In the Era of Stronger, Faster, Smarter Marketing with Automation, organizations need to understand how and when to engage with prospects and customers. Marketing automation tools integrated with CRM systems like Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and Salesforce.com provide sophisticated resources to enable a workflow to score and prioritize leads for sales follow up and continued lead nurturing.
Lead Scoring Definition and Objectives
First, let’s define lead scoring. Not all leads are created equally. Depending where your leads are in their buying cycle (or lack thereof) and who they are, they require different types of engagement with various forms of high value content. In general, lead scoring is a method to assign value on marketing and sales leads based on profile and engagement behavior. Based on the values, or score, priority is given to the type of follow up activity either by marketing (nurturing) or sales (prospecting and engagement).
The objective of lead scoring ultimately is to help drive more revenue through sales in accelerated cycles. Lead scoring helps a marketing team rate the leads to nurture and the ones that need immediate follow up and engagement with sales or channel partners.
Benefits to Lead Scoring
Lead scoring when employed with a marketing automation system can provide multiple benefits that all impact revenue generation. Firstly lead scoring helps marketing evaluate and improve the effectiveness of a campaign and content strategy. Scoring helps sales focus on the priority opportunities that have the best chance of closing in the shortest period of time. Scoring impacts how effective sales forecasts are as well.
Scoring with BANT in Mind
Lead score models can be simple or grow sophisticated. As organizations grow more sophisticated in their lead scoring, different models can be applied to different categories of prospects, customers, accounts, companies, etc. Our recommendation is conducting a thorough preliminary analysis on the ideal customer profile. From there an organization can build lead score models against the BANT model of Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeframe. Lead scoring is all the rage right now, especially in the marketing automation community. Thought leaders and vendors are clamoring and debating their own models. Keep it simple to start. BANT is a perfect launch point for lead score models.
Determine a Threshold Value for a Marketing Qualified Lead
Marketing and sales both need to agree to the definition of a marketing qualified lead. Each organization will have different definitions. Marketing should not do this unilaterally in a vacuum. The BANT model can help here. Based on activity and engagement, a contact can provide different levels of profile information that help fill out their BANT profile. This information can be gathered using different forms, emails, events and programs. At a different stage in the buying cycle, more information may be asked for and provided. A contact may not provide as much information earlier in their buying cycle. But as they progress and consume more high value content, they can provide more information on their need and project. And frankly it is fair to ask for this information at the right time and for the right content. Each point of engagement and contact adds to a score. As the score builds, a threshold will trigger handoff to sales as a marketing qualified lead.
- Is budget available for project?
- If no budget, will budget be provided
- No budget
- What is the contact’s title?
- Are they a decision maker?
- Are they an influencer?
- What problem are they trying to solve?
- Are they just researching?
- Are they job seekers?
- Are they college students?
- Are they trying to sell YOU something?
- When do they want to make a purchase decision?
Based on these basic questions you can easily see where a lead scoring model can place priority for some leads and lower priority for others. For example, a VP with final vendor selection authority and a million dollar budget who will decide in 3 months is better than some who is simply a job seeker but downloads tons of whitepapers and podcasts.
Establishing Lead Score Weight and Sizing Against Each BANT Criteria
Organizations may view and weigh each element on BANT differently. A BANT threshold model may have a a 100 point scale, or a letter scale with A,B,C, where the score levels fit within each letter grade. ut even then weights don’t tell the whole story.
Organizations can have a highly qualified BANT lead but the size of the opportunity may be relatively small. This is where simple sizing criteria can complete a scoring model such as qualitative scores such as 1, 2, 3.
Zephyr 47 works with a number of B2B enterprise software and serivces organizations. This is a scoring model commonly applied with these organizations. The X and Y axis can show qualitative and quantitative values, respectively. In this model, A leads have higher BANT ratings than C leads. Leads with 1 have a larger revenue opportunity than 4 leads. A1 leads are the premium rated leads. C4 leads would have the lowest rating.
Treatment and Process
A lead score model like this is very simple to develop and adopt. Most importantly the sales organization can easily consume this model as long as the qualitative and quantitative criteria are agreed to with marketing. A marketing automation platform can manage escalation processes based on score thresholds.
Sample Scenario: the inside sales team directive may be to work with leads from B2 to A1. Everything else below B2 must either be nurtured using a campaign implemented with the marketing automation platform. As leads are nurtured to a minimum score of B2, they are automatically escalated to sales for direct engagement.
Resources and Third Party Information