This is probably true for any sport, but let’s look at basketball for a second:
Shorter players duck under the outstretched arms of other players and aim to aim, shoot and score a basket.
Tall, lean basketballers will usually almost dance their way around the court, and a lot of them use their height to jump and dunk (or slam-dunk if you want to really get into basketball vernacular).
And the less-than-lean players run around the court dribbling and spinning around at full speed, intimidating the rest of the players (and sometimes also the referee), mainly using size to their advantage.
If you play basketball and feel like we’re stereotyping you, we’re only generalizing to make a point.
But just like the three different players described adopt different methods to score a basket, you need to customize the method that you use to score leads. We’re not trying to convince you that you need to pursue properly qualified leads to improve your conversion rates and make the sales team’s efforts go further. You already know that lead nurturing needs to be prioritized because resources are not endless and therefore, you want to focus sales efforts on hot leads that are more likely to convert.
Instead, we’re saying this: The same lead scoring method that works for Louis Vuitton, for example, isn’t going to tell us who is a hot lead for us here at Wingman.
And the same way, if you’re selling software to other businesses, for example, you probably don’t want to blindly replicate the lead-scoring method that Target or Walmart. Simply because you do not have the same ideal customer profile.
Or a fashion retailer. Or someone who sells refrigerators.
You wouldn’t even want to blindly mimic the lead-scoring method that Apple (despite their grand success), uses.
So how do you find a lead scoring system that works for you?
Well, it’s simple - look at the various lead scoring systems out there and pick one, or pick the best parts of several models and then build your own. Assign your own point values, scoring criteria, and traits that make for a quality lead. Decide whether you will have negative scoring or not in your lead scoring process.
Here are six of the most popular lead-scoring models out there:
Lead scoring models
Lead scoring model based on background, location, and demographic information
A sales rep who is trying to bring potential customers onboard as members at a gym at X location is obviously going to score leads based on whether they live and work near the location or at least pass by it on their daily commute.
A hyper-local product or solution (like an app for tracking and monitoring wildfires in California) would definitely derive value from a lead scoring model that considers customer traits linked to their background, location, and demographics.
Similarly, age and family size come into play for several types of products. “Practical SUVs” typically appeal to families with kids. Similarly, you might market homes “that have great schools in the area” to families. But you might market homes that are a “stone’s throw away from the party district” to a different type of demographic. The numeric value you assign to a lead will be based on how well their traits align with what your product brings to the table.
Although this lead scoring model might often be called basic or vanilla, it could prove useful to sales reps in situations where background, location, and demographic information impact your prospect’s buying decision (or the appeal of your product to them).
This type of information is derived either from a preliminary conversation or from existing market research data.
Lead scoring model based on firmographic data
This type of lead scoring model is the go-to for a lot of B2B sales teams. The prospect’s sector, company size, job title, and decision-making authority go into judging whether the new lead has the actual potential to become a customer.
You don’t want to talk to the head of public relations when you’re selling a piece of tech. You want to talk to procurement or the head of technology or the head of the company. Maybe to the HR if it's a people-management tool, but certainly not the PR department unless it's a press-management tool.
Similarly, a startup with five people is going to have very different requirements as compared to a startup that employs 30 to 50 people.
The sales rep will usually gather firmographic information during their first interaction with the prospect or from existing database information - which gets stale very fast, mind you, so be sure to verify that your information is correct when you do speak to your lead.
Lead scoring based on product-linked behavior
You obviously want to focus your efforts on people who recently visited your website and do what it takes (objection management, subtle competitor maligning, special offer, free demo, bundled service, complimentary cupcakes…) to draw them into making a purchase.
This type of lead scoring looks at how a prospect interacts with your brand or product. Have they visited your pricing page several times over the last week? Do they tend to buy some of your products every year around Thanksgiving? Are they adding items to their cart? How many email opens have they shown? Do they frequently attend your webinars?
This type of lead scoring process might also consider the prospect’s progress along their buyer’s journey or where in the sales process they currently stand.
The salesforce could get this type of data by asking their prospects, but most commonly, this type of lead scoring is handled by some sort of platform so as to channel the salesforce’s efforts to more promising leads.
Google Analytics and HubSpot can help sales teams track down prospects who show potential for conversion into paying customers.
A word of caution here:
Students visit websites for project research. Your competitors visit your website and your social media as part of competitor analysis.
Someone might just be visiting your website to prove a point about something to a friend.
There are lots of reasons why a lead might visit your website - so do back this type of lead scoring up with more concrete alternatives - like the one coming up next.
Lead scoring based on pain points
This is one of the strongest ways to qualify and score leads. A person with a sprained ankle is more likely than others to purchase a pain reliever spray, right?
You get the metaphor there?
For example, a salesperson should check whether people struggle to track and manage their expenses before considering them as potential leads for expense management software.
