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Each and every person who visits your website is different. Some visitors will comb through your blog or resources for information, looking but never intending to buy. Others are actually ready to buy and they're on the lookout for the right deal. And then there are the ones who will be ready to buy at a future date, but still need more time to think the decision through.

If only there was a way to categorize visitors so you could best tailor your interactions with them based on how hot, warm, or cold they are as potential buyers…

Well, you’re in luck. There is a way!

With lead scoring, you can rank how sales-ready a potential customer is by analyzing their behavior.

Think of it as getting under the hood of a car to see what makes it run. You’ll look at what visitors are doing, and based on their actions, determine your best course of action in communicating with them and moving them toward a sale.

How Does Lead Scoring Work?

Let’s say someone visits your website and fills out a form to download a white paper. You might assign a score of 10 points. Say someone else requests to demo one of your products. That might be worth 70 points.

Lead scoring is a great way to determine interest versus intent.

For instance, if someone comes to your site multiple times and reads several blogs, you can assume they are likely interested in your products or services. Bottom-of-the-funnel behaviors, such as looking at a Pricing or Contact page or requesting a demo or consultation, should be scored higher, because those show intent.

Actions that show a readiness to buy should be weighted more heavily than those that simply show interest.

As a lead accumulates points, their lifecycle stage in your sales cycle transitions from marketing qualified lead (MQL) to sales qualified lead (SQL). This takes collaboration, of course, between your sales and marketing personnel; scoring leads is most successful when these two departments work together to determine the weight of each item, and communicate as leads are passed back and forth.

If you determine, through lead scoring, that someone is interested but not yet ready to buy, you can add them to a lead nurturing campaign. Or, if a visitor is hot to trot, move them right over to your sales reps to work on closing the deal.

A Few Tips on Scoring Your Leads

Here are a few factors you'll want to consider for your lead scoring process:

  • How frequently a lead visits your website
  • How much time they spend on your site
  • How many / which pages they visit while on your site
  • How recently they’ve visited
  • How they’ve interacted (downloaded eGuides, registered for webinars, etc.)
  • The importance of the resources they've viewed or downloaded with respect to your sales funnel
  • Information they've provided about themselves (job title, industry, company size, etc.) you may want to prioritize target verticals and roles by assigning those values more points.

Another way to delve even further into lead scoring is to look at the buyer's journey of past customers. Check out your data and analyze their behavior leading up to the sale. Can you find a common path they took, or were their similar behaviors exhibited by most customers? If so, give those actions more weight when scoring new potential buyers.

Remember that someone who has a low score isn’t necessarily a “bad” lead. They’re just not as far along in the buying process. With a little nurturing, they could become a customer in the future. The important thing is knowing their score and doing your part to appropriately nurture them.

Additionally, it’s also a good idea to score negative behavior (by assigning negative points to specific actions), like unsubscribing from a newsletter or requesting not to be contacted. That way, despite some previous positive behavior, a lead score will reflect any recent turn away from a sale.

Scoring leads can lead you down the path to closing more deals. So what are you waiting for? Start off by arranging a meeting between marketing and sales. You'll have a solid foundation for your lead scoring process in no time!

Free Download: Top 10 Marketing Mistakes Even the Smartest Companies Make

About the Author

Susan LaPlante-Dube | PMG Principal
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Susan LaPlante-Dube, PMG Principal

Susan LaPlante-Dube created PMG in 2002 and acts as one of PMG’s Principals. As a jack-of-all-trades in marketing, she loves digging deep on a topic and finding new ways to spin old ideas. While she would prefer having some high-tech voice software to record all of her blog thoughts instead of having to write them down, she loves the satisfaction of helping her readers learn something new.

 Tags: Reporting & Analytics Sales

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