One of the biggest sources of friction between marketing and sales teams is the definition of a qualified lead. Is it a request for information through your website? A business card dropped in a fishbowl at a tradeshow? A prospect who’s ready for a product demonstration? A contact who’s been called and vetted for interest and budget fit?
When your lead generation efforts move forward without documented lead scoring criteria, there’s far more risk of waste, inefficiency and finger-pointing in the sales process.
In contrast, when sales and marketing collaborate on an objective set of lead scoring criteria, there’s greater alignment, smarter use of budget and a more strategic approach that improves your effectiveness.
Use lead scoring to prioritize your efforts
Lead scoring is the process where marketing and sales departments determine how likely a lead is to becoming a customer. By rating leads against a series of objective criteria—such as prospect behaviors and demographic attributes—you can quickly evaluate each lead. Then, you can delegate each lead for appropriate action.
That next step is critical to success. Should the lead move to field sales? The marketing team? An outsourced contact center who can further qualify and nurture the prospect? Not every lead arrives sales-ready. Some might not even be a good fit for your products or services. Lead scoring streamlines this process by removing subjectivity and providing a clear plan of action.
Ask these four questions to score your B2B and medtech leads
Consider these four elements as you create lead scoring criteria for your company.
Lead scoring criteria 1: Is it a good match?
In a perfect world, all marketing-generated leads would be a perfect match for the products and services your company offers. Unfortunately, this typically isn’t the case. No matter how well you target a marketing campaign, there will be some inquiries and leads that don’t match your ideal customer profile.
Taking the time to score every inquiry based on the traits you know result in a sale helps everyone involved use budget and resources wisely. Common characteristics include company size, industry and other demographic details. If leads don’t match your profile, there’s no reason to pass them to your top sales professionals or distributor network.
Lead scoring criteria 2: What’s the buying timeframe?
Even if a lead fits your desired customer profile, the prospect could still require further nurturing. Buying timeframes are another important lead scoring criteria. Often, companies use categories like “hot,” “warm” and “cold” to describe the buying timeframe. These are helpful distinctions, as long as they’re based on agreed-to periods and not someone’s gut instinct. “Hot,” for instance, might mean willing to purchase in the next 90 days; “cold” could refer to leads whose purchase timeframe is more than six months in the future.
With a lead scoring approach, hot and warm leads score more favorably and get passed to the sales team right away. Cool leads stay with marketing or go to an outbound call center for nurturing. What’s important is not ignoring leads that score lower. Keeping in touch through digital marketing and outbound call campaigns will keep your company top of mind and build a relationship for when the time is right to purchase.
Lead scoring criteria 3: Who’s the point of contact?
Ideally, your lead scoring program looks at two levels of information: the company and the contact person. The person who reaches out tells you a lot about how to score the lead. For example, if it’s an administrative assistant or specialist role, the company is likely at the beginning of their research phase. If it’s a mid- to top-level executive, the business is likely closer to making a decision.
As marketing and sales collaborate on your lead scoring criteria, develop a list of titles and roles, then assign higher scores to the ones most likely to be decision-makers. There are always exceptions, but this list will provide a good starting point. You can collect additional data through follow-up calls and other contact points with the prospect.
Lead scoring criteria 4: What’s your relationship history?
Here’s where your CRM system or sales-marketing database proves its worth. When you receive a lead, you can see quickly if it’s new, or if you’ve connected previously. The more often you interact with a prospect, the closer they are to taking the next step in the sales process. Apply this frequency to your lead scoring criteria.
Improve your lead scoring with accurate data
Every lead should receive attention. Leads scoring gives you a powerful and objective way to determine the right effort and next step. Volkart May can help you develop and execute lead scoring programs to qualify and nurture all your inbound leads. If you have leads from your website, events, campaigns and other inbound sources, we can help. Contact us to learn more.