Five Tips for Effective Lead Scoring

With the all of the news about cutbacks, the recession, lay-offs and the credit crunch, it is easy for salespeople to start thinking, “No one is buying right now” when they are contacting leads and hearing “no”. But the truth is, people are buying - you just have to contact the right people at the right time. With thousands of leads entering your pipe, how do you know which leads are the right leads, and how do you prioritize them?  The answer is lead scoring.  A basic definition for lead scoring is simply assigning a numeric rank to a lead based on how well it fits your ideal customer’s profile and what  behavior they have taken to become a sales ready lead.  Lead scoring is a process and changes over time as an organizations’ needs change.Below I’ve listed 5 tips for building an effective lead scoring framework for your organization

1.  Talk to your Sales Team

When creating a lead scoring framework, schedule a time to meet with your sales team or VP of Sales and ask what their ideal customer looks like.This will help you determine what fields you need to be scoring.

2.  Look at Customers’ Online Behavior Before the Sale.

Typically, leads are scored based on two components: fit & interest (or behavior).  The fit component is characteristics, such as, company size, industry, budget, etc. The interest component refers to the leads online behavior that can be tracked through web analytics and tracking, registrations, and downloads. To determine what online behavior a serious buyer usually displays, run a report in your CRM and look at their activity history. Did they download a white-paper, view an online demo, or go to a pricing page close to their time of purchase?  Determining what actions a lead takes before buying will enable you to assign a value to those actions accordingly.

3.  Create Custom Fields in your Forms to Qualify Leads.

This is, of course, a balance.Asking your leads to fill out more information in your landing pages will dec rease your number of registrants.However, adding custom fields, such as, budget, time frame, or influence, can help you determine how qualified the lead is and you can score based on those custom fields.


4.  Incorporate Organic Search Term into the Lead Scoring Framework.


If you have the ability through a demand generation platform (or web analytics), match organic key words with stages of the leads buying cycle.  As we stated in last weeks post, when a buyer is in the decision phase, they search for comparisons.  Therefore, if a visitor enters your site by using a search term, such as “x to y comparison”, they should receive a high score because they are late in the purchasing phase.

5.  Don't be Afraid to Modify your Framework

As I stated above, building a lead scoring framework is a process and the framework will change over time.If you are just beginning to implement lead scoring, it’s a good idea to start scoring a couple of “fit” fields, such as geographic location, industry, or department, before building out the rest of the framework.This will allow sales some time to start learning and paying attention to the scoring system.As more and more leads are coming in getting scored on those basic components, you can begin to add other fit components and then behavioral components.

Have any other tips you'd like to share?