Lead Scoring has become extremely popular among business-to-business (B2B) marketers. Enabled by powerful tags and reporting tools built into today’s Contact Management Systems, lead scoring is promoted as a way to help Sales people prioritize their work based on the quality of the leads. And it provides a means for Marketing to compare the value of their various promotional programs.

In our experience, however, lead scoring creates more problems than it solves. Not that it’s wholly without merit, but the time, money and attention that many companies put into lead scoring tends to provide a negative return, and strategic misdirection. That’s because in an attempt to make Sales more efficient, most lead scoring systems go too far.

Lead scoring starts with an agreement between Marketing and Sales regarding the definition of a qualified sales lead. Companies typically identify a series of attributes with which to characterize different leads. And the degree to which a given lead possesses these attributes drives a lower or higher lead score, which enables the sales team to prioritize what, how and when they go after the lead.

The problem, however, is that this approach assumes that there is a lot more “gray area” between what is a good lead and a bad lead than is justified. And most lead scoring systems assume that the salesperson’s time management problem is more complex than it typically is.

Other things being equal, the activities of the typical B2B sales rep will be prioritized based on their perception of what will give them the greatest return (e.g. sales, commissions, etc.,) on their investment of time and effort. Therefore, the critical question that every sales professional will ask about every sales lead is: Is this lead worth my time?

In general, whether a lead is worthwhile is, for most salespeople, pretty black or white. Most tell us what they want is “an appointment with a decision maker who has a need for the company’s products or services, and who wants to talk to the salesperson about how they can help.”

In other words, there aren’t 5, 10 or 20 factors that make a lead qualified. And while you may be able to characterize a lead with multiple attributes, if it isn’t going to change what the rep does, why bother?

Jeff Josephson is the CEO of JV/M, Inc., in Moorestown, NJ. For more information on how you can improve the results from your marketing and sales programs visit www.LeadGen.com, or you can contact Jeff at 856-638-0399 x101 or by email at JLJ@LeadGen.com.