While checking out your favorite articles from the past year or so, I noticed that the most popular by far was the one I wrote last year on lead scoring. And as I've been traveling a lot the past few months, I hear folks asking more and more about how to get started with lead scoring.
I recently moderated a discussion at the Salesforce.com Dreamforce Conference on lead scoring and lead nurturing -- check out the video of What's Next: 21st Century Lead Cultivation -- and thought it would be useful to update and extend that last article.
So, what is lead scoring? Simple, it's a relative ranking of one prospective lead against another. Now you may already be ranking your leads A,B,C or Hot, Warm, Cold or numerically, but what we're trying to find out using lead scoring is who should marketing be continuing to communicating with, who needs to be sent to sales right now, and who will never buy from us at all.
At Eloqua, we use lead scoring to combine explicit data (what people say about themselves – e.g. job title, industry) and implicit data (their behaviour, e.g. web visits, email oepns) to allow you to make these decision. Based on who you are and what you do determines our communication with you. And we use co-dynamic lead scoring, meaning that we continuously update a cumulative score as people interact with our sales and marketing team.
Ask five questions to get started
Okay, so that's what lead scoring is, but how do you make it happen?
First, call a meeting. Buy doughnuts. Brew fresh coffee (the good stuff, not the premeasured dreck they give you in the break room). Make sure it's not the end of a quarter. Have sales come in, ideally inside sales and your direct field sales folks.
Here are five questions you ask:
1. What is your current process for lead follow-up?
2. What data is most important for the sales team to know about a lead to engage?
3. Can any of the data you need be captured electronically on the web site?
4. What data from forms on the web site do they receive today that is often inaccurate?
5. Can behavior on the web site imply interest and if so, what would they be looking for?
After you've whiteboarded the answers, it's important to come up with a standard lead definition, for example:
"A hot lead is a company that meets our target profile who has budget to spend, has looked at our price sheet online and has indicated they will be making a purchase in the next six months."
Once you’ve had this discussion, you’ve made a significant step towards creating a lead scoring program.
In an upcoming post, I’ll talk about the next step – Entering the Matrix.