How to Master Lead Scoring and Avoid the Most Common Pitfalls

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How to Master Lead Scoring and Avoid the Most Common Pitfalls
by Gabriela Theard

 

Lead scoring is a powerful strategy for sales teams. When you’re working hard to nurture and convert the leads in your sales pipeline, you want to make sure you’re going after the leads most likely to turn into a sale. 

 

Imagine being able to directly pinpoint leads that are ready to buy versus leads that need a bit more flirting before they’re prepared to say, “I do.”

 

That’s exactly what the lead scoring process has to offer your team.

 

To learn more about lead scoring and avoid some common pitfalls related to this tactic, let’s dive into a basic definition.

 

 

Lead Scoring: What is it?

 

The process of lead scoring means calculating the value of a lead, or how likely the lead is to convert.

 

There are many different characteristics that you might use to score your leads, like their job title or how many times they’ve interacted with your business.

 

Ranking your leads by how likely they are to convert is a great way to close sales fast because you know who is ready to buy and who still needs a bit of nurturing.

 

lead scoring

 

 

How to Score Your Leads

 

As I mentioned, there are a variety of ways that you might apply scores to your new leads, all based on your business and what you’re selling to them. 

 

And if you want to make the process seamless, consider using tools such as chatbots to assign the right tags and instantly segment your leads automatically.

 

We’ll cover the top three different categories and what each of the objects you might consider in your lead score.

 

 

Use Demographics to Lead Score

 

demographics lead scoring

 

Demographic information includes necessary information about your leads and how well suited they are to need your products or services. 

 

You know who your target market is, and just because someone might have opted into something on your website doesn’t make them a qualified lead or someone who is ever going to end up making a purchase.

 

That’s why gathering demographic information on your leads and ensuring they’re in line with your target audience is ideal.

 

Your demographic information might include things like:

 

 

  • Job title: What kind of work do they do?

 

  • Role in the company: Are they a decision-maker? Close to decision-makers? How long have they been with the company? 

 

  • Education: Do they have a college education? Masters? Or a high school diploma?

 

  • Social media usage: What platforms are they consuming content and getting their news

 

  • Personal/career interests: What are their hobbies? Career aspirations?

 

 

 

 

 

Firmographics: Another Lead Score Property

 

If your company is B2B, you’ll need to know about your lead’s company. This is called a firmographics.

 

Is the company they work for or represent in line with what your business offers? Are they a competitor or a niche that you don’t typically work with? 

 

Putting together longer forms (typically seen in the bottom of the funnel lead gen forms) can help you gather more specific information like this and even more contact information like direct phone numbers.

 

This is also a valuable knowledge to have when scoring your leads. Firmographic information might include:

 

 

  • Company size: Does your business focus more on small businesses or large enterprise businesses?
  • Industry: Do you work with all sectors or hone in on a single niche?
  • Revenue: Based on your company’s prices, does their company revenue fall in line with a potential client or customer?

 

  • Location: Are you location-based, or can you work with businesses from anywhere?

 

 

Behavioral: Lead Scoring Based on Patterns

 

This is where you need to align your sales and marketing and ensure you’re communicating enough to track behavioral information necessary for lead scoring.

 

Behavioral data is essential to understanding your lead in the customer journey and how they’ve been interacting with your business.

 

This type of information might include:

 

 

  • Filled out forms on your website: Did your lead fill out a top-level lead generation form, or did they request an explainer video or sales demo of your product?
  • Followed on social media: Has your lead followed your business on social media? Even more important, have they interacted with your brand at all?
  • Opened emails from your brand: As a lead, how engaged have they been with your email content? Be sure to track your emails and double-check that your emails aren’t going to spam so you can accurately gauge how many opens and clicks your leads are making on your emails.
  • Joined your brand community: If you have a Facebook group or Slack community, has your lead joined it? This could be a great sign that they’re very interested in working with your business.

 

 

 

Lead Scoring Pitfalls to Avoid

 

Now that you know the details of scoring your leads, it’s time to make sure your lead scoring process makes sense and won’t result in landing in one of these pitfalls.

 

To properly score your leads, you need to create a points system based on the details we just covered in the last section – but some mistakes are easily made that can cause your lead scoring system not to work as well as it could.

 

Here are five common lead scoring pitfalls you need to avoid when putting your strategy together to start creating as many sales proposals as possible.

 

 

1. Not Using Clean Data

 

When using sales automation tools and storing data in your CRM, there are times when you might end up with old data, or leads may have unintentionally input their information incorrectly. This often happens if you’ve mistakenly migrated your data as well.

 

Suppose you’re going to put together a lead scoring strategy. In that case, it’s essential to ensure that you’re regularly cleaning your data and getting it as accurate and up-to-date as possible, or else you could end up with misleading scores.

 

Keeping clean data and removing duplicates and updating inaccurate entries can help improve your lead scoring accuracy. Your sales team is going after the right leads time and time again.

 

 

2. Not Consulting Your Sales Team

 

You can’t score leads without input from the very people who are nurturing those leads and closing sales, so make sure they’re involved in creating your scoring diagram since they’re the most front and center in this process.

 

Whether you need to improve your team communication tools or set up better workflow processes, getting feedback from your sales team on how well they close different types of leads is too valuable to overlook.

 

Creating your lead scoring system might need to be worked on by multiple teams to ensure that you end up with a strategy that maximizes conversions and helps your sales team close as many deals as possible.

 

 

3. Creating a Process That’s Overcomplicated

 

Another major pitfall that many lead scoring systems end up with is creating a system that’s simply too complicated to work correctly.

 

To create an effective lead scoring system, you need to keep it simple and to the point. Don’t add in too many points to score; instead, focus only on the ones that are most relevant to your business and that your sales team knows matter.

 

Think through each of the demographic, firmographic, and behavioral qualities that pinpoint whether a lead is targeted, qualified, and has taken enough actions that they’re ready to buy.

 

As the adage goes – less is more! And it rings true when it comes to your lead scoring process as well.

 

 

4. Handing Out Too Many Points

 

Many lead scoring processes end up getting a bit too generous with the scoring points, handing over leads to the sales team that aren’t sales-ready yet.

 

This completely defeats the purpose of lead scoring and could end up hurting potential customer satisfaction, so you need to be intentional about your lead scoring.

 

Giving out too many leads most often goes hand in hand with creating a complicated process with many different categories. Be sure that when you’re creating your lead scoring definitions, you don’t go overboard.

 

While you want to close as many sales as possible, you still want to be purposeful with your scoring and hold back any leads that need a bit more nurturing before they’re ready to buy.

 

 

5. Combining Scoring Attributes

 

The fact of the matter is that demographic/firmographic scoring and behavioral scoring are different, and they need to be categorized.

 

Just because someone might be a perfect fit for your business demographically doesn’t mean their behavior shows they’re ready to buy.

 

And vice versa, someone may be clicking all the right buttons on your website, but if they’re not actually a decision-maker in their company or they’re outside of the area your business services, they’re not qualified enough lead to send to your sales team.

 

Pay attention to all of the boxes that need to be checked and ensure you’re only sending the most qualified and sales-ready leads to your salespeople.

 

 

Start Scoring Your Leads Today

 

Start putting together a lead scoring strategy that avoids each of these five pitfalls and helps your sales team maximize sales. Improve customer satisfaction with your sales process and only sell to leads that are ready to buy.

 

 

 

Chloe West is a digital marketer and freelance writer, focusing on topics surrounding social media, content, and digital marketing. She’s based in Charleston, SC, and when she’s not working, you’ll find her at brunch or hanging out with her son. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.