You May Be Contacting 75% of Your Leads Too Early

Do you know the score of your leads or are they all treated the same way? Many reports indicate that only 25% of leads are sales ready and should be contacted by a salesperson. This means that 75% of leads are being contacted before they should be, which reduces the conversion of leads into sales. So, how do you know which leads should be contacted and when? As an Internet marketing company, we always recommend achieving this through lead scoring.

Define What’s Considered Sales Ready
You want to start by defining what a sales ready lead is. The best way to determine this is by outlining who your ideal customer is based on what information or actions they need to take to be considered sales ready. We highly recommend reviewing your lead scoring assumptions with your sales team to ensure that you have buy in. They should have a strong understanding of who the best converting customer is. Some of the variables that you want to consider using in your lead scoring system are the key industries, companies, job titles, and any other information that gives a clear indication of the ideal customer. Keep in mind that this explicit criteria (information that a prospect provides) is only half the equation.

The other half of the equation is behavioral criteria (implicit). This is where you get a strong understanding of if your lead is sales ready. These are the actions that prospects take, like if they download a white paper, eBook, attend a Webinar, or view key Web pages. These actions provide a clear understanding of if your prospect is ready to get contacted.

Weighting Your Lead Scoring Criteria
It’s vital to keep in mind that explicit criteria and information can be overstated and, at times, inaccurate. This is why you want to weight the actions that prospects take and the information that they provide by order of importance. For example, many companies weight a prospect that attends a Webinar very highly, while the download of an eBook is not viewed as highly.

Negative Scoring
You want to apply negative scoring as your leads age or if they have not taken action over time. The reason for this is that as leads age, the probability of the lead converting declines. To further qualify the lead, use the typical BANT criteria, which includes an understanding of your prospects budget, authority, need, and timing, which can be acquired by a telemarketer to better qualify the lead for a sales representative or consultant.

Test Your Assumptions
The steps that we have taken so far, establish the foundation of your scoring system. The next step is to test your assumptions against your sales pipeline to see if your hypothesis is correct, while altering your scoring system over time. To constantly improve your lead scoring system, you want to hold regular meetings between sales and marketing to tweak your lead scoring and confirm that it’s providing actionable information.

The Payoff
By understanding the score of each lead, you can ensure that your leads fall into one of three categories to maximize conversion. The first category of leads are those that should be immediately contacted by a sales person because they have shown that they are ready to make a purchase decision based on their implicit and explicit criteria. The second category of leads are those that should be contacted by a telesales person for qualification prior to speaking to a sales person. And the third category of leads are those that should remain in your marketing database for further email marketing. What’s great about lead scoring is you are focusing your resources in the right areas to get the best possible return.

If you have any questions about lead scoring or lead scoring systems, please comment. We’d be happy to help.