All leads are not created equal. Many businesses that fail to measure and account for the variation in quality, rather than the mere quantity of leads, may be left scratching their heads as to why they don't close more deals. There are a variety of ways in which a lead can be considered more valuable to your business, and we'll cover them below. First of all, though, let's start at the beginning...
What is lead scoring?
According to Wikipedia, "Lead scoring is a methodology used to rank prospects against a scale that represents the perceived value each lead represents to the organization." and that sums it up pretty well. You may have experienced lead scoring already, in your online dealings, and especially if you're email marketing. Users of Mailchimp will have seen the 5-star rating attributed to contacts on their lists, in response to a number of factors such as a per-recipient open rate, number of times viewed, clickthrough rate and more. It's fair to say that, depending on where you source leads, and how you present one offer versus another, there could be some absoulte gems in your list, but there could also be some relative stinkers!
Lead Scoring: Contributory Factors
There are a number of factros that should be considered when evaluating a lead. From a complete beginner's perspective, here are some to look out for:
The source of the lead can say a lot about how strong the initial connection is, and how likely the prospect is to buy from you, now or in the future. A referral, for example, is one of the highest quality leads you can attain, whereas a lead that came via Twitter or other "broad" social media might be less so. Context is important, though, so not all social media referrals will be low quality per se.
Geographic and Demographic Factors
Depending on your business and product/service type, you may be able to sell globally, or only to those on your doorstep. You may find your sweet spot in the 35-55 age bracket, or deal only with kids and juveniles. Targeting is really important when acquiring leads, in order to ensure the best fit both geographically and demographically, but it's not always possible to deter those who don't meet your ideal criteria. That's why scoring for customer fit is so important.
In your intial dealings with a lead, you'll also get a sense for how "interested" they are in you, your products and services. For example, someone who arrives at your landing page from a Google search, submits their contact details and doesn't return, could be considered a lower quality lead. Whereas a visitor that browses several pages, opts in, downloads an eBook, responds to a call-to-action inside the eBook (indicating that they actually read it), and proceeded to send a follow-up email enquiry, can be considered a far-stronger lead. There's little substitute for response, as an indicator of lead strength, and that relies on the level of analytics data you make available to yourself and your sales team.
What to do with "High Score" Leads
So what's the point of all this scoring, if you do nothing with it? The short answer is "not a lot"! Make sure you devise a strategy for making the most of the high quality leads you do have, by following up in a timely manner. Personalisation is something you can start to introduce to all leads, but adding an even more personal touch to your high-quality leads can yield fantastic results, and dramatically reduce the lead time to making the first sale.
Do you have a strategy for lead scoring? Are you making the best of the opportunity with those who have expressed the highest levels of interest in your offering? Let us know your experiences in the comments.