If you run a small to medium-sized business, you’ve probably heard of lead scoring. We are sharing a set of lead scoring best practices which will help to improve sales conversion rates of your company. Lead scoring is not something you can set up overnight, but you can get started today with a careful thought and evaluation of your customers. It may also be a good idea to invest in a lead scoring software to automate the process. We’ll discuss this in more detail, but let’s start from the beginning.
How Does Lead Scoring Work
Lead scoring is a methodology used to help sales teams closing more leads. It’s a process that involves both marketing and sales, as each team must decide which leads should be qualified as the ideal ones. Lead scoring is used in conjunction with the inbound marketing tactics, such as building a social media following, blogging or offering free guides, to decide which of your leads are ready to convert.
Instead of pursuing every lead you have, you may rank your leads according to their value for your business and decide which ones to follow up with first. This allows you to prioritize and invest more of your energy into leads that matter most.
Why Would I need Lead Scoring?
It’s all about making your sales process more efficient. If your sales team doesn’t have enough leads yet, then lead scoring is not necessary. Instead, your marketing team needs to put more focus on the lead generation.
However, if there are more than enough leads, rather than following up on each one, simply assign values to your leads. This will help to decide which ones are ready to convert. Set the criteria, then use analytics and lead sign-up forms to collect the relevant data. As a result, you will be able to pursue only those leads that are most likely to convert.
Which Companies Need Lead Scoring?
Every organization is different and some may not require lead scoring at all. The best practice to follow is to identify whether your company is struggling with leads conversion or not. Companies that want to boost their sales conversions, and have more leads than they can pursue, most probably, need lead scoring.
Setting Up Your Lead Capturing Forms
In order to score your leads, you have to know who they are. So, to start tracking your leads you would need a lead capturing form. This is a form on your website which offers a way for customers to sign up to hear more about you and your products. This data is then captured and funneled into your lead scoring or CRM (customer relationship management) software, where you can begin tracking interactions of your potential customers.
Optimizing Your Lead Capturing Form
Put forms on your landing pages where your prospects can see it. This could be combined as a gateway to some content that your target customers will be interested in engaging with, such as an ebook or a PDF which they can download. In exchange for this content, customers should provide their name, email address and a few details about themselves.
Note: If you ask your leads to fill in too many fields, you may fail to capture them as people may not want to sign up. If you ask for too few details, the quality of your lead data can suffer as well. Make sure you ask for relevant details about your customers by linking the fields you include with your lead score criteria, which we’ll go into next.
Deciding Upon Your Lead Score Criteria
You can find out what sort of characteristics your customers normally possess by analyzing your current customer base. They won’t be identical to the future prospects but they are your best source of inspiration. You can also work with your sales and marketing teams to create descriptions of your ideal customers. It could be that they are a CEO of a mid-sized tech company, or a Marketing Manager of a small health foods supplier. You can have more than one type of the ideal customer.
There are a number of factors you need to take into account when deciding upon your criteria, but the best practice is to follow a points-based system. You need a) demographic information and b) behavioral intelligence for your leads. First, you will be focusing on the characteristics of your ideal customers who are worth to be pursued as leads. Second, you’ll be looking at how these customers are behaving to see who is ready to be contacted by your sales team.
a) Demographic Information
After you have decided upon the characteristics of your ideal customers, you can start to set up your lead score by assigning multiple values to criteria, such as job title, industry, company size, country, marketing source, links with competitors, and more. Demographic information about a lead can identify personal information, such as job title, company information (e.g. number of employees), relationship to your organization (e.g. past customer), and other.
When considering which demographic information to choose to evaluate your leads, you may want to include some basic criteria which must be met for them to qualify or disqualify as a lead. For example, you may instantly disqualify someone if they are a student.
b) Behavioral Intelligence
After you have decided upon the essential criteria for determining your lead score, include some key behaviors for your leads to engage in, these will also contribute to their score. This is where it is really important to have the appropriate software to track the behavior of your leads. For example, if you send them an email, you need to track whether they’ve received it, opened and clicked on it. Or, if you post some content on social media, you want to know whether they saw it, how long they spent on the page, if they shared it on social media, and so on. You can also decide on behaviors that deserve a negative score, such as if they unsubscribe from your mailing list.
Identifying Leads to Pursue
You need to set up a points-based scoring system when evaluating your lead criteria for each potential customer, typically a scale between 1 and 100. With this in mind, score your leads based on how closely they match your ideal customer profile, based on the demographic information and behavioral intelligence.
For instance, if one of your leads is a CEO of a mid-sized tech company, but they haven’t demonstrated any engagement behaviors, then your lead might score around 50 points. A similar company that fits the demographic criteria and has somewhat engaged with your company can be awarded 75 points, which is a trigger to your sales team to contact them.
There are number of systems you can use to score how close your leads are to converting, ranging from the letters A, B, C and D, to Hot, Warm or Cold, or in numbers from 1 to 4. Then you may assign each label a range on your scale. Pick a system that feels most natural to your company and easiest to work with.
Other Purposes of Lead Scoring
In your process of scoring leads, some potential customers may not quite qualify, but you can identify and target the leads which need nurturing. If you have the right software, particular lead scores can trigger automations. For example, once a lead passes a certain score, an email is triggered to invite your lead for a demo of your product.
You can also use lead scoring to get to know your potential customers better. Paying so much attention to your target market is always great because you may uncover surprising insights. Test different marketing messaging with your leads to see which ones work best, and optimize your marketing strategy.
Choosing Your Lead Management Software
Having the right software is key to success with lead scoring. If you lack the capabilities to properly analyze your leads, you won’t get very far. The type of lead scoring software that you need will depend on your company. Compare different options based on price, functionality and size with reviews from trusted sites such as Capterra or Software Advice.
Teamgate offers lead scoring as a part of our cloud-based intelligent Sales CRM for small and mid-size teams. With its user-friendly interface, Teamgate is a great sales stack for today’s business that helps you convert more leads.
The software is changing all the time and becoming more sophisticated, with some solutions beginning to use AI and bots to engage leads. For example, software can determine if your lead is highly engaged or a student doing research. A virtual sales assistant using AI technology to email the leads can interpret their responses and alert your sales team.
Smarten Up Your Teamwork
Know who your leads are, track when they’re ready to buy, and make your sales team contact them. Lead scoring streamlines this process so you’re only focusing on high quality leads who are most ready to convert. The key is capturing your data with the right software, optimizing your website with properly prepared content and forms, and integrating your software solutions so your leads don’t fall through the cracks. It is a team effort, but totally worth it for the boost you’ll see in your sales conversions.
If hot leads aren’t converting, then you might need to take a look at the products and services you’re offering. Check whether they’re suitable for your target market and if your pricing is appropriate. Don’t get discouraged, but remember that analyzing your leads and scoring them is the beginning of streamlining your sales process.