Lead Scoring and Why It's at Odds With SDRs

Liam Boogar

I don't think I'm giving away any trade secrets by revealing that SDRs aren't always the biggest fans of lead scores. Whether implementing a lead score built internally or a solution like MadKudu, SDRs are in the precarious position of being the primary users and having very little influence over the score itself.SDRs carry a lot of intuition of what makes a lead good or bad. They aren't surprised when a lead they perceive as good/bad is rated as such. And yet, they are viscerally frustrated when a lead they perceive as 'bad' is rated otherwise, and vice versa. Even if the lead score is scoring leads perfect, an SDR's core metric - the number of demo's booked - is often undermined by the lead score.

Lead scores are meant to filter out bad leads while surfacing leads with the highest probability to convert to a customer. A poor-performing lead score might surface leads that are likely to get a phone call, but not likely to convert. These care called NiNas (No Intent. No Authority), and they are like grease in your funnel - they look like they should go down smooth, and then they dry up halfway down the funnel, slowing down everything else that should pass through easily.NiNa's are great for an SDR's quota, and while we know that NiNa's aren't good for the overall business, this means that a good lead score is removing one of the easiest ways for an SDR to make quota.

Lead Scores should serve SDRS

While not exactly a black box, Lead Scores have historically operated as such for SDRs. Their purpose is to help SDRs prioritize the highest-value leads, which should be great for helping them hit their quota; however, without knowing why a lead is good, lead scores provide little more than expectations for how the engagement should go. At the same time, Lead Scores are calculated by measuring a lot of valuable information, most of which are not visible to the SDR. Beyond job title and employee count, lead scores evaluate the predicted revenue of each company, the size of specific teams, the tech stack & tools that a company uses, whether their solution is B2B or B2C, whether it has a free trial or not, whether they've raised venture capital, and much more. There can be thousands of signals that are weighed initially to figure out which ones are the best determiners of success, against which every lead will be measured.

Sample MadKudu Signals sitting inside Salesforce In the above example, we can see how valuable it is to know that the lead is performing 150K daily API calls, or that their company has multiple active users on the account, or that they are using Salesforce: these are indicators of the buyer persona, the use case, and therefore of the right message for the SDR to send. For SDRs, these signals are the context. The context for why a lead is a good lead, and that's exactly how a Lead Score and serve an SDR. Constructing the right message, understanding where your lead is coming from, identifying what the tipping point is that made them sales-ready: SDRs and Lead Scores are trying to do the same thing.

With one customer, MadKudu was able to demonstrate a disproportionate ratio between Opportunities created and Opportunities won - another way to look at that is prospects that made it past an SDR vs. prospects that made it past an AE. What you can see above is that having 'Manager' or 'Operations/HR' in a prospects title negatively impacted their odds of getting through an SDR (or negatively impacted an SDR's chances of getting them to an AE), while it greatly increased their chances of becoming a customer if they made it to an AE. Knowing which kinds of titles are good for AE's can help SDRs understand what to spend more time on, but it can also help SDR managers better train their SDRs on how to win with those personas. Speaking with Francis on our weekly podcast, it was clear to me how important it is for SDRs to buy into a Lead Score. If you're in charge of implementing a lead score, you need to bring SDRs into the conversation early to understand how the lead score can serve them. Making a lead score actionable for SDRs means that your front line for feedback on how well your score is performing will be more incentivized to work with the score instead of working against the score.https://soundcloud.com/madkudu/lead-scores-should-serve-sdrs

More from the Blog

One Lead Score, to Rule Them All?

While using one lead grade may work for some companies, it typically ignores the critical nuances necessary to drive the right business outcomes. Read more to learn why having separate behavioral and demographic scores better supports the complexities of most B2B organizations.

Read Story

Work Smarter, Not Harder: Why Your Lead Scoring Is Holding You Back

Lead scoring is foundational to any personalized marketing program but often falls short due to data challenges. It is also time-consuming, costly, and inflexible to the changing needs of your business. Learn how to implement lead scoring and gain sales adoption in just a few weeks, rather than months.

Read Story

CMO Confessions: The Future of Marketing Measurement

During a recent panel discussion we hosted, CMO Confessions: The Future of Marketing Measurement, I had the opportunity to chat with seasoned marketing leaders on how they see the role of the CMO changing as well their raw outlook on all things B2B marketing.

Read Story