How to create lead scoring and stay sane

Jul 20, 2021

You’re a growing company, you have leads in your system but your sales team “complain” constantly that they are not good enough. Not all leads can be qualified and that is a fact. So what can we do about this? How easy will it be for our sales team to focus only on the leads that have the best potential to be converted into a deal? This is where lead scoring comes into place. Those of you who have heard about lead scoring know that this can be long, tiring, and even intimidating. This is exactly why we wrote this guide: to provide you with step-by-step instructions and best practices to create lead scoring and stay sane.

What is Lead Scoring

Lead scoring is a methodology used to rank prospects based on different criteria and activities in order to rank their potential value to the company. This method will help the sales team determine who is the best prospect to contact with to close the deal out of all the other prospects we have in the system.

By using lead scoring your sales team can manage their time and velocity better to ensure they meet their quotas.  Lead scoring can be defined differently, depending on company structure, needs and interest.

What are the benefits of lead scoring?

Let’s start by saying that lead scoring will work better for B2B companies because of their slowest sales processes, unlike B2C that have a much faster pipeline.

  • Better alignment between the marketing and sales team, by marking the qualified leads and making the sales focus only on these contacts instead of the unqualified contacts.
    According to MarketingSherpa, 61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to sales; however, only 27% of those leads will be qualified. 

By using lead scoring, we can mark those prospects with the highest score and prioritize them to  the sales people . This way we can make sure they’re not wasting their time on irrelevant prospects that won’t eventually close the deal. These prospects will require some more nurturing efforts, therefore we would like to capture them in advance and don’t transfer them to the sales people to waste their time and keep them in the marketing cycle for a while.

Caroline Robertson VP and Research Director at Forrester Research says “Your customers don’t really care about you,” Robertson said during her opening remarks. “They don’t care that you probably have dirty data that limits your ability to provide personalized experiences. They don’t care that your marketing and sales teams may not be working together properly. And they also don’t care that their buying process and journey is unpredictable.”

Robertson added that these new customers specifically want to be the center of the seller’s existence. “They want to know how you can solve their problems. They care about how you evolve with them in the long run and they ultimately care the most about their own success,” said Robertson.

  • By understanding the prospects’ interests and where they are on their buyer journey we can  make sure we engage them only with relevant content.
  • Faster lead qualification process, based on the fact that lead scoring is a data driven approach, which means it makes strategic decisions based on data analysis and interpretation. B2B prospects come to your company in different stages of the buyer’s journey. 
  • Create a foundation for marketing and sales service-level agreements (SLAs) for lead follow-up.

    Laura Ramos, Vice President Principal Analyst at Forrester Research explain that B2B marketers who emphasize lead volume over lead quality reduce sales efficiency, increase campaign costs, and fuel the gap between sales and marketing.
  • Define lead stages and when leads are being handed over from marketing to sales. 

According to a lead scoring survey by DemandGen Report, 41% of respondents saw improved conversion rates among leads using lead scoring. That same survey reported that through lead scoring:

  • 53% of respondents said they experienced improved marketing and sales alignment
  • 43% discovered qualified leads that might otherwise be overlooked
  • 43% saw an increase in the number of marketing qualified leads
  • 32% saw a rise in sales-ready leads

So, how do you start to know which lead score method will work better for your company?

Scoring models

When starting this project you need to remember that not every approach is right for all companies, and of course that you might need to combine more than 1 model.

  • Implicit model- capture the prospect online activities and interest. Based on these activities and actions the company can learn about the prospect readiness to close a deal and which products or services might be relevant to present. These activities can be
    • Key page visits
    • Form submission
    • Event / webinar registration
    • Event / webinar attendance
    • Revisit website on same day/ week 
  • Explicit Model based on the data the contact provides. Each company has a different target audience, therefore these parameters affect the score might change but the process is the same. This model looks at the type of the prospect and its data like
    • Country
    • Job title
    • Company size
    • Revenue
    • Industry 
    • And more

We can use our knowledge from previous sales to learn better which demographic data work for us better or where we would like to focus. For example only selling in a specific territory or that our product is relevant to a specific industry rather than a different one therefore we’ll give it a higher priority.

Some lead scoring methods will be negatively scored, rather than positively scored.

  • Negative score- Affecting the balance of the lead scoring, this could be defined based on different criteria that are less relevant to track and less relevant to the sales process. 

 Some companies use these criteria to decrease the score:

  • Unsubscribe from email marketing
  • Hard bounce
  • Visit the career page
  • Wrong persona- not the right titles or industries 
  • Irrelevant countries

What are the next steps?

Now that we understand the scoring benefits and models, we can start to implement it: 

  1. Data audit to define the criteria that the scoring will be based on
  2. Define qualified contacts by defining the threshold number that will segment who is qualified (score is above this threshold number) and who is not qualified. Based on this threshold number define the score each action and each value will get.
  3. Define the score per each explicit and implicit factor.
  4. Build the scoring in the marketing automation platform. 
  5. Test for a couple of weeks the scoring to see that the right actions and personas are getting the right score and moving into sales.
  6. Get feedback from the sales team on the new scoring method 
  7. Adjust the score per company’s changes and needs. Scoring will never be perfect or stay perfect for long, like us the company needs and target will change and this will affect the implicit and explicit scoring.   

Creating a lead scoring machine can lead to a better control on the lead management process, faster conversion times and a better conversion rate. This eventually will lead to more revenue generated and business growth.


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