How to rank leads from hot to cold

Lead generation companies use the term ‘lead scoring’ as part of their marketing methodology. Lead scoring refers to a process but it is not a standalone method, as it applies to the leads generated by a firm or service.

It is a simple concept with a clear purpose. Lead scoring is needed to draw a line between what are cold and what are hot leads.

What are hot leads?

Definition: A “hot lead” (also known as a qualified lead) is someone who is very interested in buying a product or service and has enough money to do so. An individual identified as a “hot lead” is also known as a “good lead” or a “good prospect”. The individual has met various certain criteria to support being called a “hot lead” and is worth pursuing for the sale of a product or service.

Searing and sumptuous, they are a feast for your eyes…

Hot leads are the leads that are good enough to be referred to your sales staff. They represent individuals or organizations that are very interested in purchasing your service or product, will not waste your company’s resources or time, and are prepared to take a sales call.

You may need to cultivate a cold prospect in order to transform it into a hot lead. This can take some time and may necessitate substantial use of company resources. However, these resources are never wasted if you are careful in your lead generation service and do not make errors during the nurturing process. Fortunately, you are able to place yourself in a good position during lead nurturing by teaching your prospects about your service or product in a way that engages with them. This can include offering free informational downloads, the creation of an interactive blog, or reaching out to them personally using social media.

Hot leads should be given a high score in the process of scoring. The use of the word "hot" in the term “hot leads” is actually the sort of rank given to this type of lead. It is a signal denoting this lead is like to be highly interested in purchasing your product or service.

Use the BANT system when qualifying leads

B = Budget
The lead prospect has prepared or set budget ready to be used any time a project proposal is approved by management.

To understand if this is the case ask the following qualifying questions:

Have you a budget? How large is your budget? How much are you willing to spend? What is the scope of your budget?
A = Authority
The person you are in contact with should be the person with the final say, either “yes” or “no” regarding the proposal.

Ask the following qualifying questions:

Are you in charge of this project? Your role in this is? Are you the sole decision maker on this?
N = Need
Need should always be the most important qualifying question. When the prospect’s need is identified, this signals a strong potential lead.

Ask the following qualifying questions:

Are you looking for this sort of product/service for improving your process? What type of product/service are you using currently? Have you had any issues? In there a will in your company to assess /replace the system you have currently? What functions are you looking for?
T = Time frame
The length of time from when you first had contact with the prospect to the projected or planned period of implementation of purchase of the new product/service.

Ask the following qualifying questions:

When are you planning to purchase? When are you planning to implement the new system?using currently? Have you had any issues? In there a will in your company to assess /replace the system you have currently? What functions are you looking for?

Here is the part in between, we will call them warm leads

They look good on the plate and they taste fine, but there’s something missing…

These are seemingly qualified leads but missing one or two criteria. What Places a warm lead in contention is that a definitive need has been identified but an extra one or two qualified criteria should follow to support it. In the majority of cases, disqualifiers would be either Time Frame or Budget.

These leads are not wasted and could be nurtured to contact you again.

What are cold leads?

Definition: A “cold lead” (also known as an unqualified lead) is someone who shows little or no interest in buying a product or service and has met few, if any, certain criteria. A “cold lead” and is generally considered not worth pursuing for the sale of a product or service.

Who enjoys a bowl of cold soup?

Cold leads denote leads that show no real interest in purchasing your product or service.
An extremely cold lead or has an extremely low score is typically not pursued as these leads can be a waste of company resources. That makes these leads unqualified for the solution offered by your company and they should never be pursued by your sales staff.

Ensure you fully do your research before labeling a lead as cold or unqualified. Just because a lead seems cold as a corpse, does not mean it can’t be given the kiss of life and become a hot lead. Just be sure a lead like this is in your target market and has all the same qualities as those of your previous customers. This type of lead is usually given a mediocre score, as they are cold but still have a lot of potential.

The scoring process

As well as using BANT, you can apply a score to a lead based on that lead’s digital body language. You simply need to determine how much a lead is showing interest in your product or service. You can then apply mathematics to rank your leads or give them scores based on a series of factors.

Leads scoring process

Here are some examples of those factors:

Newsletter responses. You can determine the level of interest in the lead by evaluating how serious it is about receiving your newsletter. If your newsletter is read by the lead or causes it to look into the news further, you can be reasonably sure the lead is likely interested in your product.

Survey responses. You can conduct a survey to gauge levels of interest. Leads which have no interest in your survey simply will not participate. A quick 'suggest improvements'-type survey may get the response you want.

Check revisits to your website. If a lead continually returns to your website, it is likely the lead it is looking for new or updates. This is an indicator of interest.