Stop Wasting Time and Start Grading
Imagine if your best sales reps consistently had a close rate of 70-80%. When HubSpot’s Sales and Development Director Andrew Quinn reported that number at the Inbound 12 conference back in August, most of us were shocked and intrigued. It’s not so much that the HubSpot marketing software is fabulous (even though it's great). It’s really more about the fact that their sales team have become champions at scoring leads.
In the most technical sense, lead scoring is the science of assigning a priority to your company’s prospects based on a set of defined criteria. It’s about assigning a value based on how likely each consumer is to result in real revenue. The process can help your company’s representatives focus on the best prospects, also known as hot leads. While no one can tell you exactly how likely a lead is to become a client, the following questions are commonly used for grading leads:
Is the Person a Decision-Maker?
Do They Have a Valid Business or Personal Need?
Do They Have the Budget?
Have they Indicated an Acceptable Purchase Time Frame?
According to research by Marketing Sherpa, nearly 80% of B2B marketers consider having a lead respond to a marketing campaign with basic contact information the single most important factor for continuing to nurture and score the lead. Here are some recommended steps for setting up lead scoring criteria:
1. Make it Simple to Become a Lead
The top of your sales funnel should be wide, and even though it might be tempting to speed up your lead scoring by asking for more information from the beginning, you’ll likely lose business in the end. Keep your landing page forms short and focus on profiling your leads through proceeding contact.
Requiring interested parties to submit too much personal information could ensure you’re only getting qualified leads, but it can also scare away some other people who are interested in your product but just don’t understand why you need their age and education level.
2. Think BANT
If you’re just starting to score leads for the first time, SalesForce recommends adopting the simple acronym of BANT - budget, authority, need and time. Could you try and gather all four of these factors through forms? Sure, but it won’t be very effective. Interactions are a much better way of starting to assess a lead’s BANT.
3. Don’t Forget Implicit Data
Explicit data is volunteered. Whether the lead admits the size of their budget over the phone, shares their email address in a landing page form or hands you their business card at an event, they’re consciously consenting to share this information with you. Implicit data is gathered through observations of their behavior. Are they opening emails and clicking-through to your website? Are they spending time reading or commenting on your blog or asking your sales reps questions? Assign each form of contact a score based on associated effort - opening an email takes less work than visiting your blog, and downloading a whitepaper might take the most effort.
4. Evaluate All Data Types Together
Explicit and implicit data offer limited value when viewed on their own. A lead’s job title may indicate they’re a decision maker, but are they really interested in your product? Similarly, someone may be visiting your website and downloading eBooks on a daily basis, but do they have the budget for a purchase? By gauging BANT through explicit and implicit data, you can examine their interest and profiles to determine whether they’re really interested and qualified.
5. Use Buyer Personas to Identify Ideal Buyers
Build profiles of your “ideal” customers based on their demographics, pain points, budget and job title. You may have college students who purchase your software regularly, but you know that targeting IT Directors will yield much bigger sales and require far less support. Create content offers targeted towards your ideal personas, and ask your sales reps to focus efforts on leads who seem to fit those profiles.
Image credit: freedigitalphotos.net/ Worakit Sirijinda