Introduction to Lead Scoring

Introduction to Lead Scoring

Dec 16, 2016 by Emily Gunderson

Updated on January 9, 2018

To many people, the words "lead qualification" evoke feelings of, well, "ugh." Looking at lead information and determining what to do with them is tedious and time-consuming. Luckily, marketing automation is taking some of the manual work out of the process. A lead scoring system takes what you value in a lead and assigns points to it. Once the process is set up, a scoring system will save you from having to personally evaluate individual leads.

How does lead scoring work?

Lead scoring is the process of assigning points to leads based on their behaviors and demographics in order to determine sales-readiness.

Through tracking capabilities you can set up in your marketing automation platform (see our blog post for more on setting up tracking), you are able to record lead activity and then designate points to certain actions, such as downloading a whitepaper. Demographics can also be scored. For instance, you might assign higher points to leads based on their job title.

Any actions that denote interest and any demographics that match your target audience should be rewarded with points. This way, you can let the scoring system do its thing and only take action when a lead presents a high score. By creating a point threshold before leads are sent to sales, you can ensure that only your most qualified leads are reaching sales at the right time.

How do I decide on the point system?

The point system should reflect what’s important to your business. This part will be different for everyone, but there are some universal guidelines:

Base points off of lead behavior

Think about which lead actions mean the most to your business. These might be actions like visiting your website, visiting a specific page on your site, adding an item to their shopping cart, downloading content, interacting with your business on social media, or attending an event. Each action should be rewarded with points to reflect the lead’s level of interest.

Award more points for valued actions

Actions like attending an event take more effort for the lead than clicking on a page on your website. Be sure the point system reflects the lead’s level of interest and effort to interact with your business.

Award negative points for unvalued actions

Some actions may indicate that your sales team should not be interested in the lead. These can include visiting your careers page or browsing your site for less than 5 seconds. You may also want to award negative points for leads who haven’t interacted with your business for a certain amount of time. Or, you may keep track of those leads in order to place them into a reengagement campaign.

Examples lead scoring

Develop thresholds for marketing categories

As a lead earns points, they should be added to different marketing cycles until they are ready to be sent to sales. Depending on your marketing strategy, you may have thresholds for the lead to enter into a nurturing cycle, a marketing-qualified cycle, and finally, a sales-qualified status.

Communicate with your sales team

Lead scoring involves both the marketing and sales teams. The two should decide on point amounts and thresholds together, to ensure your scoring system will bring the most sales-qualified leads to your salespeople at the right time.

What else can lead scoring tell me?

Lead scoring helps you determine when leads are ready to speak to a salesperson, but behavior tracking can also illuminate exactly what your best leads are interested in.

Observe your successful leads’ behaviors and determine if there is a certain aspect of your company many leads are interested in. If you can find actions that have repeatedly been known to trigger a lead to move to sales, you can award more points for leads who complete that action.

You may also be able to use the actions of successful leads to make educated changes to your nurturing cycle. If you find that leads have repeatedly converted after discovering a certain product, be sure to advertise that product in your nurturing cycle.

For more advice on creating a lead scoring system, check out these resources from Marketo and Pardot.

Lead Scoring Cheat Sheet
The Definitive Guide to Lead Scoring
5 Best Practices for a Lead Scoring Model

If you're interested in setting up a lead scoring system and would like some help, don't hesitate to reach out to us. Fill out our contact form and we'll be in touch, shortly!

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