Lead Scoring - An Underused Tool in Marketing Automation
At a recent marketing automation meetup, we were round-tabling areas where we would like to take our automation efforts to the next level. I was surprised that many of the attendees had not created a lead scoring/grading structure. They were simply using (or not using) the standard scoring that came with their marketing automation platform.
By creating a formal lead scoring/grading process, your marketing team can prioritize and give an actual Grade (A - F) and numerical score to leads based on their activity, interest and intent. In other words, their Buyer, Behavioral, and Demographic fit.
This allows your marketing team to differentiate between leads that are “sales ready” and those that are not. From there, marketing can pass on the “sales-ready” leads and focus its efforts to nurture the others through a lead nurturing program.
First, let’s discuss the Definition of a Qualified Lead
Before a lead scoring process can begin, Marketing and Sales need to agree on the definition of a qualified lead—that’s right . . . sales/marketing alignment!
- Identify Your Buyer Personas – Buyer personas are examples of the real buyers who influence or make decisions about the products, services or solutions you offer. Unlike traditional target audience segmentation, personas provide greater depth and context to generic target audience groups by focusing on one character who embodies the predominant qualities of the larger group. If you need help identifying your organization’s Buyer Personas, download our quick guide.
- Determine Qualified Engagement – What implicit information do you need to know about a prospect’s activities, favorite topics, and level of interest? This will help you determine whether they’re ready to begin a conversation with Sales. Also, here are a few activities to be aware of:
- Specific page(s) visited (did they hit key pages?)
- Visit information, including multi-page Visits
- Overall response information (i.e. how many visits total?)
- Recency of response
- Number of pages visited
- Response from a specific campaign
Practical Application of Grading/Scoring
A letter “Grade” (A-F) should be used to show how close a prospect is to your ideal buyer persona. For example, let's say your ideal buyer is a CMO with a $500k+ budget (in the entertainment industry). If a prospect comes to your website, fills out a form, and tells you that they are a CMO with a $500K budget, in the entertainment industry (and ready to buy), then they should be graded with an “A.” The grade then decreases as their profile differs from your ideal buyer.
Conversely, a score is better used when tracking a prospects activity on your website. For example, let’s say all prospects start with a score of 0. As they engage with content on your website or in email campaigns, their score increases. Five points for clicking on an email link, 10 points for each blog post they read; and 50 points added if they hit key pages on your site (your work, your pricing page, etc). Their score begins to increase as they engage which also shows your marketing team who is most engaged on your site.
Once they get to 100 points, you can automatically have them assigned to sales. Your sales team should then review their history and follow-up as appropriate.
This is obviously just one example of how you can effectively use lead scoring and there’s much more that you can do with it. Like anything though, I think starting small and growing the way you segment your database is key.
What tips do you have for lead scoring? What has worked well within your organization?