Lead Scoring: Journey from Marketing Qualified to Sales Qualified
by Nikki Tofalo on Thu, Jun 05, 2014 @ 08:30
Recently, my coworker Nadine and I implemented a lead scoring program for one of our clients. In this post, I share key considerations for getting started with a lead scoring campaign, how we determined our scoring system, and an inside look at how we assigned point values to our leads.
What is Lead Scoring?
So before I get started on the how, let me first briefly describe the what. What is lead scoring, anyway? Put simply, lead scoring is an objective system for ranking leads. It helps you to qualify leads and determine the sales readiness of those leads. One of the most important aspects is that it helps to bridge the gap between marketing and sales teams by ensuring that only quality online generated leads are sent to the sales team for direct follow-up.
Speaking of Sales…
When getting started on your lead scoring campaign, it is crucial to sit down with the sales team and have a conversation about what they consider to be a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). This will help to set the basis for your scoring system.
What Else do I Need Before I Get Started with Lead Scoring?
For your scoring system, you have a couple options. You could go with the cold/warm/hot method, use letters, or create a point system. For our client, we created a point system.
You also need a target buyer persona. Buyer personas are commonly used throughout all Inbound Marketing efforts as the basis for keywords, blog posts, social posts, and funnel content. It is who you are writing and posting content for - the person you want to make a sale to. Having that buyer persona defined will help you to determine what attributes make an SQL legitimate and will help drive the decision to assign higher points for leads who match your desired attributes.
Assigning Point Values to Your Leads
This part can seem overwhelming at first, so break your scoring up into two categories: demographic attributes (also referred to as explicit attributes) and behavior attributes (also referred to as implicit attributes). Demographic attributes include information such as name, email, job title, and company size. Generally, it is information that you gather through form fields on landing pages. Demographic scoring helps us to determine if a lead is part of our target audience. Remember to refer back to your buyer persona to ensure you assign higher points for desired attributes (Example: Job Title is CFO or Company Size is 50-99).
Behavior attributes include information such as filled out form, opened email, visited key website page, and downloaded a PDF. Behavior scoring helps to determine a lead’s level of interest in your solution. The more forms they fill out and emails they open, the more we can assume that they are interested in our solution, and therefore, we can give them more points.
An Inside Look at Some of Our Lead Scoring Point Values
We created this lead scoring campaign in Marketo using the Spark Edition Program.
For this particular client, one of their qualifying attributes for a lead is Annual Revenue. We created three levels of revenue and assigned point values:
- Low: +6
- Mid: +8
- High: +10
Also under the Demographic Scoring category are a couple of advanced scoring campaigns that actually allow us to subtract points for false or invalid information:
- Generic Email Domain: -2
- Invalid First Name (aaa, asdf): -10
- Invalid First Name Updated: +10
The easiest place to start with Behavioral Scoring is point values for forms. Here are our form categories and their point values:
- Top of the Funnel form: +15
- Middle of the Funnel form: +25
- Bottom of the Funnel form: +60
For this client, their Bottom of the Funnel form is a highly qualifying form. If someone fills out this form, they automatically become an SQL. This brings us to the final decision to make with lead scoring: your MQL & SQL thresholds. For us, we chose 40 for an MQL and 60 for an SQL.
This person is still in the exploration phase. They might have downloaded a Top of the Funnel offer simply for educational purposes or might have lost points for inactivity.
This person is a little closer to our SQL threshold. They’ve executed some combination of favorable activities and shared valuable demographic information with us. We just need a little more to qualify them!
This person is ready for the sales team! Ideally, they filled out our highly qualifying Bottom of the Funnel form, or they’ve been very active on our website, filling out forms, opening emails, and they fit our buyer person well.
An important concept to remember with lead scoring is that there is an element of trial and error to all of it. Six months after implementation, we will look back and evaluate our scoring system to see what’s working and what’s not helping us achieve our goals of higher lead quality and better sales efficiency.
Do you have a lead scoring system in place? I’m interested to hear how other people are doing it, so let me know in the comment section below!