The Importance of Lead Scoring  

When it comes to goals like growing a business, gaining more brand awareness, and increasing sales, there’s a simple common denominator to focus on: leads and generating them.

Black Woman Using HubSpot Marketing Automation

While generating and attracting leads is an important factor to the success and growth of any company, just getting as many leads as possible isn’t necessarily the way to go – it’s just not that simple. After all, every marketer knows that not all leads are created equally, meaning that quality of each lead is what truly matters. Some leads fall off the train in the very early stages, some get a bit further in their journey, and a select, special few will make it all the way to becoming actual customers for a company. 

It’s why the ability to attract the right leads is where marketing and sales teams should spend their focus. Nurturing leads that aren’t likely to get very far could be a waste of valuable time and energy, resulting in lower productivity and stunted business growth — while nurturing the right ones can make all the difference. So, it beckons one big question: how can you make sure your sales and marketing teams are spending their time with the most-qualified leads possible

We have an answer for you — it’s where lead scoring comes into play.

Today, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of lead scoring, why it’s super important for your business, and how to get the most out of your lead scoring efforts. 

What is lead scoring?

Lead scoring is the process of giving value to each and every business-generated lead. Lead scoring takes different characteristics (think: things like website engagement and online behaviors) into account, and applies a numerical sort of point system of values. 

To put it into context, think of a game. Everyone likes games, right? Well, in simple terms, the higher the points a lead has, the more likely it is to “win” the game…AKA make a purchase or a similar conversion.

With a scoring system in place, marketing and sales teams can prioritize where to spend their attention and focus – which optimizes time and productivity but also optimizes conversion. the right lead scoring tactics, potential customers get the attention and nurturing they deserve, and more high-quality leads are successfully guided towards becoming customers — making lead scoring a practice that really does benefit all parties involved in business interactions. 

Lead scoring for marketing and sales teams

When it comes to marketing campaigns, lead scoring can help drive momentum and focus towards high-quality leads. Once you know what types of leads are your best bet, you can adjust your marketing strategy accordingly – making every campaign even more effective. 

Lead scoring directly impacts your company’s bottom line by pointing marketing and sales reps in the right direction of qualified leads, and narrowing in marketing campaign efforts towards the right people. Plus, think of all the time sales reps will save from not having to follow up on dead-end leads. Time is a highly valuable business commodity, and anything that frees it up is worth diving into a bit deeper. 

Your first step before lead scoring

Now, since all companies have different goals and different criteria for what makes a good lead, the exact process of lead scoring is unique to each company that uses it. There are so many different ways to categorize and rank lead quality, but before you even jump into lead scoring, you  have to get clear on your ideal customer and on the goals and objectives of everything from sales to marketing. By working together as a team to develop your strategy and goals, you can make sure that the process of lead scoring is actually effective — especially since lead scoring requires this kind of knowledge to work.

After all, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to the many ways people can interact with your business — and this means that there’s no one-size fits all approach to lead scoring, either. 

Wondering where to start? First, we’d recommend digging through past data and recognizable patterns to decide which attributes lead to the most conversions and then working with your team to decide upon different buyer personas for your customers. 

Through detailed research and analytics, you can create a fictional representation of the person who would be likely to become a happy customer for your company — and you can use this to inform everything from your lead scoring to your marketing plans. When building out your buyer personas, take into account the qualities and actions that contributed to past conversions, but also make note of which qualities were present in non-converting leads. You’ll need both to make an accurate image of an ideal customer. 

6 types of lead scoring models

A lead scoring model will help you decide what characteristics or actions to focus on when scoring your leads. The following models give you an idea of all the different ways you can rank each lead depending on what’s most important to your company:

1) Lead scoring model: Demographics

Demographics consist of all the basic characteristics of potential leads. These aren’t actions or behaviors that are being performed, but simply things that are true about your ideal customers. You can prioritize different demographic information like location, occupation, age, gender, etc. For example, maybe college-aged adults or parents are most likely to purchase your products, or maybe you want to focus attention on people from a specific geographical area — it’s totally up to you, and can make a big difference in your lead quality.

One way to get this information while lead scoring is to set up questionnaire forms through landing pages. People can fill in answers about demographic information that helps you determine how likely they are to become a qualified lead. 

