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Feb 06

How to Create a Lead Scoring System that Works


In: Strategy Insights

According to MarketingSherpa, 73 percent of all B2B leads are NOT sales ready. That same study also found that companies using lead scoring saw a 77 percent boost in lead generation ROI.  This quantitative methodology will help you differentiate between those prospects at the beginning of the customer journey, those who are warming up, and those who may be primed to purchase.  Creating a lead scoring system allows your sales team to focus their time on leads who are more likely to convert, while holding off on those who are not.  

Before we talk about best practices, we need to figure out if your business is ready. First, do you have enough leads? Your sales team should have more leads than they have time to go through. If this isn’t the case, then turn your attention to lead generation. Second, is your sales team swimming in leads but they don’t seem to generate business? Then you need to focus on increasing the quality of your leads through an in-depth ROI analysis. If you have done both these things, then you are ready to start scoring your leads.


Demographic and Behavioral Lead Scoring

When you’re collecting leads, the more information you can gather, the better. Remember though that too many form fields can negatively affect your landing page conversion rates. The data you collect in these fields (or through surveys) is demographic data: things such as job title, company size, and industry. The majority of marketers use between two and four explicit data points when scoring leads. The behavioral, or implicit data you will use in your lead scoring model are things you track internally through analytics software such as number of visits to the site, filling out a form, or downloading a whitepaper.


Defining Your Lead Scoring Model

Once you identify your explicit and implicit data, you need to understand what the ideal answers are to each of these questions. What do your current customers have in common? Perhaps your ideal lead is a decision-level executive from a company with revenue between $1-2 million and 25-50 employees. You would then also want to assign a value to each of the implicit actions taken on your site. What usually happens right before someone makes a purchase? Clicking an email might give them one point, whereas watching a sales video is worth five. If the company only has revenue of $500,000, you might subtract two points. You can subtract another two if your lead is a low-level sales associate with no decision making power.

It’s critical to be aware of the high-value actions and pages on your site in order to properly score a lead. Visiting a pricing page or sign up form will likely carry more weight in your lead scoring model than a visit to the careers page.


Refining Your Model

Once you have the basic demographic and behavioral points set, your work isn’t finished. There are a few best practices you can employ to further improve your accuracy. Utilizing negative scoring is a technique many marketers overlook. If you are assigning a point for every blog post and a point for every email open, your lead’s score can quickly become over-inflated when they may just be using your site as a resource with no intention to buy. In addition, opening emails may seem like it’s worth a point, but both click-through-rate and further conversion points on your site are better indicators of engagement. If a lead continually opens and clicks an email, but never fills out a form or watches a video, their score should drop. You can also employ negative scoring based on the amount of time that has passed, or for leads who visit your careers page.

Perfecting your scoring model may take a little time, but with the amount of data most businesses currently have at their fingertips, a thoughtful model will allow your sales team to focus on the leads that matter most.   


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