Your online marketing efforts may be helping you rack up a lot of leads--but how do you know if all that work is bringing in the right kind of potential customers?
For that, you need a lead-scoring model. Lead scoring ranks leads generated from your website according to their purchase readiness. The exercise helps you move purchase-ready visitors to the front of the line and resource-wasting window shoppers to the back.
A lead-scoring model is a set of weighted criteria--characteristics of a purchase-ready website visitor are weighted according to how important each characteristic is. The idea is to use the characteristics of your best customers to find more customers like them.
First, identify your best customers. They typically buy products that are profitable for you (rather than buying only loss leaders), respond positively to your calls to action, make larger purchases, are repeat customers, drive referrals to your site, provide constructive feedback and do not waste your time.
Next, list the characteristics of your best customers (you will be measuring these as you score your leads).
Demographic: For a business-to-business website, the demographic may be the industry, the company's size, its location and the buyer's job title and function. For a business-to-consumer site, consider factors like location, age, gender, income and interests.
Interest interactions: Actions that convey interest include clicking an ad, reading and rating a product review, registering for an e-newsletter or downloading a whitepaper. The more time that has passed since the behavior occurred, the lower the interest score.
Purchase readiness: Qualities that determine purchase readiness include whether the prospect is currently facing a problem one of your products can solve, has a budget to cover the cost, has a limited timeframe to decide and has purchased from you before.
Now assign a score to each characteristic. Finally, define lead-scoring thresholds to route prospective customers accordingly. A score of 75 to 100 may earn a call from a top-tier salesperson, whereas a score below 50 adds the person to an automated e-mail campaign for nurturing prospects.
Setting up a lead-scoring system doesn't need to be difficult. Once yours is in place, you'll be amazed at what a difference it makes in filling your sales pipeline with qualified leads.
Mikal E. Belicove is a market positioning, social media, and management consultant specializing in website usability and business blogging. His latest book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Facebook, is now available at bookstores. For more information, visit MikalBelicove.com.