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Tracking how a prospect’s lead score changes over time means you can quickly get in touch with potential customers at the right time.

We call the change in lead score value over time the lead score velocity. You can also refer to it as the lead score cadence.

In other words, often, it’s not the total lead score that’s critical. Instead, it’s the recent change in the lead score.

For example, which of these two leads should you call first?

Let’s say you have two leads created ten weeks ago. And both now have a score of 100 points.

The first Lead reached 100 points by acquiring ten points per week. The person gained these points by visiting your website once each week.

Compare the lead score velocity for two prospects.
Compare the lead score velocity for two prospects.

The second Lead gained 10 points in the first week, but then nothing for seven weeks. However, over the last two weeks, the person acquired 45 points each week.

Compare the lead score velocity for two prospects.
Compare the lead score velocity for two prospects.

Both leads have the same number of points.

However, like you, most salespeople will opt for the second Lead. That’s because this prospect shows a sudden sense of urgency. It’s more likely the person has a compelling need to solve a problem right now.

That makes the lead a hotter prospect. For guidance on the best way to pass leads from Marketing to Sales, use this blog post: How To Know When To Transfer Leads From Marketing To Sales

However, to get this insight, you need to track lead score velocity. In other words, you need to measure the change in lead score over time. Unfortunately, that’s not something that marketing tools such as Pardot or Marketo do naturally.

Nevertheless, in this article, I’ll explain EXACTLY how to track lead scores over time.

I’ll also tell you how to make the lead score velocity visible to salespeople so that they can act quickly on the most compelling prospects.

How Lead Scores Work

Marketing tools such as Pardot and Marketo let you assign scores based on lead behavior.

For example, Pardot uses these values to generate lead scores for everyday activities:

  • Click links in an email: 3 points.
  • Fills in a web form (e.g., eBook download): 50 points.
  • Visits web page: 1 point.

You can customize these values to suit your business. For example, a visit to the product pricing page may be worth 5 points. Visiting the job vacancies page may be worth zero.

For more detailed information about lead scoring and grading, use this blog post: Why Lead Scoring And Grading Is Important.

There are likely lots of marketing activities you do that will produce higher scores. For example, we send an email to all our leads every Thursday with a link to a blog post that explains how to get more benefits from Salesforce and Pardot. Clicking the link and viewing the blog post increases the lead score velocity for these people.

Incidentally, it’s important to remember that scoring works equally well for contacts as leads. However, we often talk about scores in the context of leads, so we’ll stick with that for now.

Why Lead Scores Are Important

Ideally, every week you look carefully at your leads’ behavior and decide which ones to prioritize.

Look at the behavior of leads and decide which ones to priotize.

By prioritize, we often mean, for example, the lead transfers to a salesperson or Business Development Rep (BDR) for an outbound sales activity. Frequently, this will be a phone call to the Lead.

However, here’s the problem:

It’s not practical to scrutinize all the data. Instead, we need a surrogate that helps us make practical use of the marketing tool’s information that passes to Salesforce.

The surrogate is the lead score.

By looking at the scores across all leads, we can identify the people likely to be receptive to sales activity. These are the people most likely to convert to a successful opportunity.

After all, if you only have enough time left in the day left to phone one Lead, which will it be? The Lead with 100 points or another with 50 points?

Based on this information alone, you phone the Lead with 100 points.

This example highlights the essential purpose of lead scores. That is, to prioritize leads and contacts for sales activity.

Lead Score Thresholds

In many companies, there is a lead score threshold. This threshold marks the point at which leads transfer from Marketing to Sales.

Here’s how this often works.

Let’s say the threshold is 100 points. The status changes to a ‘Marketing Qualified Lead’ (MQL) when the lead passes this threshold. At the same time, ownership of the Lead passes to a salesperson or BDR.

The salesperson reviews the Lead and validates the information. If she likes what she sees, she updates the status to Sales Accepted Lead (SAL).

Your lead process may not be as formal. However, you can read more about the lead process, including how MQLs and SALs work here: How To Fix A Broken Lead Process In Salesforce.

Degrading Lead Scores Over Time

You can make the lead score degrade over time.

Here’s why you might do this:

Let’s take our first example of a lead created ten weeks ago. For nine weeks, the Lead gains an additional 10 points per week. That’s close to our 100 point threshold.

However, things then go quiet. Let’s say this person does nothing to increase the score for ten weeks.

Does the person still have a high priority, just below the threshold for passing to Sales? What if she looks at one web page after nine weeks and reaches the limit?

However, the fact this person has not consumed any content for over two months probably means she’s slipped down the overall priority list. This reduction in priority may be especially true if you have other leads on an upward curve.

Lead degradation is about solving this problem. The score downgrades by, for example, 5 points every week the Lead does nothing.

Degradation reduces the lead score over time.
Degradation reduces the lead score over time.

Consequently, in our example, by the time the Lead visits your web page, her score has dropped to 40 points. This reduction puts her well below the threshold for transfer to Sales, even after looking at one more web page.

