Tracking lead scores over time means you can act quickly upon prospects when there is a sense of urgency.
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.
Here’s an example that reveals why it’s essential to measure lead score velocity.
Let’s say you have two leads created ten weeks ago. And both leads 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.
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.
Which one will you phone first? After all, they both have the same number of points.
Many 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 them the hotter prospect.
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 the behavior of all your leads and decide which ones to prioritize.
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 information the marketing tool 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 had 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’ll 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:
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. Every week the Lead does nothing you downgrade the score by, for example, five points.
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 she looks 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 tells you nothing about leads on an upward cycle.
Why Track Lead Score Velocity
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 you can display lead score velocity in Salesforce to make it a powerful, practical metric.
Lead and Contact Report Charts
In this example, we can see 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, lead score trend change from two weeks is greater than 30.
Using Einstein Seach is a dynamic way to create transient lists 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.
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 that may be 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 in the overall engagement with your content.
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.
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.
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.
Building Lead Score Velocity 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:
- Build the functionality I’m describing next.
- 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.
- Create a custom object. Call it Lead Score Trend.
- Add fields to record the lead or contact name and company.
- Create two lookup fields. One to the Lead, the other to the Contact.
- Build a report that includes the Lead Score for all leads. Create a similar report for Contacts.
- Create two reporting snapshots. These snapshots push the Lead Score for each lead or contact into a record of the custom object.
- 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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