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What Is Lead Scoring and Which Are the Latest Trends to Follow

What Is Lead Scoring and Which Are the Latest Trends to Follow

Lead scoring is a hot topic these days, but what exactly is it? Simply put, it’s a way to rank potential customers (or leads) based on their perceived value and readiness to buy.

In this article, we’ll break down the basics of the lead management process, where the scoring fits in, and how it works. Plus, we’ll go through the trends that are shaking up the field and making the work easier.

Whether you’re a newbie or experienced sales rep you’ll want to keep on reading. Let’s get started!

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Lead Management Process

The lead management process is where you efficiently move your leads through the sales cycle, and generally includes the following..

  • Lead generation. gathering contact info from people who may be interested in your product/service. This could be done through social media, online ads, events, referrals, etc. Sometimes it is also called ‘lead capture’.
  • Lead tracking. Here information is collected about your leads and their interactions with you, your website, content on social media, and emails. This can help you better understand a lead and their interest in what you’re offering to potentially create or refine your Ideal Client Profile (ICP).
  • Lead scoring. At this stage each lead is assigned a numeric value that indicates their sales readiness based on their behaviors and profile fit. Highest-scoring leads are prioritized.
  • Lead qualification. Since only some generated leads will be a great fit, you’ll want to qualify them based on criteria like budget, needs, and timing. The qualified leads get passed to the sales team.
  • Lead nurturing. Some leads are not-quite-ready leads and require a little bit of nurturing or convincing. This could involve sending targeted content, special offers, reminders, and other forms of engagement that slowly guide them toward a purchasing decision.
  • Lead conversion. This is where leads finally enter the sales pipeline because they’re now ready to buy. The sales team works on presenting solutions and ultimately closing the deal.

Lead management is an ongoing cycle of finding new customers, and convincing and guiding them through the sales cycle before they finally leave as customers. However, sometimes leads exit before the end, but that’s okay since it’s all a natural part of the cycle.

Usually, marketers use automation systems for the management process, or customer relationship management (CRM) software.The difference is that a CRM addresses the entire customer journey, integrating lead management built-in features, while lead management software focuses specifically on the lead lifecycle from generation to conversion. However, both systems often overlap in functionality and usage.

Lead Management Process

What Is Lead Scoring?

Lead scoring is when you give values, such as points, to your leads based on specific criteria that prioritize, generally, from most to least valuable.

The most basic way to build such is to analyze historical data such as contact information and demographics, and identify commonalities among existing customers. Then, you can look at those who didn’t buy and what are their common attributes. In such a way you identify which factors contributed to the purchase decision.

A good approach is to divide your criteria based on the type of data you collect. Usually, there are a few common types of information you need:

  1. Demographic information. You can collect demographic information through forms and landing pages. This will give you an understanding of how your actual audience fits into your target demographics.
  2. Company information. B2B organizations are interested in selling to companies, so it’s important to have information about the size, type, industry, and whether they are B2B or B2C. Include relevant questions on your landing pages to collect this data. Then, assign points based on how well the companies you do business with align with your own interest.
  3. Online Behavior and email interaction. You gather information about your lead’s online behavior, such as whether they’ve downloaded white papers, how many, and how frequently. You can also track actions like filling out email pop-ups and opening nurturing emails. The aim is to assign more points to those who demonstrate higher levels of engagement.
  4. Social Engagement. The level of interaction a user has with your brand on social media can indicate their interest. How often do they click on your company’s posts? You might want to give more points to those who engage with you through social media especially if your business depends a lot on social media exposure.

In the end you will end up with something like this:

It might sound straightforward, but it’s often a lot of work, and can quickly become quite complicated as not all leads are equal, and not all criteria carry the same weight. Here’s where technologies based on machine learning and AI can help.

Trends and Technologies in Lead Scoring

Let’s see how to work smarter and more effectively.

Predictive Lead Scoring

Predictive lead scoring is an advanced approach that uses data and artificial intelligence to automatically score leads based on their likelihood to convert into paying customers.

