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How you can increase your sales efficiency with lead scoring

With a carefully thought-out lead scoring system, leads can be evaluated on a targeted basis according to their relevance and quality.
Image: © goodluz / Adobe Stock

Why is it so important to identify qualified leads?

Lead scoring is an integral part of lead management. A carefully thought-out lead scoring system can help you filter out which of your leads are most likely to buy from you and should therefore be prioritized. Through targeted lead scoring, you can prevent your sales and marketing activities from being in vain and make sure that you do not invest too many resources in the wrong place. It’s all about directing your attention and time to contacts that are truly worthwhile. Differentiating qualified leads improves your sales efficiency and can help to increase your conversion rate significantly.

Lead scoring: at the junction between marketing and sales

Lead scoring is based on the targeted interplay between the marketing and sales departments. On the one hand, lead scoring aims at finding out which prospective customer comes closest to the intended buyer persona. On the other, it is about determining how “mature” the lead is, or in other words, what stage they are at in the purchase decision process. High-quality leads that are at a more advanced stage of the decision-making process can be handed over from the marketing team to the sales team. This ensures that the sales team only takes more time-consuming measures to contact those leads whose interest is high enough to expect that a sale will most probably be closed.

What criteria are used in lead scoring?

In principle, two categories of data are used in lead scoring systems in order to identify prospective buyers as well as their purchase probability. These are:

  • Explicit data: Explicit data may be information from the user profile of the prospective buyer, for example sociodemographic data such as age and gender, or information about their position within the company and the business sector.
  • Implicit data: Implicit data includes information about the behavior of the prospective buyer, for example how actively the user engaged with your website: How long did they stay on the website? How often were pages called up? Was additional product information or a whitepaper downloaded, or did the prospective buyer subscribe to your newsletter?

What questions must be answered before establishing a lead scoring system?

By combining explicit and implicit data, you can determine which leads are the most valuable to you in terms of how interested they are in making a purchase. But how do you specifically go about scoring your leads? The marketing and sales departments should be equally involved in the lead scoring process. During this process, it is advisable to examine the following points as closely as possible beforehand:

  • What is the sales objective?
  • Who is the ideal buyer? What buyer persona are you attempting to reach?
  • How can leads communicate their intention to buy (e.g. inquiring about the price, requesting a sample version)?
  • How can a prospective buyer’s individual actions be classified with regard to the sales objective? What is regarded as especially relevant for closing a sale? Is it a prospective buyer downloading a whitepaper, sending a request for a quote, or getting in touch personally?

These questions cannot be answered across the board, but rather must be defined individually for each company. A points system can then help to prioritize individual criteria.

How to create your own lead scoring system

There are various tools you can use to score leads automatically according to predefined criteria. Among others, these include lead management tools from Hubspot, lead scoring solutions from Salesforce, and marketing automation software such as Evalanche. Theoretically, you can also score your leads manually. The sales objectives and criteria for qualified leads can be adapted on a highly individual basis. You can proceed as follows:

#1 Prioritizing buyer personas: It is advisable to categorize buyer personas according to their priority. For example, persona A, B, and C could be assigned 50, 75, or 100 points, respectively. Based on their explicit data, the leads are allocated to the different types and assigned a certain number of points.

#2 Qualifying additional criteria: In addition to allocating leads to different buyer personas, they can also be differentiated based on any given additional criteria, such as regional proximity or company size. For these aspects, it is recommended to assign points between 0 and 100.

#3 Rating implicit data: Finally, the prospective buyer’s activity, i.e. on the website, should be taken into account as part of lead scoring. Depending on how relevant actions are in terms of closing a sale, they are also categorized by assigning points from 0 to 100.

Leads can be sub-divided into three to four levels of prioritization according to the total score. The higher the score, the more relevant and inclined to buy the lead appears and the more resources should be invested in this contact.

Regularly reviewing and optimizing your lead scoring system

The accuracy of the assessments from the scoring system needs to be reviewed on a regular basis. Feedback from the sales department is essential in this regard, because it is needed to determine whether the points assigned by the lead scoring system actually reflect the maturity and qualification of leads or whether the criteria need to be revised.

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