When your small business is just starting to grow, every sale seems like a good sale. That means any lead can feel like a worthwhile investment. But stretching out your marketing resources and spending too much time on each lead starts to eat into your profits. In fact, you can spend so much time and effort on leads that they’re a negative investment even if you make the sale.

Instead of chasing every lead that reaches your company, score them to decide which ones are worth your resources. Here are the signs you should be looking for:

Is the potential customer a good fit for your business?

Before you get started on scoring your leads, you need to know what a good lead looks like for your business. Create ‘customer personas,’ or a hypothetical ideal customer. This would be someone who has the right budget for your products and services. If you offer a local service, the client needs to live or work nearby. If you offer a subscription service, they should need your service long-term.

Once you build a list of the characteristics of your ideal customer, you can start measuring leads against it.

Is the lead actually interested in your services?

Just because you want a customer doesn’t mean the customer wants you. So you need to look for signs that they’re interested. This can include subscribing to your site, actually opening your company’s emails, and regularly returning to your site.

But not all signs of interests are equal. Opening an email is a sign of interest, but clicking on a link in the email is even better. Regular site traffic indicates long-term interest. Examine your site’s statistics to find your conversion ratios (or how many times an activity has to be repeated on average per sale) to rank these factors.

Once you create your scoring mechanism, you can automate your process for managing and nurturing leads. Go to Predictive Response here to get started.