April 9

Lead Scoring: How to pick the right ingredients for high ROI

Lead Generation


Marketers use lead scoring to slice all the potential deals in their pipelines and serve the sales team what it’s hungry for — leads that are ready to buy.

Values are assigned to each prospect based on attributes like authority, title, vertical and timing to buy, as well as behavior. For example, did the person:

  • Download a video?
  • Watch a webinar?
  • Review a price sheet?
  • Make this action in the last week or month?

Each attribute and action adds to a lead’s total score. When the score hits a pre-determined threshold, the lead is served to Sales.

It’s a process that works very well, according to the soon-to-be-released MarketingSherpa B2B Lead Benchmark Report.  The report reveals that companies that use lead scoring see an average 138% ROI on lead generation and companies that do not use it see a 79% ROI.

Select ingredients for the healthiest score

Lead scoring is a simple premise. However – like any great recipe – you need the right ingredients in the right amounts. How do you make sure you’re selecting the right attributes and activities to score? And, how do you ensure you’re ranking them correctly?

I posted those questions to Paula Reinman, SVP, Marketing, Bersin & Associates, a human resources research and consulting organization. Over the past several months, she has been in the thick of establishing and executing an automated lead-scoring program. These efforts have already produced a whopping 41% increase in revenue.

If you’re looking for the same kind of results, Reinman advises that you:

Work collaboratively with Sales from the outset

Keep Sales’ strategy, structure and culture top of mind. For instance, if you have a large inside sales team, you might want to set the threshold a little lower because of the number of people who can qualify leads further with a phone call. If you have only a handful of business development representatives, you might want to set the bar higher. But, the threshold also depends on company culture, points out Reinman.

“Some sales teams want only people who are director-level or higher — whoever is the economic buyer — so they know the budget is already there for their products,” she explains. “Yet, I have talked to other companies that say they don’t care if it’s a janitor. If it’s their target organization, they want to talk to them because they believe they can network their way up.”

Analyze content and customers

Examine how customers responded to your content as they progressed through the buying cycle. Look at your website and your content strategy. What did they receive from you via email or social media? You may even want to contact a handful of your best customers to find out what content they engaged at each stage of their buying processes.

“Think about how your best prospects would engage with you when they’re thinking about making a purchase,” advises Reinman. “For instance, someone who watched a three-minute demo, and looked at the product-specification and price list in the past week …would get a higher lead score than someone who downloaded a couple of whitepapers over the past six months.”

Continuously refine your process

Bersin uses a Customer Relationship Management system that allows anyone in the organization to see — in real time — how many leads are being generated, where they’re coming from, and what percentages are new, qualified or recycled. The marketers know precisely where lead generation resources are going and what they’re delivering.

“We watch those numbers all of the time,” notes Reinman. “If the percentage of dead leads are picking up, Sales is accepting fewer and fewer leads, or more leads are being recycled, then we know we’ve got a problem and we need to review what we’re scoring and the weight we’re giving it. The sooner you can catch issues, the better.”

She also suggests meeting with Sales at least quarterly to audit trends and activity, and adjust scores if necessary.

Want to learn more about how Reinman established a lead-scoring system? Go here: The Complex Sale: Lead Scoring Efforts Increase Conversion 79%

Related Resources:

Lead Scoring: CMOs realize a 138% lead gen ROI … and so can you

The Lament of the Inside Sales Team: Data, Data Everywhere, but Who’s Ready to Buy?

How to Use Lead Scoring to Drive the Highest Return on Your Trade-Show Investment

Funnel Optimization: Why marketers must embrace change

About the author 

Brian Carroll

Brian Carroll is the CEO and founder of markempa, helping companies to convert more customers with empathy-based marketing.

He is the author of the bestseller, Lead Generation for the Complex Sale and founded B2B Lead Roundtable LinkedIn Group with 20,301+ members.

  1. Great post and I agree on what is stated here. As you really need to analyze your customers for you to be able to know what they are looking for or what they want.

    Candice Anderson
    Electronic cash Register

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