Last week, Chris Butler wrote a great piece highlighting the various features of marketing automation software. One of the key elements of marketing automation that he mentioned is the ability to score your leads. But what does that mean? Why do your leads need to have a score?
Lead scoring is fundamental for a few key reasons. First, it helps you qualify and vett your leads. As you have new leads coming in, you likely don’t have the time to evaluate all of them, so why not set up scoring to take care of this for you? Additionally, once you have scoring set up, you will be able to quickly identify who your most sales qualified leads are. This all leads to a more efficient process for you and the ability to get better leads in front of your sales team.
OK, that all sounds nice, but where do you start?
I’ve compiled a few tips to keep in mind while drawing up your lead scoring to help get you off on the right foot as you begin assigning point values for various demographics and behaviors.
- Don’t score your actions, score the actions of your leads: You shouldn’t be assigning a point value to emails you send. Simply receiving a number of emails doesn’t make a person a better lead. Instead, assign the points for when the recipient opens your email, or better yet, when they click on the email
- Not all actions are equal: When considering the various actions a lead can take – submitting a specific form, clicking on a specific email, or registering for a specific webinar – make sure you are considering each action’s relative value. You (or better yet, your sales team) should be able to identify which actions are more indicative of sales-qualified leads, so assign more points to those actions. Don’t just assign a set value for all form submissions or any email click. Think about which ones are more meaningful to your team, and assign the points accordingly.
- Get input from your sales team: They are the experts on what a sales-ready lead looks like. They will be able to give you an idea of what actions are typically a sign of a prospect that is considering a purchase. Talk to them, find out what actions are most valuable, and score appropriately. It may not always be what you assume, so get the input from those on the front lines.
- Utilize negative scores and repeat scores (if available): Certain actions should indicate that a lead is not interested or less likely to purchase. These are things like filling out an unsubscribe form, or viewing a job application, both clear indicators that these are not sales-qualified leads. In these instances, assign the actions a negative value so that it will help you rank the leads appropriately. Additionally, it may be more or less valuable when a user takes an action for a second or third time. If you have the capability to set a different score for repeat actions, take advantage of it, as this will help keep your data clean and accurate.
- Only score actions that happen within a specified timeframe: You want to know when a lead is hot, and this is a time-sensitive attribute. You need to be able to tell the difference in a lead that has accumulated 100 points this month versus a lead that has slowly accumulated 100 points over 5 years. So set a time frame for scoring – only count the actions that they have done over a set amount of time. Depending on how long your sales process typically takes and what industry you are in, this timeframe may change, but I would recommend not scoring anything that happened more than six months ago.
So, you’ve followed these tips and are now scoring your leads. What next? How do you take advantage of this information within your marketing automation platform.
Lead scores can be used in segmenting your lists to show you which prospects in that list are more or less engaged. Then, you can set up specific nurturing campaigns to send content to the specific segments based on lead score. You may want to target more purchase-oriented content to your hot leads – request a demo, set up a meeting, etc. Whereas you may want to nurture some of the colder leads with more educational content to encourage them to engage.
Lastly, if you have integrated your marketing automation platform to pass information to your CRM, you can use the lead score value when creating workflows in your CRM. For example, you can set up a workflow that will send an email alert to the assigned sales rep whenever one of their leads achieves a lead score of 100 or greater. That way, the sales rep gets a message in their inbox letting them know exactly when a lead has reached a critical level and is likely ready to be contacted.
Lead scoring is often overlooked in marketing automation suites, but if used correctly, it can make all of your other marketing automation tools more powerful.