Leads can come from social media, email campaigns, tradeshows, online downloads, virtual events and general inquiries. However, it can be a waste of your sales team’s time to pursue every individual who expresses interest in your company. To give your team sales-worthy leads, you have to separate the highly motivated prospects from those who were “just looking.” By using lead scoring best practices, you can effectively identify strong leads for your team to convert.
How to Acquire Sales-Worthy Leads
Use lead scoring.
Lead scoring is a method that assigns points to your prospects according to criteria most associated with a target customer. The prospects with the highest scores are the most likely to be ready for your sale’s team conversion process.
When using lead scoring, you’ll rely on explicit and implicit information. Explicit information is empirical data about a prospective customer, like geographic location, job title, budget, industry or company size. Use explicit information to determine if a lead fits the profile of your target customer. Implicit information comes from monitoring a prospective customer’s behaviors. You can learn about behavior by observing website visits, email responses, choices to download opt-in items or by analyzing a prospect’s clicks on your site. Use implicit information to help determine if a lead meets the interest level you seek.
When assigning a score to a lead, your sales team will see the letters A through D and the numbers 1 through 4. The letter values are based on explicit information that tell if your prospect fits the profile of a target customer:
A: A great fit with a score of 75 percent or higher
B: A good fit with a score of 50 to 75 percent
C: Not an ideal fit with a score of 25 to 50 percent
D: A totally wrong fit with a
score of 25 percent or less
The number values represent a prospect’s level of interest in your product or service:
1: Very interested
4: No interest at all
Know your sources.
Your sources of explicit information can include online opt-in forms, partner referrals, telephone inquiries, purchased lists and so on. When following lead scoring best practices, limit the sources that you use to those that are the most reliable.
Implement marketing automation.
Lead scoring best practices work best when you deliver information about the company’s prospects immediately to the sales team. Marketing automation scores and re-scores your leads based on their actions so you don’t have to perform this task manually. Marketing automation also allows you to:
- Measure a campaign’s effectiveness
- Objectively assess the worth of a new opportunity
- Align the right follow-up resources
According to lead scoring best practices, scores change with time because an action that a prospect takes today may not have the same relevance in six months. Give your sales team a follow-up schedule based on a prospect’s lead score. For example, your team should follow up on the highest-scoring leads (A1 and B1) within 24 hours. Then, follow up on other leads within 48 hours. Also, consider implementing an automated lead nurturing program that provides ongoing education to lower-scoring leads in order to improve their score.
Give your sales team the correct actionable data.
Once you come up with a lead scoring system, according to lead scoring best practices, you need to regularly reevaluate it to make sure the ratings are accurate. Use the sales acceptance rate as a guide on where to make changes.
By using lead scoring best practices, you turn a traditional, subjective lead-prioritizing process into one that’s analytical and scientific. This approach allows you to give your sales team quality leads that are simpler and more cost-effective to convert and manage.
[photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures]