When companies implement inbound marketing, often times their first step is to generate as many leads as possible. But, what most businesses quickly realize is that not all leads are created equal. Some leads:
- Are in the exploration phase
- Don’t have the means to purchase your products or services
- Meet certain criteria that indicate they are ready to be handed off to sales
The latter (gauging if the lead is ready to be handed off to your sales team) is done with lead scoring. And, in this post, we’ll break down how lead scoring works, along with sample criteria you can use to help set up your company’s unique lead scoring system.
Where to start?
Before you start scoring the leads you receive, your sales and marketing teams need to come together to define what makes a lead “sales-ready.” This could be determined by the number of pages they have visited on your website, the sources that drove them to your website, offers they have downloaded, what industry they work in, and more.
Once you have defined what makes your lead sales-ready, you can then establish a scoring system either by way of points, letter grades, or a “hot and cold” scale.
For example, if you use a points-scoring model, typically you’ll score like this:
- Critical data (10-15 points): these points indicate the lead fits exactly with your buyer personas. Examples are: CEO, key stakeholder, sells SaaS products, 1000+ employees, $100M+ in revenue, headquartered in your company’s specific location.
- Important data (5-9 points): these points can be provided to those who are close to, but not exactly within, your buyer personas. Examples are: Marketing manager, part of a decision-making committee, a technology company, 250+ employees, $50M+ in revenue, headquartered in your company’s country.
- Influencing data (1-4 points): these points are provided to those still further from your ideal buyer persona. Examples are: potential users, a food and beverage company, 40+ employees, $5M in revenue, headquartered in a different country.
- Negative attributes (negative points): scores should be designed to factor in aspects that degrade in value. Examples are: non-decision makers, unsubscribing from emails, no website activity in two weeks, visiting your career page, or having a job title that doesn’t match your ideal buyers.
Common data points that you can use as your lead scoring criteria are:
- Job title
- Company industry
- Company size
- Previous purchases
- Lead source
- Company budget
- Company revenue
- Offer downloads (eBooks, demos, free trials, case studies, etc.)
- Pages viewed
- Search activity
- Videos watched
- Email activity
- Social engagement
- Years of experience
- Survey responses
- Tradeshow attended
It is up to your company to determine how leads are scored. To ensure your lead scoring system is set up to properly hand leads off to sales, it is best practice to run your current customers through the scoring system. If their score doesn’t add up to the threshold you set to hand leads off, you probably need to alter your scoring mechanism a bit, or lower your threshold.
Most of all, it is important to remember that this is YOUR company’s lead scoring system. Be sure to set it up to cater to your ideal customers.
Interested in learning more about advanced inbound marketing strategies? Download our free eBook, Beyond the Basics: Advanced Inbound Marketing Tactics.