3 Steps to Developing a Smart Lead Scoring Strategy

Samuel Thimothy - Aug 7, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Lead generation is an important part of growing a business. When you're able to attract a new lead, you're one step closer to getting a new customer. However, not all leads are equally prepared to make a purchase. This means they will enter into the buyer's journey at different stages, requiring different information and content to ultimately bring them to making a purchasing decision. Knowing where each customer falls can be difficult, especially if you're not properly scoring your leads. 

A lead scoring strategy can help you identify how close your leads are to making a purchase. Through tracking where your leads fall on your sales threshold, you can better accommodate their needs to convince them to make a purchase. However, establishing the right lead scoring strategy for you and your business is important for ensuring you're accurately assessing the situation. 

Let's take a look at the step-by-step process you can use to create a smart lead scoring strategy for your business! 

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Key Takeaways: 

  1. Identifying your ideal lead allows you to see who is most likely to make a purchase.
  2. Assigning different points to different actions can help you see how a lead is progressing through the sales process.
  3. Your sales-ready threshold tells you the amount of points a lead should accumulate before they're ready to buy. 

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Step 1: Identify Your Ideal Lead 

Before you can begin creating your lead scoring strategy, you need to know who your ideal lead is. While you may have already identified who your target audience is, an ideal lead will be someone who has already engaged with your brand and is ready to make a purchase. Not only should your ideal lead fit within the expectations of your target audience, but they should have also performed some task or action that connects them with your company. 

To identify your ideal lead, you want to take a look at the behaviors of your existing customers and clients. Look for any common criteria between them, including specific events, triggers, or actions that may have encouraged them to finally make a purchase. This can include everything from being exposed to a certain piece of content to being on your email subscription list for a set period of time. 

You'll also want to make a list of requirements that your leads must meet to become a customer, including any age or location restrictions that may prevent them from purchasing. This can help you rule out any leads who may have found their way to your brand but can't actually buy from you, suchas someone who signed up for your emails but lives across the country.

The idea behind identifying your ideal lead is to develop a picture of what your lead needs to look like before they can purchase. They should be interested in your company, prepared to purchase, and fully capable of buying when they're ready. Remember, just like your ideal customer, your ideal lead can change from time to time. Consistently evaluate to ensure your image is still accurate. 

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Step 2: Assign Scoring Points to Different Actions 

Once you know who your ideal lead is, you want to consider the various actions and behaviors they may carry out on their journey to become a customer. These activities can include everything from reading a blog post to attending a webinar. They can also include small tasks, such as liking a company post on Facebook or Twitter. 

Make a list of as many different actions you can think of. You'll then want to assign different points depending on what that action is. Activities that bring the lead closer to becoming a customer should be given more points, while smaller tasks that ultimately mean very little should only be assigned a few points. You can also assign negative behaviors, such as unsubscribing from your email list, with negative points. The deeper the client is in the buyer's journey, the more the points for an action should be worth.

These points add a bit of a gamification element to your sales process. As the lead performs more actions, they attract or lose more points. The more points they acquire, the more prepared they are to make a sale. Monitoring how your leads are performing different actions and accumulating points can allow you to see if someone is moving quickly through the buyer's journey or if they're taking their time to get to know your brand. This example from Market Net Services shows you how you can monitor the score of your various leads. 

Each similar piece of content does not need to be given the same point value. While generic blogs or videos can be given the same number of points, you'll want to give high-performing content more weight. For example, if you have a guide or post that frequently converts new customers and clients, it may deserve more points. However, you'll want to constantly evaluate how well those pieces are performing to ensure they're still delivering results. If the post becomes outdated or less effective, reduce the weight it holds. 

Step 3: Set Your Sales-Ready Threshold 

The final step in creating your lead scoring strategy is to assign the sales-ready threshold for your leads. This number is a number of points your leads should have accumulated before they're ready to make a purchase. How they accumulated those points and the timeframe to gather those points doesn't really matter, but ideally, your client will meet the threshold through exploring content, engaging with your brand, and researching your company. 

Once a lead reaches this threshold, they're likely either to purchase on their own or they can be contacted by a sales representative. Because they're already well-versed in what solutions your company offers, waiting until they reach the sales-ready threshold ensures you're not being too pushy with your sales approach. Instead, they'll be more likely to be open and receptive from sales assistance. 

When creating your sales-ready threshold, you want to consider how you've weighted the points for different actions. Setting your sales-ready threshold too low can cause you to reach out to leads before they're truly ready to purchase. If you set it too high, you may be ignoring the needs of potential customers ready to buy. You need to find the appropriate middle ground so you're approaching leads right when they're ready to buy.

Your sales-ready threshold may change, so it's important to constantly evaluate whether or not you're reaching out at the right time. If you find that customers are frequently purchasing on their own, you may want to lower your threshold. On the other hand, if your leads don't seem prepared when a sales representative reaches out, raise your sales-ready threshold. 

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Conclusion

Using a lead scoring system can improve your rates of converting leads into customers. However, if you want to properly score how close your leads are to purchasing, you need to be sure your system works for you and your target audience. 

Let's recap the three steps you can use to create a lead scoring strategy: 

  1. Identify who your ideal lead is, including criteria they need to meet to become a customer. 
  2. Assign a point amount to various behaviors and actions. 
  3. Determine the point threshold that indicates a lead is ready to make a purchase. 

How do you think a smart lead scoring strategy will improve your sales? Let us know in the comments section below! 

 Image Source: Pexels

Topics: B2B Marketing

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