by Justin Roberts
Over the past four years I’ve worked with hundreds of businesses that wanted to set up a way to determine which leads are the most likely to purchase, and which just aren’t. One of the biggest pitfalls you’ll find yourself falling into is trying to rely on what your gut tells you, or on what someone else says will make a hot lead. So I wanted to give you a guide and strategy to set up a lead scoring system that makes sense and works for your business.
Before jumping into that, I want to give you an idea of what I mean when I say, “a lead scoring system.” There a lot of nebulous definitions out there, but when I talk about a lead scoring system, it’s simply a way to rank your leads so your sales reps can prioritize where they spend their time. This gives you a couple pretty amazing benefits in your business.
- Lead scoring is will help get your sales and marketing teams synced up. When your marketing team knows what makes a lead more likely to buy then they really narrow down their
- Increase Sales because your reps are able to work with your hottest leads first
How to setting up effective lead scoring in 4 steps
Get key stakeholders involved (make sure you include marketing and sales)
As a solopreneur, this is easier. You are both, but as you begin to grow and have specialists it becomes increasingly more important to make sure that you get input from Sales and Marketing involved so you are both working together, and not in your own little domain of the business.
Marketing typically have a better feel for the pre-sales behavioral data. Sales will know what type of lead they like selling to (here’s a hint: it’s usually the one that buys more with less effort on their part... you need that input to get your business as many customers as possible).
Determine who your best customers are and what they have in common
You can take this a couple ways.
If you have the luxury of picking and choosing who you want to sell to or work with, you will decide which customers you want to service. You can consider things like:
- Loyalty to your business
- How much time it takes supporting their needs
- How many compliments they give you—you know, the basics
If you are like the rest of us, you look at the customers who pay you the most (and most often). Once you’ve figured this out you’ll want to find out what they have in common.
- What type of buyer are they
- What products or services are they interested
- What products or services have they bought
- How did they find you
- What web pages have they visited
- What type of information do they request from you
- How often do they interact with you
- What is their purchasing timeline
Really, the list could go on. You are looking for a pattern with your best customers that you can apply to your leads to figure out which leads are most likely to buy—and buy a lot.
Create your lead score formula
Once you have a list of what makes your ideal customer you will need to decide three very important things:
- What type of a scale are you using? You want to choose a scale that will allow you to clearly differentiate the quality/readiness of your leads, but one that is not overly complex. Generally, I recommend a five or 10-point scale.
- How much weight do you give each element of your lead scoring criteria? Someone who has told you they want to purchase in the next week should probably show as a hotter lead than someone who has requested your e-book.
- How recent must the element of your lead scoring criteria have happened to be relevant? I really don’t care if someone opened an email from me six months ago because it plays little to no role in determining if they are ready, willing and able to buy today.
In Infusionsoft, you decide how many “points” will equal five flames (a five-flame lead is your hottest lead), and how many points each lead scoring action contributes to that overall score.
I like this approach a lot because it gives your scale, and I know a five-flame lead is hot and I need to make them top priority. A four-flame lead will be contacted relatively quickly as well. I’ll get to my three-flame leads if I have the time, and anything lower probably needs some more incubation time. Not too simple, not too complex.
I am also able to choose what types of activities or qualities (measured using tags) should increase or decrease my leads score, and how long that particular element should effect the overall score.
Analyze and refine
Now that you have the formula, don’t be afraid to modify as you test each piece of the formula and become clearer on what you should and should not be measuring. You may be tempted to make this a one and done activity, but those who are truly great at lead scoring will frequently challenge their lead scoring system and make changes when necessary. Your business is going to evolve, and your lead scoring needs to as well.
Bonus pro tip
If you are having a hard time deciding what is important to measure, you can always start with behavioral elements. In my opinion, every lead scoring system should include the following items:
- Unsubscribes. Yep, this one’s on there every time for me, because if they tell me they don’t want my emails, then they probably aren’t interested in what I’m offering. I take points away for this one.
- Web form sign-ups (for any lead magnets you are using)
- Email opens
- Links clicked (in your emails)
Justin has a passion for entrepreneurship and helping small business. He has been in the Infusionsoft ecosystem since 2009 in one capacity or another, ranging from working on the marketing team to managing a team of expert consultants that have helped thousands of customers implement Infusionsoft in their businesses. When not working, Justin spends as much time as he can with his wife and two kids, being outdoors.