As you know, prospects do not progress through the conversion tunnel in the same way. Some will make the purchase after several weeks, while others will not place an order after several months. But if you put all your leads in one basket, your competitors will likely snatch up the hot ones. To do this, you need to implement lead scoring in your company. What is it and how is it set up? All the answers here.
What is lead scoring?
Lead scoring is an English expression that literally means “lead scoring”. In fact, it is a lead scoring technique based on the evaluation of their level of maturity with respect to their level of progression of each lead in the conversion tunnel and their adequacy with the chosen buyer persona profile.
Based on the lead score, it becomes easier for salespeople to determine which leads they should focus their efforts and resources on, the most ready, the hottest and the most advanced in the buying cycle.
The idea is to sort your leads based on a scoring system and identify and nurture those who can move to purchase as quickly as possible if given a little extra “push”. This is what is meant by “lead scoring”.
While it may seem like a Herculean task, this rating process is within the reach of any company looking to increase sales and expand their customer base. In fact, most of the time, companies do not generate more than 100 leads on a monthly basis. Thus, sorting through a set of about 100 leads is not impossible.
Types of lead scoring
Scoring prospects according to their stage of the buying cycle can be done in two ways. Thus, there are two types of lead scoring, namely demographic lead scoring and behavioral lead scoring.
Demographic lead scoring
The purpose of demographic scoring is to ensure that you are addressing a target with the same characteristics as the target should have. Since you are in B2B, all B2C customers must systematically leave your field. It will be a matter of narrowing down your prospect base only to those with proven business potential.
The first method is to collect information on the sector of activity of the contacts, the size of their company, their location, their budget, etc. This information is usually collected via intelligent forms that prospects will fill out little by little, with each visit to the site.
The processing of this information will allow you to know which prospects are part of your target population on the one hand and to know, on the other hand, the commercial potential of each prospect.
Behavioral lead scoring
Behavioral lead scoring is a little more advanced than demographic lead scoring. Here, the principle is to give a score to each prospect based on his interactions with the content of your website.
For this type of scoring to be possible, a tracking script must be installed on the site. It is an automated program that identifies every visitor who has ever provided information on a form. The tracking script then follows each of the prospect’s interactions with the site’s content.
Using the information collected about the prospect’s interactions with the site, the tracking script allows sales teams to identify prospects who are closest to the conversion stage and could easily move to purchase. At the same time, this information avoids investing resources and call time in trying to convert prospects who will probably never make a purchase.
Based on the above, it is easy to understand the challenges of lead scoring. There are three advantages to this technique. We discuss this in the next section.
Lead scoring: what are the benefits for your company?
Lead scoring in B2B is the best way to save time, identify and focus on the best prospects and improve ROI.
In lead scoring, we talk about Marketing Qualified Lead. These are leads that meet all of the established criteria for marketing teams to hand over to sales for appropriate handling. Ideally, these criteria should be agreed upon by the sales and marketing teams. This agreement will be enshrined in a document that will take the form of a Service Level Agreement (SLA).
For the SME or startup that operates with a minimal structure, as well as for the large company that has several departments, lead scoring allows for considerable time savings. This lead scoring technique will save you from wasting time on those who are not ready to become customers and those who are closest to becoming customers.
As a result, you’ll have an easier time defining content that is more relevant to your prospects, since you know where they are in the buying cycle. By giving their path through the conversion tunnel that little extra push, your prospects may make more purchases than they initially anticipated.
This is because by offering them more relevant content based on their rating, their confidence level in your offer increased and their doubts were removed more quickly. If all goes well, there is a good chance that they will come back to make new purchases later.
The method for implementing a lead scoring strategy
The first thing to do to implement a scoring strategy is to trace the customer’s path through the conversion tunnel.
Sales cycle mapping
The sales cycle is divided into three main phases: the discovery phase, the evaluation phase and the purchase phase.
