With inbound marketing, you can continuously attract leads thanks to relevant, helpful content. That’s nice, but what do you do with it? What’s the point of not following up on good leads? And what leads are worth following up on? Lead scoring is an important part of your sales management: it helps you close faster, better deals – because if you don’t qualify and track your leads, you’re in for it. However, lead scoring appears to be a difficult task for many B2B companies. We’ll be happy to get you started with a few simple steps for lead scoring.
How does lead scoring work?
In lead scoring, you find out how your contacts have become customers and what their common characteristics are. There are 3 steps to this process:
- See why certain contacts became customers or not, and what they have in common.
- Assign a ‘weight’ to certain characteristics so that you can determine whether someone can become a suitable customer.
- Give extra points to leads that strongly match your ‘typical customer’ and give a lower score to someone who doesn’t match the profile.
It sounds simple, doesn’t it? Still, it’s pretty complicated. These six basic parameters will help you determine a lead score.
6 parameters for lead scoring
Do you only sell to people in a specific target group such as CEOs, SME managers, or senior citizens? Then add some demographic questions to your forms on your landing pages. Use the answers from your leads to see how well they fit your target group.
Do you discover a stranger in the midst that doesn’t match your target group well? Keep them out of the list of interesting leads by subtracting ‘points’ (= negative score). For example, if you only have customers from a certain location, you can assign a negative score to every lead outside that zone.
If someone fills in an optional form field (such as a phone number), you can assign extra points (= positive score) for their engagement.
2. Company information
Do you mainly work in B2B? Then your product or service is probably tailored to a certain type of company of a specific size or vertically – and you prefer not to attract B2C customers. These kinds of questions are also possible on a form: you can give extra points to leads that fit your target group and subtract points from leads that don’t match what you’re looking for. To keep you from getting forms that are too long, you can access this information during the project thanks to ‘progressive profiling’.
3. Online behaviour
A lead’s interaction with your website says a lot about that party’s interest and buying intention. Therefore, find out how existing customers eventually became customers: What did they download? How many content offers did they watch? Which – and how many – web pages did they visit?
Both the number of pages visited and the type of pages and forms are important. You can give higher scores to leads that visit ‘valuable’ pages such as a prize page or a form for a demo request. You can also give scores based on visit frequency and, for example, award higher points to leads that visit 30 pages than to leads that view 3 pages.
Sometimes, you see that someone was very active during a certain period (a lot of website visits and content downloads) but then it drops after a while. Maybe they’re not interested anymore or they found another solution? In this case, there’s no point in continuing to actively follow up on this lead. You can deduct points from these kinds of leads if, for example, they haven’t been on your website after 10, 30, or 90 days (depending on your typical sales cycle).
Someone can sign up to receive emails from your company, such as a newsletter. This doesn’t tell you anything about the interest in buying something. Open and click-through rates, on the other hand, give a better picture of interests. It’s always interesting to know who opened which email in a lead-nurturing campaign or who clicks on your promotional emails each time.
Do you pass this information on to your sales team? In that case, they can pay more attention to the most involved leads (instead of the ones that don’t follow through on your mail communication). Does a lead click through on a valuable email, for example, to book an appointment? Then you can give that lead a higher lead score.
5. Social commitment
How involved your lead is in your brand on social networks also gives you an indication of their level of interest. Do they click through on your company’s tweets or LinkedIn posts? Do they like or share social media posts? If your ideal lead is active on social networks, you can award extra points based on their behaviour or number of followers.
It can be interesting to assign negative scores to leads that do not fill in forms seriously (fake names, random letter-digit combinations, initials, etc.).
It is also possible to assign values to the type of email address: you can give more points to a business address than to a Gmail or info@ address.
How do you know what’s important?
If you do lead scoring, you have to wade through a lot of data. But how do you know what data really matters? Can you contact sales for this? Do you have to ask your customers? Or draw reports?
In an ideal scenario, you do all three. That would give an accurate picture of the factors that led to a deal, which would then allow you to assign a score.
Talk to sales
Your sales team has daily contact with leads and customers. They can assess what influences or does not influence a customer’s choice. They also know which marketing content is successful or not. You can also ask them what blog posts or content tools they like to share with leads.
Talk to customers
The sales team will tell you that they know their customers and that they know which content is responsible for conversion. There’s only one way to confirm that: asking your customers. This can be done through a short conversation in which you ask them what it was that convinced them to buy. It is best to ask both customers who have gone through a short and a long sales cycle.
To get a complete picture, you also need hard data from your marketing analyses. For example, you can use a so-called ‘attribution report’ to identify which marketing efforts lead to conversions. This video briefly explains how such an attribution model works.
Based on such a model, you award points to people who have downloaded content that has often led to conversion in the past.
Calculate the lead score
Calculate the lead score very simply by following these four steps:
Step 1: Calculate the lead/client conversion ratio for all leads
To calculate this, you divide the number of new customers you created over a given period by the number of leads you received in that same period.
Step 2: Select several parameters that contribute to more qualitative leads
For example, someone who asks for a demo, someone from the manufacturing industry, someone with more than 1,000 employees, etc. These parameters have previously been established in collaboration with sales, customers, and analysis tools.
Step 3: Check the closing rate of leads that became customers for each parameter
Step 4: Compare the closing rate per parameter with your general closing rate and assign a score
Look for the parameters with closing rates that are considerably higher than your general closing rate. Then choose which parameters you want to assign points to and how many. Try to create a consistent system here.
For example: do you have a general closing rate of 1% and is the closing rate for ‘application demo’ 20%? Then this parameter is 20 times more likely to lead to a deal. You could then assign 20 points to a lead that meets this parameter.
Ready for lead scoring?
Lead scoring helps you identify, prioritise, and efficiently track your ideal leads. To do this in practice, it is best to use marketing automation software like HubSpot.
You will also benefit from a thorough sales enablement strategy where marketing and sales work together optimally to use your lead scoring in a meaningful way.
Find out how lead scoring works in HubSpot: book a HubSpot marketing automation software demo.