When it comes to lead quality, timing is everything -- or is it?
What if someone is ready to buy your product, but they’re out of your service area? Or they’re a retail customer, and you only sell to wholesalers? Automatically sending all marketing leads directly to sales can waste time and effort. Utilizing a lead scoring process can help you discern higher quality prospects that will ultimately improve your conversion rate.
What Is Lead Scoring?
Lead scoring models help sales and marketing teams understand and gauge the interest levels of prospects.
Lead scoring categorizes and prioritizes prospects using numerical values for parameters. These numbers determine the “temperature” of the lead and their likelihood to convert.
Prioritizing leads helps your team save time and resources. By scoring your leads, you can focus your outreach efforts on prospects who are more likely to buy sooner rather than later.
Identifying a qualified or “warm” lead is key to increasing conversions and building your customer base. The warmer your leads are, the more likely they will convert.
A sound lead scoring methodology advances higher quality leads and gives lower quality leads more touchpoints to move them down the sales funnel over time. The most efficient way to qualify your leads is to use an effective lead scoring system.
11 Lead Scoring Best Practices
What parameters should you use in this process? To establish a better connection with your contacts and build their interest in your product or services, try implementing these lead scoring best practices in your inbound marketing strategy:
- Collaborate with sales teams
- Use progressive profiling
- Include negative scoring
- Set thresholds
- Assign more points to high-value actions and behaviors
- Include social media & content marketing actions
- Use demographic data
- Incorporate automatic qualification
- Track MQL to SQL Conversion Rates
- Set up separate lead scoring models
- Review results and update
1. Collaborate with Sales Teams
Work with your sales staff to assess the best metrics for lead scoring. Since they deal with customers daily, sales teams often know what leads convert best. They understand customers’ pain points, interests and needs better than anyone else. Collaborating with sales not only helps develop your scoring system but also communicates goals and creates consensus between team members.
2. Use Progressive Profiling
Progressive profiling is vital for reducing the repetition and frustration customers face when filling out multiple forms on your website. Rather than presenting a returning customer with a form they already filled out, progressive profiling provides that customer with a new set of fields that augment information previously captured.
3. Include Negative Scoring
Negative scoring subtracts points for negative behaviors. Did a customer unsubscribe from your email list or criticize your brand on social media? They’re likely no longer interested in doing business with you. While it seems counterintuitive to “waste” a lead, eliminating dead-weight prospects saves you time and effort.
4. Set Thresholds
As a lead collects points, it’s a good idea to establish a threshold once they meet a specific limit. Setting ground rules ensure leads reach sales promptly, removing the guesswork for you and your sales team.
5. Assign More Points to High-Value Actions and Behaviors
Not all customer actions are of equal value. For example, filling out a contact form indicates stronger purchase intent than viewing a page. Assigning more points to certain behaviors can move a customer toward sales faster.
6. Include Social Media & Content Marketing Actions
Does your customer consistently interact with your social media posts? Do they like, share or comment on your content? These are clear signs of interest that you should score highly.
7. Use Demographic Data
Demographic data provides critical information that can include or exclude a customer. Even if a customer indicates an interest in your business, they might be out of your geographic area or may not be able to make buying decisions.
Here are a few examples of demographic data to consider:
- Job Title
- Level of seniority
- Company name
- Company size
- Annual revenue
- Geographic location
- Buyer Persona
- Education level
Note that not all demographic markers carry the same weight. For example, while a customer’s job title only counts once, they can be counted multiple times for behavior, like filling out a contact form or requesting a demo.
8. Incorporate Automatic Qualification
Automatic qualification accelerates a customer towards a sales contact. Certain behaviors should allow a prospect to advance to a contact threshold. If someone sends a message requesting a demo or more info, it’s a strong indication that they are sales-ready.
9. Track MQL to SQL Conversion Rates
You assign lead scoring points and leads advance to the sales staff. But are they converting?
Without knowing your conversion rates from MQL (marketing qualified lead) to SQL (sales qualified lead), you won’t know if your metrics are valid. Confirming lead quality with conversion rates helps you tweak your lead scoring methodology for the future.
10. Set Up Separate Lead Scoring Models
What if a prospect is more interested in product A than product B? If your lead scoring methodology doesn’t take options into account, you might dilute the strength of your leads.
Make sure you create separate lead scoring models that accurately indicate a customer’s interest (if there are multiple choices).
11. Review Results and Update
Test, tweak, implement and repeat. Without monitoring results and making changes to refine your lead scoring model, your conversion rates will dwindle over time. The only constant is change, so constantly updating your scoring process is necessary to ensure continued success.
Improve Your Lead Scoring Model with Personalize
Implementing a lead scoring methodology ensures that the leads entering your pipeline get priority and proper attention, thereby increasing conversions.
Evaluating your leads and analyzing prospect behavior and data is the best way to create a continuous stream of quality leads. To improve your lead scoring efforts, use an AI-powered recommendation tool like Personalize.
Personalize is a fast, efficient and effective way to determine the quality of your leads in real-time. The AI engine crunches data like time on page, visit frequency and recency - ideal lead scoring metrics. Discover your contacts’ top three interests at any given time and use the data to send highly targeted, personalized and relevant content when your audience wants and needs it most.
Use Personalize on its own to score your leads, or use it in conjunction with your lead scoring methodology to boost your MQLs.