Of course every client is unique. But we see a typical recurring pattern in how “Lead Scoring” and more specifically “Lead Gating” is absorbed into an organization and specifically into the marketing-sales relationship.
These 3 stages consider the political realities of evolving from Marketing/Sales 1.0 to 2.0 and recognizes that going to a fully evolved modern process takes some personal evolution and acceptance on the part of all parties.
Stage 1: Sales gets all leads with no clue as to how good they are. They hand-qualify everything.
Most companies start here. This is Sales 1.0 and makes inefficient use of the oh-so-expensive sales rep.
Stage 2: Lead Scoring is introduced to sales, with no gating.
Sales gets everything… because they want everything. But they have the Lead Score so they can self-qualify. This gives marketing an opportunity to really tune the Lead Score…and sales an opportunity to learn to trust it. This also works because busy reps can take on higher scored leads. Reps with more time can call everybody in their territory. We find that even the same rep may lower his lead score criteria at the start of the quarter… but raise it at the end of the quarter.
(Note that obvious garbage should always be gated).
Stage 3: Gating.
The Salesforce starts asking, “Why are you sending us the weak leads?.” This is marketing’s cue to turn on some gating… basically because the sales force is asking for it! This is a great opportunity to ask sales, “What scores do you see as weak?” Now you can turn on gating, at the right level, and do so with full buy-in from the Salesforce not only for doing it in general, but for gating at the lead score level they said was optimal.
Obviously every corporate situation is unique, but I’ve found that companies that attempt to jump straight from stage 1 to stage 3, have higher failure rates. The occasional exception is when a strong VP of Marketing AND Sales is driving both departments. But if your Marketing and Sales is more divided or a bit political, include stage two as a natural and helpful phase in the implementation of lead scoring.