Lead Scoring 101: What, How, and Why You Need It

shutterstock_110397590Lead scoring begins and ends with engagement.

It starts with email recipients opening your message, digesting the content, then clicking on a call to action. That link will take them to a landing pages on your website where recipients can complete online forms to register for an event, receive additional information, or complete a survey.

Now the question is, how do we turn those enthralled prospects into qualified leads? And then turn qualified leads into satisfied, contract-signing customers?

The answer lies in lead scoring modules. Lead scoring is the grouping and ranking of leads, based on lead data and behavior, and applying point values to their actions.

  • It’s a method shared by both the Marketing and Sales departments that determines leads’ readiness to buy.

  • This readiness is based on their interest level with your company and their place in the buying cycle.

To implement your own lead scoring system, collaborate with your Sales team and build a profile of your perfect customer. Brainstorm actions that are both explicit, such as company size, title, or industry, and implicit, such as online engagement, social presence, or interest level. Based on their scores, leads can be categorized as either hot or cold.

Hot leads are actively engaged in your content, whether through email campaigns, your website, online information, or events. Their explicit actions meet your qualifications – usually someone in a management position with purchasing power.

Cold leads are less engaged and require continued nurturing through email campaigns to educate them and maintain open communication. Their explicit actions might lack purchasing power or they work for a small company.

So, how should these leads be scored?

  1. Start by assigning point values for each page on your website. Let’s say you’ve decided to give every website page a base value of one point – this means that as a lead explores your site and jumps from page to page, their lead score increases by one point for each page. For example, if someone visits five pages on your website, they’ll leave your site with a score of five. From there, you can provide additional points for the amount of time they stayed on each page, because an increase in time implies an increase in engagement.
  1. There are high value website pages that should be worth more points based on the quality of the content. Pages with event registrations, demo requests, product details, downloads, pricing page, etc. should be worth 2+ points. This highlights leads that engage with your most important pages. On the other end of the spectrum, you might not want to assign any points to your Careers page. If a lead is looking for open positions with your company, they might not be interested in investing in your product as much as finding a new job.

  1. Make sure your marketing automation software is equipped with its own lead calculator tool. This allows you to define scores across the board, plug them into your MA system, and watch the leads score themselves. No need to manually tabulate score – as marketers, we know the less math we have to do the better! Outside the website, leads can be scored based on their engagement with email campaigns, whitepapers, events, and any additional correspondence. Assign points based on the value of the content – the more time, money, and resources you put into it, the more points it should be worth.

Leads gain and lose points throughout their engagement – as they continue interactions with your company, their score increases. However, if interaction becomes stale and the lead slows engagement, points can be subtracted, as well.

Effective lead scoring models lead to:

  • Increased sales efficiency: Sales representatives can focus on leads that have been qualified and educated about your products/services.

  • Increased sales success: Cold or unqualified leads are placed in a continuing nurture campaign and not passed along to Sales for engagement.

  • Increased marketing success: Lead scoring patterns will form, showing which characteristics matter most and how to target content based on those characteristics.

  • Stronger ties between sales and marketing: Scoring actually defines hot and cold leads across departments, minimizing conflicts that result when qualifications have multiple interpretations.

A model can be built from the ground up, then adjusted as needed – maybe you’ve decided to score the Careers page or assign extra value to whitepaper downloads. Lead scoring enables Sales to reach out to leads at the precise moment they are qualified to buy.


img_6768_#1 (2)About the author: Samantha Stallard, Salesfusion Content Manager: Samantha Stallard works for Salesfusion, a leading marketing automation platform with HQ in Atlanta. Samantha is a veteran of the Marketing Automation trenches and served as the lead onboarding specialist for Salesfusion and has trained hundreds of novice marketing automation users over the years. She has thousands of hours of experience working in the trenches – developing, testing, and troubleshooting campaigns for both Salesfusion and their 450+ customers. Her blog is focused on how users of marketing automation can get to success and ROI faster.


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