Should we score or grade? Why not do both?

We can score leads and we can grade leads. Why not do both? Confused yet? Good. Allow me to explain.

Lead Generation for the Complex Sale author Brian Carroll’s latest blog post points out that lead scoring and automation is only part of the lead qualification process.

I couldn’t agree more. At least a modicum of human involvement is very necessary to get the most out of any lead qualification system, even one using marketing automation software. An automated solution is perfect for scoring based on implicit prospect behavior such as web site visits, chats, direct mail response, or other trackable activities. Though extremely valuable, implicit buying signals provide only part of the picture. Scores don’t help your sales teams prioritize a list of leads if you don’t also know how well they fit your idea customer profile. Suppose you sell enterprise software to large corporations and you have 10 leads that have a score of 300. Five of them are directors at Fortune 500 companies and the other five are marketing coordinators at small agencies. This is obviously an extreme example, but without an explicit means of grading prospects in addition to scoring them based on activity, sorting through your active leads may prove difficult.

A marketer must also measure explicit qualities before passing leads onto sales or entering them into nurturing tracks. Typical explicit parameters include company size, industry, job title department, and other factors that shed light on a prospect’s profile. You may give a baseline grade of a C and adjust this up or down based on whether explicit factors match or do not match those of your target customer. In the example above your Prospects may all have the same score of 300, but their grades would be different. Perhaps the five Fortune 500 leads would have a grade of A while the other Five might all be marked as Ds. You can then use the activity scores to sort within the explicit tiers.

A simple way to think about it is that implicit scoring is based on activity and explicit grading is based on how well a prospect fits your ideal customer profile. Let’s make sure we do both.

About Adam Blitzer
Adam Blitzer is the Vice President of Marketing at Pardot and has been in the interactive marketing world for the better part of a decade.

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