Part 2: Implementing Your Lead Scoring Model

This blog post is the second in my two-part series about lead scoring models! In the first post, I talked about building a lead scoring model. Now I’m going to explain how to implement it.

Implementing a lead scoring model can be more of a challenge than building one. Proper implementation is a make-or-break step to ensure adoption!

Once you’ve gotten your lead scoring model defined, you will need to make sure it can be supported by the people, processes, and assets that your organization already has in place. Identifying gaps up front will ensure a smooth implementation.

Inventory Assets

Start with an inventory of all your digital assets and map them back to the behaviors or data points required for your scoring model. Do the same for any personas you may have. This is an important exercise as it will also uncover any gaps you may have in content or trackability. Some examples of things to ask are:

  • Do contact forms contain the correct fields?
  • Are there certain pages that strongly indicate buying intent, but aren’t public facing?
  • Are there subscribe buttons on the website that don’t have tracking enabled?
  • Is there a need for content that doesn’t exist today, such as white papers?

Some gaps may need to be filled in immediately for the scoring model to work, and others may be able to be developed when time allows.

Choose Your Tool

Once you’re certain you have the correct foundation in place, you will need the correct tool to build and support your lead scoring model.

There are many out-of-the-box solutions that allow for lead scoring capabilities. Again, the key is to make sure the solution you are using allows you to include explicit and implicit behavioral profiling.

Some additional things to look for include:

  • Multiple scoring categories – use this if your organization sells different products and services for different types of people.
  • Real-time updates – as your lead moves through the buyer journey, their behavior will change, thus affecting the score.
  • Cross-channel tracking – the model should be able to support implicit behavior occurring on multiple channels. A common use case is website and email at a minimum.
  • Integration - ask how easy it is to connect this tool to other technology in the marketing and sales stack, if it’s not simply an add-on.

Establish Your Process

It’s not enough to have a lead scoring model built. You will need to work with your sales teams to determine how leads will be delivered and set expectations for follow-up upfront. You will increase your chances of success if you make minimal changes to the way your sales teams operate today. Consider the following:

  • Sales tools:

    If sales reps aren’t required to work in any tools and keep their notes in a spreadsheet, propose that you deliver leads to them in the same fashion. If they are expected to work within a CRM system, delivering leads in this environment will be ideal.

  • Current Expectations:

    Understand what types of activity sales reps are expected to log, how timely their follow up needs to be when they get a lead, and the overall sales process. This will give you better perspective in how your hand-off process fits into their day-to-day work. If reps aren’t required to log any activity nor have expectations on follow-up from other inbound leads, you’ll need to work closely with sales leadership to determine the best approach to adjusting that mindset.

Create Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

Once marketing and sales are comfortable with a hand-off solution, you will need to develop service level agreements (SLAs) to set expectations for both parties. This will ensure sales teams are held accountable for follow-through, and that marketing only passes on leads that meet your agreed upon lead scoring model thresholds.

For example, tools like Eloqua combine engagement and “fit” to assign scores ranging from A1 (best fit, best engagement) to D4 (poor fit, poor engagement.) In this instance, you can determine which scores will be passed on to sales, and the timeline. Furthermore, you will need to agree on how many contact attempts must be made before the lead is abandoned.

One example is a company that passes on both A1 and A2 leads to reps, but the A2 leads have a week for follow-up, versus the A1 leads which have 2 days. B1 leads are passed onto inside sales reps who reach out to gather more information and only set appointments if they reach A1 through further qualification.

The SLA should also set expectations on how the sales reps will be providing feedback on the leads so that the model can continuously be improved. Common feedback types are “unqualified” and “could not get in touch.” Distinguishing between the two will allow marketing to make the best optimizations to their model.

Lastly, make sure you agree on how often the model will be revisited and tweaked to ensure it’s working effectively. Nothing will be perfect, but you will build confidence with the sales teams as they see the lead scoring model improve over time.

Report and Optimize

Before you hit the ground running, it’s important to ensure you will be able to track leads sourced by marketing well past hand-off. A common approach is using the marketing and sales funnel and track a lead’s movement across each stage.

Again, the ultimate goal of lead scoring is to pass on high-quality leads to sales, which in a marketer’s world means they generate opportunities that hopefully will close. However, it is still important to track how these leads are progressing before the opportunities are created to uncover optimization areas.

For example, remember that great marketing campaign I referenced from the beginning of part 1?

Let’s say it generated 100 names:

  • Of those 100 names, 40 were considered “sales-ready” (40% conversion for this step) based on your model and are passed along to sales reps as leads.
  • 5 leads generated opportunities (12.5% conversion for this step),
  • With 2 ultimately closing (40% conversion for this step).

Although there are numerous ways to understand what occurred and how to improve, one suggestion would be to learn what happened with the other 35 leads first.

  • Were they all marked unqualified when the sales reps gave feedback? If so, you will need to get the details from sales on why and adjust your model accordingly.
  • Were the leads not responding to reps who were reaching out? This would indicate a misjudgment on the behavioral aspects of your scoring model, or perhaps the reps didn’t make enough attempts.
  • Did the reps receive all the leads to follow up, or was there a miscommunication along the way?
  • Were opportunities created but not attributed to the leads passed on by marketing? If so, this would be a tracking issue.

Continuously analyzing your data to understand what is going on will allow your marketing team to show they are making improvements and ultimately demonstrate a return on investment.

Lead scoring is a powerful methodology for better sales and marketing alignment, leading to improved marketing results. It can ensure better cooperation between teams and reduce frustration.

Marketers just need to take the first step. Need help with that? Step on over here.

Nikki Kyriakopoulos

About Nikki Kyriakopoulos

Nikki is a Senior Digital Strategist at Liquid Interactive. Nikki creates strategies as well as monitor and analyze activities within various marketing, sales, and customer service platforms for local and global clients.