Even if the lead is in the right role to make the decision to invest in expense management software, and other companies in their sector/ geography use such a tool frequently, they’re not going to invest unless they need the product and they’ll be more likely to need a product that corresponds to resolving their life or work’s annoyances.
Especially if you are using any of the lead scoring methods that we have suggested above, it is highly advisable to back it up with the question, “does this customer have a pain point that my product has the potential to resolve?”
Now you also have a ready sales pitch. In fact, it's the commonest. You hear it all the time: “Get rid of body odor with X deodorant”
“Lose weight without dieting. Drink Y tea.
“Avoid dangerous UV exposure and still get the sun-kissed look with Z spray tan”
Lead scoring process based on goals
This type of lead scoring is very similar to pain-point-based lead scoring, except that you focus on a goal rather than a pain point.
For example, let's say that you sell software that helps marketing teams create more catchy marketing copy. You need to typically target companies that are pursuing some form of marketing efforts - they should have plans for advertising, email campaigns, or some sort of marketing strategy.
Similarly, if you are selling software that enables improved project management or software. Leads at companies that have a good volume of fast-paced, medium-to-high revenue, and medium-to-high complexity projects with multiple stakeholders and, therefore, a goal to manage projects more efficiently will be scored higher than counterparts that do not share similar goals or goal-linked traits.
You’ll be able to score leads based on the goals, for the most part, by talking to them. It's the best way to get to the bottom of what’s important to them.
Tech-enabled lead scoring
If you have the budget, you can also use artificial intelligence and machine learning (that we’re going to abbreviate as AI and ML going ahead) to score leads. With artificial intelligence and machine learning, sales heads can drive better lead scoring for their sales teams. Thanks to AI’s ability to process a large number of data points - you get the insights into what the lead expresses on social media, who they follow, what they like, other websites they have visited, and other products or solutions that they have purchased.
If you take off your sales rep hat for a second, you’ll recognize that when you search for something - or sometimes chat with your friends about it when your phone is in the same room - you’ll often see an advertisement for the same product. A little creepy, admittedly, but also highly effective.
An example to help you sail through lead scoring
Let’s look at HubSpot’s lead-scoring model as an example that sales teams can emulate.
HubSpot is able to trawl through thousands of data points using AI and ML. Of course, the use of AI and ML directly means that the lead scoring model is only going to get better and better over time as it learns more and optimizes its learnings.
Sales managers can also add additional fields to the lead scoring model in order to customize HubSpot’s overall model for their business or sector.
What we love about this model: A lot of products have multiple market segments. For example, Microsoft’s spreadsheets are used by school teachers to plan their lessons as much as it is used by project managers, product teams, and accountants. A homemaker might use it to tabulate their personal expenses or their family’s investments, or their children’s vaccinations.
Your sales team might be marketing to various audiences, or maybe you have silos within the salesforce focussing on specific target segments where leads need to be scored differently. Your business might also be expanding into new markets, where sales reps might need lead scoring that takes the new context into consideration.
HubSpot’s lead scoring model takes this aspect of multiple audiences for a single product into account. It allows you to create unique score sheets for specific target segments.
If you are planning on building your own lead scoring strategy, here are three pointers that you definitely want to carry home from HubSpot’s lead scoring process:
- Provided you have the budget, use AI and ML to bring automation to collecting preliminary lead scoring data and scoring leads. (Worry not if you do not have the budget. Wingman has your back here).
- Avoid constructing and cementing the lead scoring model in such a way that it cannot evolve or be customized over time. The market and selling environment evolve. Your lead scoring model should have the capacity to keep up.
- Have different models for different target segments. But only if there are different factors that drive the intent and decision to purchase your product. Leave room for it in any case because - see point 2.
Wingman gives you vital information to bolster your lead scoring model
All the data you need to begin scoring leads is within reach when you use Wingman. Here’s how: Wingman’s automated call transcription and note-taking lets your sales rep focus on getting the data and making a connection with the lead during their discovery call.
After acing the call and being sufficiently warm and attentive (because they aren’t busy making notes of what the prospect is saying), they can go back to the call recording and draw out all the necessary lead scoring information. Alternatively, call recordings can be passed on to data management or data entry teams, freeing up your sales reps for what they do best.
Sales teams that have been using Wingman already have a treasure trove of historical data that they can use for lead generation and qualifying leads and creating buyer personas. (Buyer personas and qualifying leads to go hand-in-hand. You need an ideal customer in mind so as to put numeric values to leads based on how much they match up to the buyer persona).
Wingman also prompts sales reps to get more information about prospects while on call. It gives them live cues and battle cards on call to tackle sales objections, competitor mentions, and any tricky situations that might crop up.
Wingman helps sales teams streamline their lead scoring but also helps sales teams to perform better while they are fine-tuning (or creating from scratch) their lead scoring models.
Try selling with Wingman on your team - get a free demo today and experience the difference hands-on.