Your lead generation strategy is doing what it’s supposed to do – generating leads, which is great news. However, the feedback from your sales team is not so great as the ‘leads’ they are handling are not ready to close. Clearly a process of categorising and differentiating leads is required, and lead scoring is the best means of achieving this.
Whether you are new to lead scoring or are already familiar with the process, this article provides you with practical tips to optimise your efforts and help you score leads effectively.
The sales and marketing teams must collaborate throughout the lead scoring process – hopefully this is too radical an idea in your organisation! There’s a wealth of information within the two teams as to what constitutes a sales ready lead, and it’s important that both teams work together to agree on the scoring methodology and strategy. Once the lead scoring system is in place, there should be regular communication to evaluate its performance. If sales teams are still receiving leads that aren’t sales ready, then this needs to be analysed and the lead scoring system revised.
A good starting point – and a system which has been around for a long while – is to score leads by assessing an individual’s Budget, Authority, Need and Timeline – BANT. Using this framework, higher scores will be attributed to individuals who have sufficient budget and authority to make the purchase, whereas lower scores will be given to those who have less immediate need, possibly due to a longer timeline. One drawback of using BANT to lead score is that is uses only explicit information volunteered by the prospect, and this can sometimes be both unreliable and inaccurate. This is where implicit information on a person’s behaviour should be considered. If you ask someone “Do you make this decision?” they will probably answer “Yes”, and this may be partly true. However, ask the question “Who, other than yourself, is involved in the decision making process?” and you may get a different answer, such as this. “Well, I decide what we will have and then I go to my boss for sign off and, if it’s over a certain amount, he will have to get the OK from the Finance Director, but they will do what I tell them!” This is a different scenario and would result in a different score.
Other implicit information can be gathered from actions such as visits to your company’s exhibition stand, registering for a webinar or visiting the pricing page on your website. Using this information, Sales and Marketing must decide which actions are key in the buying process and score the sales lead accordingly. To help store this information, it is often advisable to use a marketing automation system.
Your scoring system may be something like:
Hit on website – 1% or 1 point
‘How to’ or White paper download – 5% or 5 points
Web enquiry form completed and sent – 20% or 20 points
BANT qualified (at least 3 out of 4) – 35% or 35 points
Webinar attendance and interaction – 40% or 40 points
Face to face meeting – 45% etc.
The value of recording ‘points’ rather than percentages means that you can add and subtract depending on activity. So, for example, 5 points for every time the prospect downloads a white paper, case study but (minus) -5 for an email unsubscribe. You decide what is more important to you and tailor to your sales cycle. You can then gauge activity levels and preferred methods of contact over a period of time and feed into your lead nurturing cycle.
Lead scoring can be used not only to establish who is ready to purchase, but also to score leads as soon as they enter the sales funnel. Having a detailed picture of the buying process is a great insight for the marketing team, and presents a great opportunity to plan campaigns that nurture each segment as they travel through your sales funnel, potentially shortening the sales cycle.
Telemarketing can play an integral role in nurturing prospects, if timed well. A good example of this is a follow-up call to a person who has recently watched a webinar to check if they have all the information they require and to answer any questions they may have. There are plenty of other scenarios where telemarketing can play a key role in warming up prospects, and pushing them along the path to sales readiness. There will be a future blog on Telemarketing and the Customer Journey, so check back soon.
Contact Lingo for more information on how we can help you with lead scoring.