For a business to maximize revenue and profits, the sales team has to use its time strategically. Lead scoring is one of the most effective ways to enable every salesperson to optimize their time and focus on the leads that are most likely to convert into sales.
In simplest terms, a lead scoring system allows you to use data to qualify leads so your marketing and sales teams know what to do with every single lead at any moment in time.
Since every lead is not ready to buy at the moment you communicate with them (and some may never be ready to buy), lead scoring helps you not only determine which leads are viable but also align leads to the marketing funnel and buyer journey. By doing so, you’ll improve future communications and nurture the right leads from cold to hot prospects.
Determine Your Definition of a Sales Qualified Lead
There are many sales qualification frameworks that you can use to determine what constitutes an unviable, viable, marketing qualified, or sales qualified lead. Most frameworks are fairly similar with different prioritization of factors that determine qualification.
One of the most popular models is BANT, which stands for budget, authority, need, and timeline. Putting the acronym in context, BANT says, your hottest sales prospects have a budget to make a purchase, the authority to make the purchase decision, a need for your product or service, and a timeline to complete their purchase.
A few other sales qualification framework examples include:
- CHAMP: Challenges, Authority, Money, Prioritization
- ANUM: Authority, Need, Urgency, Money
- FAINT: Funds, Authority, Interest, Need, Timing
Once you pick a framework, it’s important to stick with it. Integrate your sales and marketing teams so they can work together to define what qualifies leads at each stage, and the process of turning leads into customers will be faster, easier, and more successful.
Collect Data to Score Leads
For lead scoring to work, you need to collect the right data in order to confirm prospects are the right fit. The reality is many people may be interested in what you’re selling, but they many not be the right fit for what you’re selling right now.
In other words, you need to determine if they have all of the BANT factors relative to your product or service or if they could have all of the factors in the near future. To find out, you’ll need to set up a process to consistently and continuously collect demographic data, market data, and behavioral engagement data.
Demographic data includes information about the company and the person (or people) your marketing and sales teams communicate with at the company.
For example, demographic data answers questions like what is their position? Do they have decision-making authority? What are their daily challenges? What is their biggest problem? What are their goals? What are the company’s problems and goals? Do they have a budget to buy your product or service?
Market data is particularly important in the cannabis industry because every state and local market is different. Therefore, where the company is located and where your products and services will actually be used are critical pieces of data.
In addition, answer questions like who are the company’s competitors? What operational barriers are in place due to regulations? It’s critical that you completely understand the market each prospect operates in or you won’t be able to determine fit vs. interest let alone properly score each lead.
Positive Engagement Data
Behavioral data is crucial to score leads. Think of it this way, if a person has no interest in your company, products, and services, they won’t engage with you at all. On the flip side, the more they engage positively with your brand, the more interested they are likely to be.
If the demographic and market data you’ve collected about them shows they’re the right fit, then you have a viable lead who may be marketing or sales qualified. You can gather engagement data by tracking how people engage with your email messages, website, and social media posts.
Negative Engagement Data
Not all engagement is good, so you also need to collect data about negative engagement with your brand. This includes behaviors like marking your email marketing messages as spam, not opening your email messages, unsubscribing from your marketing lists, or publishing social media posts with negative comments about your brand.
Analyze Data to Score Leads
Once you have a system in place to collect lead qualification data, you need to develop a process to score your leads and a schedule to score them. Consistency is important, so a popular lead scoring method is to use a points system.
For example, you can give every lead who opens one of your email marketing messages a certain number of points. Every lead who clicks a link inside an email marketing message gets a certain number of points. Every lead who unsubscribes loses a certain number of points, and any lead who marks your message as spam loses points. You can apply points to every type of behavior you track and then add up the points to determine lead scores.
The next step is to set point thresholds that categorize leads as unviable, viable, marketing qualified, or sales qualified. When a lead reaches the sales qualified threshold, it’s time for the sales team to start their one-to-one sales outreach efforts because these are the leads that are most likely to convert into sales. For example, if you use a lead scoring system of 0 to 100, you could set thresholds as follows:
- 0-19 points: Unviable
- 20-39 points: Viable
- 40-69 points: Marketing Qualified
- 70-100+ points: Sales Qualified
Depending on the tools you use and the data that is available, you may be able to automate much of the lead scoring process. With automation, scores are updated in real time, and you always know each lead’s score.
If you can’t automate the process, set a schedule for lead scoring and stick with it. For example, you could score leads once per month, after every five email campaigns you send, and so on. It’s up to you and depends on how much data you can collect as well as how often you communicate with leads.
Finally, it’s also important to make sure points don’t live forever. Set up a schedule to remove old points that don’t necessarily describe current behaviors. Depending on how often you communicate with leads, you may want to remove points that are three or six months old (three months if you communicate often or six months if you don’t communicate often).
Key Takeaways About Lead Scoring to Increase Sales
Lead scoring is very effective, but it may take some time to refine your system and schedule. Don’t be discouraged if you find you need to tweak your scoring or schedule. In fact, tweaking will likely need to be done more than once over time. Start collecting data and build a system and schedule that work for you and your business.
Did you know you can use the Cannabiz Media License Database to gather demographic, behavioral, market, and more data about cannabis and hemp license holders in the U.S. and international territories? You can also use features in the License Database for sales outreach and email marketing. Schedule a demo to see how a subscription can help you reach your sales and marketing goals.