Before we talk about how to create an effective lead scoring system, let us first understand what lead scoring is and what role does it play in a marketer’s arsenal. Lead scoring is the method used to identify the position of any lead in the sales and marketing funnel. Depending on this position, marketers determine whether the lead should continue to be nurtured or handed over to the sales team for closure.
Marketers carry out a number of initiatives to ensure they are able to attract high volumes of leads. Although, each of these may be in different stage of the buyer’s journey. Thus, they need to be systematically nurtured to move them along the sales cycle, known as the marketing funnel.
Assigning Lead scores
Each stage of the marketing funnel is assigned a score based on the lead’s interaction and engagement behavior. As the funnel narrows, the score for each stage increases which helps the marketers understand which of these leads are most likely to purchase their products or services. At the last stage, where the lead score is highest, they are termed as MQLs or Marketing Qualified Leads. Every company may have a different name for it but it is at this stage that the sales people take over.
Of course this also depends on the capability of the tool that you will use for managing lead scoring. When you use an email marketing system, it could offer basic lead scoring features like scoring for opens and clicks. If you extend that further to your website, visiting a web page can attract scoring points, multiple web pages in one session can attract extra points, downloading a content asset, filling a form can attract some lead score points. All of these points help profile a visitor and qualify him to the next level of the sales engagement.
As efficient as it sounds, many marketers are not able to create an effective lead scoring system. Either it is too simple or too complex, and in some cases scores are assigned on a whim rather than following a data centric approach. Here, irrespective of whether they attract high volumes of leads or not, a poor lead scoring system will not help them achieve their full potential.
Ways to create an effective lead scoring system in 5 steps:
Identify your requirements:
With your inbound marketing efforts, you may be able to attract high volumes of leads but not all them may be relevant or be a part of your target market. The top of your marketing funnel is going to be the widest, but you need to be careful that only the right prospects enter at this point. They may not immediately be converted but could be nurtured to eventually become life-long customers.
Here, you need to identify your requirements before we begin the entire process. The time of your salespeople is valuable, and they should not chase leads who ultimately may never have the capacity or interest to purchase your product/service.
Determine what your ideal lead should look like:
Based on your existing customers and thorough research, determine what your ideal lead should look like. Create buyer personas that closely resemble your existing or potential customers. There could be multiple buyer personas for single products/services. Your salespeople could also assist you in creating these personas as they directly deal with the target market on a regular basis.
Track prospect engagement at the earliest stage:
The minute a prospect is passed down the marketing funnel, their interactions and engagement behaviors need to be tracked efficiently. Suppose they have been added to your email newsletter, find out how many times have they opened, clicked or shared your newsletter. If there were links in the email, how many times did they open it? Any other CTAs where they downloaded your content, subscribed to a program or registered for any course?
Find out if they are following you on social media. Do they share, like or comment on your posts? All of this information should be collected on a regular basis.
Each of these interactions needs to be assigned a score based on the engagement level. For example, for a email open the score could be 2, for a click it could be 5 but for a CTA downloaded, it could be 10. Higher their engagement, higher their score.
Finalize a lead scoring system:
One of the biggest mistakes marketers make is not relying on a standard lead scoring system. Instead of manually assigning scores to leads, adopt a tool or a system that allows you to automate the entire process. Follow best practices while setting up these scores and sit back to watch leads progress down the marketing funnel.
Review your lead scoring pattern:
As with any tool, system or methodology, there are very few chances that you will hit the right spot on the very first try. Similarly, you may need to go through a few trials and errors before you can finalized your lead scoring pattern. Measure the effectiveness of this scoring at regular intervals, eg. monthly, and review the performance so far. Identify if there are any mistakes in the current patterns and adjust point distributing wherever required. Eventually, you will have a fully functional lead scoring mechanism at your disposal.
Lead scoring plays a huge role in marketing automation as it saves you a lot of time and efforts. Plus, the quality of leads that are handed over to sales improve significantly so there are higher chances of conversion as well.
We have used several marketing automation tools for our clients, where we implement lead scoring systems. These help clear the blurring lines within a lead. You can get a clear picture of what the lead is interested in, and your sales team can come up with engagement ideas, as they engage with them to convert them to a customer
Atul is Founder & CEO at Xenia Consulting. He has over 22 years of experience in marketing, across corporates as well as SME,start-ups. Over the last 5 years, he has gained significant expertise and has helped several companies drive growth leveraging digital marketing