If your company is already one of the forward-thinking businesses that has moved toward a Smarketing Team, you already know the importance of Lead Scoring. If not, a simple definition would be that it is tracking your potential customer's behaviors and web activity, so you can determine their level of interest in your company and your level of interest in them. By doing this, you can follow up with the Leads most likely to convert into a Customer. This saves countless amounts of man hours and money, but only if you’re using the correct criteria to score your Leads. Remember, it’s crucial to use data to back up your scores, not your own gut instincts.
There are many ways to score your Leads, both positively and negatively. Consider the following:
1. Contact Information
Whatever contact information someone leaves to become a Lead is the first place to start in determining how serious they are, and how serious you are about them. On some forms, not all fields are required, so if the only obligatory form fields are first name, last name, and email address, and providing a phone number optional, you might want to award some extra points to Leads that provide their phone number. This means they are serious enough to provide more information about themselves than what is required to get the assets they want.
2. Company Type / Industry
Do your services work best in certain industries? If a Lead falls outside of your usual area of expertise, it may not be a definite “no”, but it may take longer to nurture and decide if it is worth Sales pursuing. This is important to find out sooner rather than later in your inquiry.
As with “Company Type”, this factor needs to be known and scored early on in the process. Real estate agents, contractors, and lawyers are only licensed to do business in certain areas- usually within the state. For someone in this type of business, the location of a Lead is important. It’s possible a company can do business anywhere, but chooses not to. A painter traveling 100 miles for a job simply won’t make their travel expenses back by doing so. If a Lead is interested but falls outside of your desired area, don’t be afraid to lower their score.
Asking for a person’s budget is often asked for by Sales Professionals to determine serious Leads. They probably want to work Leads with the most realistic or highest budgets first and reach out right away, so score them accordingly. Likewise, Leads below a certain budget threshold may require a negative score, so they aren't even sent to Sales in the first place. If a small business is just starting out and has very little cash flow, they may not be ready to pay for your services yet.
5. Job Title
This criteria may not be one you initially think of, but companies that employ are usually more successful in their Lead scoring. It is pretty simple: certain people at a company are decision makers and some are not. You’re probably looking for buzzwords like “owner”, “director”, or “manager” if you are a B2B company. Someone outside of these targeted job titles may be engaged in your blogs, but it doesn’t mean they can make the decision to hire you, but they potentially can convince their boss to hire you.
6. Company Size
Award points to Leads that fit the organization size you hope to close more deals with, and set up negative lead scoring for those that are the opposite of what you're looking for. This can go either way, perhaps you work best with small, locally-owned business or maybe your services are geared better toward larger enterprises. Whichever is the case, know your company well enough to know who and what you can adequately handle.
7. Website Pages Viewed
While you may want to think that anyone who visits anywhere on your website is interested in becoming a customer, that probably isn’t true. What a Lead does on your website says a lot about their level of interest in spending money with your company. Someone visiting your pricing or product pages is probably more sincerely considering purchasing from you than someone looking at your staff’s pictures. Keep this in mind and score accordingly.
Downloading a lead-generating asset (like the eBook below!) is probably one of the best ways to qualify someone as a Lead. But not all downloads show the same intent. A quick read over a whitepaper is less of a time investment than signing up for a free trial. Be aware of the place that your downloads are in the buyers journey. Score accordingly based on their placement in the funnel.
It only takes one sign-up to become a Lead, but what if that’s the only time they ever visit your website? It could mean they aren’t as interested as you’d hope. How often a Lead interacts with your website and its content is a strong indication of level of interest and confidence in the company.
It’s a mistake to think of “Frequency” and “engagement” as the same criteria. While they can be correlated, this is not always the case. Does someone visit your blog every single week, but not click on anything else? Has someone only been to your website once, but looked at 15 pages and shared your latest blog post on Twitter. These metrics need to be monitored and scored differently.
11. Email Activity
For Leads who have opted in to receive email communications from your company, they’re making it easy for you. Their engagement with your emails is a critical measure of their level of interest in making a purchase with your company. If a Lead opens and clicks every email from you, you can bet your Sales Team could have a great conversation with them.
12. Off-Website Activity
Not all forms of engagement with your company happen on your website. For example, Leads that are engaging with your social media accounts regularly deserve a some attention, even if they aren’t frequently visiting your website.
13. Events Attended
Do you regularly hold demonstrations, webinars, or food tastings? Live event attendance can be a huge signal of a Lead's interest in your company. They're taking time out of their day to give their physical or virtual presence to you, so these should receive a high score. You probably want to follow up with them quickly, so their memory of the event is still fresh enough to engage with you.
14. Lead Source
Not all Leads are created equal, and not all Lead sources are either. Someone on your company blog may not be as serious as someone who reads a very topic-specific eBook. Many businesses find that Leads coming through organic search close at higher rates and for higher average sale prices than those that come through clicking on a paid search ad. It makes sense to adjust Lead scores based on how they found you.
Following the inbound methodology brings in tons of Leads, but those Leads don’t magically convert. Your small business’s challenge becomes qualify those Leads and defining which people should be nurtured or are worth a follow-up and which ones are just looking around. It may seem time-consuming, but scoring each Lead through these criterias will only serve to benefit you in the long run. Download our free eBook Lead Scoring: The Smarketer’s Guide for tips on how to get started and best apply this strategy for your company.