Lead Scoring: 5 Steps to Building a Model that Sales Respects

Updated: February 04, 2011

Step 1: The Meeting

Bring key stakeholders from both sales and marketing together to identify which aspects of the lead qualification criteria should be considered in the scoring model. A weight should be applied to each item but no numeric value. Create a range by using plus and minus signs. Items that are of high-value get +++, those of lesser value only get +. Don't be afraid to use negatives, as bad criteria are just as valuable. Make sure to include a discussion of what the perfect sales-ready lead looks like and whether the current priority is quantity or quality.

Step 2: Define the Threshold

Often there is a rush to begin applying numbers to lead criteria. Instead, identify what numeric threshold the lead needs to reach before it is sent to sales for follow-up. Consider the threshold to be the quality versus quantity setting. The higher the number, the higher quality leads the system will deliver. This allows for flexibility. If the scoring model is deemed too strict there is an easy corrective action - lowering the threshold. If your company just doubled its sales force, maybe sending more leads over to sales is prudent.

Step 3: Build Scenarios

Take a moment and walk away from the numbers. Think about whom your leads are and the types of actions they take. Create a minimum of three scenarios outlining various titles, actions, and answers to qualification questions. Three scenarios should be sufficient, covering leads that discover your website unannounced (Random Inbound), leads that were actively pursued through list rental or other activity (Random Outbound), and leads that are part of a coordinated program such as lead nurture or email drip program (Nurture Marketing). Don't over think it. Don't create the perfect lead. It should be random - like your leads.

Step 4: Set your Weights

Based on what you learned from The Meeting and where you have set The Threshold, apply specific values to the demographic, behavioral, and qualification criteria. Link these values to the scenarios and analyze. Would someone with this collection of points be considered a good lead? Did they reach the scoring threshold? Adjust the individual scoring values based on how your company defines a lead. This is where many lead scoring models fall apart. The model developer/analyst needs to pay close attention to what was learned from sales and apply that to the values and not make guesses.

Step 5: Review and Adjust

The heavy lifting is over but the task is not complete. Constantly communicate with sales to discover how the scored leads are performing. Learn from their experience and adjust where needed. Lead scoring models are not stagnant; they are always evolving as corporate conditions and goals change.

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