Lead Scoring to Close More Sales

By Neil Smith

Doing more with less is the new trend in lead management. Not every lead is a perfect match for your service or product and that’s perfectly fine. Observing the activities and behavior of the prospect can help one deduce his level of interest.  This helps sales reps capture right leads and results in higher closure rates.

Lead scoring is the process of assigning a value to the leads based on identified characteristics and attributes which makes them qualified. Lead qualification not only depends on numerous factors under a single criterion but also differs from business to business. As an example, after indentifying the criteria value is assigned to each defined criteria on a scoring scale of 1-5 or 1-10 or 1-100. Sum up all the points assigned to the individual criteria and the total score denotes the individual score of the lead.  A threshold score could then be set to know the score that makes a lead sales qualified, so that sales reps can reach out to the hot prospects. A few pointers to consider while designing a lead scoring process are described below.

Data collection for scoring – when you decide to setup a lead scoring process it’s important to first define the traits of the required lead. This may include name, company, job title and contact details. This information can be captured from a web form and updated in the marketing database. It’s not a good move to ask too many details about the prospect initially because it may result in lower form completion rates and ultimately lower conversion rates.

It’s important to categorize the required data as:

  • Explicit data – the data given by prospects themselves in web forms, at events and during interactions
  • Implicit data – data collected by observing the prospect behavior such as emails opened, clicks through, form submissions and downloads of collaterals or white papers.

Data evaluation – by evaluating data in two categories (mentioned above) together we can reach hot leads faster. It’s not a good approach to rely only on profile data like job title or actions performed like downloading of white papers from the website. Decide what matters and what doesn’t for data evaluation. It’s also important to make sure that the particular prospects have decision making authority.

BANT to qualify leads – BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing) often provides a good preliminary assessment of lead quality. A lead can become opportunity when it qualifies BANT. BANT data is best gathered while interacting with the prospects although parts of it could be captured by forms.

 Scoring criteria for prospect’s profile – this is another important aspect in the lead scoring process. While targeting prospects assign additional points for the ideal prospect profiles because they’ll have a higher likelihood of becoming customers.

Cold lead or a warm prospect – in an ever changing business scenario a lead marked as not qualified today due to low scoring could become a hot prospect tomorrow. That means a lead that doesn’t qualify today should perhaps be nurtured for the future. So just setting the lead status as “disqualified” is not a good idea anymore. Update your records with details about why the lead isn’t qualified at this time. Depending on why the lead was disqualified, you may be pressed to follow up on it later.

An effective lead scoring system where leads are rated based on the level of buying interest is an efficient and cost effective way to help sales reps focus on those prospects which have the highest probability of closing a sale.

What are your views on lead scoring? Feel free to share your views with us via comments below.

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