Another topic I’ve been hearing a lot about lately is lead scoring. Several people have asked me what lead scoring is and whether or not it makes sense for accounting, law, or other professional service firms. Here are some of my thoughts on lead scoring.
What is Lead Scoring?
Generally speaking, lead scoring is a method of assigning point values to your leads. The goal is to determine which leads are most ready to make a purchase so you can concentrate your sales efforts on them.
Points can be assigned by using information the prospect provides (their profile) or by the behavior they exhibit. An example of user provided data would be the information provided when a prospect fills out a form to download a white paper or register for a webinar.
Exhibited behavior may include signing into the webinar (attendance), the number of pages visited, or submitting a request via your contact form.
Does lead scoring make sense for accountants, lawyers, and other professional service firms?
Maybe. But probably not in the same manner in which lead scoring is generally talked about and demonstrated. Lead scoring can be helpful, but I believe it would be a mistake to use it as the only lead qualifying tool in a professional service practice. Personal contact and interaction will always be an important factor is the selling of professional services.
Here are some other factors to consider when determining if your firm needs a lead scoring system:
Volume of leads – Do the volume of leads you receive justify the time, expense, and effort needed to implement a lead scoring system? Common sense and a simple cost\benefit analysis can go a long way here. You may not need a scoring system for leads generated by your web site, but maybe you could use some help prioritizing leads you receive when you speak in public.
The Hand-off – Lead scoring service providers often talk about issues related to the “handing off” of leads from marketing to sales. Although sales and marketing are different roles, they are often just different hats worn by the same person in a professional service firm. For this reason, many of the issues related to the hand off, such as sales receiving leads who are not qualified, may not exist.
Prioritizing – Service firms can benefit by thinking of a lead scoring system as a way to help them set priorities for following up. Let’s pretend a current client of your accounting firm, for whom you only provide write-up services, downloads information from your website about your payroll services. This scenario deserves a higher level of attention than a stranger from a different state who signed up for your upcoming webinar.
Technology vs. Process – Companies who sell lead scoring services are selling software. As I have mentioned more than once on this blog, I believe you should work on defining your process first – then pick out technology (or other tools) you need to help support that process. Many professional service firms may benefit from having a lead scoring (or lead evaluation) process without spending money on technology.
Do you use a lead scoring system (automated or otherwise) in your firm? What other factors did you consider when making your decision?
Bill Brelsford Small Business Marketing Consultant