Jun 2019

Lead generation is a primary goal of every B2B marketer. But not all leads are equal. They’ll each have unique characteristics and needs, which means a cookie cutter approach to convert those leads into customers won’t work for everyone.

Businesses need to create a system to evaluate, prioritize their needs in order to determine their sales readiness. This is known as lead scoring.

Let’s cover the basics of lead scoring and how to use it to convert your leads into paying customers.  

What is Lead Scoring?

Lead scoring is a methodology of ranking leads based on their ‘sales-readiness’. In this process, values (in numeric "points") are assigned to each lead. This process helps the sales and marketing teams prioritize leads and plan appropriate actions and responses for every lead, thereby increasing the rate at which those leads become customers.

The 3 basic factors that determine the score of the lead are -

  • Persona fit:  How well does the lead conform to your defined buyer persona?
  • Interest level: What level of interest has the lead shown in your product?
  • Buying stage: What stage of the buyer’s journey is the lead?

These factors give you a sense of whether or not they are ready to be contacted by your sales team, or still need some nurturing.

Here are the steps you need to get started.

1. Create buyer personas

It is essential to have a clear understanding of the characteristics of your ideal customer before you start scoring your leads. Buyer personas play a crucial role in this.  The more holistic understanding you have about your customer, their goals, how they prefer to seek information and select vendors, the more accurate your lead scoring efforts will be.

Need help building your buyer personas? Use this easy template

2. Define your data points

The next step is to determine the attributes that you will assign value to. These attributes can be segmented into 2 main categories for the purpose of lead scoring.

  • Demographic information
    • Location
    • Age
    • Company Size
    • DepartmentIndustry
    • Job Title/Seniority
    • Location
    • Budget
    • Goals
    • Timeline
  • Behavioral information
    • Email opens
    • Blog subscription
    • Demo requests
    • Form submissions
    • Content download
    • Visits to:
      • Product pages
      • Pricing pages
      • Contact us pages
      • Key blogs

The criteria you use for scoring your leads will depend on your personas, industry, and products and services but the above attributes are common among B2B organizations.

3. Assign positive and negative values

The best way to understand lead scoring is to look at an example using a point scale from 1-10.

Let’s say your organization sells recruiting software.

A lead who subscribes to your newsletter may take longer to convert into a customer. You may not even know if this lead is seeking a job or looking for a recruiting service. The nature of their action (subscribing to the newsletter) isn’t indicative of what they’re looking for. In this case, you’d assign 3 points to this lead.

Whereas, a lead that downloads a whitepaper on “The Top HR Tech Tools Your Business Needs” is likely further down the funnel and may convert into a customer more quickly. This lead would get 5 points in this example.

Sometimes leads may take specific actions or have characteristics that disqualify them as a good lead. Some examples of attributes that would warrant negative lead scores include:

  • Job applicants
  • Existing customers
  • Competitors
  • Unengaged leads who haven’t been opening your emails or visiting your website
  • Location is outside the area you service/sell

In these circumstances, you’d subtract points from these leads.

Lead Name

Action Taken

Points Scored

Points Subtracted

Total Points

A

Subscribed to newsletter

3

 

3

B

Whitepaper download

5

 

5

C

Requested a demo

7

 

7

D

Submitted a job application

 

-10

-10

E

Subscribed to newsletter


Hasn’t opened an email in 6 months

3




-3

0


4. Determine a minimum score required

Next, determine the range of scores that represent “sales-readiness” of the lead.  This will require some level of testing and analysis when you first implement lead scoring.

Map out your lead scoring system together with your sales and marketing team to determine a minimum point threshold together. Say you use a point system from 1-10, perhaps a score of 7 would indicate a lead is far enough down the funnel that it’s time to have a conversation with your sales team. Using software or a tool made specifically for lead scoring will help streamline this process. See below for examples of tools.

5. Create notifications for your sales team

Rather than having your sales reps manually go into your CRM frequently to check in on your lead scoring initiatives, save them some time by setting up notifications which are triggered when a lead reaches the predetermined sales-readiness threshold.

Tools to Help You with Lead Scoring

Regardless of the size of your organization, lead scoring can be a huge project to take on manually.  Without the help of a tool, the process may become tedious, time-consuming and may lead to data inaccuracies. Moreover, as leads are nurtured, their score is likely to change. Without automated processes in place, it’s difficult to keep pace with even just a single lead’s activities, let alone 1,000 other leads.

Below are a few tools that can help you with automating your lead scoring

    1. HubSpot
    2. Docsify
    3. ZigiHub
    4. Salespanel
    5. SalesWings

Once the system is implemented, the efforts of your sales & marketing teams will become more aligned and you will be able to reach the right customers at the right time, on the right channel.

buyer persona