red_headed_stepchildIs it more important for your sales team to receive a high volume of leads, or high quality leads that are in the right stage of their buying process? If you chose the latter, lead scoring should be an important area of focus in your lead generation strategy. Lead scoring is an often misunderstood and often overlooked tactic to measure the quality of leads and maintain a healthy sales and marketing service level agreement.

Know your customer

You need to understand your customer before you can begin scoring leads. What are their buying habits? Who are your typical buyers? What actions do they typically take before buying from you? The best way to profile your customers is to develop buyer personas. Buyer personas are an inbound marketing necessity — they drive your keyword strategy, your content, calls to action and content offers. Typical components of a buyer persona include:

  • Job title
  • Age
  • Education
  • Industry
  • Years in the role
  • Reports to
  • Roles/responsibilities- what priority initiatives is this person in charge of?
  • Perceived barriers- for each of this person’s priorities, how has this person failed trying to achieve them?

I can’t stress this importantly enough – don’t start a lead scoring plan (heck, don’t start inbound marketing) without properly developed buyer personas. This includes interviewing existing customers as well as potential customers that didn’t buy from you. Without this critical information, you simply won’t be able to properly measure the quality of your leads.

How to score

There are two different types of criteria you should use when devising a lead scoring plan: demographics and behavioral.

Demographic scoring includes:

  • BANT (Budget, Authority, Needs, Timing)
  • Job title or role
  • Company size
  • Industry
  • Answers to other form fields

Behavioral scoring includes:

  • Form conversions
  • Visited key pages in the website, watched key videos, etc.
  • Attended webinar
  • Downloaded eBook
  • Other digital body language

The hardest part about lead scoring is agreeing on a value to place on these criteria. There’s really no right answer, and it will take time before you feel like the scores provide any real benefit. The best way to maintain quality lead scoring is to regularly meet as part of the sales and marketing SLA. Review your leads and opportunities (won and lost), look at individual scores, and propose changse to scoring criteria.

When lead scoring doesn’t work

Lead scoring is not a “set it and forget it” sales and marketing tactic. It takes work, it may seem insignificant, but when properly cared for, it will make an impact on your bottom line.

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