You get it. You understand lead scoring has huge benefits for sales and marketing – it improves alignment between the two departments, ensures sales follows up with the best leads first, and improves your overall sales conversion rates, leading to more Closed-Won Deals.

But how do you actually implement lead scoring at your B2B company?

It’s easier said than done. The wrong lead scoring system can actually be worse than having no lead scoring at all. You need to prioritize the leads that are truly the most likely to convert to deals, but this requires some detailed analysis into your sales and marketing process. There are a few schools of thought on lead scoring, and multiple ways to accomplish it within your organization.

Because it is such a complex task, we wanted to offer you a fool-proof guide to lead scoring, so you can find the best option for your business.

Basic Lead Scoring

Traditional lead scoring starts with a deep analysis of your existing customers in order to build out your company’s ideal customer profile. Survey your customers and ask them detailed questions to help you understand the businesses that are most likely to buy your product and why. At a minimum, you need to know:

  • Company size
  • Industry
  • Business problems that led to the sale
  • Title of the person who eventually bought your product

The more information and detail you can get from your customers, the better. Compile this information and create a specific ideal customer profile. Based on the data, you may find that your company is most likely to sell to a VP of Sales at a technology company with fewer than 200 employees. Then you can apply this knowledge to your current pool of leads, and assign a higher lead score to the leads that fit most closely with this ideal profile.

Intermediate Lead Scoring

Unfortunately, an ideal customer profile doesn’t use sufficient data to assign an accurate lead score for every lead. If your business is growing and trying to expand into a new market, for example, those leads would get terrible lead scores, even though they may be great opportunities for new business. This is why you should also analyze your marketing funnel to gain insights into how you engage successfully with customers. For example, what are your highest converting marketing campaigns? Analyze every marketing campaign, and see which one influenced the most deals in the past year.

In this report, you can see that the Free Demo webinar led to the highest amount of deals, followed closely by the Better Analytics email. This means that you should assign a higher value to any leads that attend this webinar or open that email. You would assign a lesser value to the leads that download the Budgeting Time whitepaper or attend the Data Quality Meetup. You should also take overall engagement into account when looking at your marketing campaigns. Leads that download multiple whitepapers and eBooks, attend multiple meetings, and click on multiple emails are generally better prospects. Any lead that engages more heavily with marketing content should also receive a higher lead score.

Learn More About Measuring Marketing»

Advanced Lead Scoring

All of the tactics listed above – while effective – are often time consuming and difficult to accomplish for many companies. Because of this, a number of businesses now offer products that make it easier to score your leads accurately, and gain more insights into your sales and marketing data. These businesses – Lattice Engines, Infer and  FlipTop – use algorithms and machine learning to predict which leads will become deals. The algorithms can find patterns in your data that you could never imagine, and are able to translate that information into a much more accurate lead score.

This is a much more advanced way to look at lead scoring, and takes a page from successful B2C companies like Amazon. For example, Amazon’s buying algorithm is able to accurately predict what you may want to buy based on what your neighbors are buying. Similar to how Amazon’s algorithm finds unexpected correlations in buying habits, so too can B2B businesses better score leads based on unexpected qualities. This is the next step in lead scoring, and has enormous potential to revolutionize how you run your business.
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