Lead Scoring: Qualifying Leads
Lead scoring helps to qualify inbound leads, to determine potential buyers. Doing it manually is tedious, so it’s best to use a CRM that displays all relevant info on your dashboard.
Imagine that a successful marketing campaign just filled your sales pipeline with new leads. Is that all good news? Well, it depends. What if someone who signed up for your marketing collateral was just browsing around? Perhaps researching only, not shopping for a solution. If you are in SaaS, maybe they are merely freemium or free trial users out of curiosity.
Qualifying inbound leads saves time and resources better used to reach out to potential buyers who need (and want?) your product. Traditionally, customer need is ascertained through a sales call (sales qualified lead, SQL). However, leads may voluntarily divulge that information through your marketing channels (marketing qualified lead, MQL). Whether their name and contact information came through trial signups, lead magnet downloads, or demo requests, ask these five main questions to qualify your leads:
- Do they qualify as potential buyers? – i.e. Are they in the right sector, speak the correct language, the right size, the correct currency, etc.)
- How ready are they to buy? – Set yourself up for an easy win
- Do we want to go after them? – Controversial approach; more on it later. Decided by the sales manager on company related questions like, Do we need that size of company right now …from that country, …how likely are they to close, etc.
- Where do they rank in terms of our company goals? – Prioritizing leads by company goals
- Is our product a good fit for them? / Are they a good fit to our product?
Lead scoring means assigning a value to various data points about a lead, and using a lead scoring model to determine a fit. Lead scoring allows your sales team to find out
- Who their biggest opportunities are
- What the size of the sale opportunity is, and
- How to prioritize them to maximize the team’s time and efforts.
- Lead scoring helps uncover freemium or trial users who are the most likely to convert to paying customers
- Evaluating your leads’ characteristics helps you establish which plan they are most likely to sign up for Plus, by analyzing various data – team size, account size, usage, etc. – your sales team can estimate which price plan would suit a company the most
- The lead score will also reveal when a lead is ready to start discussing purchase / upgrade.
During the lead scoring process, your lead finder reps start testing assumptions about the target audience. They create different customer profiles, identify organizations that match them, and research the likeliness that they present a strong business opportunity. Walking through these steps will help you define ideal client characteristics and build standardized customer profiles for both your marketers and your sales team.
Depending on how young your company is, your organization’s sales strategy may already have a clear definition of your product’s ideal customer. If not yet, this is the point where you can create the ideal customer’s profile.
Traditional Lead Scoring
B2B businesses use various characteristics, like a person’s location or their company size, along with information such as how often a person has visited the company’s website, whether they’ve downloaded a lead magnet or sent an email, to determine fit.
Most of the time, such data is found in the company’s CRM system. Rizer’s lead management system, for example, manages both inbound (user initiated) and outbound (contacted by you) lead flows. In terms of qualification tools, it gives the sales team access to
- Researched /completed lead profiles
- Activity types
- Business variables
- Social info, and
- Written notes of any prior contact.
Having all this information at their fingertips helps your sales reps reach out to the leads with the most probability of closing.
If you use a value- or star-based scoring system, assign award points for:
- Visiting the website, downloading the lead magnet, returning to the site or sending an inquiry
- Marketing data such as where the website visit originated from, which page the lead landed on, whether they clicked through more pages on your website, etc.
- Lead characteristics that match your company’s ideal client profile (e.g. assigning more points to someone who is likely a decision-maker at their organization)
- Location, company size or the industry it operates in.
As an in-house rule, you can also assign value or stars based on the amount of details you have about a lead. This can be fine-tuned by scoring leads with a business email higher than those with a free email address. And similarly, you can add higher value to leads who voluntarily provided their phone numbers or their company’s physical address.
How to do this in Saas?
SaaS leads generally have the following characteristics:
- Explicit data shared with you when signing up for a demo or trial – name, (company) email address, company name, phone number, website URL, etc.
- Implicit data that your company can uncover about the leads.
Rizer recommends assigning lead finder reps to collect implicit data, a process called lead profile enrichment. These designated reps use the explicit data in your system to research more information about a company. They complete the lead’s profile with such details as business location, size, industry, number of employees, the lead’s social media accounts, the company’s social media accounts, etc.
- Behavioral data, such as product engagement
The way leads interact with your SaaS product is a good indicator regarding their likelihood of buying. A visitor or freemium user who logged in once or twice in weeks is not likely to convert into a paying customer soon. On the other hand, a lead using your product regularly may be just one call away from buying.
Should you have the resources to further analyze user engagement metrics, look at the number of sessions within a specific time frame, the time per session, the number of active users on the domain, etc.
However, keep in mind that scoring SaaS leads can be a daunting task extended over a long period of time. This is because your customers might have to use your SaaS product for a while to discover its benefits. And without knowing what types of companies value your product most, it’s difficult to check your assumptions regarding the ideal customer profile. Therefore, if you choose to assign values or stars to leads, opt for a lead scoring platform that scores customer fit models and product adoption separately.
The shortcomings of traditional lead scoring
While extremely useful, lead scoring is a tedious and time-consuming process, if done manually. Furthermore, due to the amount of data required to process such information, it often ignores the market and other variables. Add to that frustrations from the limited access to much of the information, and you’ll likely find that your sales team ignores this task.
Automated lead scoring
Automated lead scoring platforms propose to address the shortcomings of manual lead scoring. Such systems use machine learning to analyze the available data and enrich it with additional information and customer profiles, including demographics, firmographics, and product adoption. The insights and rules / lead scoring models thus generated can make it simpler to identify the best leads automatically.
Naturally, as your sales reps call the identified leads, they will uncover further insights, including the success rate of the automated score. These new statistics will help you update the automated results manually, and fine-tune your customer fit profiles.
In sum, lead scoring helps you prioritize your leads and uncover the best opportunities to focus on. Given the tediousness of manually assigning point values to different lead data, choose a CRM platform, like Rizer, that displays all relevant info on your dashboard. Create multiple lead scoring models for your various user groups, and refine them as you gain further insights. Having a fine-tuned lead qualifying process will help you fill your pipeline with quality leads, to start turning them into paying customers.