Tips for Creating a Lead Scoring System

What are the benefits to having a lead scoring system?

Marketing automation software inundates businesses with reams of data. A lead scoring system makes that data manageable and helps you qualify each lead.

When set up properly, lead scoring will help you distinguish the progress of each prospect within your marketing funnel. You’ll be able to know in an instant who is a hot prospect, who is best left in an early nurture campaign and who is taking a step closer to becoming a promising lead.

Lead scores not only help you qualify your leads, they make it possible to funnel lead information directly to your business development and sales teams.

You can even reverse engineer your best clients by analyzing their lead scores and the steps they took to reach those scores. This can give you valuable information on which aspects of your score are most informative.

Step 1: Review Your Lead Flow for Actions and Demographics

The first part of creating a lead scoring system is to sit down and review every aspect of your interactions with leads and their interactions with you. Think of all your different points of contact: website, direct mail, trade shows, phone calls, email and advertising. Think about how different parts of your team interact with leads. For instance, business development representatives may connect with leads via cold calls whereas the sales directors may connect with leads via demos and in-person meetings. Compile all these interactions into a list.

Then, review the basic elements required for a lead to be qualified. For instance, do you only work in certain states? Certain countries? Do your customers have to be over a certain age in order to work with you? Do they need to be in a certain profession or have a specific job title? Do they need to be a business of a specific size?

Sometimes it’s easiest to think of your best clients and work backwards – what characteristics do they share? What action steps have they all taken?

The combination of these actions and demographic characteristics will form the foundation of your lead scoring system.

Step 2: Set a Score for Each Component

Separate your actions and demographic characteristics into separate lists. Then go through each and rank them in order of importance. Flag the items that are of special interest. For instance, scheduling a live demo would be more important than downloading a report.

Your action list might look something like this:

  • Visits blog
  • Signs up for blog updates
  • Clicks link in an email
  • Downloads a report
  • Requests a consultation
  • Speaks with business development representative

Once you have them ordered – and you may need to create separate lists based on the different products and services you offer – it is time to assign numbers. You might want to stick with a system from 1 to 100 or you might prefer to go up to 1000. The important part is that you assign points to each action or characteristic based on how you’ve ranked them and how much of a turning point each action or characteristic represents.

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So, for “Requests a consultation” in the above example, you would want to assign more points than for “Clicks link in an email”. There are nuances, however, that you will want to take into account. For instance, clicking an email link to “Speak with a representative now” would be worth more than just clicking a link to view a blog post.

You will want to give noticeably greater points for any characteristic that is required for a lead to be qualified (such as, “lives in the United States or Canada” or “major healthcare system”). Work the numbers so that a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) stands out with a noticeably higher lead score.

Similarly, you will want to give more points for any action that you particularly want to stand out to your business development representatives and sales directors (such as, “requests a demo”).

Conversely, you will also want to think about which actions or characteristics would work against the qualifying process. For instance, visiting your pricing page is not the same thing as visiting your careers page. The latter is likely a job hunter, not a lead, so visits to that page should subtract points. Likewise, leads coming from a country or state where you are not licensed to do business should also lose points.

You can also subtract points for inaction, such as when the lead has not clicked a link in an email in several months. This can help you monitor disengagement.

Step 3: Integrate Your Lead Scoring System with Marketing and Sales Processes

Once you have assigned points to all the relevant behaviors and characteristics, you need to decide when you need to take action in response to their lead score.

Consider …

  • When should the lead move to a higher-level stage of nurture?
  • When should a lead be handed off from marketing to business development?
  • When should a lead be handed off from business development to sales?
  • At what score is a lead considered a Marketing Qualified Lead or a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)?
  • At what number – or change in number – should a lead be sent to a re-engagement campaign?

At this point, you can easily incorporate your lead scores into the appropriate campaigns in your marketing automation or business development and sales processes.

Step 4: Review How the Lead Scoring System is Working

Lead scoring systems need to be reviewed and maintained regularly.

Check back in a few weeks or months – depending on how many leads your business deals with – in order to verify your lead scoring system is working as intended. See if the people with the highest and lowest number of points seem to be appropriately scored. Make sure score-based hand offs to other teams or campaigns are happening as intended.

Then, regularly review your system to ensure that any changes in qualifying actions and characteristics are being incorporated into your lead scoring. This will also help you flush out any indicators that turn out not to be useful.

Lead Scoring Systems Make Sense of Your Data

Lead scoring is a very useful way of making sense out of the large quantities of data brought in from marketing automation systems. While they require some effort to get off the ground, the ease with which they help you qualify leads makes it all worthwhile.

Michelle Marketing Strategies provides expert consulting services in digital marketing, marketing automation and content development. Email or phone for more information.