TAC tip… We’d also recommend leaving some optional answers, because people that include even optional answers are very likely to move forward in the buyer’s journey. 

2) Lead scoring model: Company information

For B2B organizations, deciding what types of companies to sell to is important — after all, there could be a specific industry or company size that matters or makes a big difference. Again, we recommend landing page forms here — especially since landing page forms can be useful in determining what types of companies should score higher than others. 

3) Lead scoring model: Online behaviors

While different qualities of leads can be factors in lead scoring, so can the different actions that each lead takes. Plus, these actions don’t have to be just simply clicking links — these actions can be things like how long a user stays on a page, how many pages they visit, or even how many different times they click. You get to decide what actions outrank others. 

For example, if someone clicks on your website, you might find that to be more valuable than clicking on a social media or blog post. If someone clicks on the pricing page, they may be more interested in making a purchase than someone staying on the home page. 

Pretty much any action that can be taken online by a potential customer is an option for lead scoring, but here are some common examples to look for:

  • Page views
  • Clicking on links
  • Searching for your company
  • Downloading content
  • Watching a video
  • Submitting an online form
  • Opening emails
  • Subscribing 

4) Lead scoring model: Engagement

Measuring engagement is very helpful in lead scoring. Since people have to make a conscious effort to engage in one way or another in order to make a purchase (or not to), it can be a good indicator of interest — and, in turn, a great lead scoring model. 

The engagement lead scoring model takes into account how people interact and communicate with your brand, and there are two main engagement areas that we like to look at for lead scoring — social media engagement and email marketing engagement.

Social media engagement looks at any type of interaction across social media platforms. Sharing posts, commenting, messaging, liking, and tagging are all solid indicators of interest. For example, it could be important to you that social media users have more followers than others. On the other hand, you may notice that users from one social media platform are more likely to become customers than users of another platform. 

Email marketing engagement involves who opens and reads through your company’s emails. Open and click through rates are helpful in deciding who is interested in the content they’re receiving, and these rates also point to the likelihood of continuing towards a purchase or conversion. You might also notice how far down people get in each email, how many emails in a series that were opened, and if there are any replies or downloads. 

Bonus points: Weeding out the spam

Keeping an eye out for spam is a good idea while lead scoring because you don’t want your information to get skewed. You can try assigning negative values to anything that looks like it could be spam – for example, forms with poorly spelled answers or QWERTY-style typing. Scoring spam negatively will help keep your lead scoring results accurate (and high quality), making sure that you get the best possible leads as a result. 

5) How to know what lead scoring data matters most 

We just discussed tons of different lead scoring possibilities ranging from both behavioral and qualitative data — and deciding what data to prioritize might seem a bit overwhelming at first. But the truth is, you have tools that can help you rank different pieces of information above or below others. You can start by chatting with your sales team, since they are the ones in constant communication with leads that convert and those that don’t. Your sales reps can give you some good feedback about what inspires possible conversions. 

You can also turn to customers directly. Conducting interviews with current customers can give you a first-hand account of what it’s like to actually go through the conversion process. They will have different ideas of what grabbed their attention and inspired their interest. It’s okay if these answers are different from those of your sales team, because you want to have plenty of different answers to work with. 

Lastly, use your analytics to balance out the in-person research. Running an attribution report is a great way to get a detailed analysis of what is driving your specific lead conversions. 

TAC tip… Here’s a step-by-step guide to running an attribution report for your business.

6) What you need to know about calculating lead scores

Now that you understand the basics of lead scoring, it’s time to get into the actual lead scoring process. And while lead scoring does require a bit of math and it’s not as simple as picking random numbers for each value, it still doesn’t need to be overly complicated. You just have to find your system. 

Here are 3 main ways to calculate lead scores:

Manual lead scoring

Manual lead scoring is the simpler method of the 3 systems. To manually calculate a lead score, you first take the number of new customers your company acquires and divide it by the number of leads you generate. That number is your lead-to-customer conversion rate, and it will serve as the baseline for the lead scoring process. 

Next, choose the main attributes, characteristics, and behaviors that are indicators of high-quality leads. This step is fairly subjective, since different people might have different answers to this same question — but that’s okay. You’ve already done the work of gathering and analyzing your data and speaking with your sales team and customers so this research will guide you towards data that will be most helpful for qualifying leads. 

