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Understanding Lead Scoring

Tim Elleston from Omniture defines lead scoring as a measurement that assigns a relative value to individual customers and prospects based on their actions and behaviors over time. You can determine intent and engagement – even before leads convert.

Once you’ve identified your most valuable visitors, you can dissect their actions to determine the campaigns, keywords, referring sites and offline touch points that engage them – and invest more on these efforts.

Further more Tim believes that the basic premise of a visitor score is to give them “points” for certain activities.  What score you decide to give them is entirely up to you…the important thing is that they accrue points over time, and you can use those points to create segments of visitors that have exceeded certain thresholds.

In doing so, you’ll be able to compare different leads, for example, those with a high score, to those with a low score, from different traffic sources, or across different campaigns.

The theory behind this is that visitors with higher scores are likely to be more engaged – they’ve accrued more points over time, by doing the things you want them to do.  It’s not just looking at conversions, although they will probably feature in your scoring methodology.

A simple example that Tim talks about here is of a car dealership.  Perhaps a prospect walking in off the street and poking their head in the window earns them a score of 10 points.  Maybe he opens the door and sits in the driver’s seat, imagining how it would feel to be on the road with the vehicle. Perhaps that’s 25 points. Maybe he takes it out for a test drive that’s 50 points.  Etc.

Obviously, the more interest they indicate, the deeper they are moving towards making a purchase decision.

With marketing automation software, you can start scoring your leads according to online and offline activity.  Say someone visits your web site that’s only one point.  They look over your products that’s ten points.  Let’s say they hit your job postings and look for a position. Maybe they’ll sign up for a Webcast that they might attend.  More points.

What you need to do initially is agree on a set of interactions across your site, and then apply an arbitrary score to them, either between 1 and 10 or 1 and 100.

For example:

  1. Homepage view = 1pt
  2. Searched for something = 5pts
  3. Viewed a course = 20pts
  4. Completed a form = 30pts
  5. Used one of our interactive tools = 50pts
  6. Opted in to something = 70pts
  7. Submitted an application = 100pts

Ultimately, different types of buyers achieve certain scores based on their persona and engagement with certain types of content assigned. You’ll start to identify certain “tells” of each persona, and you’ll know when a prospect is showing you intense buying signals. That is when you pass that prospect over to Sales.

Justin Gray from Marketingprofs.com states that the goal is to make lead scoring easy to understand so anyone who becomes part of the process can jump right in. Simplified lead scoring will also help in scaling as your company grows, and it can be flexible to accommodate changed and even new persona.

I agree with Justin and believe that a  stronger lead-scoring process will not only improve your conversion rate but also help you know your buyers better, and you’ll organically develop a system that scales easily as your business grows. Your marketing and sales departments will cohesively become revenue-driven, not numbers-driven.

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