• Tom Stearns

How to Get More Out of Lead Scoring



If you're getting into lead scoring, avoid disaster by getting Sales and Marketing to play nice.

Typical lead scoring models include two components: Profile and Engagement.

The Profile criteria are things like role, level, size company and other information you might discover from a business card (remember those?). The Profile tells us, "we want to do business with this person."

Profile is the easy part of the score to assess.

Engagement is harder.

Engagement measures behavior such as web visits, general form submissions, campaign responses, and event activity. Engagement is the stuff that tells us, "this person may want to do business with us."

The "may" is pretty critical. When the score hits the threshold set by Marketing, ding! it becomes an MQL. Time for Sales to make a call. Send it over!

The understanding gap

All-to-often the gap in understanding between Marketing and Sales gets magnified here.

Marketing has used complex data to makes assumptions about a buyer's actions (or engagement) that supposedly indicates they "may" want to do business with us.

Sales reps misunderstand what the lead score means. They think, "hey, this lead is hot and waiting for me to call."

And the Marketing team hasn't validated their scoring model.

Where it finally breaks down

The rep calls the MQL and doesn't get the easy win expected. He thinks Marketing is sending bad leads and doesn't trust them again. Marketing thinks Sales doesn't know how to sell... and, of course, we perpetuate the ongoing cycle of Sales and Marketing mistrust of each other's abilities.

How to work together to get more out of Lead Scoring

Don't launch a scoring program without including Sales:

  1. Educate Sales on the methodology you're employing for your Lead Scoring model

  2. Involve Sales in your Engagement suppositions. Include various levels of the Sales org right down to the front-liners who are really going to be the tester

  3. Include A/B tests.

  4. Establish clear reporting that Marketing and Sales review together. It should give visibility down to the team and even rep level. Doing this will help you identify which teams or reps understand the intended meaning of the lead score. If one team is outperforming another, that's an indication that the score may be good and the team's understanding of it is good, and vice versa.

  5. Establish a feedback loop that includes clear criteria. For example, if you're running an A/B test, the reps may conclude that the A test leads were more inclined to take a meeting because X content (or series of content) they engaged with raised vital concerns about something of value to them. While the B test leads were not finding value with the content they consumed.

  6. Listen to recorded calls. The reps can likely pinpoint certain discussions they had that were meaningful to your lead scoring model. Hearing the actual interaction is significant. I've seen this in action and it's a blast to watch a marketer's reaction to a real customer identifying something of meaning.

Bottom line: if you take the extra step and work closely with Sales to validate and improve your lead scoring model, you'll get a whole lot more out of it.

Photo: © Andrey Pavlov | Dreamstime

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© 2017 Tom Stearns Consulting, a division of Stearns Marketing, LLC