Here’s how it works: Imagine, there are thousands of leads that have interacted with your business in some way – visiting your website, downloading resources, attending events, etc. With predictive scoring, you can feed all the data about these leads’ activities and behaviors into a machine-learning model. It then analyzes and identifies patterns from the leads that will end up converting versus those that don’t. It learns what characteristics and actions are most predictive of a successful conversion.

Using those patterns, the model then scores each new lead with a probability percentage of how likely they are to buy.

So instead of manually scoring based on guesswork criteria, predictive scoring taps into actual data to intelligently prioritize the hottest prospects.

The more data you feed the model over time, the smarter and more accurate the predictive scoring becomes. Keap and SharpSpring for instance can do it for your business.

Dynamic Lead Scoring

Traditionally, you can assign static point values to different attributes and activities. For example, a user gets 100 points for being a manager, 50 points for downloading a whitepaper, etc. Their total score determines if they are hot, warm, or cold.

The problem is that this “one-size-fits-all” approach fails to demonstrate how a lead’s level of sales readiness can change over time.

Dynamic scoring takes a more adaptive approach. Instead of assigning fixed point values, it uses analytics to continuously update and adjust a lead’s score in real time based on their latest interactions and profile changes. It automatically raises or lowers a lead’s priority. This way, each lead gets a hyper-personalized, up-to-the-minute score that’s tailored to their specific buyer’s journey and mindset at any given moment.

Tools examples include Salesforce Sales Cloud and Zoho CRM.

Social Media Listening

Social media listening or social scoring expands the traditional scoring model to incorporate signals and data from a lead’s social media engagement and presence.

For instance, you have a lead who hasn’t visited your website or clicked open any of your emails. Based on traditional scoring factors alone, this user would most likely have a pretty low/cold score. However, with social scoring, you can identify social “micro-actions” that indicate interest and sales-readiness through their activity on social channels. Things like likes, mentionings, engaging on LinkedIn, sharing, etc.

By monitoring and feeding these social signals into the model, you can boost the scores of socially engaged prospects accordingly.

Helpful tools are Sprout Social and Buffer.

Social Media Listening

Gamified Lead Scoring

Gamified lead scoring aims to make the process more interactive and rewarding for potential buyers. Think of it like a customer loyalty program but for leads. The idea is to motivate and incentivize leads by making everything feel like a game with points, badges, levels, and rewards.

Here’s generally how it works: Leads start at a base level/score, say 100 points. Then, you assign point values to key engagement activities you want to encourage like:

  • Attend a webinar (+50 points)
  • Leave a positive product review (+75 points)
  • Share content on social media (+25 points)
  • Refer a friend (+100 points)

As leads complete these “quests” and rack up points through gameplay, they level up and access new perks/rewards like exclusive content or product trials, discounts or free swag, and chances to win bigger prizes.

The more engaged a person is in racking up points, the higher the score becomes. Gamification can be done using platforms, such as Bunchball, or Influitive.

Account-Based Lead Scoring

In the B2B world, buying decisions often involve multiple stakeholders from the same company or account. An account-based approach considers not just the individual lead, but their company/account as a whole when calculating a score.

Here’s how it works: Let’s say you have three leads from Company XYZ – a marketing manager, an IT director, and a finance VP. Individually, their personal scores might not be that impressive based on their role, activities, etc. However, with account-based scoring, the system looks at their scores collectively as an “account” and potentially increases their priority and value. Why? Because having multiple involved decision-makers from different departments at the same company is a strong buying signal.

Furthermore, models can factor highly valuable account-level signals such as the company’s industry, size, revenue, growth trends, technologies used, and more into the scoring equation.

So while Jane from marketing may seem like a modest lead, when combined and stacked with her team of colleagues, her account-based score could skyrocket.

For account-based lead scoring tools look at CRMs such as ActiveCampaign and .

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Wrap Up

At the end of the day, lead scoring is constantly evolving as buyers become more sophisticated and their journeys increasingly complex.

Trying to manually identify the hottest, newest leads and prioritize it has become increasingly hard as well. This is where predictive lead-scoring technologies that use artificial intelligence and data-driven models become game-changers. Automation allows companies to now focus their energy on the most high-value leads available at the moment and maximize their outreach, strategies and efforts, and revenue.