Did you know too many leads can negatively impact sales as much as not having enough? You can’t hire every time lead volume increases without impacting margins. But not doing anything risks your best opportunities falling through the cracks.

So what do you do?

Many companies turn to lead scoring to qualify leads as volume picks up. This system allows your team to systematically identify and act on only those opportunities most likely to convert. At the same, your team don’t waste time on those that are a bad fit form the start.

Below are six easy steps for how to use “fit” and “behavior” metrics to get started with your own lead scoring schema:

1. Define “opportunity” and “sales ready” for your company.

An opportunity is any lead you bring into the pipeline that becomes a potential prospect and hopefully converts to a new customer. This could include website visitors, event atendees or anyone reaching out via phone of email. Marketing and sales then should agree when that opportunity is “sales ready,” or worth investing time and other resources. For some companies this is as soon as the lead is identified, for others it’s much further down the sales-marketing funnel.

2. Decide what “fit” metrics you want to use.

Start by asking what key factors will help discern if an opportunity is a match for your company and product: Is it in the right market? Is it the right kind of company? Is this person the decision maker? Do they have the right kind of problem? How well does our product solve that problem?

3. Set a scale for each one of the previously-decided fit metrics.

For example: 1-10. (Note: It’s best to keep the same range for every metric) If the opportunity has the exact problem that your product solves, they might receive a score of 10 for that metric. But if the contact is a secretary rather than the CEO, that lead might receive a score of 3 for the decision maker metric, just as an example.

So as you collect information about the opportunity, you come up with a list of scores that correlate to your fit metrics. the resulting sum of those scores will show a partial value for how likely that opportunity is to convert. This score alone can tell marketing whether or not they should nurture that lead, but your team may decide to collect behavior scores before passing on to sales.

4. Identify your behavior metrics.

These are observable actions the opportunity takes that show where they are in the buying process. In order to create this score, you will need to map each incremental behavior in the customer buying pipeline – from first contact, for example, to fills out online quote form, downloads a white paper or asks for a sales call. This is particularly important for companies that use a marketing automation or CRM platform, because you want to make sure you configure these systems to steps in the buying process.

Remember, this pipeline might also vary across customer segments, so you may need several behavior metric scales. Examples of steps in pipeline: Contact, connection, conversation, consideration and consumption.

5. Score behavior metrics for each stage in the sales pipeline.

In the contact phase, you might apply lower scores for things like Fanning on Facebook or signing up for a newsletter, and higher numbers for webinar participants.

For the connection phase, you might score things like returning to the site for a second time to download a white paper or an audio conference. As you move down the pipeline, scores should get higher and higher. You can also apply scores based on quantity of touches.

6. Decide what fit and behavior scores trigger marketing or sales action.

This will vary depending on your resources. Sales might say for example, we want the lead to have at least 5 points on the fit scale and 6 on the behavior scale before we take action.

You might choose to chart these scores – with fit metrics scores on one axis and behavior on the other – and create quadrants (so a lead with high fit and high behavior would be in the top right quadrant). Then sales can say “We’ll act on any leads on the third and fourth quadrants” and marketing will only nurture leads that are at least in the second quadrant.

The goal with this system is to efficiently decide which opportunities you want to invest in with sales time and efforts, and which should stay in the lead nurturing program. Over time, you should track behavior and fit scores with conversion rate and adjust if needed.