lead scoringMany MSP business owners are still the primary business developers, deal closers, and technical support leads for their growing companies. As the MSP grows, the owner gets pulled in a dozen different directions. I like to describe this as having three garbage cans and two lids. When you’re focused on prospecting, you can’t be focused on providing amazing support to your clients. Multi-tasking means things get missed. After all, how can you be in six places at once?

One of the simplest and most inexpensive ways that business owners can begin to do more with less is by creating better processes while eliminating exceptions. You probably already standardize your support “stack” to create a streamlined, repeatable approach to how your business works with your clients. You can apply this principal to your sales process — streamline, eliminate redundancies, document, and automate activities where possible.

Benefits of lead scoring

One of the first steps in a standardized approach to the sales process is lead scoring. Lead scoring helps you identify your best leads, so you can properly prioritize your follow-up activities. It’s easy to start doing this, and it only requires a few small adjustments to what you’re doing already!

When prospecting, most people will start with a cold list, purchased online or acquired through an association or other group. Most of the lists available for purchase are at minimum 30-percent incorrect and out of date, which means much of your initial sales and marketing efforts will need to be directed toward eliminating the “garbage” from your sales pipeline.

Your cold list will be “hit” or “passed through” many times before it becomes a list of qualified leads, with some of the leads being dropped entirely out of your pipeline and some moving to the front of the line. If you’re calling hundreds of companies weekly, you’ll also have hundreds of follow-up activities associated with those companies. Lead scoring helps you figure out who gets the lion’s share of your very limited time for sales prospecting.

Simple approach to lead scoring

Lead scoring can be as simple as a numeric system from 0 to 6:

  • 0 – How did this lead even get on this list?
  • 1 – Right fit, no budget, no timeline, no interest
  • 2 – Right fit, no budget, no timeline, interested in a follow-up
  • 3 – Right fit, no budget, timeline confirmed, interested in a follow-up
  • 4 – Right fit, budget allocated, timeline confirmed, interested in a follow-up
  • 5 –  Immediate opportunity
  • 6 –  Referral

As simple as this idea seems, most smaller companies today aren’t actively scoring their leads. But, when you have 10 follow-up calls on your calendar from leads that you first contacted six months ago, it’s safe to say you’re not going to remember much about them.   You can spend a lot of time writing detailed notes (and then a lot of time reading through those notes at follow-up time), or you can assign your lead a quick score. (Would you rather have 10 calls with 15 minutes of after-call data entry work or 10 calls with one minute of after-call work? The difference adds up!)

How to use lead scores effectively

You can score leads in your CRM, your PSA, even on a plain old spreadsheet. If you’re using your CRM or PSA, you can create drop-down fields using your lead score convention, then sort your leads by score in addition to other parameters. For example, you may want to create a list of all prospects who require a call back on a particular date, sorted by score. This way you get to the most important or warmest leads first, and then you can continue on to the leads that aren’t as high priority based on where they may be in their buying cycles.

You can also automate certain activities and execute different marketing sequences based on lead scores, eliminating a little extra leg work. Automatically initiating email sequences when a lead has been scored a certain way eliminates many personal touches, while still nurturing a lead that isn’t quite ready for a call back.

This simple scoring system allows for succession planning — when someone new on your team takes over prospecting, they will immediately understand how qualified each lead is by the lead score. They can pick up exactly where you’ve left off. Simple scoring saves time. It allows you to market more effectively to your leads, and most importantly it ensures that if you’ve got limited time to work on prospecting today, your scoring will tell you at a quick glance who you absolutely need to call first and who can wait a few more days.

Remember, if you’ve got finite time for business development activities, any extra minutes you save can be applied to other activities.  Finding the time to make a dozen extra calls a day can mean at least two more deals this year. What would that look like for your monthly recurring revenue next year? Remember, your sales process should be simple, scalable, and most importantly, used consistently.

To learn more about how to use lead scoring as an MSP, join me for the upcoming webinar “All Leads Are Not Created Equal” at 2 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, March 1. I’ll walk you through a simple step-by-step process you can use to score your managed services leads.

Photo: Tero Vesalainen/Shutterstock.com

Carrie Simpson

Posted by Carrie Simpson

Carrie Simpson is the founder of Managed Sales Pros, a lead generation firm dedicated to providing new business opportunities for MSPs. Carrie teaches IT firms how to build, manage, and grow their sales pipelines. You can follow Carrie on Twitter @sales_pros and connect with her on LinkedIn. 

One Comment

  1. I’m a big fan of lead scoring with marketing automation because it allows sales teams to reach out to prospective buyers when they’re ready for more information and when they’re ready to buy. It is client-focused instead of company-focused, which sets the tone for the long-term relationship between the client and IT firm.


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