Some leads are better than others.
Ask any sales rep in the business, and they’ll agree completely. Reps often intuitively know when one lead will be a great business prospect, and when another lead will be a complete waste of time. However, it’s tough to run a sales team based on how your reps feel about specific leads.
That’s where lead scoring comes in.
Lead scoring creates an official definition for a high-value lead vs. a low-value lead, based on historical performance and conversion rates of past leads with similar characteristics. If your sales and marketing teams haven’t already adopted lead scoring, you could be wasting time and money, and missing out on opportunities with a higher chance of becoming Closed-Won deals.
Lead scoring has benefits for both the sales and marketing teams, but in very different ways. Here’s how:
The Benefits for Marketing
All marketing really wants is for sales to work hard on every single lead that is handed over. Marketing has spent a lot of time and money generating those Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), and they don’t want that investment to be wasted or ignored. However, if marketing is doing their job well, there may be far too many leads for every rep to call leads at the right time and with the right sales call cadence. It’s next to impossible for marketing to enforce or encourage sales to call leads in a timely fashion without the guidance of lead scoring.
With a mutually agreed-upon lead score, marketing can be confident that sales is immediately chasing the hottest leads first and putting in effort where it counts. These top-scoring leads should fit your company’s profile of an ideal customer based on historical performance. For example, you may have run the numbers and found that your ideal customer is a Sales VP from a company with fewer than 200 employees, who has downloaded 3 separate pieces of content from marketing. Marketing knows that leads who have behaved like this in the past quickly became customers, and so a lead with a similar profile is immediately given a top score and handed off to sales.
The Benefits for Sales
For Business Development Reps (BDRs), lead scoring makes their job much, much easier. Creating a standard criteria for leads helps reps differentiate between an incredibly valuable lead that needs to be worked hard, and a so-so lead that they shouldn’t pursue too aggressively. This means when a rep comes in to work and faces a queue of 1,000 leads, they won’t give up in despair. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and overworked, they can simply sort the leads top down by score. The leads with the highest score are immediately prioritized, making it simple for the rep to do their job, and do it well.
The benefits of lead scoring are, of course, not limited to an individual rep’s workload. Because your entire team of BDRs is now focusing exclusively on higher-quality leads, that in turn creates higher-quality conversations, a higher number of meetings booked, and – ultimately – more Closed-Won deals. Your reps aren’t wasting time with tire kickers or No-Po prospects, because they’re only chasing the leads that are most likely to convert. Implementing lead scoring can and will lead directly to a higher win rate across your entire sales team.
Better Sales and Marketing Alignment
Lead scoring doesn’t just make sales and marketing work better; it also makes the two teams work better together. A clearly outlined lead scoring system stops some of the most common arguments between sales and marketing about the quality of leads. Without lead scoring, a rep will decide a lead is garbage and refuse to work it, but marketing will argue that the lead is perfectly good and the rep should keep working it. There’s simply no agreement or common ground between the two departments when there’s no definition of a good lead and a bad lead.
Lead scoring is the key to sales and marketing alignment, because it helps define the best leads using data-backed and objective analysis. Lead scoring should be a major part of your sales and marketing Service-Level Agreement, specifically outlining how leads are worked, what lead score is acceptable, and why. Marketing should agree to provide a specific number of leads with a high score, and sales should agree to call every single top-scoring lead that marketing hands off. This SLA will stop arguments before they start, and hold both marketing and sales accountable.
OK, you’re convinced that your business needs lead scoring now. Want to learn more about how you actually build a powerful lead scoring system? Come back next week for a detailed and practical guide to implementing lead scoring at your organization.