Lead Scoring 2.0- A Deeper Dive

Lead scoring is a great way to use real data to understand what kind of lead is going to be the most likely to turn into a sale or customer for your products or solutions (click here to go back to the basics). Is this person potentially a good fit for your product or solution based on their similarities or differences to your current customers? Are they a decision maker? Do they have a need or interest in your product or solution? Have they viewed a webinar, spent some time on your pricing page, started a free trial?

Lead scoring helps you understand and compile all of this information and presents you with a score for any given lead. You decide which demographics (age, location, role) and possible actions (visited landing page, viewed webinar, requested demo) are most important and you give them a positive points value, there can also be negative points for things that make a person less likely to purchase. The score can and will change as the lead continues to take different actions. So, what kinds of things can you do with a lead scoring system? Follow along.

Lead Scoring Deep Dive

Take a deep dive into your data

You’ve used a CRM system for a couple of years now but have never done anything with all of the records, do you know you are actually sitting on a gold mine worth of data points?

Want more info on lead scoring? Download Lake One’s guide!

Maybe you haven’t gotten around to diving into all of that data quite yet, but now is the time because you could be missing out on great leads while your salespeople spin the wheels on long-shot, cold leads. Here are a few things we recommend taking a look at as part of your deep dive:

  • Look at your leads that ended up in purchases and what kind of journey they took to get to that point. Do you see any trends in their visits? The number of times they came back before speaking with a salesperson? How many times they were contacted before a connection was made?
  • Get a handle on all of the forms on your site and decide which are most important to the customer journey. Rank your website pages specifically for lead scoring; perhaps your demo and pricing pages are quite high values with case studies, features, and customer reviews falling in next.
  • Check out the purchasing contacts and see if there are trends in their demographics. Are they all C-level executives? You can even take a closer look to see if the demographics of these contacts match those of your current ideal customer personas.
  • Consider the account level demographics: industry, company size/employee count, total revenue. You can provide both account and contact level scores for each lead.

As you understand more and more which specific data points make a purchase more likely, you can start to rank and assign them points by order of importance or relevance. Lead scoring isn’t a perfect science and you should be open to changing things both as you get it set up initially and as your company, products, and customers evolve. It’s not something you should set and leave forever.

Lead Scoring Deep Dive

Define lead “buckets” and assign next steps

There are many different types of leads and stages in a customer journey. Lead buckets are filled around the defining points in that journey. Lead buckets make it easy to understand which leads are high, medium, or low priority, as well as who should own next steps with the lead. This can allow you to target users with content or action relevant to their current position along the buying process, which according to Aberdeen Market Intelligence yields 72% higher conversion rates.

You can have a couple of buckets for marketing nurtured leads, one for marketing qualified ready to be passed over to sales, a couple for the different urgency levels for sales, and another bucket for those that were sent to sales and then rejected or lost. This entire process can really be as simple or complex as you want including as many or few buckets as necessary for your unique customer journey.

Build the relationship between your sales and marketing teams

It’s no secret that when sales and marketing teams are aligned and work well together, everyone is happier and the results go up. Involving both teams in the lead scoring process can bring them closer together. Allow them to figure out which data points are important and work together to define and score both MQLs and a SQLs. [This process is called creating an SLA. Read about it, here.]

Understanding these important parts within the funnel first-hand will allow for clearer handoff points and better cross-team responsibility understanding. This cooperative approach provides a single source of truth so there won’t be any finger pointing or blame, the numbers will tell an accurate story of lead quality and customer journeys.

4. Bonus points

There are countless creative ways to utilize lead scoring to better understand and serve your prospects and customers.

Lead score for specific products or solutions

If you have a wide range of offerings, serve multiple industries, or have widely varying price points, you can use lead scoring to define which types of leads would be the best fit for specific products or solutions.

