For most B2B startups one of the key challenges is to ensure Marketing and Sales are working in alignment towards the same goals- more and better quality leads. This is where having a clear Lead Generation Plan with a systematic Lead scoring mechanism will come into play.
Your Lead generation campaigns (typically run by Marketing) need to produce a sufficient volume of qualified leads which at some point are handed to Sales as MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads), the Sales / Sales support team can further nurture the lead with the help of Marketing to convert them into SQLs (Sales Qualified Leads) for further action leading to closed sales and revenue.
In order for the system to work efficiently, lead scoring to become important, because that prioritizes leads and tells you exactly what action needs to be taken to nurture and close the account.
Lead scoring helps Marketing and Sales work together more tightly, making sure no potential business slips through the cracks. Here is simple Lead Scoring Framework you can use to manage your lead generation engine:
1. Set Up Levels and Use a Scoring System to Track to Track “Interest-Based-Leads” It Could Be a 50 or 100 Point System, We Use 75 Points in This Example.
- Prospects – 5
- Leads – 25
- MQLs – 50
- SQLs – 75
2. Assign Thresholds
The idea is that as customers journey through the stages and perform different actions that indicate various levels of interest, they accumulate points and reach a maximum of 75 points where they are considered SQLs. The SQLs are where the sales team should be spending most of its time. Depending on your lead generation campaign, defined buyer personas, and buyer journeys the specific actions taken can vary; the basic idea is to assign points to each action based to the level of interest it indicates and to decide at what threshold the leads are considered “sales ready”.
Here is an example
- Prospect – A prospect is defined as anybody that has taken action on a free resource you have to offer. For example, Downloaded a free content item/watched a video –Total 5 points.
- Lead – A lead has engaged with all the free marketing items you have to offer and probably left their contact information with you through a form.
If you have 5 marketing items then he/she has accessed all five or at least more than 80-90% of them. These could be things like Playbooks, newsletter, whitepapers, case studies, videos, and podcasts etc. You can further refine this by assigning weighted points to various individual content items and time-sensitive points for other actions taken. From 5- 25 points.
- MQL – Takes further action that requires sharing more details and or calling for information. For example, he/she registers for an event/ watches an online demo. Here again, based on a number of actions possible you can break down the points adding up to the required figure. Once all or most of these actions are completed the lead could Jump to become an MQL From 25- 50 points.
- SQL – This is when the MQL takes further action that signals sales readiness.
for example, he/she attends an event and makes direct contact, asks for a direct face-to-face meeting or a detailed demo, or calls to enquire about pricing etc. An SQL needs to be nurtured carefully and immediately for high conversion possibility – From 50- 75 points
You could, for example, decide that any lead with points higher than 60 is an acceptable MQL which can be handed over to the sales team for further action.
3. Points to Keep in Mind When Assigning Values to Actions
- Simple actions like opening emails, social shares, website sessions, and clicking on links can have a low number of points ( 2-5 points) which ex A more after a certain time period(say 3 weeks)
- A more proactive indication of interest like Registering for demos and downloading pricing guides can signal higher levels of intent and/or urgency and could be given more points with longer expiry dates.
- Face-to-face interactions and direct inquiries have higher value and therefore higher points.
- Leads can jump directly to SQL is they take a series of high-value actions.
4. Refine Your Scoring System for “Fit”
- Not all Leads are created alike.
- A lead could also be given additional points based on “Fit”
which could include factors like size of the deal and certain mandatory criteria (like geography, vertical, and job title).
- Deal sizes could be classified as 1/2/3 (category 3 being the largest deals)
so a lead with a score of 375 (3 for size and 75 for sales readiness) ranks higher than a lead with a score of 275 (2 for size and 75 for readiness).
- Mandatory criteria can have 100 points each. So if you have 3 mandatory criteria each of them can have 100 points.
- So a 375 lead that matches all 3 criteria will score 375+300 = 675
a 375 lead that matches only one criteria will score 375+100=475.
5. Track Leads & Figure Out Your Priorities
- As leads move up and down the funnel /pipeline ( closer to the narrow end of conversion, or away from it), based on their scores, you can further classify leads into a Good fit but low interest, and Good fit + high interest leads. Both could have the same overall scores but the Good fit + high-interest leads are the Ideal leads which will covert sooner, while good fit but low-interest leads will require a little more marketing and follow-up.
- Make sure your ranking system reflects your sales strategy and priorities: do you want to close many medium-sized deals quickly? Or chase after the larger ones which might take time to close? What about smaller deals?
6. Improve As You Go Along
- Lead scoring is an important step in automation; a well-designed lead scoring system is critical to pipeline management; it will bring rigor, collaboration, and discipline to your Marketing & Sales efforts.
- No lead scoring system is perfect right at the start, there is always learning involved (win/loss analysis) which helps to better the system.
- With time you might realize that certain lead profiles have higher conversion rates, you could give them extra point so that they rise to the top of the list.
- Defining time frames plays a crucial part- If a hot lead suddenly shows lack of interest he would ideally lose his time-sensitive points and start sliding down the SQL rankings. This could show up as a critical case which needs immediate attention with extra nurturing.
Managing your sales pipeline efficiently by making sure your lead generation, lead scoring and lead nurturing systems and working in tandem is a challenge that every organization faces.
For startups this is even more so; in fact, for them pipeline management could be a bigger challenge than lead generation because without appropriate Sales and Marketing automation tools tracking customer actions across channels (email, web, social etc.), assigning value s to them, and ensuring they enter the pipeline becomes nearly impossible.
If these prospects and leads never enter the pipeline, chances are high that they will not be nurtured appropriately and will drop off.
This is where the expertise of Unbound comes into play. Unbound works with startups to develop a lead generation and pipeline management framework, executes the entire plan, and delivers high-quality leads (or SQLs) which are “sales ready”. This means apart from closing deals and overseeing the efficiency of the pipeline at every level, your sales team need not worry about much. This leads to better resource utilization and faster closures.
To get a free consultation session on setting up your lead generations framework go to our website and submit a “contact us” form, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.