When we talk about the inbound marketing methodology, we talk about lead generation as being one of the primary functions. As you soldier on with your lead generation efforts, there comes a point when your inbound marketing strategy is in place, you’ve published compelling content, and your website is converting leads like a well-oiled machine. Now you’ve run into a new problem: you have too many leads for your sales team to follow up on, and as the nature of the internet dictates, not all the leads you generate are truly qualified, interested buyers. So even though you can expand your sales team to accommodate the increase in leads, your sales team is spending a portion of its time chasing leads that ultimately won’t become sales qualified leads.
Make a list
To start this process, make a list of all the ways a prospect can interact with your marketing. Some examples include clicking on emails you send to prospects, providing specific answers to questions on forms, or repeatedly visiting a certain page on your site. Be as thorough as possible and make sure to account for even the most minor actions. Many seemingly inconsequential actions could end up having a latent significance. Don’t be afraid to go back and add to this list as you think of new actions during the lead grading process.
Not all actions are created equal
Next, you need to think about which of these actions are indicative of a prospect’s interest in buying your product or service. This may take a bit of testing and research by looking at the actions of your existing sales qualified leads and spotting trends. If you don’t nail it the first time, don’t worry. The name of the inbound marketing game is testing and tweaking.
Now that you know which actions hold more esteem than others, it’s time to assign point values to them. As your leads perform actions and engage in behaviors that your testing shows is indicative of a sales qualified lead, they will receive the point values you set for those actions.
Assigning points to leads has no real value without a tolerance. Determine and set a point threshold for your leads to reach. One way to determine this threshold is by looking at your current sales qualified leads and finding the minimum number of points it takes to be a sales qualified lead. Once the threshold is reached, the lead becomes a marketing qualified lead, and has a chance to become a sales qualified lead. Note: for more information on marketing and sales qualified leads, read my post on the difference between marketing and sales qualified leads.
The points here are arbitrary - you can use whatever scale suits your fancy. When starting off, it may be a good idea to go with 0-100 scale, for simplicity’s sake. But as the number of actions to be graded grows, you may want to consider increasing your scale or altering the point values given to each action. Think of it like a game of “Whose Line Is It Anyway”. The points are arbitrary - the winner could have 200 points in one episode and 200,000 in the next. It doesn’t matter, because the players that make you laugh the hardest are the ones you want to see come back again and again. Looking at everything like a game of “Whose Line Is It Anyway” sounds like a good way to go through life, doesn’t it?
In the end, you’ll be able to help your sales team operate more efficiently and you’ll have a list of sales qualified leads who are ready and willing to become customers. Best of all, it’ll be that much easier to see the ROI on all your marketing efforts.
Photo Credit: wonderferret via Flickr