It’s a great problem to have. You have too many leads for your sales team to reach out to all of them effectively, and your funnels are raking in more every day. But, while it’s great that your marketing efforts are paying off, you’re not going to get the ROI you’re projecting if the lack of bandwidth on the sales side is delaying responses and creating a poor customer experience.

So, how do we solve this without reducing lead volume? We need to build a system to quickly and effectively qualify leads before distributing them to the sales team. Overloading your sales team with unqualified leads is a waste of their time and a barrier between the qualified leads lost in the mix and your eager-to-sell sales team. That’s where lead scoring comes in.

Lead scoring is the systematic qualification of leads designed to enable quick and effective lead triage. Unfortunately, simply placing a score on a lead does not do the trick (but you already knew that). Now, we’ll walk you through how to set up and start using a lead scoring system.

Mistakes to avoid

Overvaluing an activity

It’s important to back up your scoring methodology with data. Just because you hope attending your product-focused webinar makes them a qualified lead doesn’t mean the data will agree. And, annoyingly, the data’s always right.

Failing to incorporate both fit and interest

A lead could be the PERFECT fit for your product or service, but, if they’re literally not interested at all they should score pretty low overall and go into a well-timed nurture journey to wait until they show some interest. The worst course of action for a well-matched lead that isn’t ready for you is to hound them with sales messaging and calls. That will ensure they won’t come to you when they are ready.

Oversimplification

Challenge your team to dig deeper than submitting a form = qualified and hasn’t submitted a form = not qualified. Dig into your data and let it show you how complex/simple your score needs to be! Don’t sell yourself leads with an oversimplified judgment call.

Creating too many scores

We recommend creating one score per stage. For example, a lead score (before they’ve met with sales), an opportunity score (after a deal is in the works), and a renewal score (showing likelihood to renew). Some companies venture out and try to make multiple lead scores. This is only recommended if you have a variety of products or completely different sales cycles in your organization. Otherwise, keep it simple and focus on one, well-orchestrated score.

Ignoring score expiration

If your lead showed a high level of interest on your site 6 months ago and has since gone radio silent, they shouldn’t rank high in the interest category any longer. Be sure to set checks and balances in your scoring process that will not allow leads to stay on top when you’re no longer on their radar.

Calculate a Lead Score

Select your customer stage

When facing the problem outlined above, it’s best to start with a score focused on a lead that has not yet spoken with sales. Our goal is to qualify and triage the leads to sales at this point in the customer journey. So, our score should not incorporate attributes related to deal information or conversations with sales. This score only incorporates attributes we collect on our website or via 3rd party data tools that we have before a lead goes to a sales representative.

Run the numbers

Now that the framework is in place, complete the following steps to determine how to score your leads appropriately.

1. Calculate your overall lead to customer conversion rate.

2. Study your customer conversion data and identify common attributes indicating the likelihood of conversion.

3. Take each identified attribute and determine the close rates for those attributes.

4. Compare the attribute conversion rate with your overall conversion rate and assign point values proportionally.

5. Repeat steps 1-4 with your loss rate. Look at the negative attributes that your lost leads have in common and assign those a negative value to include in your score.

Ick - math, amirite? To help you run the numbers, we’ve put together a Lead Scoring Cheat Sheet! Input your values for leads lost and won as well as the attributes you’d like to score, and you will have ready-to-use attribute values so you can start building today!

Put your lead score to work

Now that you have this new, shiny, data-driven scoring system, let’s put it to work for your sales team!

Implement scoring

Using your marketing automation platform of choice, build out your lead scoring attributes and automate the scoring process. If your platform isn’t stacking up, reach out to us about exploring HubSpot - their lead scoring system is second to none.

Automate notifications

Once a lead reaches a certain threshold, notify your sales team! Upgrade the lead to a marketing qualified lead and schedule a notification for the appropriate sales team (or queue) and let them work their magic. Your sales team will be thrilled that you’re providing qualified leads and your revenue (and morale) will skyrocket!

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