A/B Testing

If you have a lot of data points, it can be difficult to know which ones have more of an effect over others. You can run different iterations of your lead scoring program. Keep all but one or two points the same so you can see which results in more closed leads to create more accurate scoring moving forward. There is no limit to how many times you can do this, so it should be something you do fairly often on an ongoing basis.

Lead Scoring Guide

Use scoring for your existing customers

One buying journey ending in a purchase is just the beginning of your customer’s overall experience with your company and product/s. Your current customers most likely don’t immediately purchase everything you have to offer meaning there may be opportunities to expand their portfolio. Lead scoring for account managers can help raise renewal rates and increase sales of additional products or solutions.

6 Lead Follow Up Strategies

Your marketing campaigns are hugely successful, you’re gathering and utilizing tons of valuable data, and pulling in dozens of qualified leads per week. Now what? Someone needs to follow up with all of those leads. Believe it or not, there is just as much science and finesse to the follow up as the marketing itself. Here are a few suggestions to allow your lead follow up to be as successful as your marketing campaigns.

Understand the Difference Between Hot, Warm, and Cold Leads

Not every lead is created equal. Just like each customer is unique, so is each lead that comes in from a prospective customer. Even though you’ll notice trends and may start to feel like you’re having the same conversations over and over again, each situation will have slight variations. An important aspect of telling the difference between leads will be understanding which are hot, warm, and cold.

Looking to increase the quantity  and quality of your leads? Read up on Lead Scoring.

Hot lead – Someone who fits the profile of some of your best current customers, has the means to make a purchase, and is ready to do so now or in the very near future.

Warm lead – A prospect who shares some similarities with your ideal customer and has demonstrated interest in your product or solution. These leads may not be quite ready to make a purchase because of timing, budget, or some other factor, but they’re good ones to keep in touch with because your product or solution can actually help them.

Cold lead – This category can include everything from complete spam to someone that is legitimately confused about what your product or service is and doesn’t understand that it won’t solve their issue.

Once you’ve started to identify some trends, it may be a good idea to take a look at some real data and set up a lead scoring system. This is where you deep dive into the details of what specific factors indicate a lead is really ready to buy. Is it that they visited your pricing page or spent 20 minutes on your features site, requested a demo, signed away the rights to their first-born child? OK, probably not that last one. But a good data analyst will be able to find correlations in the data that will help you to set up a scoring system to organize and prioritize which leads to reach out to more urgently. Read about the basics of Lead Scoring, here.

Consider Following Timing and Strategy

Timing is everything when it comes to lead follow up. Research suggests that calling a lead within 5-10 minutes gives you the best shot at connecting with them. Most likely, if a lead really is hot, they’ll be looking to confirm some information or ask a couple of questions. Having the ability to do that within a couple of minutes of providing their information, while it’s top of mind, can help them make their final purchasing decision more quickly.

lead follow up strategies

It’s understandable that it may not be possible to call every single lead that comes in within 5-10 minutes, especially if the leads come in at times when there is no sales coverage like overnight or on the weekends. This is where a little automation could play an important role (see the next section).

The next step after the initial touch will be a strategy for how many times to reach out total and the timing of those attempts. This may take some experimentation and testing to find what works best for your prospective customers. You’ll want to aim for a balance of being persistent and regular enough to get noticed, but not being overbearing or annoying.

Automation vs. Personalization

If you are part of a small company just getting started, you may be able to respond to every lead that comes in. If you have the capacity to do so, you absolutely should. In the beginning, even some of the leads that turn out to be a dead end are going to be educational. They’ll allow you to tweak your messaging and content to make your offerings and solutions more clear from the start.

As you grow, or if you are a part of a company that brings in several leads per day, you may have to use some automation in order to respond in a timely fashion to everyone. You can also use that first response as somewhat of a vetting process. Use tracking software to see who opens the message, who clicks on links within the message, and of course, who replies.

Are your marketing and sales teams working together to automate the sales process? Here are some best practices you should be including.

