Taking the guesswork out of when the marketing team should pass off leads to the sales team is kind of like throwing darts at a moving target – every time you think you’ve got it figured out the dartboard moves and you miss. So how do you keep the target – closed business – steady?

The short answer is lead scoring. Lead scoring can help your company fine tune the process of converting leads to opportunities, so that the darts coming from your marketing team are like heat-seeking missiles whose single goal is to hit the target – closed/won business – with incredible accuracy.

Lead scoring is defined by SiriusDecision’s Jay Famico as, “… a methodology used to rank prospects against a scale that represents the perceived value each lead represents to the organization. The resulting score is used to determine which leads a receiving function (e.g. sales, partners, teleprospecting) will engage, in order of priority.”

Seems pretty simple…just figure out the scale you’ll use to rank your prospects, and you’re ready to start taking aim and firing away, right?

Well, don’t pick up your darts just yet. Lead scoring is a function of the symbiotic relationship between marketing and sales. First, your organization’s sales and marketing teams will need to answer some important questions. How do you all agree on a way to lead score? How do you as both a sales and marketing team decide on an objective, consistent set of criteria?

Once you have agreement from sales on your approach, the real key to effective lead scoring is to stop relying on assumptions and instead focus on cold, hard facts. Here are some tips for success:

  1. Collect data regarding lead progression through the sales cycle
  2. Evaluate conversion rates of leads sent to sales and commonalities of leads that become opportunities
  3. Adjust scoring based on changing trends or new information to ensure sales is given highest priority leads
  4. Communicate regularly with sales regarding progress and results and to get feedback on their perception of the process

The result your business can achieve through effective, targeted lead scoring is to prioritize leads so your sales team can focus their energy on the prospects that are most likely to result in sales, thus minimizing time wasted on dead ends. The data your marketing and sales teams collect through this process can be used to constantly inform decisions as the business landscape evolves, making sure your team’s darts are always headed straight for the bull’s-eye.