Thinking of implementing a lead scoring system, but not sure if your organization is ready to undertake that kind of effort? Here’s a short checklist to help you determine if a lead scoring project is the right step for you right now.
1. Do you have a lot of leads?
Lead scoring is all about creating sales efficiency through proper prioritization. If you don’t have a lot of leads coming in, you don’t need to prioritize them: your sales team can already get to all of them. In that case, your organization really won’t benefit from lead scoring. If you DO have a lot of leads coming in, and prioritization is a problem, that’s a point in favor of putting a lead scoring system in place.
2. Does your business have a complex sale or an extended sales process?
Again, lead scoring only has a positive benefit if it’s creating more efficiency for your sales process. If your product is an impulse buy, there is no reason to score your leads. What makes prioritization worthwhile is the kind of environment where the leads that are generated are being handed off to a lead qualification team or the Sales team. In this type of situation, the average rep spends 15-30 min per lead attempting contact, so if those people are chasing prospects who aren’t ready to enter the sales cycle, that’s a tremendous waste of time. Emails and outbound calls are time better spent on the people who are most receptive to them.
3. Do you have a CRM system?
Marketing automation without a CRM system is like having a map in a jail cell—you can see where to go, but you can’t get there! There’s not much point.
The CRM is a tool for the sales rep, designed to manage leads and clients. Leading CRM systems like Salesforce help the rep track engagement with a lead, like making a call and sending outbound email. Add in lead scoring, and now you’ve taken the benefit of the CRM to a whole new level, because Sales can prioritize who they’re calling with logic behind it.
Marketers in this situation sometimes ask us, “Can’t I do lead scoring and then just output a report from Eloqua and give it to the head of sales?” The answer is no: a queue of leads is not just a to-do list. Sales people want to know “who’s hot right now.” When you have a lead scoring system, the priority list is systematically changing throughout the day. If you’re using a static tool like a spreadsheet for tracking, you miss the dynamic aspect that a CRM provides. You simply won’t get the ROI from your marketing automation system without pairing it with a good CRM.
4. Do you have a marketing automation system?
“Can’t lead scoring be done in the CRM?” we’re often asked. Again, the answer is really no. While it’s technically possible to build some formulas in a CRM, the CRM can’t measure interest level or digital body language–factors that are necessary for successful lead scoring. That’s why the vast majority of lead scoring is done in the marketing automation system. All the tools and technology for building lead scoring are in the MA system, and in some environments you can gate non-sales-ready responders from going over to the CRM until they reach a certain scoring threshold.
5. Is there a willingness among the Sales and Marketing staff to establish cultural alignment?
Lead scoring is a system that helps Marketing capture some of this qualification information on the website and then enables the information to pass to Sales in a prioritized way. If conversations between Sales and Marketing usually start with Sales saying “All your leads suck,” and end with Marketing saying “You don’t follow up on anything,” that’s a good indication that both parties could benefit from lead scoring. The question is: is there a willingness among the individuals involved to come together, have the important conversation to define your ideal customer profile, and share in the responsibility of qualifying leads?
Marketing has to be willing to move beyond just getting people to raise their hands. As a marketer, you and your team need to feel the passion of actually contributing to a sale. You have to run campaigns that ultimately lead to revenue, as opposed to running campaigns where the primary measurement is response. Marketers who only care about response might not want to participate in this process. On the flip side, if Sales just wants as many leads as possible in any shape or form, and believes that it’s not Marketing’s job to do any qualification, they may not understand the value that lead scoring will bring. The idea of holding back leads from the Sales team that are not sales-ready can be frightening: maybe they think they won’t have enough leads to work, they’ll lose commissions, or Marketing will do some much qualification that their jobs will become redundant!
The company name DemandGen came from the concept of a cross-functional demand generation task force. Including both the Sales and Marketing team on this task force for demand generation is a way to share the roles and responsibilities together. Blurring the line as to what belongs to who is a great first step in starting this dialogue. Explore the idea with the Sales and Marketing teams, and see what kind of feedback you receive: that’s a good way to tell if you’re ready to be culturally aligned.
6. Do you have experienced resources?
Sales is good at taking prospects, moving them through the buying cycle, and turning them into customers. Marketing is good at creating awareness and educating prospects on the benefits of buying products and services. Most likely, no one on either of these teams has ever tackled a systematic, analytical approach to qualification.
Who’s going to build, deploy, and train the team on the lead scoring system, as well as maintain and update it? The companies that are really succeeding with lead scoring are hiring experienced people to join their teams, or (warning: shameless plug coming) working with a third party like DemandGen. You really do need resources to help you: experts that are building lead scoring systems day in and day out for dozens of clients, large and small, in different industries around the world. That way, your lead scoring system will become a model of success.