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Hundreds, if not thousands, of solutions have been developed to automate lead-scoring. However, those scores don't provide salespeople much valuable information.

The following six-question scoring system is designed to be the most practical method to evaluate and qualify leads and enables supervisors to track and manage the quality of a sales representative's performance. The system consists of three pre-call and three post-call questions, each worth one point.

After 10 years of generating fully qualified leads, I've found that approach to be the best way to predict the "forecastability" of leads.

Pre-Discovery-Call Questions

  1. Why does this prospect want to talk to me? A prospect should be speaking with you because you have the ability to solve a major business pain (or pains) that she is suffering from. If that is not the case, the lead doesn't earn this point. The write-up should have return on investment (ROI) numbers that you can use during your call. If not, the lead gets a 0 in this category.
  2. What is the title of the person I'm going to be speaking with? If multiple people will be on the line, what is the highest title that will be on the call? The higher the prospect lives on their organizational food chain, the better. Our statistics have demonstrated a direct correlation between title of prospect and progression of a lead to forecast.

    If you are speaking with anyone at a managerial level or below, that lead does not get a point. If you are speaking with anyone above that level, that leads gets one point. That doesn't mean you shouldn't take the call if the prospect isn't above the level of manager, but that prospect isn't as desirable a lead as someone with a higher contact title.
  3. Did the prospect accept the calendar invite? This question is straightforward. If your lead isn't interested enough to accept your meeting invitation, she gets zero points. If she confirmed her attendance to your meeting electronically, she gets one point.

Post-Discovery-Call Questions

  1. Did the call occur? If your lead shows up for the scheduled call, give her one point. If not, she gets a zero. Send the lead back to your teleprospecting team for rescheduling.
  2. Was the lead write-up accurate? Was the critical information you were given about the pain of your lead accurate? Did the prospect confirm what your teleprospecting rep told you? If yes, this lead gets one point.
  3. Is the lead moving on to a next step in my sales process? This question is critical. Do you have a next step? A follow-up call in six months will not suffice. Your teleprospecting team's job is to put you in a position to sell to people that need your product or services. If you have qualified your lead to enter the next phase of your sales process, that means your teleprospecting team did its job and the lead scores one point.

Scoring Your Leads

Add up the points after your discovery call, and keep those numbers on record. A world-class teleprospecting rep is going to get a minimum of eight out of every 10 points available to her.

Similarly, to quickly assess overall team performance, multiply your total number of leads by six (the total number of points available), then add up your points earned for all leads passed. Figure out the percentage by dividing your points by the number of all available points. Your minimum performance goal should be to receive 80% of the available points.

I also recommend putting your data into a chart that is broken down by score detail. Doing so is necessary to ensure that your high score isn't hollow: For example, you may have gotten 80% of available points but not any of the "next step" points. Place the information somewhere you can easily view it. You'll learn a great deal about your team and how well the job is being done.

You can also use that data on an individual-by-individual basis to train, track, promote, and discipline your staff. The beauty of this system is that it accurately judges performance; moreover, it's easy to understand and, therefore, easy to use during training. Your reps will understand how you are tracking their performance and why you are focusing on which things they need to work on.

When you track reps' leads, you can pinpoint where reps need more training, thereby improving overall performance. For example, if you see that Rep A is always getting her "next step" points but losing out on "information accuracy" points, you can stress to her the importance of note-taking during calls so that information is not lost during lead hand-off. That is just one example of the many positive ways you can use this data to improve performance and generate a more accurate forecast.

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The applications for this lead-scoring system are many, but the labor required to execute it is minimal. I recommend you invest time to implement the system, and explain to your team why you are doing so. You'll end up with a higher performance rate and a more-engaged and enlightened teleprospecting team.

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image of Peter Gracey
Peter Gracey is chief operating officer at AG Salesworks, a B2B teleprospecting and marketing services firm.