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What is Lead Scoring?

Marissa Walker
21 January 2019

In order to build a successful sales strategy, modern organizations need to dig deeper into the concept of lead scoring. It has become vital to the sales process to build a reliable formula for incorporating lead data to form lead scores. Consider these numbers from a survey conducted by DemandGen International: only 32% of marketers believe they are “effectively using” the lead scoring functionality in their marketing automation system. About 3 in 10 respondents claimed they were using scoring “somewhat,” and 39% were not using the tools at all.      


Because lead scoring is so underutilized, we have created a walk-through of the basic lead scoring mechanics, including what data you should look for, and how you can achieve the full potential of your lead scoring.

Breaking Down Lead Scoring

Lead scoring is a method used to determine the worthiness of leads, or potential customers, by assigning them values based on their interest in products or services. The value of each lead varies from one organization to another, but generally is characterized by the interest shown in the company or their place in the buying cycle. In most cases, enterprises assign a rating to different prospects based on their behavioural or demographic patterns, prioritizing the higher scores as better candidates for sales to pursue, or simply referring to them as “hot,” “warm,” or “cold” based on the history of interactions.  

Now let’s look at some of the data companies can use for lead scoring.

1. Demographic Information

Demographic data is essential when you need to develop a solid lead scoring formula. You can ask demographic questions in the forms on your landing pages and based on the leads’ answers, you can see how well they fit in with your target audience.

With this information, you will be able to remove outliers from your sales team’s queue by subtracting points for people who fall into a category you don’t sell to. For example, if you sell to only a certain geographic location – say Berlin, for instance, you might want to give a negative score to any lead who is based outside the city of Berlin.      

2. Online Behaviour

You need to understand how leads interact with your website, as this will tell you how interested they are in buying from you. Let’s look at some of the lead behaviours and content assets to consider when it comes to online behaviour:

  • E-books & White Papers – Take note of the number of prospective buyers who have downloaded your e-books & White Papers. Additionally, find out who made further inquiries, and who clicked through on key call-to-action links.

  • Videos- It’s important to note down who has watched a significant percentage of your videos. Try in addition to find out if they consumed other related content.

  • Webinars – Note down the number of prospective buyers who have registered for and attended your webinars. Also take a look at who opened your follow-up emails and who actually downloaded the post-session materials.

  • Product Demos & Free Trials – Keep track of those who requested a demo, as well as those who downloaded the trial version. Of those, also find out which ones installed or logged in.

  • Content Behaviour – Here you need to ask yourself some questions: Do prospective buyers consume lots of assets? Do consumers appear to have authority by reviewing pricing? Are they looking into ROI calculators, deployment tools, or similar buying behaviours versus “drive-by” visitors?

 3. Company Information

Say you are in the B2B sector–exactly what organizations are you trying to reach in terms of size, type (B2B or B2C) and industry? Asking the right questions on your landing page forms will help you give points to leads who fit in with your target audience. If a lead doesn’t fit, they should be given a low score.

4. Engagement Levels on Social Media Networks

Finding out how leads are engaged with your company on social media platforms can also provide you with data on how interested they are in your products or services. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How many times did prospective buyers click through on your company’s tweets, Pinterest images, and LinkedIn and Facebook posts?

  • How many times did they retweet or share those images and posts, or engage with the content in a meaningful way, such as through a comment?

If your prospective buyers are active on social media networks, you might then want to consider awarding points to leads based on their numbers of followers.

How to Calculate a Basic Lead Score

Here is a simple, effective method of getting started with scoring your leads:

  1. Calculate the lead-to-customer conversion rate of all of your leads, and use it as your benchmark. This refers to the number of new clients you acquire, divided by the number of leads you generate.

  2. Pick and choose different client attributes of leads you believe were higher quality. Some of the attributes you might look for are: clients who requested a free trial at some point, or clients with 10-20 employees. Leverage conversations you had with your sales team or data from your analytics solution to come up with proper attributes. Thereafter, calculate the close rates of each of those attributes.

  3. Compare the close rates of each attribute with your overall close rate, and assign point values accordingly. Here, you need to look for the attributes with close rates that are significantly higher than your overall close rate. Choose which attributes you’ll assign points to, as well as the number of points. Try assigning the point values of each attribute based on the magnitude of their individual close rates.

  4. Leverage Logistic Regression – Logistic regression refers to a mathematical method employing data mining to calculate a basic lead score. It typically involves building a formula in Excel that will give out the probability that a particular lead will convert into a paying customer. It’s a more accurate and holistic method that factors in how the various customer attributes (think industry, company size, etc.) interact with one another.

Closing Thoughts

Lead scoring can really work wonders for your sales and marketing efforts, especially if you leverage tools such as HubSpot software, Salesforce Einstein Lead Scoring, Adobe Campaign, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for marketing, Oracle, or SAP. Lead scoring can improve alignment and collaboration between your marketing and sales teams, resulting in a better exchange of feedback on the quality of leads being passed to sales. In addition, lead scoring ensures that the best leads are followed up on immediately due to the detailed prioritization of leads according to buyer readiness and revenue potential.

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