As the quantity of leads and prospects coming into your business continues to grow, you will face a challenge: how can you ensure that you are spending time with your most valuable prospects? One of the best ways to improve the efficiency of the sales and marketing teams as well as improve conversion rates is through lead scoring.
Lead scoring is a method that ranks prospects in a way that represents the perceived value each lead represents to the organization. The resulting score is used to prioritize which leads the company’s sales force will engage with first. According to Gartner Research “about 70% of sales leads are not properly leveraged or are completely ignored, thus wasting marketing program dollars.” This is a trap that many businesses fall into and indicates the importance of a lead scoring system.
What are the benefits of a lead scoring system? Businesses with lead scoring systems have experienced:
- Increased marketing and sales efficiency and effectiveness
- Measurable increases in ROI
- Increases in quantity and quality of leads
- Shortened sales cycles
- Increased sales
One of the best ways to align marketing and sales is to utilize lead scoring to help prioritize and process leads through the sales funnel. It has been proven to work, as shown in this case study from MarketingSherpa.com. In this example, lead scoring contributed to a 79% increase in conversions for an HR consultancy.
Here is how to set up an effective lead scoring system:
Effective Lead Scoring:
Before you set up a scoring system, define what a qualified lead looks like. How do you determine that a prospect is ready to meet with a sales rep? Discussions with the sales team can help here. Identify what the typical buying path looks like, which pieces of content the prospect engaged with and how many touches it took before the prospect converted into a customer.
Interest versus Intent
Next, set up the lead scoring to measure two characteristics: the prospect’s interest and the prospect’s level of intent. Measure a prospect’s interest level through activity and engagement. Examples of engagement include page views, accessing white papers, attending webinars, etc. Then look at intent. Some activities reflect intent rather than just interest. Examples include filling out a “contact me” form, searching by product name or requesting a product trial. Pay special attention to downloads of content that indicates a strong interest in buying such as case studies, pricing pages and buyer’s guides. These can be weighted more heavily in the scoring system or even trigger alerts to the sales people. Knowing these can determine what score a prospect must achieve before being sent to a sales rep.
Finally, lead scoring should consider the “grade” of the prospect. Grade is how closely the prospect matches the persona that has been established. Consider things like job title, industry, and company size. Also consider budget, authority, need and time frame. Ideally having both a high grade, meaning the prospect is a good fit, and a high score, indicating the prospect is engaged, will signal to the sales department that the lead is ready to be contacted.
So why isn’t every B2B marketer doing lead scoring? Possibly because it is perceived to be a complex task, or because the marketing or sales departments do not want to change a system that seems to be working. But if, as we saw in the example, lead scoring can lead to a 79% increase in conversions, then the return on investment is many times more than the effort to set it up. As a leading B2B marketing agency, KEO Marketing has the experience and expertise to help you develop an effective lead scoring system that can deliver measurable ROI over time. Contact us today to learn more.