The well-known mantra of sales is “always be closing.” But the probability of closing a deal is highly dependent on how good the lead is. Any salesperson will tell you that leads can be so good that it is only a matter of a little time to make the deal or so bad that there is hardly any difference between following a lead and a cold approach. And they can be anything in between.
Ranking instead of gambling
This means that simply getting a bunch of leads and following them is not much different than gambling. But it does not have to be this way. This is where lead scoring – a methodology of ranking leads by their perceived value to the company – comes in. Simply put, lead scoring ranks the prospects by how many promises they show of converting into clients. This gives the sales advantage of knowing how to direct their effort and time.
Rules for building successful lead scoring models
Lead scoring basically means assigning numerical values to your prospect by a rule or set of rules that express how much perceived value the lead has to your company. But how exactly are these rules defined and chosen?
To better understand how lead scoring works, let us take a closer look at the practices of building a lead scoring model.
1. Different models for different situations
It is important to understand that there is no “one size fits all” type of model for scoring leads. A “hot lead” or a “promising lead” means different things for different products and services. Ideally, a company that is selling more than one product or service would build lead scoring models for each of them. Explicitly tailored to reflect the differences in the usual clientele, these models would be sensitive to various meanings a good leader may have in different situations.
2. Negative scoring
Negative scoring may also be included among the best practices of lead scoring model building. Generally, when scoring a lead, one adds points for certain actions, inactions, or features of a lead. But just adding scores would allow leads to keep the accumulated high scores even when they are no longer acting as promising leads, which would be misleading. This is where negative scoring steps in. Subtracting points from a prospect that in one way or another shows signs of no longer or never being truly interested in the company makes for a more realistic view of the lead’s potential.
3. Determining the threshold score
Lead scoring is not meant to just answer which leads are better than others. Equally important is the “is it time, yet?” question. Deciding to go ahead and make an offer is easier when you have some objective data to back up the decision. Therefore, choosing a certain score that the lead has to reach before an offer is made will help eliminate a lot of doubt, guessing, and superfluous pondering for both marketing and sales.
4. Automatic for the people
Computers are good at computing so when it comes to adding and subtracting scores, a lot can be automated. It is well-known that the automation of daily processes gives a considerable advantage to companies that embrace it. Letting the automatic tools track relevant activities of the leads and change their scores accordingly will expedite the process and save marketing’s time for creativity. Attempts to create intricate lead scoring models will usually depend on collaboration between technology and human experts.
5. Regularly review your process
Reviewing your process consistently is as essential in lead ranking as in any area of business procedures. Nothing stands still in markets, so leaving your procedures perpetually the same is a sure way to lag behind. Regular reviews of what could be improved or should be changed to reflect changes in the situation will make sure that your lead ranking model is always up to date.
The meaning of numbers
The first step of creating a lead scoring model is defining the meanings of numbers on your scales.
A good way to start is by thinking of what smallest possible action or feature of a person or a company would count for you as something leading towards them as a potential customer. What least they could do that would turn them into a lead? For example, it could be liking your company’s post on social media. This action could be scored with 1 point. Going up from there you would come up with a scale where every action and feature of leads would be valued by a certain amount of points.
Lead value units are conventional; therefore, what the numbers express will depend upon how leads are recognized in different cases. After defining the meanings of the numbers, following the practices mentioned above will assist in creating a successful system for lead scoring.