A Lead Scoring Primer...The Precursor to Good Lead Management Process

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When your company is ready to dip its toe into the lead management/marketing automation realm, one of the key decision points you will reach is "do we implement an automated lead scoring model?".  Part of the reason this is a key decision point is because marketing automation and lead management solutions, like SalesFUSION, are a precursor to good lead management process automation.  In fact, many professional b2b marketers would argue that marketing automation without lead scoring is nothing more than souped-up email marketing application.

Lead scoring is the process by which we assign relative value to actions and data related to leads.  The values assigned to actions accrue into a score.  The score then drives automated actions that typically integrate and interact with the CRM system.  Marketing automation platforms have come a long way over the last five years and lead scoring has gotten easier to set up and manage.  As such, more and more companies are interested in setting up their first lead scoring model for Microsoft Dynamics.  Below is the hot-list of items you need to think about before you start a lead scoring/routing project.

Who Owns the Lead Scoring Model?  The first step in setting up a lead scoring model and lead routing program is to determine who owns the process. In many companies Sales will collaborate with Marketing to define the elements of the scoring model and help establish the relative point values of actions and activities.  At the end of the day, however, marketing should take full ownership of the lead scoring model because the lead score is the determining factor as to whether a lead goes to sales or stays within the control of marketing.  In defining the elements to the lead scoring model, marketing and sales should set several meetings to review what is score-able in the model and what the relative values are for the score-able actions.  Creating the initial blueprint for the scoring model will force collaboration between marketing and sales, which is always a positive activity in any company!  A good way for marketing to facilitate this initial step is to create spreadsheet of which actions and data points will potentially be scored.  An example of this is:

  • Web hits – Any web page visit
  • Email opens – any email open
  • Demographic – title  equals CIO
  • Website – downloads white paper

Having the score-able actions and data points in hand to review with sales in the first meeting will make it much easier for sales to assist in providing meaningful input into the scoring model

Determining the value of Score-able Actions:  The next step once marketing and sales have agreed to build a model and the elements of the model are defined, is to provide a value/weight to the individual data points.  In this meeting, marketing should be prepared to show sales elements such as assets and pages on the website.  Sales should provide some insight into what they think is high, medium, and low value.  For example, a visit to the website in general may have a relatively low value (1-5 points) whereas multiple visits to the site in a 5-day period may have a much higher value (10-25 points).  Sales needs to understand the rationale behind the model so they can understand and accept the higher-value leads once they begin to flow into CRM.

Creating Scoring Groups: the addition of the points assigned to each action & demographic element should result in membership in a scoring group.  Scoring groups should have a logical name (gold, silver; hot, cold) that is easily recognized by the sales team.  The scoring name will be populated into a custom field in CRM in the lead and contact entities.  Placing the scoring name in a database field in Dynamics is key because this will allow for native reporting and the creation of call-down lists for sales using the advanced find query function in CRM.  It is also extremely important that this data element be present in CRM because marketing can track sales opportunities and lead status of “hot” leads that are passed to CRM (more on this in the following section).

Creating the Routing Rules: Once the scoring groups are created, it is now time to create the routing rules.  Firstly, it should be understood between marketing and sales that when a “hot” lead is passed from marketing to CRM that the sales team has immediate responsibility to follow up with the lead.  Systems like SalesFUSION allow for setting scoring alerts via MS Outlook so that the reps receive an alert outside of the framework of CRM to notify them that they have a hot lead.  There should be an established process for lead follow up that the sales team agrees to be accountable to.  Example:  All hot leads passed to CRM will receive a direct phone call by the assigned sales rep within 4 hours.  Conversely, there should be a routing model in place wherein warm to cold leads are placed into automated nurture campaigns (pre-built, automated emails over a certain time period).  These nurture campaigns are designed to send highly personalized email communications out to the leads to illicit additional interaction, which would score the lead up, or result in an opt-out, which would score the lead down and out of future campaigns.

Creating the Feedback Loop: As mentioned before, it will be critical to place the lead scoring name in a database field inside of the lead/contact entities.  In doing so, marketing will be able to pull periodic reports on the health of the lead scoring model based upon the lead status disposition changes for “hot” leads passed to CRM.  The report should show that if X amount of “Hot” leads were passed to CRM, a fair percentage of these leads should move forward in the sales cycle (example for lead status would be that if less than 50% of “Hot” leads are changed to “qualified” status in CRM, then the model needs adjusting).  This type of reporting acts as a validation of the established lead scoring rule for both marketing and sales.

Testing and Adjusting:  A new lead scoring model should be run for a period of about 90-days during which time marketing & sales should meet periodically to review the leads and discuss the lead dispositions from the hot leads.  Regular communication between marketing and sales during the initial release period for the lead scoring model will help both sides make the necessary adjustments and ensure the lead scoring model is accurate for the long term.

Taking these key steps during the planning and roll out of a lead scoring model will dramatically improve the overall lead to revenue cycle in your company.
SalesFUSION is a long-time ISV Partner for Microsoft Dynamics and provides a complete, enterprise-class marketing automation platform that is directly embedded to Microsoft CRM.  With over 150+ active deployments on Dynamics 4.0 and 2011, SalesFUSION has more experience with Microsoft CRM than any other independent ISV in the marketing automation space.

by SalesFUSION

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