Decreasing a Lead Score: They're just not that into you

Many of you have seen the 2009 film He’s just not that into you. For those of you that haven’t, bravo – it was terrible. However, the premise of the movie resonates with most of us because we may have been on one side or the other. The film goes through a list of dating scenarios, in which one person should get the hint the other person is blowing them off but doesn’t. Similarly, in the sales process, there are often telltale digital signs that a seemingly viable lead is just not that into you. Lead Scoring models help your sales team prioritize leads that are ready for action. The total lead score is comprised of both a fit and interest score, and leads are automatically passed to sales once they reach a certain score. To keep lead scores accurate over time, they should be decreased based on certain activities and have a depreciation component, which automatically lowers the score if no activity occurs over a certain period of time. Here are a few activities that should signal that a once “hot” lead is just not that into you:

1. No activity. A lead that downloaded a whitepaper and took a demo six weeks ago but has since shown no activity should not have the same score as one that took those calls to action more recently. Adding depreciation to your scoring model will automatically decrease the lead’s score based on the amount of time that’s passed with no activity. After it drops past a certain point, the lead should be removed from the sales pipeline and passed back over to marketing for lead nurturing.

2. Change in Purchase Timeline. Budget and priorities change for organizations all the time. If the project status changes, the lead score should reflect it. As the lead’s timeline changes, so should your lead management process. Decrementing lead scores that indicate a project is on hold or pushed back will enable you to assign them to the correct process rather than keeping them in the sales pipeline.

3. Website activity reflects non-product related interests. Web visitors viewing career pages, press rooms, leadership pages or investor information are most likely not interested in purchasing your product or service. Visits to these pages should negatively impact the lead’s score so Sales does not waste time following up with them unless product-related page views outweigh their visits to other pages.

4. No progression in the buying cycle. This is not the same as a lead not responding or showing a lack of activity. A lead could attend webinars, download whitepapers, and visit your blog every few days; however, if their interest never escalates into viewing product information or responding to a sales rep’s inquiries, chances are they are not yet sales-ready or are doing research for another purpose. Decreasing their score by placing a negative value on repeats of the same activities will separate the researchers from the truly qualified leads.

Adding depreciation and negatively valued activities to your lead scoring model ensures your sales pipeline stays up-to-date with qualified leads.  When a lead’s interest begins to wane, or it’s unlikely they intend to purchase your product, it should be reflected in the lead score allowing your sales team to focus on the leads that are truly interested – if only we had a tool like this for dating!