The concept of lead scoring is not a difficult one to grasp and most marketers will agree that it is a good thing. However, lead scoring has not been implemented in some organizations and other times it has been implemented poorly. If you are contemplating incorporating lead scoring into your demand creation and management repertoire, or if you are face-lifting an existing effort, here are some insights that will help.

To level set, here are a couple of points to consider if you are not a believer in lead scoring:

  • In a study of B2B organizations using lead scoring systems, on average, deal close rates increased by as much as 30%, company revenue increased by as much as18% and the revenue per deal increased by as much as17%.
  • According to Aberdeen Research, companies that get lead scoring right have a 192% higher average lead qualification rate than those that do not.

Lead Scoring – a definition
Lead scoring is an objective ranking of one response against another. The process of defining lead scores improves alignment and collaboration between marketing and sales. Optimally, lead scoring helps ensure the best leads are followed up on immediately by prioritizing leads and that gives you greater control of your pipeline. The better you measure and know the quality of your leads, the more predictable your pipeline and revenue forecasts become.

What is the Goal?
The overall goal of lead scoring is to review leads and understand whether the lead is in your sweet spot (explicit or demographic scoring) and/or is showing the right level of interest (implicit or behavioral scoring). The key to effective lead scoring is formulating an objective and automated way to capture information, score it, communicate it and update it. Successful approaches address the three areas of people, process, and systems.

  • In the people area, an executive-level champion within sales and marketing is required.
  • For the process portion, marketing and sales needs to agree on the criteria, weightings, scoring and how leads will be handed off from marketing to sales.
  • In terms of technology, software that can capture, score, store and communicate information is required.

Two of the most commonly used scoring dimensions are:

  • Who is the prospect–signified by explicit or demographic data that determines fit, such as title, role, industry, age, income, zip code, household income or company revenues.
  • How interested is the prospect–indicated by implicit or behavioral data that determines level of engagement, such as frequent visits to website, time spent on the site, content pages viewed and responsiveness to promotions.

Insights for Effective Lead Scoring
As with most things, there are some fundamentals that will either set your lead scoring effort up for success, redo or failure. Below is a list of some of the key issues that should be thought through as a first step:

  • Create a blue print of the perfect qualified opportunity (the one with the highest propensity to purchase).
  • Sales & Marketing collaborate to define a lead matrix (best and worst leads).
  • Determine the scoring range (0 -100, 1000 max?).
  • Review each criteria (demographic and behavioral) and establish a point range.
  • Establish the relative weighting of the above criteria (stack rank them).
  • Establish thresholds and routing processes.
  • Implement scoring within marketing automation system.
  • Sync marketing automation and sales automation systems.
  • Review and evaluate lead scores and passes daily, weekly and monthly.

Lead Scoring Best Practices

  • After numerous lead scoring implementations at start-ups and F1000 companies, there are some best practices that have emerged and they are outlined below:
  • Keep it simple, especially when getting started.
  • Do not over complicate the model with too many variables.
  • Run the algorithm against historical data (deals that closed, are in the pipeline, considered dead, etc.), and review scores.
  • Focus on scoring criteria that has standardized data values associated with it.
  • Ensure lead forms, marketing automation and sales force automation all have the same fields and report similarly.
  • Provide sales with options for follow-up based on lead disposition.
  • Ensure you have the right content to follow-up with leads at each stage of the sales cycle.
  • Agree on the timing of lead follow-up for each lead.
  • Continuously re-evaluate your scoring system.
  • Rate and measure the impact of lead scoring on sales.

Lead scoring is more than just a means for ranking leads. It is a contract between sales and marketing that defines each organizations roles with respect to qualified opportunity generation. Additionally, it establishes a mutually agreed upon process for defining lead quality, sales follow-up, and cross-departmental collaboration. In short, the act of collaboratively developing a lead scoring model helps your marketing and sales teams arrive at a common definition of a truly hot lead and that drives the correct allocation of sales resources.

Read more: Steps of Lead Scoring