How to Qualify a Lead (Lies, Damn Lies and Lead Scoring)

By: Alex Greger  | 08/15/2015

How does your marketing and sales team qualify a lead? Do you pick up the phone as soon as a prospect downloads your latest case study? Or do you have a strategy to qualify a prospect based on behavior and demographic data and only call those appropriate prospects?

Here’s a scenario:

Say you receive 100 new leads a week and, on average, a sales team member spends 15 minutes on each call.  This is equivalent to 25 hours on the phone each week.  How many of those prospects actually convert? If only 10 of those leads convert (that would be huge!), giving you a 10% conversion on your calls.  However, you then have wasted 22.5 hours a week (that is half of the work week!) calling all those other prospects that were not ready to purchase or qualified.

To help sales teams be more efficient, the strategy of qualifying a lead through lead scoring has been introduced. Lead scoring defined by is “the process of assigning a ranking to sales prospects based on an understanding of the prospects’ interests and buying intentions.”

The majority of marketing automation systems have a lead scoring program built into their platforms. You can customize these programs to look at specific data points based on your business and audience.  As prospects are added or updated to your database, they are then scored based on their behavior and demographic data. Once the prospect’s lead score crosses a threshold defined by your marketing and sales team, the lead is qualified and ready for sales interaction.

Let’s look at our scenario again after we have implemented a lead scoring model:

Say you receive 100 new leads a week and, on average, 50 of those are qualified based on behavior and demographic data. Again, on average, a sales team member spends 15 minutes on each call.  Only now, this is equivalent to 12.5 hours on the phone each week because we are only contacting those that are qualified. Since these are more qualified leads, they are more apt to purchase.  Therefore, if 15 of those leads convert, you have a 30% conversion on your calls.  Additionally, you have only spent 8.75 hours a week calling the other leads that did not convert.  This has provided you more time to work on other accounts or tasks.
Though a lead score will not be a 100% perfect model to show true qualified leads, it will help gain efficiencies within your sales team.  It also allows your marketing team to show more ROI towards their campaigns.  Here are a few steps when looking to introduce lead scoring into your marketing strategy:
  • First, you need a checklist of what makes up a qualified lead.  What are the key data points that represent your best customers? What is the ideal prospect that your sales team looks for?
  • Secondly, determine the hierarchy for these data points. Is job title more important than company size, and which job titles fit within your key audience?
  • Finally, add questions to gather these data points into your gated asset forms and key marketing touch points.
How do you qualify a lead? What efficiencies have you seen since implementing a lead score model? Let us know in the comments below!


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