These stats highlight the importance of identifying which leads are actually qualified to be able to take them through a nurture and sales funnel.

Enter: lead scoring – an effective tool for marketing and sales teams to sort through their coldest and warmest leads.

Smartbug has the best definition for lead scoring:

“Leading scoring systems in the simplest terms rank leads according [to] the behavior, action or characteristics logged in contacts’ properties within the leads database. Those who have the most qualified attributes get the highest score.”

In this article, we explore why lead scoring is an important function for your sales and marketing teams. Then we show you a simple step-by-step guide to help you get started.


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Why use Lead Scoring

Lead scoring provides multiple benefits for a company, including:

Maximizing your ROI per lead.

39% of marketers claim that one of their biggest marketing challenges is proving the ROI of each marketing channel.

By scoring your leads according to different interactions and activities with your brand, you can get a glance at which marketing efforts are getting engagement and, ultimately, sales.

Tells you which leads are “hot” enough to make a purchase.

Using a lead scoring system, both your marketing and sales teams can essentially pinpoint which leads are Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and which are Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) , allowing your sales team to move the right prospects down the next sales function.

Illustrate a customer’s journey vis-a-vis your contact points.

You can glean a lot of information and insights about a prospect based on which contact points they’ve interacted with from your brand.

So you can say a lead who signed up through a newsletter sign-up on your blog may be looking for free resources and information that you provide in your newsletters. But a lead who responded to a cold email may be interested in a specific marketing offer.

Shows you leads that require additional nurturing.

The points in a lead scoring system can tell you which leads might need either a follow-up or additional lead nurturing activities. On the other hand, it can also show you which leads have been cold even after multiple re-engagement attempts.

Identify top subscribers and promoters.

Another benefit of lead scoring helps you identify your most engaged and highly satisfied customers – those of which might be referring or able to refer your company to their network.

This way, you can reward loyal customers and even take them through a special referral program .

Before you implement lead scoring…

Now before you can create your own lead scoring system, the most important prerequisite is to make sure y our sales and marketing teams are aligned .

It ’s crucial that marketing teams know what exactly their sales team considers a qualified lead. And sales teams will often provide key insights and feedback to help refine, test, and validate the lead generation and nurturing strategies of your marketing team.

Step by Step Guide to Lead Scoring for Faster Sales

Ready to create your own lead scoring system? Here are all the steps you need.

Refine your buyer persona

You may need to revisit your buyer persona in order to make any updates and changes. Work with your sales team to identify what job roles your warmest prospects are likely to have as well as their most burning desires and problems keeping them stuck.

Do your best to get these types of information about your ideal buyer:

  • Demographic information: including age, location, role in company, industry, and so on
  • Behavioral information: including times they visited your website, which marketing activities they’ve engaged with (e.g. “signed up for webinar,” “read blog post about outbound marketing strategies,” etc.), and what led them to purchase from you (e.g. “registered for free trial,” etc)

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Create your lead scoring matrix or point system

By now, you know more about your ideal buyer and their behaviors vis-a-vis your brand. Next, it’s time to develop your scoring matrix or criteria.

A typical point system goes from 0-100 but you can create a matrix that makes sense to your team. This matrix essentially plots out which behaviors or actions customers may take, which are assigned a specific score.

Make sure that you assign any criteria or behaviors that indicate higher likelihood to buy with higher points, and that these criteria or actions really indicate higher interest to purchase.

Be sure to assign points to cover different criteria about your ideal buyer, including the following:

Profile criteria. < For example, a lead gets 1 point if they are a small business but 2 if they are a medium-sized business. They get 5 points if they are a marketing director but only 3 points if they are a marketing associate.

  • Behavioral criteria. For example, a lead gets 20 points if they registered for a webinar and 30 more points if they actually attended. A lead also gets 10 extra points if they viewed a sales page multiple times, or 15 points if they interacted with a chatbot on your site.
  • Negative criteria. These are criteria that tell you a lead is less likely to be a qualified lead, e.g. “is a student or intern,” “lives in a country you don’t do business with,” “unsubscribed from emails,” or “has not interacted with marketing activities for X days.”

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Define consumer behaviors that point to interest

You’ll want to develop some threshold that indicates to your marketing team that a lead is now warm enough to purchase.

This is where your lead score comes in. You can use different ideal scenarios and add up points for each to determine just what makes a sales-ready lead.

For example, one ideal behavior you want from a prospect is a direct email response to your B2B outreach campaign , asking for more information about your offer, and even clicking the links to your website.

Consult your sales team for any important insights about customer behaviors that point to interest. This way, you can re-evaluate your point system to see just which behaviors deserve more points.

Don’t worry about getting this perfect the first time – which brings us to our final step…

Tweak your point system accordingly

If this is your first time to create a lead scoring matrix, don’t worry if it’s not perfect right away. As you get more information about your buyers and their behaviors, you’ll be able to refine your matrix and identify scores and behaviors that point to a sales-ready lead.

Ask yourself if any low-scoring leads converted into sales – or if more high-scoring leads never converted altogether.

With this information, you can create new scoring rules and criteria to determine just which behaviors or profile criteria truly matter to be able to make a sale.

Wrap up

When you can identify which leads are red-hot in your funnel the moment they meet certain criteria, you’ll be able to take them through the next step in your sales process faster. This is where lead scoring proves a valuable effort for your sales and marketing teams. Use the steps above to help you create your own lead scoring strategy, and start seeing better conversions and ROI on your marketing and sales efforts.

Editors Note:

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Kevin Payne
About Author: Kevin Payne
Kevin Payne is a content marketing consultant that helps software companies build marketing funnels and implement content marketing campaigns to increase their inbound leads.