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June 13, 2012

A Simple Guide for Creating a Lead Scoring Program

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 How to measure and convert leads

Photo courtesy of Beth Kanter


High leads volume is good – skimping on lead management and prioritization is not.

Without some system for ranking prospects, you risk your sales team wasting time on leads nowhere near buying, and marketers nurturing opportunities that are a bad fit from the start. Fortunately, marketers designed the scoring method to address this issue.

Research firm Software Advice posted a two-part video series details how to design such a program. Those tips – from VisionEdge Marketing President Laura Patterson – are summarized here.

1. Ask yourself what is an opportunity? And, how do we know when it’s sales ready?

First you need to figure our what you consider an Opportunity and when it is sales ready.

Opportunity: Leads that enter the sales pipeline that will become potential prospects and hopefully convert into new customers.

Sales Ready: When sales and marketing agree the opportunity is ready to pass to the sales to close the deal or should stay. This could be as soon as the opportunity is identified, or only after they’ve responded to drip campaigns, downloaded white papers or taken other actions that suggest they are ready to buy.

2. Decide what “fit” metrics you want to use

Start by asking what key factors will help discern if an opportunity is a match for your company and product: Is it in the right market? Is it the right kind of company? Is this person the decision maker? Do they have the right kind of problem? Does our product solve that problem?

3. Set scale (1 -10 for example) for each one of those fit metrics. (Keep range the same for all metrics)

For example, if the opportunity has the exact problem that your product solves, they might receive a score of 10 for that metric. But if the contact is a secretary rather than the CEO, that lead might receive a score of 3 for the decision maker metric.

4. Map the customer buying process

Next, you will want to decide what behavior metrics to use for lead scoring. These are observable actions the opportunity takes that show where they are in the buying process. In order to create this score, you will need to map the customer buying pipeline – from first contact, for example, to fills out online quote form or asks for a sales call. Be sure to document each step in this incremental process.

5. Create scores for behavior metrics

Next, decide on metrics for each one of the incremental buying process steps you identified from Step No. 4. The first contact stage, for example, might include actions like Fanning on Facebook or signing up for a newsletter that are only worth 1 or 2 points. Where as the next stage where the contact signs up for a webinar or downloads an analyst report, for example, might be worth 3 and 4 points. The further the behaviors are in the pipeline, the higher the score should be. Points could also be awarded for how many of those stage two or three behaviors they demonstrate.

6. Decide what scores translate into action, and for what team

Decide what fit and behavior scores trigger marketing or sales action. For one organization, sales might reach out immediately to an opportunity with a high fit score, even if they’ve demonstrated very little on the behavior scale (only fanned them on Facebook). For another company, sales might not get involved unless the fit is in the 5 -10 range and the behavior score is 8 or higher.

The goal with this system is to efficiently decide which opportunities you want to invest in with sales time and efforts, and which should stay in the lead nurturing program. Over time, you can track which behavior and fit scores most often lead to conversion and adjust your action plan accordingly.

Let us know how your lead scoring program goes or if you have any tips below.

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