What is Lead Scoring?

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  • 2/15/2017
    If you are reading this blog post then it is pretty safe to say that your organization has at least a fairly full funnel of leads and prospects. The good news is that a full funnel never hurts, but the bad news is that without a proven way of categorizing and prioritizing leads, you are essentially deeming each and every one of them as equals. And we probably don’t need to tell you that all leads are not created equally. Some prospects are ready to seal the deal today whereas others have merely a fleeting interest. 

    But how can you tell? That is where a lead scoring system comes in handy. At its basic level, lead scoring applies numeric values to behaviors and demographic information. Examples of behaviors can include visiting specific pages of your website, completing forms or viewing videos. As for demographics, you could apply points based off of geographic location or job title. Ideally, the perceived value of the lead should be clearly represented by an accurate score, meaning that you can prioritize prospects that are more valuable to you.

    A scoring system, however, is only as useful as the rules and criteria you apply to it. So where to start? Here are a few quick questions to help you jump into the deep end:
    • What are the key attributes that a prospect MUST have in order for them to even be potentially viable? First identify top points of lead disqualification off the bat to avoid information pits you don’t need. Then consider the important ones like geographic location, organization size (this can be employees, revenue, etc.), industry, or specific business processes, structure and systems.
    • What are the “nice to haves?” This can include a specific job title or role that the lead should have, the time frame that the lead is looking to make the purchase and a prospective budget.
    • What information should the prospect know? The answer to this question is critical, but it is also something that most organizations don’t think about. If a prospect hasn’t taken the time to educate themselves about your product or service, should your sales team take time to talk to them? To be blunt, no they probably shouldn’t.
    • What have prospects done on your site and what pages or content have they consumed? We get asked to identify these often for our clients. In order to track a prospect’s behavior and attribute it on a one-to-one level with them, you are going to need a marketing automation platform. To learn more about which of these systems might work best for your company, read our platform comparison blog post.

    After you have developed your comprehensive list of rules and criteria, the next step is to order them in a hierarchy. Now this can be a bit tricky. When you are going through this process, keep the following in mind:
    • The higher the importance, the more points that behavior or attribute should have assigned to it.
    • When scoring content or behaviors, put things into two categories: interest and intent.**
      • Interest based content or behavior can include product detail page views, watching product overview videos and reading your company’s About Us page.
      • Intent based content or behaviors demonstrates that the prospect is closer to being ready to buy. This can include viewing pricing pages, completing contact forms and adding products to a wish list or cart.
    • Typical scoring models are done on a 100-point scale.
    • Scoring models are not to be set up and then forgotten about.
      • Models should be reviewed at least two times per year. This means having marketing and sales team members sit down and walk through the leads that sales talked to, analyze their score, uncover how those points were accrued and then review the outcome of the opportunity.
    **Important to Note: When allocating points, the intent based items should have a higher value than the interest based elements.

    Lead scoring is a tool that each and every organization can benefit from. If you are interested in learning more about how you can leverage this indispensable tool at your company, drop us a line; we would love to hear from you.
    About the author:: Kyle Coughlin is a Marketing Automation Specialist at thunder::tech. When he's not connecting our clients' digital marketing dots and implementing data-driven strategies, he is either hard at work on a DIY project or out on a hike with his wife and three dogs.
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