Using Lead Scoring To Filter And Work Your Sales Queue

As a salesperson, one of the biggest challenges is knowing exactly who to contact and when. The right call or email at exactly the right time can be the difference winning or losing a deal. The more insight you have into your prospect’s behavior, the better your timing will be and the more deals you will close. A marketing automation platform or CRM is the best tool to use to gain these valuable insights and create automated workflows for your sales funnel.

Definition Of A “Hot” Lead

To understand how to identify a “hot” lead, it is first important to understand how to define one. I will begin by showing you how a typical sales funnel is constructed and where these leads fall within the funnel.

The sales process overlaps many several parts of the standard AIDA funnel, but here are the best ways to summarize the areas of relevance:

  • Awareness – The top of the sales funnel is where a prospect becomes aware of your brand and the services you offer. They may have no need for your services at this time, but if you provide them valuable content regularly they will continue to engage with you or your company. These leads are considered “cool” on the temperature scale and should be nurtured automatically until warm.
  • Evaluation – The middle phase of the sales funnel (Interest in the AIDA funnel) is when a prospect identifies that they have an eventual need for the service you offer. They now begin to evaluate your company as well as your competitors to determine what is the best fit for them. These leads are considered “warm” on the temperature scale and should become manually workable in your queue.
  • Decision – The bottom phase of the sales funnel is when a prospect makes an indefinite purchase decision. They are ready to buy whether it is from you or someone else and this is your last chance to sway them in your direction. These leads are considered “hot” on the temperature scale and should require your prompt attention.

Tracking Activity With a CRM

Using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform is the best way to track your leads and easily identify where each of them is within the sales funnel. This ensures that you are only spending time following up on warm and hot leads as the cooler leads have time to nurture automatically.

Different CRMs offer a multitude of options and features, all which come at different costs. If you are starting small, I would recommend looking for one that you can deploy for free that offers a premium version for additional features. Always be sure to use a system that allows you to create automation workflows such as drip email campaigns and has lead scoring ability. This is crucial in helping you identify which leads are the hottest within your queue.

Deploying A Lead Scoring System

Before you begin developing automated workflows in your CRM, you should first document your lead scoring values. To better clarify, here is a list of actions that our firm used to determine how we scored leads based on their behaviors.

In developing your system, be sure to weigh the score values appropriately based on the significance of the action. For example, a prospect setting a calendar appointment shows significantly more intent than if they simply clicked on a link to your website, thus should yield a higher point value for that action.

It is equally important to decrease the lead score for negative actions such as bounces, unsubscribes, or if the prospect responds that they are “not interested.” Continuing to pitch these prospects after this occurs can cause more trouble than it is worth. In most cases, we recommend resetting the scores to zero and transferring the contacts out of your queue.

Automating Actions Based On Score

After you have a documented your lead scoring system, you can begin to implement it within your CRM to automate tasks after your initial point of engagement. For example, if you offer an ebook on your website, you can use these workflows to deliver the ebook and then send follow up emails for several weeks after to hopefully transition the prospect into the next phase of the funnel.

As the prospect engages with your emails their score will increase, demonstrating their intent and where they are at on the temperature scale. Now you can create additional automated tasks such as calendar reminders, campaign transfers, or reassignments when the score reaches certain thresholds.

This logic and automation allows you to make the most of your time selling, focusing primarily on the hottest leads and letting the automation do the heavy lifting. Whether you are a full time Sales Rep or an MSP Owner that sells on-occasion, using lead scoring and automation is an excellent way to increase your sales productivity and close more deals in less time.