What is lead scoring?
Lead scoring is defined as the process of objectively ranking leads with the goal of prioritizing your leads.
Why prioritize leads? Because you want to focus your efforts where they are most likely to yield results - so that you can hit your sales quota.
Lead scoring uses a set of criteria to help you decide which leads to nurture immediately and which ones to shelve for later.
Do you really need lead scoring?
“Having the ability to find and convert high-quality leads is what keeps brands successful. The best and brightest aren’t just focused on volume; they want to sell to the best possible prospects,” says Neil Patel, a digital marketer and entrepreneur who helps companies grow their revenue.
The numbers back him up. Depending on who you’re reading, anywhere between 2.35 and 11.45 percent of landing page leads convert into sales. The other 88.55 to 97.65 percent represent potentially wasted efforts.
For example, pursuing every lead that browses through inbound marketing content might prove to be a waste. That’s because your viewers could be students, people who simply clicked out of general curiosity, and even your competitors.
Every call counts. Every pitch email eats a few minutes to a few hours out of your sales rep’s day (which translates to capital spent). Even every automatic marketing email sent represents a cost.
The bottomline: You really do need lead scoring. And you should ideally use all stages of lead scoring before a sales rep devotes any actual time and effort to pursue a lead.
How to use lead scoring to qualify your leads
To take your sales prospect from lead to customer, follow the four stages of lead scoring.
Stage 1: Marketing Approved Leads (MALs)
Maybe the lead spent time on your website, filled out a form, or downloaded a quick guide. You give a lead the MAL stamp when they take some action that indicates interest beyond general curiosity.
Stage 2: Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)
A lead is marketing qualified when they show specific and definitive interest in a specific product or solution. This includes people who sign up for a free demo or who might pose a product-specific question to your chatbot.
Stage 3: Sales Accepted Leads (SALs)
You can call a lead “sales accepted” when the lead has the budget and authority required for a positive purchase decision. You can get these details on a discovery call or email or by LinkedIn research.
Stage 4: Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)
For a lead to be sales qualified, they need to have the potential for conversion in a short window of time. You will ideally qualify, pursue, and nurture leads that are likely to convert within less than a month to a quarter. Other sales-accepted leads could be shelved for future nurturing.
Making lead scoring easier
Some sales teams don’t like the idea of lead scoring because it sounds like doing a lot of work to reduce your workload, which amounts to the same amount of work in the end.
That can be a legitimate concern.
Which is why it makes sense to automate a few areas of lead scoring so as to make it an effective, effortless and efficient process. This is where predictive lead scoring can help you.
Predictive lead scoring
Predictive lead scoring taps into AI and ML to chew on thousands of data points and zero in on the most likely-to-convert leads. One example is Hubspot’s lead scoring software – which enables predictive lead scoring. This allows sales reps to quickly check a dashboard each day to determine which leads to focus on rather than spending time evaluating lead potential manually.
Common lead scoring techniques
Some of the popular lead-scoring models that teams use to score leads include:
- Scoring based on interactions and interest, where the lead score formula would add points for sales engagement activities. They would conversely deduct points after a period of no interest and no interactions.
- Scoring based on budgets and purchase history, where lead score calculations would add points based on products purchased and their value. Points are deducted in instances where the sales prospect is tied up in a contract with another vendor or if they do not have sufficient budgets.
- Scoring based on goals and struggles, where points are allocated based on the intensity of the prospect’s struggle or desire to achieve a goal that your solution can solve/enable. For example, an accounting head struggling with cash flow is a hot lead for accounting software.
Lead scoring best practices
Go through all stages of the lead scoring process
It might initially seem you’re not really reducing your workload. But soon, you’ll be more settled into the process. And then you’ll see how you save time and effort spent on low potential leads. Sales reps will also appreciate being spared the demotivation of chasing unyielding prospects.
Set lead expectations with your marketing team
Lead scoring should be a collaborative process. Every individual might have subtle differences in what they think a lead needs to display to pass to the next stage. Work with the marketing team and document the level of qualification you expect from them.
Automate lead scoring to make it more efficient
Use automated call recordings and transcripts to ensure you never miss a data point. Leverage predictive analytics to reduce manual labor on sifting through your data.
Lead scoring is crucial for you to improve sales success. It might seem tedious, but it can be made much easier with automation. That’s where Clari can help.
Clari’s revenue platform can help you bring all sales data regarding the past, present and future in one place.
Interested in learning more?