Lead scoring is a method of rating leads to help you better understand how much benefit they can bring your business and how to treat them. This technique allows marketing and sales teams to analyze and divide leads into groups based on their buyer journey stage, email engagement, behavior, company information, etc.

Why is lead scoring important?

Lead scoring can help you understand how to work with different parts of your audience. By analyzing user data and assigning a score, you can find out which leads are most likely to become customers and which ones need nurturing from your business. At every stage of the buyer’s journey, prospects require different kinds of treatment. If you learn to assign the correct score to them, it will make your sales and marketing teams work more efficiently.

Lead scoring also helps you save time and money by tailoring the most relevant content and offers to specific segments of your audience. This, in turn, can improve your relationships with the audience.

Lastly, lead scoring helps you sort out the least active part of your audience, the cold leads, which allows you to send them more personalized messages. Let’s figure out how to make up a lead scoring strategy.

How to Build a Lead Scoring Plan

  1. Identify Your Problem
  2. Design a Scoring Model
  3. Set Thresholds for Your Lead Scoring
  4. Choose a Lead Scoring Service
  5. Decide How to Engage with Leads after They Reach Thresholds

You need to take five steps to make a lead scoring plan for your business.

Step 1. Identify Your Problem

Several problems can make you think about implementing lead scoring:

  • you may have a volume issue when you need to drive more qualified leads to your sales team;
  • you may have a quality issue when your sales team wastes time on leads who are yet not ready to purchase;
  • you may have a long sales cycle that needs to be shortened.

The problem that you need to solve is the foundation of your lead scoring strategy.

Step 2: Design a Scoring Model

Identifying a problem will help you design the lead scoring model to achieve your business objectives. It’s also necessary to align sales and marketing objectives to identify which demographics and behavioral patterns are worth tracking and assign a score to each.

For example, subscribers who clicked through your last email campaign may get 10 points, while those who only opened the email get 5 points. When users visit your pricing page, their score may increase by 15 points and only 7 points when they visit your brand’s homepage.

Besides, you should prioritize channels that attract traffic to these pages. For instance, one user may visit your landing page after clicking a link in your email, while another may be redirected from a PPC ad on Google. The prospect who used the search engine to find information is warmer than an email subscriber because, in the first case, they’ve willingly searched for information and not simply received it in their inbox. It’s best to assign points accordingly.

It’s also important to care about score decay. This means that you should take points away from leads who have changed their intentions or stopped engaging with your content.

Step 3: Set Thresholds for Your Lead Scoring

Decide upon the score ranges that will coincide with leads’ readiness to buy. For instance:

  • a lead with a score 0-20 can be considered a cold lead or even a non-fit, which allows you to remove them from your program;
  • a lead with a score 21-49 can be classified as a warm lead, who isn’t ready to buy and needs to move along in your nurturing program;
  • a lead with a score 50 and above is a hot lead, so it’s best to hand this contact over to the sales team.

Step 4: Choose a Lead Scoring Service

You need to choose a service that will meet your functionality requirements and budget. You can overview some lead scoring companies here.

If you run a small business and only work with a few digital marketing channels, you may not need to have a universal service to cope with a lead scoring task. For instance, when sending your email campaigns with SendPulse, you can have two ways of scoring leads: by rating and by activity.

SendPulse automatically assigns subscribers a score from 1 to 5 stars based on their activity in the last 60 days. It depends on the open rate, click-through rate, and the total number of campaigns sent to a specific user.

User rating at SendPulse

Rating based on user activity also helps you understand whether your subscribers have active email addresses or not.

Step 5: Decide How to Engage with Leads after They Reach Thresholds

Think about the ways to deal with leads when the lead scoring system identifies their readiness for shopping. It’s best to automate communication so you can put your business in front of your leads with the most relevant content when they are most likely to engage with you.

For example, you can send automated emails with exclusive offers and discounts to close deals with hot leads and emails with more product information to warm leads who need nurturing.

Here’s a series of automated nurturing emails that start with a welcome message to greet new subscribers. It’s easy to setup: register with SendPulse, create an event that will trigger email sending, create some templates, and connect them in a workflow. Here’s a guide to creating automated emails.

You can also send relevant campaigns via a Facebook chatbot based on the leads’ buyer journey stage.

Let’s finish this guide with some best practices.

5 Best Practices to Succeed at Lead Scoring

  1. Review your lead scoring system
  2. Use negative scoring
  3. Disqualify dead-end leads
  4. Set up different lead scoring models
  5. Notify your sales team about new MQLs

We’ve collected five actionable tips so you can enrich your lead scoring strategy. Here they are:

  1. Review your lead scoring system. Your target audience may change over time. New behavioral patterns may appear, and demographics may change as your business increases its market share. Lead scoring is not something that you can set once, hoping it will work forever on its own. Review the score of your leads at least once a quarter to be able to adjust your scoring tactics to any changes.
  2. Use negative scoring. This is necessary for keeping the score relevant to users’ behavior and engagement with your brand. Negative scoring will help you send the right types of content at the right time, especially when leads have lost interest in your brand.
  3. Disqualify dead-end leads. It’s best to save time and effort on communication with leads who are not interested in your brand. Your lead scoring system will help you identify their status and enable you to take action.
  4. Set up different lead scoring models. It’s okay to have a few criteria for lead scoring at once. The number of lead scoring models you use depends on how vast your demographics are. For example, it’s okay to rank users by their activity, the number of purchases they made from your shop, the amount of money they spent, etc.
  5. Notify your sales team about new MQLs. It’s best to immediately inform your sales department about new hot leads coming. Automated notifications will do just that, avoiding human error and any delays. This will make your business more likely to keep the leads in your funnel.

Congratulations, you’ve learned the basics of lead scoring. Now you are ready to develop your lead scoring system!

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