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What Is Lead Scoring, and How Can You Start Using It?

What Is Lead Scoring, and How Can You Start Using It?

Do you currently feel frustrated by the pace of your sales cycle and want to know if lead scoring is right for your business?

To increase your number of qualified leads and close deals more quickly, you may want to consider lead scoring, which is a process that helps you rank, measure, and prioritize your leads for outreach.

When you use lead scoring effectively, you can highlight the high-quality leads that require immediate attention and move them along the sales pipeline.

Identifying Your Ideal Customer

Before you can start scoring leads, you’ll need to identify your Ideal Customer Profile.

To start characterizing this person, look at your favorite customers from the past, and make a list of that person’s attributes:

  • How did they find your business?
  • How did they first start interacting with you?
  • What marketing or educational material did they read or watch after first contact?
  • Where did you almost lose them in the funnel?
  • How long did it take for them to commit to purchasing?
  • What has been their feedback on your salespeople and your company since conversion?

Once you know the answers to these questions, you can begin to see your ideal customer take shape. And that customer needs a score value to represent exactly the kind of target you’re going after.

Lead Scoring Means Gathering Explicit Data

After you know your Ideal Customer, you can start scoring leads.

To do that, you’ll need specific information that falls into three categories of data: explicit, implicit, and behavioral/engagement. Explicit data includes the basics, such as the lead’s name, company name, and email address. Next, implicit data is the information you can infer about your lead, based on the explicit data. For example, by knowing the person’s name, you may be able to Google him or her and gain additional details.

Finally, behavioral/engagement data refers to how the lead has been engaging with your product or service. Did he or she already complete a free trial? Did the person download your ebook?

If you use Hubspot, you can employ a tool like Formspree to import this lead data right into your CRM.

Create a Point System

Once you’re able to gather this data, you can start assigning points to different attributes or actions.

For example, if the person downloads your ebook, then that action might be worth 10 points. If the person opens your email, then that action may be worth 5 points. A lead score typically ranges between 0 and 100, but you can make your own scale, based on your needs.

After you choose your point values, then you can decide on your thresholds.

For example, you may determine that a lead with 75 or more points is a high-priority lead, while a lead with fewer than 25 points is not worth as much time and effort.

Of course, not all actions and attributes are positive. Some lead scoring systems include negative points, which is called “negative lead scoring.” Perhaps a lead fits all the criteria of the ideal customer and has engaged with all of the right marketing material, but they live in a country your business doesn’t cover or can’t trade with for logistical reasons. That would score negative points of a predetermined value and keep that lead from clogging up your sales pipeline.

Other negative attributes include: spending time in the “Jobs” or “Career” page of your website, having a temporary or suspect email address, using an IP address from a possible competitor, or simply the lead being in an industry you don’t serve.

Once you know your lead thresholds, you can give your sales team specific instructions on how to handle the different categories of leads.

Calculate and Communicate Your Lead Scores

Lastly, you’ll need a way to automatically calculate these lead scores, store them, and disseminate them to the sales team in a timely manner. Speed is a factor here — one that can make a difference between a qualified lead and a missed opportunity.

HubSpot is a popular choice for lead scoring and CRM software and may even be coming for Salesforce’s crown. It has an easy-to-use graphical interface that allows you to customize your lead scoring in every single category and with any positive or negative point values. The notifications are also customizable, letting you know when a score has fluctuated only by a prescribed amount so you don’t get constantly flooded.

Act-On, Salespanel, and, of course, Salesforce all have these features.

Lead scoring software can be integrated with communication tools like Slack, which will send new leads and updated lead scores right to the entire sales team in real-time. They won’t get lost or filtered out of an email inbox, and they won’t languish in some Google Sheet or CRM profile page that no one ever visits.

Lead Scoring for Your Business

So your lead scoring strategy needs an ideal customer, plenty of data on leads, a useful point system, and the tools to calculate and communicate the score (and any changes) to the sales team.

Have you tried lead scoring in the past? There are many different models for lead scoring, so make sure to do your research before you settle on one.

If you haven’t tried lead scoring, do you think this method of prioritizing leads would help you streamline your sales cycle?

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