While zeroing-in upon your prospects, have you ever rated them that relates to their sales readiness? Imagine a process by which (primarily) Sales department and marketing department score leads based on the interest they show in your business and their current place in the buying cycle.
Usually companies’ rate leads as ‘warm’, ‘hot’ and ‘cold’. Some do as A, B, C, D and so on. Lead scoring helps companies know whether prospects need to be fast-tracked to sales or developed with lead nurturing.
The companies have been scoring the leads on the explicitly available information about the prospects often collected via an online form or registration process however I recently came across an article that talks about scoring leads implicitly which basically means by observing prospects’ behavior, tracking their IP address locations (if online visits) and keeping a check on their body languages etc.
Lead Scoring Pitfalls
BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline) is the process followed to score leads in many organizations and implicit scoring is completely ignored. Also there are many pitfalls with explicit scoring. I have experienced this personally that BANT may work well with B2B sales, but otherwise isn’t a smart way to score leads.
This is because
– Individuals work with changing timelines and budgets. Once they are categorized as ‘hot’ leads, may turn into a ‘cold’ one as soon as they decide to change their needs and budgets.
– Also the prospect who is judged upon with a BANT score isn’t the decision maker. Though there is a provision for authority scores in the formula, the prospect may not reveal the decision maker or influencer.
– Sometimes, prospects are too early in their buying process. Not even in the funnel anywhere however they follow thought leaders of the industry and hidden from the BANT score.
Lead Scoring via Social Media
One should consider social interaction into lead scoring methodology. These outside interactions are often valid signs of sales-readiness. For example, if a prospect tweets about opinions on your product, the activity should create a sales-ready lead alert. If a prospect starts following the key influencers in your space, perhaps it is a sign they are moving closer to a buying phase, thereby increasing their score.
ROI of Lead Scoring
My marketing friends would now talk about allocating resources to the process and finding out the ROI. Though this is an activity that should be rated against an ROI else there is no point in allocating resources, there are a few hiccups here.
1. Do scores convert to sales?
As a prospect passes through the funnel, the score would increase. As it crosses a threshold, it should be hit with a presentation and closure should be practiced. If more than 60% of leads are closing in positive from the scores, it a good ROI.
2. The sales cycle duration
The low score of the prospect is a motivator to force them into next phase of the cycle, thereby increasing their scores. Therefore, a low score does not mean that such prospects should be left out, however it must work as an indicator to transform them into a further stages of the funnel.
If hot leads are converting and the sales cycle duration is decreasing, it’s a good enough indicator towards ROI. These two things should be monitored constantly to realize whether things are improving.