The idea here is to find harmony between the two. If you automate too heavily, chances are you will come across as too canned and as though you don’t actually value your prospective customers enough to give them personal attention. If you personalize too much and spend too much time on each lead, you may lose other leads because you take too long to respond or simply never get to them.

To get started, create a couple of different email templates for the different responses that you find yourself creating often. Personalize each one before you actually send it. You can even utilize software that will pull in a contact’s name, but you should ALWAYS double check that it is correct. Misspelling someone’s name, or worse, calling them [CONTACTNAME] will most likely lose that lead.

Be Creative with Your Lead Follow Up

The truth is we are all in a state of constant information overload with our devices attached to our hips and wrists. Everything we do seems that it requires our email address, and our inboxes have thousands of ignored, unread messages.

lead follow up strategies

In order to be noticed amongst those thousands of messages, you need to figure out how to stand out from all of that noise. One way to add some creativity to your responses is to vary your methods of response.

According to Mobile Marketing Watch, 98% of all text messages are opened compared to 22% of emails. If a phone number is something you receive from a lead, shoot them a well-thought-out text with a simple call-to-action. Some forward-thinking sales and marketing people are also jumping in on the popularity of video and using video introductions to a specific salesperson in their lead follow up.

Offer Value to Your Leads

The most creative, eye-catching headlines, content, and graphics will turn some eyes your way. To keep them, you need to actually offer something valuable once you have that attention. There is no faster way to get someone to never look at your messages again than to send nonsense that was designed just to get a click. [Here are some examples of things you don’t want to do in your follow up process.]

Of all of the recommendations, this is probably the most important. If you aren’t offering immediate value, there will be no reason for a person to continue reading and especially not a reason to consider responding to you.

It’s Not Over After the First Conversation

You’ve had a great conversation, you told your prospective customer all of the ways your products can solve all of their problems and make their lives 10,000% easier. Excellent. That’s one of the hardest battles to make it through. However, you aren’t done there. Your job as a salesperson isn’t done until that person becomes a customer or decides they don’t want what you are offering.

Lead Scoring Guide

Every single time you communicate with a prospect, there should be some kind of request for them to take a next step or Call-to-Action (CTA). You want the CTA to be something that will ultimately be beneficial to the prospect. Ideally, it’s best if you can ask open-ended questions that require more than a yes or no response to get them thinking and allow you to learn more information.

Lake One’s Guide to Lead Scoring

If you’re being buried in leads or you feel like you’re taking shots in the dark to figure out which leads should get the attention of your sales team, it’s time to take a look at Lead Scoring. We’ve put together an A-Z guide on Lead Scoring to help you understand it from the basic concepts to implementation. We’ve broken down everything from the very definition of Lead Scoring to the why, when, and how. We cover all of the necessary components of the Lead Scoring process as well as how lead nurturing plays into the process. We’ve even provided a step-by-step guide to implement your own Lead Scoring Model. Enjoy!

  • What is Lead Scoring
  • Why Use Lead Scoring
  • When to Use Lead Scoring
  • Lead Scoring vs. Lead Nurturing
  • Necessary Components of Lead Scoring
  • Lead Scoring Process
  • Lead Scoring Tool
  • Ways to Leverage Lead Scoring
  • How to Build a Lead Scoring Model
  • How to Measure Lead Scoring
lead scoring

Benefits of Working with a Virtual Marketing Agency

I set out to build Lake One to be, in a lot of ways, the anti-agency. I thought about all the bad experiences I had as an in-house marketer working with consultants, freelancers, and agency partners and wanted to make sure to instill in the values of our team – the opposite of those bad feelings. A lot of the reasons people choose to work with us, are because of that choice. But one I get asked about is the flexibility of our team. Our team is virtual. Not in the sense of AI & robots (although we use a lot of cool tools that are built with that power enabled), but virtual in the sense that our team works from all over the place. Sometimes, we lose business because of this and that’s okay. But I think the benefits of working with a virtual marketing department outweigh any of the perceived concerns. Here are a few benefits to consider when working with a virtual marketing agency.

