In my time in sales and marketing, no aspect of the lead journey has been more drama-filled than lead scoring. Lead scoring is a tool used to identify the sales-readiness of leads, helping team members prioritize their outreach and where they’re spending their time. The higher the score, the more important the lead.
Lots of meetings, back and forth communications, scoffing or just outright ignoring scoring information. All this because the sales team thinks they know something that marketing doesn’t know, and vice versa. Without closely aligned sales and marketing teams, the answer to “what makes a qualified lead” and the process that happens once it becomes qualified can be contentious. That’s why it’s so important to get sales and marketing aligned on the definition of what makes a good lead.
When setting up your lead scoring or Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) model, here are a number of ways you can ensure better alignment between teams and push revenue generating activities.
Identify why lead scoring is important to your team
When implemented correctly, lead scoring helps focus sales efforts, and in turn increases sales velocity. Instead of handing the sales team a long list of leads with no context, lead scoring helps surface “hot” (and high value) prospects they need to follow up with to close deals faster.Are you working with a high volume of leads or trying to re-engage previous contacts? How will lead scoring help the sales team with their outreach? Scoring should serve to add value to both the marketing and sales teams instead of being just another field in your CRM.
Leverage information that is available to you
Lead scoring can incorporate both demographic and behavioral information.
Demographic: This is data that describes who the contact is and typically includes industry, title, department, budget authority, etc.
Behavioral: Activity on your website, in a free/trial product, email marketing and other relevant sources. Identify how viewing specific pages or actions could serve to identify a lead as being ready to purchase.
Negative values: Based on your ideal customer profile, what data should count as a negative in lead scoring? Perhaps contacts that visit your employment page or those that have a specific title that is not in your Ideal Customer Profile.The important part is this information needs to be collected in order to act on it. Take stock of what data you’re collecting on your website forms or have access to from third party sources, and in turn what value you want to assign to each element.
Differentiate between low value versus high value information – high value information is any data element that is more predictive of purchase behavior such as title or decision making authority.
When building your scoring model, ensure transparency across teams. The sales team should be aware of how lead scoring is set up, so that when a lead is surfaced to them, they have the context needed to reach out to the lead and offer highly relevant information. Did the lead look at the Brand X page or the Brand Y page? Don’t just let the scoring model sit hidden away in your marketing automation platform, create resources for sales to see the work.
Take time to gain alignment
Share the plan with sales and marketing stakeholders, utilize the knowledge of everyone involved and what they can bring to the table both for identifying what makes highly qualified leads and what an unqualified one looks like.
Set expectations and create systems to support the sales team
What is your threshold for considering a lead as an MQL? How is the sales team notified of this criteria? In turn what are they expected to do with that lead? Do you require a 24 or 48 hour turnaround in contacting that lead? How many times are they expected to reach out? What should they say? And offer these leads?
The answers to all these questions should be defined upfront and agreed upon between sales and marketing so everyone is on the same page in terms of what is expected.
Once your lead scoring model is in place, it shouldn’t remain stagnant. You may find some initial adjustments are needed based on feedback, but there is value in revisiting it whenever there is change to the product, website or other marketing campaigns.
To get started, take a look at this resource from CyberClick on 6 different ways to approach lead scoring.
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