Marketing efforts in the digital medium are primarily aimed at maximizing web traffic, inbound leads and creating engagement opportunity with prospective customers. During this course, marketers build database of future customers. However, the issue is, not every visitor to the website is a customer ready to sign-up with you yet. So what would you do? Wait until they are ready! A sensible answer most likely will be “No”.
When you are in a position of strength, you would also not like that your competitors take your customers away from you, do you? So, you got to be constantly with your customer, nurturing them during his/her purchase journey to ensure that when they finally make the purchase decision, it’s in your favor.
Therefore, in the journey of converting a lead to a customer; lead scoring is an essential technique for all marketers for better lead generation.
What is lead scoring? Simply defined lead scoring is ranking leads to establish their sales readiness. Lead scoring helps marketers know the readiness of the customer based on their behavior and interest.
How to score leads?
Lead scoring methodology differs between industries and offerings as well as on customer’s demographics and behavioral pattern. It would also vary depending which marketing automation tool or CRM system you use.
A productive lead scoring model includes explicit and implicit information. Explicit lead score are based on information shared by the customer through online forms and registrations. This information helps to ascertain the fitment of the customer to the company’s target market. For example: company size, revenue, industry, job role, geographic location and budget information influences the lead’s score.
Explicit lead scoring can be made even more productive by asking deeper and direct questions around customer’s needs, purchase timelines, customer’s budget and customer’s authority in the purchase process.
Implicit scores are based on prospects online behavior and engagement. For example: web page visits, white paper downloads, case study downloads, email opens and clicks, webinar attended, surveys attended and social media engagements.
So, should you employ explicit or implicit lead scoring or both? The obvious answer would be “both” because customer’s purchase behavior is complex and dynamic. Marketers therefore need to adjust their lead scoring based on the behavior the customer exhibits over a period of time.
Common mistakes to avoid during lead scoring
1. Sales and marketing alignment: Leads qualified through scoring are ultimately used by the sales team. It is therefore extremely important for sales and marketing to be aligned while finalizing the lead filtering and lead scoring criteria.
2. Target identification: Although any website may receive a whole lot of traffic at any point of time, not all the visitors can qualify as leads. As far as lead scoring is concerned, students, job seekers and competitors are junk. It is therefore important to set desired target profile at the very beginning by defining the explicit and implicit target identification criteria.
3. Assigning the right weightage: Assigning wrong weightage can lead to significant negative score for good leads. Therefore, carefully list down the critical, supplementary and negative attributes and assign the right weightage to each one of them.
4. Don’t forget negative targets and negative behaviors: As discussed in point #2, make sure your target identification criteria filters out your company employees, competitors, students and job seekers. Negative behavior such as unsubscribes, long dormancy, negative email reply etc. warrants negative weightage to build a robust lead scoring model.
5. Review your lead score performance periodically : Your customer as well as your firm evolves over a period of time. Ensure to revisit your lead scoring criteria and assigned weightage to make necessary changes. This will not only help you with better lead nurturing, but also helps you shorten the sales cycle by positively influencing the customer.
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