Lead score degradation means that we avoid transferring prospects to Sales that are not actively and regularly engaging with our content.

Nevertheless, here the critical point about lead score degradation:

It tells you which leads are on a downward curve. However, it means nothing about leads on an upward cycle.

Why You Should Track Changes In The Lead Score

Tracking lead scores over time helps you assign the highest priority prospects to Sales.

That’s because the lead score velocity highlights leads that are currently consuming your content intensively.

Here are four ways to display lead score velocity in Salesforce to make it a powerful, practical metric.

 

Lead and Contact Report Charts

This example shows how the lead score velocity has changed over time for this person.

We can see there’s a recent, sudden acceleration in the lead score.

This chart shows the week-by-week net change in the lead score.

We can see the net increase and decrease in the lead score compared to the week before.

These charts make it easy for everyone to understand the lead score velocity for individual prospects quickly.

 

Lead and Contact List Views

List views are predefined database queries. In this example, the List View filters on all Leads where the score has increased by 20 points this week.

Consequently, salespeople can prioritize prospects taking a keener interest in your content.

 

Einstein Search Lists

Einstein Search allows you to create ‘natural language’ lists of leads and contacts. For example, the lead score trend change from two weeks is greater than 30.

Using Einstein Search is a dynamic way to create shortlists of potential customers.

 

Reports and dashboard charts

It’s straightforward to create reports and dashboard charts that focus attention on high-priority leads.

For example, this report shows the week-on-week changes in lead score velocity.

Report shows the week on week changes in lead score velocity.

The report shows how the lead score velocity has changed each week for leads in the EMEA region. Use this information to help BDRs and salespeople focus on prospects ready to engage in the sales process.

Measure Content Engagement Trends

Here’s another critical way to use lead score velocity.

Tracking the change in lead score over time across all leads and contacts means you have a powerful way to measure trends your content’s overall engagement.

Here’s an example from one of our customers. The dashboard chart summarizes the change in lead scores over time for all leads and contacts.

Dashboard chart summarizes the level of content engagement for all leads and contacts.

We can see the level of engagement dipped in March and April but then steadily increased. This trend coincides with a revamp by the customer of the blog post and other content on their website.

Likewise, this chart shows the four weeks moving average for the lead score velocity.

Four weeks moving average for the lead score velocity.

In this case, we excluded leads created more than four weeks ago to avoid skewing the metric.

In summary, these reports and charts that measure the change in lead score over time deliver actionable insight and metrics that you can use to improve marketing performance continually.

The Problem with Marketing Automation Tools

Marketing Automation Tools such as Pardot, Marketo, and HubSpot are great at tracking Lead Score changes on a per-action basis.

When an individual completes an action, such as clicking a link or submitting a form, your marketing automation system can quickly increase or decrease the score based on the rules you’ve previously configured.

However, as previously mentioned, these tools are less capable of tracking the lead score change over time – week by week, for example.

If we take a look at this Pardot Automation Rule, the only options we have surrounding the Score rule are:

  1. Is Greater Than
  2. Is Less Than
  3. Is Between

You’ll immediately notice the lack of ‘has increased by’ or ‘has decreased by.’ Not only that, but there is also no option to control the date range.

As you can imagine, without this functionality, it’s practically impossible to begin tracking the change in the lead score over time.

Pardot, in particular, has an excellent feature called ‘Lifecycle,’ which gives you a clear understanding of how a Prospect’s Pardot Score has changed over time.

However, with that said:

  1. There’s no way to use the values here in an automated Lead Process.
  2. We cannot pull this visual directly into Salesforce.

Tracking and visualizing the change in Lead Score directly inside Salesforce on a per record basis means different solution.

Let’s look at that now.

How To Track Changes In The Lead Score Metrics

You might be thinking:

I want to track the change over time in leads scores. However, do I implement the lead score velocity metric?

You have two options:

  1. Build the functionality I’m describing next.
  2. Buy it pre-built from us. We’ll do the work and get it up and running in your Salesforce environment.

Reckon on one day of chargeable effort if you want to go with option 2. Here’s how you get in touch with us.

 

How To Build The Lead Score Velocity Metric

Here is what you do.

  1. Create a custom object. Call it Lead Score Trend.
  2. Add fields to record the lead or contact name and company.
  3. Create two lookup fields. One to the Lead, the other to the Contact.
  4. Build a report that includes the Lead Score for all leads. Create a similar report for Contacts.
  5. Create two reporting snapshots. These snapshots push the Lead Score for each lead or contact into a record of the custom object.
  6. Finally, build reports, dashboards, list views, and inline charts to display the data and make it available to Sales and Marketing users.

Optionally, create a batch job that automatically populates the Lead and Contact lookup fields. (You can’t do this using the reporting snapshot). However, it means that lead score velocity records are available on the Lead and Contact page layouts.

If all that sounds a bit daunting, remember you can buy everything ready-to-go from us. Here’s how you get in touch.

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