Different leads require different types of activities to push sales opportunities forward. In my opinion leads can’t be managed unless some type of scoring system is used to determine where in a sales cycle a lead happens to fall. Without a scoring system equal time would be spent on all leads. Obviously hotter leads should receive more attention. But what constitutes “hot”?
To my mind, “hot” leads are opportunities where:
- I’ve determined that I’m dealing directly with a decision maker who has the budget and authority to proceed on a purchase for my product
- Further, this decision maker has a pressing need to obtain a product of service to reduce a significant cost that presently weighs on his business
- He or she has a clear picture of what needs to be accomplished to reduce costs and understands that a product like mine will be required for the solution to work; in other words, the solution will absolutely not work and the losses will continue unless an additional product or service is acquired.
- I’ve determined that my product or service will deliver the results the prospect is after
- I can quantify the costs that the prospect will save as the result of buying from me.
- Finally, I fully understand each and every competitor that the prospect may consider and am totally confident of my ability to show the prospect why my way is the right way for success and reduction of cost.
My scoring system differs radically from a typical scoring system that quantifies lead strength based upon numerical values derived from an analysis of the characteristics of paying customers for a product or service. Rather, my scoring system rates leads based on the proximity of a lead to a sale. I want to spend more of my time closing sales and less of my time wandering through a series of contacts to find the true buyer, the real need, etc. I am skeptical of the typical scoring system and make little to no use of it in sales management. My skepticism arose from my conclusion that lead scoring systems did a generally poor job of empowering sales teams with a useful tool to push forward sales.
On the other hand, a system like mine, which rates leads against a model of maturity is much more reliable. In fact there may be few leads at the level of maturity worthy of the title “hot”, but at least these few can be relied upon to deliver precious revenue dollars. Close these mature deals to buy the time and the effort required to push the far more plentiful, less mature leads forward.
© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2011 All Rights Reserved