What’s The Point of Lead Scoring?
It’s simple. By having an accurate view of your customers’ likelihood of making a purchase, how long it will take them to complete the customer journey and what products they are likely to buy you will know where to focus your efforts. This will allow your sales team to focus on your best opportunities instead of wasting time on dead leads.
A lead scoring system is the perfect way of determining who your campaigns should be targeting. It can also help by identifying leads that may need nurturing – by using a scoring system you will be able to distinguish which of your leads may need additional nurturing to pique their engagement and interest. This is achievable through marketing automation platforms which allow you to segment your leads using a scoring system and create ‘nurturing campaigns’, specifically designed to ease less engaged or enthusiastic leads into buying for the first time.
So since lead scoring is the best thing since sliced bread, we’re sure you’re dying to hear how to actually put it to use. Well, that’s why we’re here!
The 4 Step Plan to Perfect Lead Scoring
If you’re just starting out with lead scoring, there’s no need to get fancy. Do the basics right and you’re 90% of the way there. Here’s a simple 4 step plan that’ll get you up and running in no time:
- The Bare Bones
Establish the absolute minimum criteria for leads to meet in order for them to become a customer. These are essential categories for your leads to fit into, which could be age or geographical location. So, say you ship goose down jackets to anywhere in the U.K. mainland; there might not be much point talking to a lead from sunny Nicaragua.
- Past Performance is an Indicator of Future Success
Further on from the basics, figure out who you should look for in the future by analysing who you’ve sold to in the past. Unlike the essential criteria from step one, these are common characteristics, but they aren’t essential per se. What qualities do your past leads share? Do you tend to sell to people from Scotland? Men or women? Young or old? It’s far more effective to figure out your ideal lead from past sales rather than what you believe your target market ‘ought’ to be.
- Points Mean Prizes
This is the real meat on the bones of lead scoring: figuring out what’s worth what.
Set up a points system based on the characteristics you’ve found. This should include ideal location, age, gender, how they found your business and anything else that you’ve found which correlates with likelihood to make a purchase. Weight it so that the most important characteristics are worth, for example, 10 points whereas less important ones are worth fewer (1, 2 or 5 maybe).
You can then narrow the field down further by paying attention to how your customers behave, especially your most engaged leads. Focus on email clicks, replies and shares, social media shares, web page visits, downloads, use of free trials and product demos: whatever’s applicable. Some of these behaviours are ‘critical conversion behaviours’, which most of your leads will go through before making a purchase.
Many companies use a 1 – 100 lead scoring scale, however if your company deals with different types of leads that will lead to significantly varying revenues through different purchases it is recommended to use a thousand-digit scoring system. Only include those who met the minimum criteria into your scoring system.
Distribute points by assigning maximum values to categories of rules your scoring system will follow to distribute points evenly to the rules in each category to provide a balanced system. By an even distribution of points, you will be able to focus on individuals who match your target market and those who are highly engaged with your company.
- Test, Test, Optimise and Test
No one will achieve the perfect scoring strategy right off the bat. To improve the accuracy of your lead scoring system always be prepared to make adjustments and review performance. If you’ve only just created your lead scoring model revisiting every 30 days is advised. Consider if there were any low scoring leads which ended up as conversions or if many of your highly scored leads failed to convert. Adjust as necessary!
Pitfalls, Obstacles and Icebergs Abound!
Like everything when it comes to marketing, there are a dozen ways to do things right, and just as many ways to do things wrong. Here are some basic pitfalls you should avoid as best you can.
- Avoid using a simplistic lead scoring system. The more rules applied will not only help you to distinguish between the lukewarm leads from the cold, but you’ll also be able to put your top leads at the forefront of your campaign. At the same time, make sure that each of your metrics is meaningful and unique.
- As we said above, don’t base your ideal lead on what you believe they should be. Use real, quantifiable evidence instead.
- Don’t freeze out your sales team. Their feedback is going to be what makes the system a success. Remember, data isn’t everything, and statistics can mislead; if your sales team spot a potential improvement that may or may not be backed up with data, it’s worth listening to them. Call it gut instinct!
- Don’t expect perfection. We’re not talking in terms of bumping conversions up from 5% to 95%; a very minor improvement to begin with is something you can build on for later. Don’t give up early.
It might seem costly in terms of both time and money to set up a lead scoring strategy if you don’t have one already. Depending on how in-depth you want to go with your scoring system, it very well may be! But lead scoring is a hell of a brick in the wall- more of a foundation stone!- that’s going to help you build up and move onto great things.