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How to set the right scoring threshold to send leads to Sales effectively

When introducing or updating a lead scoring and MQL mechanism, the key question is how to set the right threshold to decide which leads should become qualified and which shouldn’t. While a data-driven approach can be a good starting point, a few key considerations must be made:

  1. Sales Team Capacity: Is the sales team currently at capacity, or are they starving and in need of more leads?
  2. Lead Handling Experience: Is the sales team accustomed to working with non-hand-raise leads?
  3. Automation in Sales Process: What degree of automation does the sales process entail (e.g., automated sequences, lead and account research tools)?

By answering these questions, you can set thresholds that are both data-driven and aligned with business needs.

Scenario 1: Introduce high quality non-hand-raisers

Your sales team is only used to getting hand-raise leads that have shown incredibly high intent, but the pipeline is slowly running dry. When opening up the qualification criteria to include non-hand-raise leads, start with the highest qualified leads and gradually introduce them to the sales team. It will take more effort for them to book meetings compared to hand-raisers, so a phased approach is essential. This approach also requires some sales enablement to avoid frustration about these leads not being as purchase ready as a lead that already asked to talk to Sales.

Scenario 2: Balancing quality and capacity

You have used some heuristics to determine which leads should be sent to sales, including hand-raisers and otherwise engaged leads (e.g., webinar attendees, content downloaders). Finding the right threshold to send more leads to sales is crucial to maintaining a healthy pipeline. Start by analyzing the performance of these leads and adjusting thresholds to optimize conversion rates while keeping sales capacity in mind.

Scenario 3: Cut the obvious noise

Almost all leads make it to sales, and the team is overwhelmed, complaining about the quality. Reducing the volume to only the highest quality leads might cut down opportunities. Instead, start by removing the obvious low-quality leads to free up sales capacity. Focus on eliminating low-fit leads first; while you can compromise on the level of engagement, never compromise on fit.

When refining your lead scoring and MQL mechanisms, ensure you never compromise on fit. The quality of leads is paramount, and maintaining strict criteria for fit ensures your sales team focuses on the most promising opportunities. Balance lead volume against sales capacity to prevent overwhelming your team while still providing a steady stream of potential customers. Additionally, consider implementing MQL type stamping to measure conversion rates and assess overlap with your existing qualification mechanisms. MQL types could be hand-raisers, webinar MQLs, reactivated closed lost opportunities, etc. Stamping the MQL type helps fine-tune your process and ensure that the most effective leads are prioritized.

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