Lead Scoring Hacks

Lori Ely

Have you ever found yourself pointing fingers about lead quality – sales saying marketing isn’t sending me good leads and marketing saying sales isn’t following up?

Is your sales team saying that there are too many names to follow up with or that leads aren’t converting?

Have you wanted to do lead or engagement scoring or got started but quit because it was just too hard?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then you’re in the right spot.

Lead scoring allows you to rank individuals as a way to prioritize their value to you — so you don’t have a one-size-fits all approach. Lead scoring is often an underutilized but very powerful part of marketing automation.

As the VP of Sales and Marketing at Informz, I have been through quite the marketing automation journey – as the end-user implementing the technology, as a purchaser, and of course working at a marketing automation company.

I interviewed two of my colleagues to get different perspectives on the topic. First, Alex Mastrianni, my Marketing Manager, who will share some simple ways we use lead scoring to enable our sales team, and second, Vivian Swertinski, Strategic Services Manager who heads our strategy team and works with our clients, for examples of what they’re doing.

Lori Ely: So Alex, let’s start with you. Tell me a little bit about how your team started with lead scoring.

Alex Mastrianni: When our marketing team first implemented marketing automation, we were a two-person team overwhelmed with all of the possibilities. We really didn’t know where to start. We were anxious to get campaigns up and running, but at the same time we knew we’d need some things like lead scoring and web tracking running in the background providing us with some digital body language before we started activating campaigns.

LE: What was your strategy with your first lead scoring model?

AM: We wanted to score ALL the people. We made a mistake that we tell others NOT to make – just because you can doesn’t mean that you should.

First we mapped out all of demographic/personal info for our ideal prospect and how that translated to different lead scores. We mapped out the behavior and time ranges for each of the lead scores. It took a lot of time and cross-team communication. We wanted our sales reps to be on the same page as us. Having our teams aligned is very important.

After landing on agreed specifications, things weren’t working exactly how we thought they were going to. Constantly reworking the model ended up being more work than even getting started.

LE: It sounds like all the time and thought you put into this was a good learning experience, but that route didn’t necessarily work out for you.

AM: Right. We had too much going on. Our sales team only cared about the As. And they wanted the criteria to be pretty tight. That left the Bs, Cs, Ds, and Fs with marketing. But they were Bs, Cs, Ds and Fs for different reasons. Because of this, they weren’t getting the right attention that they needed. We were having a hard time creating the right personalized content for folks who were at a lower score, because they were there for different reasons.

LE: So what was your next move?

AM: We decided to ditch the Bs, Cs, Ds, and Fs and focus on the non-A prospects in other nurture campaigns. We devoted our attention in our lead scoring model to the “A” criteria. We also refined our process with sales to make sure that the folks that were getting scored an “A” really were deemed as marketing qualified leads and ready to be reached out to by a sales rep.

LE: How did the focus on deeming your “A” prospects change your process?

AM: We honed in on what it really means for a prospect to be an MQL. Then, we configured our scoring model to identify MQLs as they were taking certain actions and fitting certain criteria. Now, we’re more cognizant of our marketing to prospects at the top of the funnel. We are constantly thinking: what can I get these people to do to become an MQL? How can we get them to become an A? Focusing on one letter – one part of the lead scoring model – has been really good for us.

LE: What activities has your team implemented to push more prospects to the MQL stage?

AM: We’ve done a couple of things. For starters, we redesigned our welcome campaign. We restructured it around the exact criteria that it takes for someone to become an MQL. So, engaged prospects are going to get more of an expedited “Welcome to Informz” experience. If people are engaging with us, we are speeding up the process. That is a critical aspect of the “A” criteria that we weren’t taking advantage of in prior welcome campaigns.

Secondly, we’ve placed and increased focus on the type of content that we’re offering our suspects and inquiries. Your high-level content only goes so far. The content that does best for us is specific, actionable items and tips that people can implement immediately.

LE: Love it. I remember the moment when you walked into my office and said our welcome campaign and scoring models aren’t aligned! I think that is an important takeaway – once you have your scoring model, make sure your marketing strategy supports the model and vice versa. So it’s pretty common for sales organizations to utilize a lead scoring model to prioritize sales follow up but Viv, you work with some non-sales organizations that are also utilizing scoring. Talk to me about how nonprofit and for profits compare.

Vivian Swertinski: Every organization, whether for-profit or nonprofit, needs recurring business. No organization can thrive with just one time customers, one time donors, or one time members.

E-commerce organizations have purposeful strategies to get someone that just purchased to purchase again. Invitations to do project reviews, product recommendations, etc. are all part of the plan to keep audiences close to the brand.

The same is true for non profits. Members that drift away from engaging with the brand, oftentimes just need something to interrupt that behavior.

LE: Can you give me an example of how that plays out in real life?

VS: The Brewers Association anticipated that members would be excited when they first joined the organization and they also knew that the newness would naturally wear off.

They wanted to get ahead of the curve by interrupting a developing pattern before it became a habitual trend. They utilized engagement scoring to define levels of engagement based on how audiences interact with the association’s email communications. Engagement scoring is similar to lead scoring in that it gauges changes in interest and interaction between the brand and its audience.

The engagement scores give immediate insight to the Brewer’s Association on overall engagement levels of their audience and it is the driving force for the automated re-engagement campaign. 60 days later, their emails are seeing a 25% open rate. Nearly half of the audience have moved up to higher engagement thresholds.

LE: How does this compare with the traditional “we miss you” emails?

VS: The greater the distance between a brand and the consumer, the higher the risk of losing them as a repeat customer. It’s common for organizations to launch a “please come back – we miss you” campaign once they realize that you’ve been gone for awhile. Early intervention is the best practice – that being said, I’ve seen great results from win back campaigns.

LE: Yes, getting them sooner certainly is easier…

VS: AARC and I worked closely together to develop a strategy for their first win back campaign and were thrilled with the response. Within the first 45 days, the campaign brought 800 members back resulting in over $64,000 back into the organization.

LE: Amazing – what a great example of how a non-sales driven organization can get great benefit from scoring.

For more examples of what success clients are having with marketing automation, visit this page, or get our guide to marketing automation to put your ideas into action!

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About the Author
Lori Ely

Lori is the VP of Sales and Marketing at Informz. Outside of work you can find Lori chasing around her young sons.