How to Score Sales Leads in 5 Easy Steps

Contrary to what most people inexperienced in sales think, a sale is not a simple interaction between a buyer and a seller. In fact, the process is rather complicated and requires a profound lead-up to any stage of a sale. However, any sale is a sequence of generating leads. The present article introduces another activity that aims at lead scoring rather than generating.

Table of Contents

  1. Methodology
  2. What is a Benefit?
  3. Who Needs It?
  4. Key Criteria
  5. Points
  6. Five Steps to Score Leads in the Most Efficient Way
  7. Lead Scoring Models Examples
  8. Lead Scoring Model Template Example
  9. Lead Scoring Best Practices Examples
  10. Bottom Line

1. Methodology

In order to comprehend the notion of lead scoring methodology, one may turn to Wiki but its definition is a rather complicated one for a regular user. In a few words, it is an approach to rank your target customers. Each lead is attributed with a value describing its essential data such as industry, company, position, location etc. All these characteristics are required to compose a rank of leads in the order of priority.

A seller can opt for a sophisticated lead scoring model that foresee an explicit info (web activity of a certain lead) in addition to the above-mentioned implicit data. Visits to particular websites, certain searching requests, and other online activities act as a decent supplement to gather data about a prospect.

2. What is a Benefit?

To win the success in a selling practice, a salesperson needs to score sales leads. So, what is the point of utilization of this inbound marketing or collecting data for your undertakings? Actually, if you choose a relevant lead scoring model template, the chance of attracting high volumes of prospective clients is much higher. As a result, the sales performance directly relies on the efficiency of the chosen model.

3. Who Needs It?

Perhaps, you may be skeptical about this innovation in your regular commercial activities. It is partly the truth since not every enterprise or sales team can benefit from the lead scoring methodology. Statistics confirm such a discredit of marketing experts and salespeople. More than three-fourths of businesses consider the creation of lead scoring models useless and abandon any attempts to rank their target customers. At the same time, it is easy to check whether this undertaking can be useful for your commercial activities.

― It is not necessary if your sales activity is at its initial stage. In this case, your target is to generate leads rather than rank and filter them.

― Availability of proper data to sort your leads is also a prerequisite. As a rule, a rating of customer leads is based on certain credentials mentioned above. For example, a sales team can make an emphasis on geographical location. In this case, the absence of these data would bring to naught any lead scoring best practices.

To sum up, in order to get benefit from the said activity, you need a sufficient volume of leads, as well as the essential data about them. In this case, you might need the answer to the question “How to score sales leads?”

4. Key Criteria

So, let’s consider that you've arrived at the decision to score leads. Hence, you need to begin with the definition of the criteria for ranking. In this case, another essential term is introduced. An MQL is referred to as a marketing qualified lead. This characterizes the prospect having the highest likelihood to become a customer according to certain criteria (job position, industry, location, etc.). Naturally, the identification of criteria comes first.

According to lead scoring best practices, the essential data includes qualifications from lead capturing forms (job position, number of employees in the company, and scope of activity), type of interest, and activity level. Two latter options are inherent to online sellers that can track a lead’s activity on the website.

5. Points

Now, we approached the final stage. Eventually, you have all required data to score sales leads and assign point values to them. An accustomed lead scoring model template offers a hundred points scale. Each chosen characteristic is marked with a certain value.

As an example, you can attribute 10 points to a mid-sized business (up to 500 workers) and one point to a small-sized one (up to 20). The same goes for other established criteria. If you are still a bit puzzled, you can find versatile lead scoring examples on the web. But this essentially comes down to the specifics of your own business and what type of clients matter to you.

6. Five Steps to Score Leads in the Most Efficient Way

The above-described method to rank your leads is the simplest solution. However, each activity has its peculiarities and features that discover the hidden potential. For this reason, the following tips or steps will be of service to those who want to achieve the best performance without browsing lead scoring examples.

Degradation of Scores plus Negative Scores

In the course of time, scores can depreciate. As an example, your website can be visited by a prospect for several times. However, it is not an evidence of his or her interest in your products. Or not abandon a possibility of job seeking. On this account, a degradation of scores can become a decent solution to avoid bias in your point system. One can reduce a score value after the established period of time. Negative scoring can be applied to prospects who remain inactive or visit a website with intentions unrelated to buying products.