working with a virtual marketing agency

Highly Productive

Let’s face it. The office environment is distracting. Random meetings coming up for absolutely no reason, that person who loves to stop by and talk your ear off. Sometimes it’s hard to get work done at work. Remote work arrangements increase productivity by removing distractions. Of course, at home, a coffee shop or coworking spaces can provide their own kind of distractions, but being in control of the space our team works in lets us be flexible to adapt to the tasks we need to accomplish.

Better Team Morale & Health

Because our team works remote and has more control over their days, we can fit things in that help reduce stress. Research has shown remote teams have a 44% higher positive attitude and 53% lower stress level. All of this leads to a happier, healthier life which bleeds into the work we do.

Reduced Costs

Because our infrastructure costs are lower, overhead is low. It’s amazing how much companies spend on overhead and those costs get passed through, especially in the services business. Because our costs don’t include fancy offices, we’re able to provide services at a more approachable price.

Okay, I get the benefits – but how do y’all dig in?

So maybe I have you sold on the benefits. But you’re wondering about our ability to strategize. After all, the work we do is highly important to your business. Do we even talk to each other about the accounts we’re working on? Let’s address some of the ways our team works together.

Program Management

First and foremost, program management is the hub by which internally we see where all projects are. Externally, clients can see how things are progressing. We’re constantly fine-tuning our processes around program management to be as transparent about what’s getting done, what’s getting stuck, and what’s coming up.

Virtual Marketing Agency Program Management


Daily Communication

We adopt an agile marketing approach and run daily standups with our team so we all know what we’ve worked on, what we’re our priorities are for the day, and what we need from others on the team. That’s a starting point. We also have daily sidebar conversation virtually and a series of carefully planned meetings internally to tackle things like business operations, ongoing innovation, and ad hoc client troubleshooting.

virtual standup

Client Communication

Aside from transparent communication via our program management, we regularly communicate with clients. Often daily. We have a structured meeting cadence and frequently meet face to face to tackle the big hairy strategic discussion.


Internally, we have dashboards monitoring all accounts and reporting on progress on goals. At a glance, we know daily how our clients are progressing which allows us the insight to isolate problems or opportunities.

Put a Virtual Marketing Department to Work for You

At the end of the day, we’re not that much different than an agency with an office. We have some flexibility that gets our creative juices flowing – but we’re always driven by one thing. Success for our clients.


Lead Scoring Basics

What is Lead Scoring

Not all leads are created equal and for that very reason, we queue lead scoring. Lead scoring is ranking lead readiness to convert based on the lead’s behavior. The idea behind lead scoring is that certain activities speak to a lead’s readiness to be contacted by sales. A user who is highly engaged on the site, downloading multiple offers visiting key pages (like pricing), and signing up for the blog, etc. is (in theory) more ready to purchase than a user who visited one or two pages on the site a couple of times. Lead scoring allows a sales and marketing team to work together to develop criteria identifying leads likely to make a purchase so they can be followed up with by Sales.

Lead Scoring Basics

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Action19: Lessons in Business Resiliency

We were fortunate enough to be able to attend and sponsor the first ever Action19 event hosted by our partner Authentic Brand.

The theme of the event was Resiliency. While the speakers aligned their messages to the overall theme, each focused their address on a specific form of resiliency: personal, business/sales, and financial.

Action19 Recap

Personal Resiliency: Cory Hepola

Cory Hepola is currently a radio host for WCCO. Having switched his career from news anchor to radio host recently, Cory focused his keynote address on the perseverance it took to attain his success. Cory broached the subject of failure by discussing his hundreds- maybe even thousands?- of job rejections. He reminded us that we all go through struggles. So why then do we put up walls? Why do we avoid transparency, never talk about getting fired or rejected or criticized, and why is it that we only put the best versions of ourselves out there? We all do it. The point of Cory’s keynote wasn’t an appeal for us to all openly air our dirty laundry, but more so to call to attention that everybody has dirty laundry. Resiliency is found in not letting the struggle stop you from chasing your dreams.