Next, calculate the close rate of each attribute you’ve chosen. This is how you know how many people become qualified leads and potential customers based on the actions they’re taking. You should have individual close rates and one overall close rate. 

Start looking for individual close rates that are higher than your overall close rate, and assign those high close rate attributes a point value based on the magnitude of their close rate score. It won’t be perfect, but be as consistent as you can with the data you have. 

Now, once you know numerical values for each data point, you can tally up a lead’s total points. And, instead of using just the end number of all accumulated points, you’ll want to come up with the zone of readiness that you’re looking for. 

After all, the number of points a lead has doesn’t mean anything unless you have a certain range of points to look for — otherwise known as your range of readiness. Be patient, because it can take a little time and testing to find your perfect range. However, once it’s set, your lead scoring will really start helping you filter through all your company’s leads.   

Logistic regression lead scoring

The next method for lead scoring is slightly more complicated, but is also more mathematically precise. Logistic regression lead scoring uses data mining techniques and excel to calculate the probability of conversions. By inputting all of your demographic characteristics and behavioral actions data into Excel and plugging into your desired formula, you can calculate which leads are likely to close into sales. This approach may give a more consistent close rate than the manual method, but both help with scoring your leads effectively. 

Predictive lead scoring

Predictive lead scoring involves a slightly different approach. By recruiting the help of AI, you can actually automate the lead scoring process with certain software. With this method, you don’t have to keep manually adjusting and adapting your lead information and values, because a platform does the work for you. It also continuously learns as it goes, so your data automatically gets more accurate over time. 

Predictive scoring takes into account what quality leads customers have in common, as well as the shared qualities of leads that didn’t become customers. Using all the right data, your software comes up with a formula for which leads are most likely to convert. 

TAC tip… we can help with ALL of these.

The answer to your lead scoring questions? Automation

Automation is a game-changer for saving the time and energy of your sales and marketing teams — and it’s also key for accurate lead scoring that you can continue to reference. To give you a better idea of exactly what it looks like to combine lead scoring with automation, let’s look at 3 different CRM platforms and how they help score leads:

Hubspot, Salesforce, and Zapier lead scoring systems

Hubspot lead scoring

To use Hubspot to assign value to leads and automate the lead scoring process, you can start by setting score properties. First click settings, then properties. Search for Hubspot score and click on property name. You can use the add criteria button to assign either positive or negative points to each score. 

Next, click apply filter to add criteria to your score property. You can go back to the add criteria step to add multiple sets of criteria as many times as needed. 

You can also use Hubspot to test, clone, or delete your criteria at any time. The process is quite user-friendly, and very helpful to determining which leads are worth pursuing in the name of higher sales and conversions. 

Learn more about Hubspot lead scoring here. 

Salesforce lead scoring

Salesforce offers another automated option to help with lead scoring. With its marketing automation, Marketing Cloud Account Engagement, you can customize your lead scoring system and integrate it into the Salesforce CRM platform. 

Start by choosing what factors you want to score your leads on, then create a picklist field, create a tracking field for each score, create a formula for the total score, and give it an image. It’s actually pretty simple!

Learn more about Salesforce lead scoring here

Zapier lead scoring.

Zapier lets you integrate its lead scoring software with tons of other apps. When getting started with Zapier lead scoring, you’ll want to first add a trigger and then add your search action. The program will automatically comb through the web for data based on your contacts’ email addresses. You can in turn use this data to set up more detailed information about each lead and take your lead scoring to the next level. 

Learn more about Zapier lead scoring here.

Ready to increase your company’s conversions through lead scoring? 

Lead scoring is important for getting to know your audience and understanding what truly goes into attracting quality leads. When lead scoring is done right, your sales and marketing teams will be able to prioritize their time and attention towards leads that are more likely to convert, and your marketing efforts will become even more effective. 

At The Automation Co, we’re here to help your business grow while making your life simpler at the same time. Our experts are ready and waiting to walk you through optimizing your lead scoring processes to get the most conversions possible by using automation. 

To chat with a strategist about your company’s specific lead generation needs, click here to get started.

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