One way to ensure that marketing delivers quality leads to sales is to implement a lead scoring methodology. This is a process used by marketing and sales teams that determine how likely prospects are to buy your product or service. Based on their interest and buying intentions, the prospect will be ranked according to the lead scoring model that your organization establishes. Why is it important to have a lead scoring model? Companies that establish an effective lead scoring model have a 192% higher average lead qualification rate than those that do not. This proves that have a model is beneficial for your organization in driving qualified leads. Marketing teams can then pass these qualified leads to sales teams who can then continue moving the lead through the funnel.
Establishing a Lead Scoring Model
A lead scoring model is comprised of multiple levels of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) where prospects are ranked according to where they are in the buying process. After calculating a prospect’s score, marketing can further engage to move qualified leads through the sales funnel and closer to conversion to a sales qualified lead (SQL).
When determining the data points that you want to capture and score for your model, consider these areas:
- Firmographics: If your company offering targets a specific industry, company size, revenue point or other distinct firmographic data points, you should focus on those aspects when starting to develop your scoring model and point allocation. If prospects don’t match those datapoints then they won’t be scored as high as those that do match the audience attributes. For example, if your offering serves the finance industry, score those leads higher than those that are in the information technology industry. If your leads don’t match the attributes that make up your target audience, they won’t be qualified leads that your sales team will be able to contact.
- Behavior: Different types of interactions a prospect has with your website can indicate their level of interest in buying. Did a visitor download an eBook? Did they sign up for and attend a webinar? These examples can be scored according to the value they have to your organization. If you take more value in a lead signing up for a webinar, then score that activity higher than the eBook download.
- Email Engagement: When your organization sends out a newsletter, take note of how leads are interacting with the links in the email. Do they click the link to download a piece of content? Do they visit your contact us call-to-action (CTA) in your email? Identify what actions should gain the most points in your lead scoring model based on the importance to your organization. For example, if a lead clicked on the link in a newsletter to read a recent blog, they might be scored with fewer points than another lead that clicked on the request a consultation CTA.
Below is an example of MQL levels and a lead scoring model that assigns points based on specific activities and uses sample datapoints that were mentioned above.
Example: Marketing Qualified Lead Levels
- MQL Level 3: 1-9 points
- MQL Level 2: 10-49 points
- MQL Level 1: 50+ points
Example: Lead Scoring Point Allocation
- Matches Target Industry: 15 points
- Open Email: 1 point
- Click Link in Email: 10 points
- Download Gated Content (eBook, white paper, etc.): 20 points
- Contact/Demo Request: 50 points
- Register for Webinar: 20 points
- Attend Webinar: 30 points
Sales and Marketing Alignment
The process of creating a lead scoring system encourages the alignment between sales and marketing teams because of the collaboration required to implement such a process. When both teams jointly establish an objective definition of a qualified lead, there is better communication and productivity throughout the sales cycle. Working together, the marketing and sales teams can keep the sales cycle moving efficiently by taking appropriate actions to keep the lead moving through the funnel.
For implementable strategies to more effectively align sales and marketing teams, download the Sales and Marketing Alignment Playbook.
When a lead scoring model is operating effectively within an organization, the key benefits include:
- Increased effectiveness of marketing campaigns. By understanding targeted lead characteristics, marketing teams can create more effective marketing campaigns that will drive quality leads for sales.
- Increased sales efficiency. With an efficient lead scoring model, marketing teams pass the most valuable and qualified leads to sales teams. This way, your sales team can focus on the most valuable leads first versus those that are unqualified or have low perceived value.
- Increased revenue. Leads that are more marketing qualified according to your lead levels are more likely to turn into an SQL than those that aren’t as qualified. Your sales team is focused on those in the buying process and are ready to be a buyer. These are opportunities to boost revenue.