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Lead Scoring and Lead Routing: An Introduction

Early in my career, "lead scoring" called to mind NBA superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar rather than a key factor in a lead management strategy. If you're a little lost on what lead scoring actually is, let me fill you in now so you don't have to ask your boss tomorrow. In short, lead scoring is a system that rates leads based on their likelihood to convert into customers. This neat little process helps you prioritize your leads and route them to the right sales rep team member.

In order to score your leads, your first ingredient is a generous helping of data points. This data can come from a variety of sources, like your leads' website behavior, contact history, or demographic information. Once you have this data, there's a range of methodologies for scoring your lead, but the simplest is to rate your leads on a scale of 1-100.

Lead routing is the process of sending qualified leads to the appropriate sales rep team member.

Now, pause; there are a few different types of qualified leads, so let's chat about those for a moment. On one hand, you've got your MQLs, or marketing qualified leads—leads your org's marketing team has identified as a qualified lead. Maybe they're avid readers of your newsletter, or they're saving all your Instagram reels.

Next up, you've got your PQLs, or product qualified leads—these folks are low-hanging fruit based on their behavior on product trials. These are the leads that are bleeding their 30-day free trials dry.

Now that you've got an idea of the types of qualified leads you might receive, here's how lead scoring fits into the equation.

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What Is Lead Scoring?

When it comes to routing leads, you need to use a system that is going to help you determine which leads are the most qualified. That's where lead scoring comes in.

Lead scoring is the process of ranking leads based on different attributes and data points to feel out their readiness to buy. This process is important because it helps you focus your efforts on the leads that will be easiest to convert, and filter out the ones that are likely to waste your sales team's time.

The key to tailoring your lead scoring strategy is determining which factors are most important to your business. For example, you may decide that the prospect's newsletter signup is less important than their level of engagement. Or you may place more importance on leads that have visited your website and browsed your Pricing page than on those who have only interacted with you on social media.

Keep in mind that lead scoring is not a one-size-fits-all approach. For it to work as intended, you need to be intimately familiar with your buyer persona and cues that they're ready to convert. Once you get cozy with these cues, lead scores can be a powerful tool for helping you close more sales.

Why Is Lead Scoring Important for Lead Routing?

By now, you might be furrowing your brow and asking, "Phil, why is lead scoring important? We should be following up with all of our leads, or else we're leaving money on the table!"

You do you, my friend. But if you don't score your leads, you're going to have a tough time routing the ones that are most likely to convert right now to your sales reps. For every moment your reps spend chasing a dead end, an otherwise qualified lead is spending time forgetting about you.

Lead scoring models are generally based on leads' demographic, behavior, region, social media presence, and more. By understanding all of this information, you can develop a scoring model that accurately reflects your ideal customers and how you want to do business with them.

What Are the Best Tools for Lead Scoring?

Before your leads become MQLs or PQLs and it's time to route them out to your sales team, it's important to use a lead scoring system. Lead scoring is the process of assigning a value to a lead in order to determine the likelihood of a successful conversion.

You can score leads based on demographic information, like their age, sex, and location. However, it's even more important to score them based on their behavioral information, like how many times they've visited your website or how much time they've spent on your website. Actions always speak loudest about how your lead really feels about your product or service offering, so your scoring criteria should be weighed accordingly.

The best tool for lead scoring is the one that works best for your business. There are a number of different tools available, like ActiveCampaign, 6sense Revenue AI, VanillaSoft, FreshSales, and Insightly. Each have their own unique features to help you capture your leads, score them, and deploy your resources effectively.

How Do You Implement a Lead Routing Strategy?

Great, you've got your shiny new tools and your sales reps are ready to start calling up some juicy MQLs and PQLs. Now, how do you go about implementing a lead routing strategy? The good news is that you can do this manually or through automated software. Automated lead routing software uses an AI engine to route leads based on existing business-specific criteria.

What is Lead Routing Software?

If it's your first day and you're not familiar with the term "lead routing," here's the 411. Lead routing is the process of assigning new potential customers (leads) to suitable sales reps. It sounds simple enough, but if you're not using the right tools and best practices, things can get a bit messy. That's where lead routing software comes in.

Lead routing software can help you make sure leads are properly distributed to the right sales reps. It's an essential piece of your lead management process, and can help you save time and money in the long run. This software reviews the MQLs and PQLs you've identified through your lead scoring and "routes" it to the best sales rep for the job. That rep might be a person living in the same region as your lead. Or, it might just be the rep with the most bandwidth to follow up with that lead. The tools are there for you to use as you see fit.

Both lead routing and lead scoring are important parts of your lead management process. Together, they can help you achieve your business goals and increase sales conversions.

Wrapping Up

Figuring out who the highest-quality leads are is fundamental to every business's success. By leveraging lead scoring and lead routing software, your sales team will be on the fast-track to smashing their quarterly targets.

By Phil Gray

Philip Gray is the COO of Black and White Zebra, a digital publishing and tech company. He hails from rainy Glasgow, Scotland transplanted in not quite as rainy Vancouver, BC, Canada. With 10+ years of experience in leadership and operations in industries that include biotechnology, healthcare, logistics, and SaaS, he applies a considerable broad scope of experience in business that lets him see the big picture. His love for data and all things revenue operations landed him this role as resident big brain for the RevOpsTeam.

A business renaissance man with his hands in many departmental pies, he is an advocate of centralized data management, holistic planning, and process automation. An unapologetic buzzword apologist, you can often find him double clicking, drilling down, and unpacking all the things.

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