Not all leads are the same, and that’s ok. But how do you know which ones will turn in customers? The answer to this question is vitally important for the successful and fruitful marketing of any business. No matter if it’s a small local shop that goes online or a large company selling its services worldwide. That’s why today we’re talking all about lead scoring - a system of classification leads.
Lead scoring is important to qualify how near the lead is to our ideal buyer and wherein the buying process is the lead situated. Lead nurturing is all the actions and efforts to move the potential client through our buying process stages. The goal is to convert a lead to a customer.
Carla Rodriguez, SoftwareSupp CRM Freelancer
Lead scoring is a crucial practice in inbound marketing. It’s the process of assigning attributes to each lead you’re generating for your business. Usually, these values are converted to numerical points, so it’s easier to compare the results of each lead. To put it simply, lead scoring looks like a race: those prospects that score the highest number are the closest to make a purchase.
Lead scoring usually comes in when the company starts making more money and generating more and more leads. At this point, you should be able to differentiate between prospects who will unlikely turn into customers not to waste your resources.
Let’s now look in detail at the pros of lead scoring to understand better how it works.
After lead scoring, you have a clear picture of your leads at the moment and know how many of them will likely convert into clients. Consequently, you understand where and how you should improve your marketing strategy.
Lead scoring shows specific issues that need to be fixed. In such a way, you don’t spend money on marketing and sales randomly. Indeed, you invest in those strategies and approaches that will bring visible results.
With lead scoring, you can see at what exact stage of the sales process each prospect is. It’s much easier to sell to leads that are ready to make a purchase and, as a result, generate more money for the company.
There are two ways you can do lead scoring. Let’s have a closer look at them:
This method is based on pure data analysis. You count all the scores your lead gets based on the given attributes and receive a specific amount. Depending on this number, the prospect can either pass to the next sales stage (if it turns out to be a prospective customer) or still has to gain the necessary score. The threshold (number of scores needed) for the lead to convert to the client is agreed upon by the marketing and sales teams of the company.
This approach appeared later than the traditional lead scoring method. Predictive lead scoring became possible, to a great extent, due to machine learning and AI. It works based on an algorithm: the approximate score of a perfect prospect is calculated based on the company information and big data. Then, all the incoming leads are scored against this calculated score of an ideal lead profile. It helps to determine which prospects are most likely to convert into customers.
Let’s now move to the criteria based on which you can assign attributes to your leads. These are called lead scoring models and will vary depending on the type of your business and target clients. Each company has to decide which models work best for them to convert leads into customers. One more essential factor here is how to gather the necessary information from your potential clients. Usually, it can be done by analyzing the questionnaires they fill in on landing pages. Here are the most common metrics that can be used for most businesses:
This factor means a lot in understanding who is a buyer persona for the service you provide and what he wants. If you’re selling to a specific category of customers (students, for example) or deliver only in one area, give points to all leads that fit in. It’s quite unlikely that people older than 40 will purchase goods for students or those living in France will become your clients if you only deliver products within Germany.
How prospects interact with the company’s website tells a lot about where and how they can convert into clients. When leads are getting familiar with your business, they can take the further actions:
You can assign as many points as you want with each value depending on the type of your company and marketing funnels. In total, the picture can look like this:
What pages and how many times do leads visit before becoming customers?
What offers and how many of them do your leads download?
The type of web pages and the number of visits are the indicators of what content and marketing techniques work best to turn leads into customers.
Email subscription looks like a solid decision to get to know more about the services the company provides. Thus, you can give more points to the website visitors who sign up for the newsletter.
The actions we discussed in the previous part are not the same as engagement. Engagement defines how long the leads are consuming your content (for instance, how much time they spend reading blogs or emails).
The general rule is that the more time a lead stays on the website - the more likely they’ll become a client.
Check if your leads react to your posts on social media channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc). If they are engaged with your brand on social networks, it shows how interested they are in your services. Did they like or repost anything? Give them a few points for this activity.
These are the funnels through which prospects get to know about your company and services. The most popular lead sources are:
Start with your buyers’ journey and look at their first point of contact. It will help to analyze what content and lead sources are the most effective for sales. Some web pages, for example, will raise leads' interest in your product, while others can leave them unresponsive.
Of course, for each business, the importance of each particular lead source will vary. To be more precise, it all depends on your target audience. Let’s say, you’re selling to zoomers mostly. No wonder that investing in radio and developing this lead source will be ineffective as teenagers rarely listen to it.
So, how lead scoring looks in practice? We’ll explain based on the BANT framework that is used by most sales teams in all industries all over the world.
BANT stands for budget, authority, needs, and timing, and all of them are used to qualify leads. A common practice is to consider a prospect viable if they satisfy at least three out of four BANT criteria. We’re cracking all of them below:
Find out whether the lead can afford the product or service you’re offering. Learn all about their budget and flexibility when it comes to money. You can also think about special pricing if you really want to keep the lead and let them continue with the buyer’s journey. However, if your prospect is not ready to spend enough funds on your product, it’s better not to invest time, effort, and resources to move them to the next sales stage.
Is a lead in charge of making decisions and purchases? Or are they simply looking around and gathering information about what’s available on the market? Or do they need to consult a group of stakeholders or other team members before finalizing the deal? If the lead does not have enough authority, you might be wasting your time. Try to discover who’s a real decision-maker and make them part of the sales process. In such a way, the chances of successful purchases will increase significantly.
Does your prospective customer really need your product or service? Ask them about the challenges they’re facing and issues they’re seeking to resolve. If your product cannot solve this problem, don’t push the sales process further. .
Are your leads ready to make a purchase within the next few months or they will only do this in a year? It’s not worth hunting your prospects down and pushing them into buying something if they have no such intentions. On the contrary, you can pause the sales process a bit and communicate with them later. One more tip here would be suggesting a time-limited offer to create the feeling of urgency. Thus, leads will be more motivated to make a purchase in the nearest time.
In other words, it’s the process of building and developing relationships with your leads throughout each sales stage. We’re now talking about lead nurturing because it’s a complex approach that includes lead scoring. It’s important to understand that you cannot push a lead to purchase your services all of a sudden. Conversely, you need to guide them carefully during the whole sales process and nurture trusting friendly relationships. Even if a purchase doesn’t happen, such a lead will still have positive experience with your company and can come back in the future or recommend you to friends/family/etc.
All in all, lead scoring is not the only tactic to keep in mind to generate sales and boost your revenue. Lead nurturing also includes:
All of these are interconnected and when combined all together bring tremendous results both for your business and clients.