Action19 Recap

One of my favorite parts from Cory’s keynote was his insight into dreams only coming true when you’re ready for them. It’s easy to get frustrated and give up when things aren’t going your way or happening fast enough, but more often than not, things won’t happen until you’re actually ready. The beauty of resiliency is that the more you persevere, the more prepared you’ll be when the universe is ready for you. Know your strengths, weaknesses, values, and purpose, and work toward goals that help facilitate your true character. True character is, after all, what shows itself when times are tough.

Cory was also keen to point out that whatever we do, it’s important to surround ourselves with good people. Allow those people to push you and support you.

Key Resiliency Takeaway:

The message of resiliency we all walked away with from Cory was that Everybody (capital E) fails. When you’re ready for it- actually ready, not just impatient- it will come to you if you’ve persevered through the struggle.

Hiring Resiliency: Mike Frommelt and Mary Nutting

In a dialogue between Mike Frommelt, Visionary & Co-Founder, KeyStone Executive Search and Mary Nutting, Owner, CorTalent & President, NAWBO, we learn about resiliency in recruiting and retaining employees. Mike built on to the adage, “right people, right seats,” by appending “right time.” He implored us to find employees as eager and passionate about your company as you are; the people truly invested in their careers. He continued to say that those people who really understand are the ones who will be all in.

Action19 Recap

Mary built on that idea. She pointed out the importance of hiring people based on the person and their values- people with “stretch skills” (potential). Find out and understand how a candidate’s personal values fit into company values before hiring. This will help ensure a quality fit, somebody more likely to succeed and grow within your company.

Mary also addressed the importance of knowing your business’s needs today. She discussed how occasionally businesses got lost in the goals and forecasts that predict future need. Rather than hiring for that, hire for what you need today. Don’t let your business get ahead of the talent- make sure you have talent for right now.

And then there’s that little matter of compensation. How do you deal with that? Let the market set it. Simple.

Key Resiliency Takeaway:

Resiliency is found through your people. As leaders, it’s critical to empower, inspire, and spend time with them everyday. And as Mike said, you want people’s hands and their hearts to bring your company to the next level. Invest in your people and your reward will be employees who work for you because they want to, not just for the paycheck.

Sales Resiliency: Josh Fedie

Josh Fedie, founder of SalesReach, lit the room with humor as he told us about resiliency in sales. First, smarketing (holla!). Align your sales and marketing teams. Make sure they are working toward the same goals and that you practice sales enablement, and are ensuring your sales team has all of the marketing material they need. Then, make sure you have the right tools – sales acceleration- to speed up your deals.

The modern buyer will be searching for you. It’s important to know, as Josh taught us, that every touchpoint in the sales process matters. Therefore, ABB + ABS. Always Be Branded & Always Be Selling! Always make sure you align your actions with your mission and vision. When your brand shines through, people will always work with people they like. Forever and ever.

Another knowledge bomb Josh dropped was to do video. Now. Like, right now. 90% of consumers said video helped them make a purchasing decision. Use video in your marketing and in your sales process as video enables your salespeople to be very personal. At every turn, you should be enabling your people.

Action19 Recap

Empower your employees. Let them know they bring value to the organization. Those employee brand ambassadors will create custom brand ambassadors, and that’s where revenue resilience truly lies.

Key Resiliency Takeaway:

Resilient sales teams are the product of resilient smarketing teams. An aligned smarketing team can help you empower every person in the company. Always be branded, and always be selling.

