How To Qualify and Score Leads

I've spent a fair amount of time on this blog discussing ways in which you can efficiently generate good leads for your business, although until now I haven't written a post specifically about how you can qualify and score leads. Learning this important skill can help to take a lot of the guesswork out of your sales process and can allow you to focus your time and efforts more keenly.

What is lead qualification and scoring?

The definition of lead qualification is that it's simply the process of making sure that your leads are actually useful - that they have passed the standard you have set for qualification. This may be that the person needs to have sole authority to purchase, or that the company is in the market and can purchase within 3 months. There can be many more variables according to different criteria.

Many individuals and businesses opt to use the 'BANT' framework. 'BANT' stands for 'Budget, Authority, Need and Timescale'. Therefore, a lead would only be considered 'qualified' if they had the need for your service, your prospect had the authority and budget to sign off on your deal and they could also do so in a reasonable time-frame.

The definition of lead scoring would be something along the lines of attributing a score to a lead based on how they have interacted with communications from you, or on publicly available properties such as your website.

For example, you could attribute a score of, say, 10 points if your lead had downloaded an e-book from an email you sent them, or 4 points if they had visited your website in the last 30 days. It then follows that the leads with the higher scores are more actively engaged with your brand and are therefore closer to the point of doing business with you.

How do you use both processes together?

Combining the two process is pretty straightforward and incredibly useful. Let's say that you had a group of qualified leads who had all met the following criteria:

-  They had a confirmed need for the product or service you offer
-  They had confirmed that your rates were within the budget they had available
-  They had the authority to sign off on the deal with you
-  They expected to complete the purchase within 3 months
However, although your leads have been qualified, it's important to remember that they are no-where near being your customers just yet. This is because most prospects will seriously look at at least 3 possible partners, meaning that some of your competitors are most likely at the same stage as you at this point

This is where lead scoring can help you. It will help you ascertain which of your leads are most interested and which seem to have cooled off a little. Both of these groups are worth noting and taking good care of - leads who are actively engaged can possibly be closed a little quicker than expected, while leads that seem to have cooled off perhaps require a different tact to warm them up.

The important point with this is that by scoring your leads, you in a position to act much more proactively and intelligently.

Also, for more information on understand the difference between a contact, a lead and opportunity, please see this post.

Thanks again for reading :-) 

By Alan MacDougall

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Revenue Builder is a small business marketing strategy and tips blog designed to help small business owners and startups maximise sales revenue.

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