Prospect Scoring vs. Progressive Lead Scoring

If you work in B2B sales, you know how important it is to understand the characteristics of the companies and decision makers you are trying to target. Familiarizing yourself with their needs and purchasing habits will enable you to figure out which products will appeal to them most and approach you should use in closing a deal.

Photo by Khyta / Unsplash

Once you have determined the characteristics of the companies you are targeting, you can also determine how strong of a lead they are, i.e. how likely they will be to purchase from your company. That way you can decide how much of your time, money and energy you devote to chasing those leads.

One way you keep track of who your strongest leads are is by developing a scoring system. However, most companies only look at scoring potential prospects without progressively scoring there current prospects. Let’s look at two scoring methods to learn how they can make the sales process more efficient.

What is Prospect Scoring?

Prospect scoring should occur during the persona development phase. During this time, companies should work to determine the main characteristics of these personas and the score each should receive.

Start by creating a breakdown of the persona of the target person within each market. This can be the CEO or someone in management but basically you will be looking for the person who holds the reins when it comes to making purchasing decisions. The characteristics of the company they work for should be considered here as well.

Some characteristics you want to consider in creating your breakdown include the following: geography, yearly revenue, year company founded, job title, time in office, any current RFPs, project budget/marketing spend, number of employees, and social media profile

Once you have gathered this information, you can give the company and its representative a score based on how strong of a lead you think they will be.

What is Progressive Scoring?

A lead’s score can change during the sales process. The more engagements they have with your business, the higher their score should be. Types of engagements can include clicking on an email or ad, visiting your web site or even doing nothing at all and can be tracked using cookies, IP tracking, or your CRM.

This continuing process of tracking lead progress is called progressive scoring. At a very basic level, a new prospect might have a score of 1; but when they begin visiting your web site,  clicking links, or replying to your emails, they are then engaged and score should increase to reflect their level of engagement. 

What Should I Look at When Lead Scoring?

Now that we understand a bit about lead scoring, let’s determine how we go about coming up with the numbers. Scoring is about more than just engagement, it’s about behavior. It’s about how they interact with your website and how often.

When analyzing behavior to come up with a score, here are some things that should be considered.

Page Views: The more engaged a person becomes with your content, the more likely they are to buy a product from you. Look at your contacts and see how many have viewed your pages 5 times, then 10 or 20. Once you have determined which of your customers have had the most page views, you know who you should be targeting.

Content They Find Engaging: You can score contacts based on not only the number of pages they are visiting but the type of content they are engaging with. For instance, if a consumer reads one of your blogs for educational purposes, that’s one thing but if they visited your pricing page you know they are probably interested in purchasing.

Web Site Visits: When visiting your web site, some contacts will become more engaged than others. Although it is ideal for people to be reading your content, web visits will also indicate interest and those that are visiting your site often should be considered strong prospects.

Offers Converted: Some contacts may not have made a purchase, but they may have signed up for free offers and promotions. These people should also score highly, especially if the offers they signed up for include free trials and consultations.

Email Engagement: Emails can be a powerful way to connect with your contacts as it typically yields a high ROI. They are also a great way to determine how interested your contacts are.

Keep track of who is opening your emails, clicking on the links or deleting them and marking them as spam. Obviously, anyone who is responding positively to your emails will be someone you will want to pursue and those that are ignoring them will not be worth the effort.

Leads that Have Gone Cold: Sometimes it may seem as if a lead is eager to work with your company, but over time, they cool off and stop engaging and responding to your communication. If this is the case, you are best off eliminating them from your contacts rather than holding on to see if the winds might change.

How Do You Score Leads?

Every company has a different way of scoring leads and it’s virtually impossible to advise anyone in an article on how they should be setting up their scoring system. However, once scores are put in place, here are some ways you can act based on those numbers.

3rd Tier: Anyone who has scored minimum points on your scoring system should definitely be on your radar. You may not want to call them just yet, but it’s a good idea to send them a targeted email with more information on your company and products.

2nd Tier: At this point, you should be doing research to find out more about this person/prospective company. Check out their company website and LinkedIn profiles, do your legwork. Once you have determined key characteristics, pass these on to your sales team.

1sr Tier: You should be making direct contact with anyone that has scored the highest number of points. If you haven’t called them yet, what are you waiting for? Also, think creating a lead sheet to share with other departments in preparation for a demo or proposal.

Note, you should have a wide range of scores within your system. If you are finding that most of your contacts are scoring in one range, you may want to rethink your criteria.

Progressive scoring and prospect scoring are very important in helping you determine who is a strong lead and who is not. Use these tools to determine which leads are worth your effort and which are not. Good luck making your sales process more efficient and bringing in those conversions!