Is your sales organization still rejecting too many of the leads forwarded on by Marketing? Sounds like you may need a better way to qualify opportunities and agree on what constitutes an opportunity worthy of forwarding to sales. If you want to get serious about opportunity management, you’ll need a lead scoring model.   There are three things Marketing and Sales should hash out together to create one.

Companies who engage in effective lead scoring have a 192 percent higher lead qualification rate.  Scoring opportunities seems like a simple proposition. Yet only about a third of B2B marketers engage in the practice! A scoring process helps prioritize the opportunities you receive so you and your Sales team can focus on those opportunities most likely to turn into paying customers.

Hash Out These Three Things To Improve Opportunity Management and Lead Scoring

Are they hot or not?

Are they hot or not? Create a lead scoring model to determine the best opportunities.

Despite the number of CRM systems in play, we still hear the lament from both sides of the revenue partnership, “Marketing doesn’t send over qualified leads; Sales doesn’t act on Marketing generated leads.” Establishing an opportunity lead management process begins by Marketing and Sales collaborating on the definition of a qualified lead/opportunity.

Often this disconnect in lead scoring can be addressed by following these three steps:

Step 1. First, behaviorally define each stage in the buying journey.
Step 2. Second, establish a set of behavioral criteria that everyone agrees signals that an opportunity is qualified and sales worthy.
Step 3. Third, develop a lead scoring methodology and process for how to disposition leads within each scoring range.

Let’s delve into each in more detail:

Step 1 – Define Each Stage in The Buying Journey

Behaviorally define each stage in the customer buying journey. When Marketing, Sales and Management all speak the same language regarding opportunities in the pipeline, everyone can work together to nurture those opportunities that are the most promising in order to boost sales and revenue. Creating a glossary of standard terms for what your company considers a contact, suspect, lead, qualified lead, prospect, and so forth will go a long way toward reducing ambiguity and confusion.The best way to do this is to outline the customer buying process based on observable behaviors and then map these behaviors to the appropriate opportunity stage. Once you complete and validate the behaviors and stages, create and publish the journey and opportunity pipeline glossary that documents how your company defines each stage.

Step 2 – Establish a Set of Behavioral Criteria

Establish a set of behavioral criteria that everyone agrees signals that an opportunity is qualified and sales worthy. Now that you’ve completed this step, you can use the process to establish the criteria for a qualified lead. A key part of your qualification should be the opportunity score leads to better prioritize the leads the sales team should focus on first. Qualifying and scoring opportunities ensures the sales team doesn’t waste time and energy on leads that may not come to fruition.

Step 3 – Develop a Lead Scoring Methodology

Develop a lead scoring methodology and process for how to disposition leads within each scoring range.The concept of opportunity or lead scoring is relatively simple. Essentially you assign points based on how well an opportunity meets each of your qualification criteria. To create your scoring method you will want to make a list of all the buying behaviors as well as a list of all the characteristics of an ideal customer. This way you can assess an opportunity both in terms of the conversion potential as well as fit.

Create an Opportunity Scoring Model

Create an Opportunity Scoring Model

To illustrate this idea here’s an example that uses a point system as a way to score some of the behaviors and fit:


a) In a target vertical where we have domain expertise is 5 points
b) In a target vertical but we don’t have domain expertise is 3 points
c) Not in a target vertical is 0 points
d) Our product is ideally suited to solve their problem is 5 points
e) Our product will solve their problem with some customization is 3 points
f) Our product will not solve their problem without a major investment on our part is 0 points


1) Meeting held with decision maker is 5 points
2) Meeting held with recommender is 3 points
3) Meeting held with influencer is 1 point
4) Provided product specification and buying criteria is 5 points
5) Indicated they are funded is 5 points
6) Indicated budget is approved is 3 points
7) Contacted references is 5 points
8) Requested references is 1 point
9) Participated in 1:1 online-site demo is 5 points
10) Toured online demo is 1 point

The key is to collaboratively create this type of point assignment process for all of the behaviors. After you have the “schema” you can apply to every opportunity. Decide which criteria and point level makes the opportunity worthy of forwarding to sales and which need to remain within marketing for nurturing.

For example, you may jointly decide that qualified opportunities must be at least 20 points and must include at a minimum the following behaviors: indicated they are funded, participated in 1:1 demo, and are in a target vertical.

At this step, Sales agrees to accept that opportunities who exhibit meet the criteria and point threshold and Marketing agrees to only pass those opportunities. The final step to discuss as a team is what to do with those opportunities at various stages in the pipeline so that they are appropriately nurtured.

5 Metrics to Measure Your Qualification Team’s Effectiveness

Now that you have a lead scoring process and model. How do you improve the probability that the opportunities Marketing generates will convert? Many organizations deploy a lead qualification team to evaluate whether opportunities and are sales-ready AND worthy to be forwarded to the “closers” or sales team. The idea behind developing and deploying a lead qualification team is to increase the quality and flow of leads. The opportunity qualification team generally uses lead scoring criteria to identify and disposition “closable” opportunities.

performance management assessment

Purchase Your Assessment

Establish metrics of success for your lead qualification team.

Build a strong lead qualification team.

Once you have the team and processes in place, there are five metrics an organization can use to measure the lead qualification team’s effectiveness.

  1. Reach or Engagement Rate – the actual number of opportunities the lead qualification team was able to engage with or reach and their performance against the target reach rate.
  2. Qualification Rate – the actual number of opportunities the team qualified that actually met the qualification criteria and the speed in which these were added to the marketing or sales qualification stage and their performance against the target. If there are other avenues for qualifying opportunities you will want to compare the lead qualification team’s score to those of the alternatives.
  3. Conversion Rate – the speed at which the qualified opportunities convert across the pipeline stages and how the team’s conversion rate compares to the performance conversion reach rate target and other avenues.
  4. Pipeline Contribution– the actual number of qualified leads the team adds to the pipeline and the value of these leads as well as how this number compares to the target and other avenues in which qualified leads are added to the pipeline.
  5. Win Rate – the actual number of the lead qualification’s team opportunities that convert to customers, along with how well they performed against the target win rate and target value and compared to the win rate for other avenues.

Ultimately, the reason to have a lead qualification team is to have more consistent and better quality leads along with higher conversion rates. Which means you need to be able to measure whether the performance of your lead qualification team with these outcomes in mind.

To learn more about nurturing opportunities and the buying journey check out the white paper Don’t Waste Your Bullets: Customer Engagement To Accelerate Revenue And Improve Alignment


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