The Art of Scoring Sales Leads

In many businesses, the number of sales leads generated can quickly overwhelm the sales force. Following a lead can be expensive and it might be impossible to follow all the leads. In sales there is a 80-20 rule that states that 80% of business comes from 20% of leads. An average person who has just browsed your website is less likely to purchase your product, compared to a person who has took his effort to enter his/her details to request a quote. Thus, it is imperative that an effective lead scoring mechanism is put in place to prioritize the leads.

Historically, sales guys bucketized the leads into 3 categories – cold, warm and hot. However, in many modern businesses you might need a fine grained method to scoring the leads.

Most modern CRM tools provide you ways to score your leads both in broad descriptions as well as numerical values. While setting up a good CRM system could help you lead scoring, it is important that the sales and marketing team spend a lot of effort in building the right scoring strategy that works for the business.

Lead scoring must take into two main attributes of the prospect:

  • Explicit Information provided by the prospect – these include demographic, geography, business size etc.
  • Implicit action performed by the prospect – time spent on the site, information requested, where they came from, etc.

The sales and marketing team must then collect historic data about the customer behavior using previous sales. For instance, you could have a finding that 90% of non-US visitors don’t convert into a sale, while the rate for US visitors is only 60%. You must then assign a higher scoring for your US visitors/leads. You could also find that prospect from a certain industry bring more sales than from other industries. You must then assign a higher score to this segment.

After gleaning the data, the team must meet to arrive at a consensus on the scoring. The scoring must be both logical and intuitive. If the ground level salesmen are not enthused with the scoring, chances are that they might not be prioritize the high value leads enough. Scorings are not set in stone, but constantly adapted in a trial-and-error manner taking both the verbal inputs from the sales force as well as the numerical analytics.

Finally, any scoring system must be simple and easy to comprehend. The rationale for the scoring should be well documented, so that the scoring can be adjusted when market changes.