Separate Models

Using separate models to score prospects is suitable for companies with different product lines. Such solution eliminates the mishmash in ranking leads according to a certain line of products. Scores assigned to each lead will be furtherly defined. Besides, they will accurately reflect its interests. E.g., you may lose the attention to a lead interested in a certain merchandise (X), when your scoring model takes items for other product lines into account.

Threshold

This advice is neglected by almost a half of companies using such ranking models. The function of a lead scoring threshold is to alert leads to sales. This threshold is better to automate in order to improve the overall performance and timely response. After each update of your scoring model, the threshold indicates the necessity to prioritize MQLs and avoid wasting time for those who lost their interest.

High-Value Web pages and Actions

The hottest pages of a selling website include those containing contact info and pricing. On this account, they are better to be attributed as the high-value ones. Hence, leads visiting these pages should receive higher scores. Any fisher knows that it is necessary to strike when a fish nibbled the bait.

Open Email Is Not Always a Goal Scorer

Giving scores to leads who open your emails is not a good practice. This indicator is not reliable since some prospects open and close electronic letters within a couple of seconds instead of clicking the “Mark read” button. Nevertheless, if the lead followed a link contained in the email, this might be a better evidence of success. At the same time, be cautious to avoid incorrectly scoring.

7. Lead Scoring Models Examples

One popular model is using two-dimensional scoring. This can be a simple model and may be a good place for those newer to this approach. Note there is more than one method to rate criteria in two-dimensional scoring. Once comfortable with that model, you can move on to a more complex one that can be adjusted as you strengthen your scoring skills.

Start by choosing key implicit (demographic) and explicit (engagement) information criteria to rank your prospects and determine a level of fit. Assign points to these attributes and determine the highest point value achievable. For example, the model below has a total point value of 50.

Demographic Fit Value Engagement Fit Value
Job Title 5 Web page visit 5
Industry 7 Clicking on email link 8
Interest/need 13 Watch demo 12
Timeline 10 Download content 12
Budget 15 Submit "Contact us" form 12
Total 50 Total 50

Determine each categories threshold to be a High, Medium, or Low profile fit. This example uses:

High = 40-50

Medium = 20-39

Low = 0-19

Once attribute hierarchy is established, determine each prospects total in both categories. That number is used to determine if they are a high, medium or low level fit.

8. Lead Scoring Model Template Example

Courtesy of Demand Metric

Ranking criteria

Company: Does this prospect work for a company that is in your target industry and size?

Buying Cycle: What stage of the buying cycle (research, budgeting, vendor selection) is your prospect in?

Contact: How senior is your contact? Are they a decision-maker, influencer, or end user?

Interest: Did the prospect demonstrate a keen interest in your offering?

Actions: Has the prospect taken any action to show intent such as download whitepaper, view webcast, visit the website, etc.?

Recent: How long ago was the prospect acquired? Have they responded to any marketing recently?

9. Lead Scoring Best Practices Examples

As a rule, best practices are based on criteria to be used for the calculation the score. All criteria are divided into three basic categories: negative, implicit, and explicit. Negative ones are a kind of checks-and-balances of the model. Implicit information is derived from analysis of explicit data that is provided intentionally by a prospect. Here are the examples.

Negative:

  • No response to marketing emails;
  • Unsubscribing from an email list;
  • No authority to make decisions;
  • Established periods of inactivity;
  • Visiting no-purpose pages.

Explicit:

  • Company;
  • Location;
  • Industry/business area;
  • Proceeds;
  • Staff headcount;
  • Job position;
  • Importance level;
  • Purchase authority;
  • Purchase history.

Implicit:

  • Website visits in detail (frequency, category, quantity, duration etc.);
  • Phone calls;
  • Media/content downloads/views;
  • Subscriptions;
  • Attendance of webinars;
  • Form completions;
  • Offline activity.

10. Bottom Line

Having read the present article, you would have an idea how to score sales leads for your commercial activities. It is important to understand that this measure is not aimed at generating leads but concentrating on the hottest ones. Thus, you optimize your sales and spend your efforts on prospects who have a real interest in your products.

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