Financial Resiliency: Panel

The last session of the Action19 mini-conference was an expert panel discussing the topic of financial resiliency. Andy Schornack, President & CEO of  Flagship Bank Minnesota, Heide Olson CEO of All In One Accounting, Inc, Amy Langer Co-Founder of Salo LLC, and Aric Bandy President of Agosto.

The question ‘what should you do to prepare for a recession?’ was the first to be posed to the panel. Make sure your balance sheet is structured properly and that you have liquidity in assets. Develop good cash management in good times. And protect your people. While this wasn’t a continuation of the retention discussion from earlier in the day, treating your people as your greatest asset was a constant theme through the financial resiliency advice.

Action19 Recap

Additionally, we heard from Heide not to let your guard down when things are good. Always know where you are financially and don’t just have a plan B. Also know what triggers to be aware of that might indicate the need to switch to B. Furthermore, focus on process, people, and diversifying appropriately to make it through the next downturn. Invest in technology while you can, too.

Another question the group tackled was “As you head into a downturn, what happens when you ratchet back sales & marketing?” We’re going to take just *a little* liberty and say that the resounding answer was “bad things.” But really, panel members told about how when they cut back on marketing was when competitors were able to come out ahead. Additionally, they mentioned that it took a long time to catch back up to where they had been. Even in downturns, there is opportunity if you have the right team and are well positioned to take advantage. Find out why your employees and clients are working with you and do more of that.

Key Resiliency Takeaway:

As mentioned, supporting people was a large part of this financial discussion. Be resilient by creating an empowering environment where employees know they are valued.

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*Photo credits to Authentic Brand

6 Simple Ways to Use LinkedIn for Lead Generation

With more than 500 Million users, nearly half of which use it daily – LinkedIn offers a unique reach for B2B marketers and salespeople. Because of its emphasis on career, LinkedIn attracts often hard to reach buyers. If you’re looking for a niche channel and considering adding LinkedIn Marketing to your mix, you might be wondering specifically about LinkedIn lead generation tactics. Here are 6 easy to implement LinkedIn lead generation activities to boost your B2B sales and marketing on the business social network.

How to use Use Linkedin for Lead Generation

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10 Quota Crushing Sales and Marketing Alignment Statistics

“The leads from marketing are junk,” says sales. “Sales can’t close to save their life,” says marketing. On and on it goes as the two teams responsible for driving growth bicker. If only sales and marketing were in alignment.  It’s possible. More and more organizations are putting in the time to align their revenue teams – and it’s worthwhile. We’ve compiled ten statistics that show why sales and marketing alignment is important. More than just a nice to have, it’s a must-have for consistent quota crushing teams that move the top line.

sales and marketing alignment statistics

1) 61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to sales; however, only 27% of those leads will actually be qualified. (Source: Marketing Sherpa)

2) 63% of teams without alignment report an inability to calculate marketing ROI (Source: Hubspot 2018 State of Inbound)

Are you sales and marketing teams aligned? Click here to take the assessment.


3) 58% of aligned teams say sales and marketing alignment improves customer retention. (Source: LinkedIn)

4) 78% measure alignment through revenue growth. (Source: LinkedIn)

Sales and marketing alignment Statistics

5) Companies with Sales & Marketing alignment are 67% better at closing deals and drive 209% more revenue. (Source: Marketo)

6) B2B organization’s with tightly aligned sales achieved 24% faster three-year revenue growth and 27% faster three-year profit growth. (Source: Wheelhouse Advisor)

7) Decreased sales productivity and wasted marketing efforts due to misalignment costs $1 trillion a year. (Source: Hubspot)

8) Highly aligned organization’s average 32% YoY growth while their less aligned counterparts see a 7% decrease. (Source: Aberdeen Group)

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9) Only 1 in 2 companies say marketing and sales have a formal definition of a qualified lead. (Source: Marketing Charts)

10) Misaligned sales and marketing can cost companies 10% of revenue every year. (Source: Kapost)