How to use lead scoring to make faster sales Marketing by KEVIN PAYNE June 09, 2020Before we get to lead scoring, let’s briefly revisit the process of lead disposition. As a refresher, it is all about the rules that govern how sales moves a sales qualified lead (SQL) to an opportunity, disqualifies it as inappropriate, or returns it to marketing for further nurture.Lead disposition helps you streamline your marketing and sales efforts, so that you spend the right amount of time trying to nurture or convert certain leads. There are a few tips to help you manage your lead disposition process, and one of them is having a clearly defined prospect scoring, or lead scoring, system.In this post, we want to show you how to create a lead scoring system, so that you can better execute your existing lead disposition process.Why use lead scoringLet’s first take a look at why lead scoring is so integral to the lead disposition process, and the actual ways it can help you make faster sales from highly qualified leads.Prioritizing leadsUse lead scoring to identify hot leads, or prospects that are most likely to convert into an actual sale. More specifically, use lead scoring to easily determine which of these leads have scored high enough in your matrix (more on this later in the post) to be moved into the next stage of your sales process.On the other side of the spectrum are cold leads. Some of them may require additional nurturing, while others shouldn’t be disqualified and removed from the contact list. With lead scoring, you can effectively keep track of your recent interactions and attempts to re-engage or nurture any leads who show signs of dropping off or turning cold.Identifying top subscribers and net promotersOne added benefit of lead scoring is being able to identify your top existing customers, who can become your net promoters or affiliates for your products.Reviewing your net promoter score vis-à-vis your lead scoring matrix can tell you if any customer might be able to refer your products/services to other prospects or if they’re more likely to remain as passives (users who are satisfied with your product but are vulnerable to competitor offers) or detractors (unhappy users who may damage your brand and business growth with word-of-mouth).Your lead scoring matrix can even tell you if your business is able to start implementing a referral or affiliate program. Determine how engaged and loyal your customers are, start predicting your net sales per product when you introduce affiliate earnings as expenses, and invite those loyal customers to be your first promoters.How to start lead scoring for your business1. Align your sales and marketing teamsThe first prerequisite for your lead disposition process, and ultimately your lead scoring process, is to align your sales and marketing teams.Marketing teams should know when exactly a lead is considered a SQL that’s ready to go through the next stage of the sales process. Sales teams can provide valuable insights about what makes leads convert to a sale, so marketing teams are able to tweak and improve their campaigns for lead generation and lead nurturing.2. Revisit your buyer personasOnce you’ve aligned your sales and marketing teams, work together to revisit your buyer personas. At minimum, your personas should cover all these information:NameDemographicsPain pointsGoalsFavorite features of your software or productBiggest concerns about your software or productDecision-making powerAbility to buyRevisit your existing customer profiles to update or change your buyer personas.Having all the required minimum information plotted in your buyer personas can help you create a more accurate lead scoring system from the onset.3. Create a lead scoring matrix or point systemA typical lead scoring point system goes from 0 to 100 points. But, of course, you’re free to design a matrix that makes more sense to your team and your business.In this matrix, you will essentially be plotting specific behaviors or criteria that apply to a lead or customer, which is then awarded a specific number of points or score.The most important thing to note while you brainstorm this matrix is to award specific behaviors—or criteria—that indicate a higher likelihood to purchase with higher points, and that these criteria or behaviors really do indicate higher interest to purchase.Make sure to cover different criteria about your customer’s behaviors, then assign points based on each. Let’s look at a few specific examples.Profile criteriaThese include demographic information that apply to your customers. Businesses may assign a lead 1 point if they are a small local business earning X amount of annual revenue, but give them 2 if they are a medium-sized business earning Y annual revenue.Leads may get 10 points if they are a sales manager but only 3 points if they are a junior salesman.Behavioral criteriaBehavioral criteria are specific actions or behaviors your customers take to engage with your brand and may indicate interest to purchase or learn more about your product.You will need to include behaviors that apply to specific campaigns, such as a webinar, for example. So leads are awarded 10 points if they signed up for a webinar and then receive 20 more points if they attended live.Also consider any repeat behaviors that may indicate interest, including viewing a landing page or sales page multiple times or inquiring about a product via multiple channels.For example, a possible lead scoring matrix for a website and domain host company may include “signed up for a free account,” “looked at current promo for hosting plan,” or “checked logo maker landing page 3 times” in their set of behavioral criteria.Negative criteriaAs best practice, include negative criteria in your matrix, which are those that tell you a lead is an unqualified lead and is not worth pursuing further. For example, they may be an intern or university student looking for general information or someone who is based in a country where you can’t do business.This also covers behaviors like no email opens, clicks or other engagement with marketing campaigns for the past X months, unsubscribing from emails, or reporting your emails as spam.4. Define consumer behaviors that point to interestCreate a range or threshold to indicate to your marketing team that a lead is hot enough to move into the next stage of the sales process. Anyone who doesn’t meet this criteria may require more nurturing, so your marketing team will be able to follow up with them.Use your lead score to pinpoint several ideal scenarios that indicate a lead is now sales-qualified, then add up points for each to determine just what makes a sales-ready lead.For example, perhaps a lead responded to a cold email campaign and asked for more information about your offer. Or another lead attended one of your webinars and clicked the link to your sales page.5. Consult sales team for logic errorsYour sales team can provide valuable insights about your existing customers and the indicators that truly point to interest or require more lead nurturing.Consult your sales team for errors in your assumptions, so your lead scoring matrix is as accurate as possible.6. Connect with your CRM and other toolsYour next step is to plot your lead scoring system to your CRM. Wherever possible, integrate your tools together so that each behavior and criteria can be scored automatically, depending on your users’ actions. If you use a unified platform, like Insightly, you can streamline the entire lead management process and simplify sales and marketing integration.7. Monitor and evaluate resultsIt’s best not to expect you’ll have the perfect lead scoring system in place right away. These tips are meant to help you create one as accurately as possible at the beginning. Over time, you will notice areas for improvement and update your system accordingly.Keep monitoring your results. See if your assumptions about SQLs are reflected correctly in your lead scoring matrix. If not, adjust your point system to reflect the most accurate behaviors and criteria that point to SQLs being ready to purchase.Start lead scoring to shorten your sales cycleSpeed up your sales cycle by targeting your warmest leads and spending time nurturing everyone else. Use the steps above to figure out exactly which leads are worth pursuing and which ones might require less effort, if any at all. Just be sure to keep monitoring your results to determine how to continually improve your systems.Read more like this:What is lead disposition?12 tips to generate qualified leads from a sales webinarWhy use marketing automation?Lead generation vs. customer retention Lead disposition | Lead management | Sales KPIs & analytics KEVIN PAYNEKevin Payne is a content marketing consultant and helps companies build marketing funnels and implement content marketing campaigns to increase inbound leads.