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Lead Scoring for Beginners

How do you take a potential lead and turn it into a successful sale? Is it possible to know whether a prospect is indeed ready to make a purchase, or if they’re far away from a buying decision? The act of lead scoring isn’t new, but it’s often necessary in order to keep up with the mass amounts of potential customers your company likely sifts through on a daily basis.

Lead-Scoring

Lead scoring consists of analyzing each lead your company receives, assigning an objective value to determine its quality, and catering your future sales actions to this value. The quicker and more accurate a company is able to do this, the more efficient their entire sales funnel will be.

These basic scoring techniques will help ensure that your team is putting effort towards only the most qualified and ready-to-buy leads— bringing your company home more slam-dunks.

It Doesn’t Have to Be Done With Numbers.

Think of it as a “cold to hot” scale— the hotter the lead, the higher the value. While most lead scoring uses a literal, numerical scale, if there’s a more effective and informative way for your specific company to score leads, don’t hesitate to use it. Depending on your industry, it may be more effective to use letters, words, and so on. Numbers are often the easiest route, however, and usually range between 1-10 or 1-100.

Know How to Break Apart the Clues.

Lead scoring consists of a balance between looking at what’s obvious and reading between the lines— or, knowing the difference between implicit and explicit scores. These scores are typically broken down into two distinctive categories: profile (explicit) and behavior (implicit). Implicit data, such as engagement on your site and video views or PDF downloads, is just as important (if not more) as the basic, obvious information a prospect willingly provides you with, and thus shouldn’t be ignored. While explicit scoring will inform you of a company’s size, revenue, and whether the lead is in your target demographic, it won’t give you as many clues into a prospect’s true needs, intentions or goals.

Thus, the essence of proper lead scoring is:

  1. Determining every possible behavior/action (implicit) and profile/demographic trait (explicit)
  2. Quantifying each behavior and trait on an objective scale. This may involve taking factors that are seemingly subjective, such as attitude and interest, and objectifying them into a rating.

Don’t Forget to BANT.

While there are a seemingly unlimited amount of factors to determine the readiness of a prospect, a good place to start is with BANT: Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline. Can the company afford it right now? Does your point-of-contact have the power to actually make the buying decision? How vital is your product or service to the success of their business? If it’s vital, would they need it right now, or a few months from now (are they already locked into another contract)?

CRM Funnel Chart

These factors, along with demographic attributes (explicit) and behavioral patterns (implicit), are a great starting point for determining how ready your potential customer really is.

Next Steps: Catering to the Prospect’s State of Mind

After determining a prospect’s score, you must decide what the next best step is for each lead. If their score was below a 4 on a 1-10 scale, it’s likely that they should they be sent back to marketing for more nurturing. Anyone higher than a 7 may be ready to go to a sale closer, but it all depends on the specific client.

While your chief focus should be on obtaining the sales of those with the highest lead scores, you also want to make sure not to disregard those who with lower scores— especially if it was due to budget or timeliness, both of which are very subject to change. A low-scoring lead is never a lost lead opportunity.

Is your company’s method of lead scoring allowing for the most efficient use of your team’s time?

Read TeleArk’s Lead Scoring white paper to learn more about scoring best practices, such as mistakes to avoid and advanced scoring techniques.

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