The discovery phase
The discovery phase is when the visitor realizes that he/she has to solve a number of problems that affect the performance of his/her business. For example, actions that allow you to recognize that a prospect has reached the discovery phase include downloading a tutorial, subscribing to a newsletter, reading a study or a blog article, etc.
The evaluation phase
The evaluation phase is when the prospect, aware of his pain points, looks for effective or trendy solutions to get relief. Any information that will facilitate the choice of the best solution will be very useful in this phase. Actions that confirm that the customer has reached this stage include downloading a white paper or attending a webinar.
The purchase decision phase
In this final phase, the buyer is sufficiently informed about the solution and those who can provide it. You have to make him discover that you are the best partner for the problem he wants to solve. This can be done through customer testimonials, product demonstrations, brochures, pricing pages, etc. As soon as a prospect accesses these elements, they can be said to have reached the buying phase of the sales cycle.
Setting up a scale and defining the lead scoring system
Once the different phases of the sales cycle have been determined, they will need to be assigned scores. In general, a scale from 0 to 50 is used. One can thus decide to grant :
- Between 0 and 20 points to all prospects who are in the discovery phase;
- Between 20 and 40 points to all prospects who are in the evaluation phase;
- Starting at 40 points to all prospects who are in the buying phase.
The principle is therefore simple. As soon as a customer reaches the defined number of points, he/she moves on to the next phase. A customer who downloads various content from the site and reads blog posts embedded in the site will systematically move from the discovery stage to the evaluation stage, since their interest in the solution is obvious.
Downloading discovery content is a classic behavior characteristic of true engagement. It would therefore be more advantageous to entrust this prospect to a sales representative for effective handling. Therefore, you will have to assign scores to each content and to all e-mail campaigns.
Tips for successful implementation of the rating system
How can you be sure that you have given the right grades to the right content? How do you know which of a visitor’s actions are the most decisive? You will have to rely on the data of former prospects that you have successfully converted. What were their various interactions with your content? What has been the track record of your past successful leads?
By answering these questions, you can more easily identify the most relevant criteria that are most related to the likelihood of purchase. Obviously, your company’s business model may make the process more or less complex.
Once you have collected this historical data, there are some data that will need to be considered as well. The first are the demographics. Design landing page forms and incorporate questions to ensure that your prospects are in the right segments and have the right profile.
For example, all prospects located in a region outside of the geographic area you serve should have a negative score. Also, as soon as a prospect stops visiting the site or opening emails or clicking on links for a certain period of time, you should take away points. If you have targeted businesses using business addresses, then all Gmail addresses will have a negative score.
However, those who provide information about their home companies and other useful information can earn extra points. Similarly, those who return to the site regularly, those who follow the company on social networks, those who open emails and click on call-to-action (CTA) links should earn extra points.
This means that you can decide to allocate :
- +1 for reading a blog post;
- +5 for the subscription to the newsletter;
- +5 for visiting a landing page;
- +3 for form filling and submission;
- +2 for each click on a promotional email link;
- +2 for the visit of the price list page;
- +8 to download or view a customer testimonial ;
- – 2 for no visit for 1 month;
- – 2 for no opening clicks for 2 weeks;
- – 10 for non-compatible geographical address ;
Transferring the best leads to the sales force
Based on the study of analytics reports and your scoring system, you can determine the most qualified leads for accelerated conversion. At this stage, you need to agree with the sales force on the best time to transfer the leads to them.
As mentioned above, the contours of this agreement must be defined in a kind of Service Level Agreement (SLA). The SLA will set out the responsibilities of each department (the marketing team and the sales team) towards the prospect in managing their journey through the sales tunnel.
That said, it is important to follow the prospect through to the end. The marketing team should conduct ration analysis from time to time to evaluate the quality of their lead scoring system. For example, you can calculate the ratio (division) between the number of actual conversions and the number of qualified leads sent to the sales team to find out what proportion actually ended up being converted into customers.
With the results of this analysis, you can make regular adjustments to your lead scoring system.