, this enables the marketing agents to refine their strategies and deliver more high-quality leads to sales.
#3 Synchronization between marketing and sales:
Often the two warring parties - sales and marketing build close ties post the implementation of the lead scoring model. They unitedly discuss the quality of leads generated and in coalition modify the framework of the lead scoring model (in cases of substandard leads getting highly scored and transferred over the sales fence).
Getting started with Lead Scoring
Lead scoring involves the knowledge of your business operations. And to do this properly, here is what you are required to do along with your sales and marketing managers:
Defining a Score that makes a Lead Sales-Ready
The whole point of lead scoring is to certify that the sales team only work upon those leads who are sales-ready and simultaneously prevent the non-ready leads from getting harassed by the sales agents.
And to accomplish both these tasks, the criteria of a sales-qualified lead (SQL) is required which is mutually defined and agreed by the sales and marketing teams.
So sit down with your sales and marketing managers to determine the parameters that should make for a sales-qualified lead.
Some of the common parameters to be taken into consideration are:
1. Demographics: Zero in on a set of demographics that holds most value for your business. So let's say if you put small business as your defined demographic criteria then leads specifically representing small and medium-sized businesses can be taken as hot leads. In similar terms, leads belonging to particular industries can also be your set targets and tagged as highly prospective. Once decided, you can include the different demographic fields in your lead capture forms that helps marketing agents to determine the value of the leads and accordingly pass it over the fence.
2. Activities and Behaviors: Decide the activities and behaviors that will serve as parameters of qualifying a lead as sales-ready. It is advisable that you focus on the leads that have converted in the last couple of months and study the type of specific behaviors/activities they have shown/done in the course of the nurturing process. Performing this closed-loop analysis will help you list the activities/behaviors that have often led to sales conversions and put them as your decided yardstick.
After defining the individual parameters that will make for a sales-qualified lead, set the points/marks for each of them. Next decide the qualifying total, accomplishing which the leads will become qualified and validated to move over the fence.
Final word of suggestion
Do not keep your lead scoring parameters static. It is prudent to review them with the past intelligence data and compare how effective have they been in the overall lead conversions. Doing this exercise is important because today's consumers are fickle-minded and can show a sudden change in their activities/behaviors. Being on the toes, observing the customers' activities/behaviors and keeping a flexible lead scoring system is the key to effective lead management and high sales conversions.