Lead scoring is essential in an excellent inbound marketing strategy. Its use will allow you to classify your leads throughout your marketing funnel. Indeed, to be successful in your inbound marketing, you have set up effective lead nurturing, and you will be able to assess the engagement of your leads. Lead scoring should allow you to automatically bring out the most engaged leads, those who have every chance of becoming customers.
What is lead scoring?
Lead scoring consists of automatically assigning a score to each of your leads, a certain number of points to the actions they carry out, and their characteristics. This rating is possible thanks to the upstream definition of several criteria; this is called demographic scoring and behavioral scoring.
The goal is to answer fundamental questions so that marketing and sales actions can work adequately together: Who are my prospects? What are their interactions with my business? Can they turn into a customer for my business?
Once you have answered these questions, you can classify your leads according to their degree of maturity and thus take the appropriate actions to become customers or avoid wasting time with an individual who does not correspond to your target.
By knowing where a lead is in your sales funnel, sales reps and marketers can wisely use their time and resources. This lead scoring method is an essential element of marketing automation, automatically allocating more points to a prospect who is engaged and attracted by your offer.
Lead scoring will then help you automatically manage many leads and avoid poor-quality prospects while optimizing your marketing actions.
The Interest Of Lead Scoring
Lead scoring will allow you to segment your contacts according to their degree of maturity in your marketing funnel. To identify progress, points are automatically awarded according to pre-established rules. This rating may therefore vary depending on:
- The characteristics of the prospect and the level of knowledge you will have about him: motivations, demographic data, social information, etc …
- The prospect takes action: visit several vital pages, search intentions, click on a particular link, etc.
- The prospect’s commitment to your business: downloading, registering, making contact, following up on social networks, etc.
All these criteria are to be defined according to the area of your business and the amount of personal information you have on your leads. Obviously, the higher the score, the more your lead will be seen as a potential buyer. Conversely, you can put the prospect in question aside if the rating is low.
With this system, you can determine which of your prospects are ready and can pass through the hands of salespeople effortlessly. As said before, none of this is possible without a concrete marketing and sales combo. In addition to creating an effective lead scoring strategy, you will be better able to optimize your sales and marketing processes by involving both poles at the same level.
You will be able to process your contacts more easily and quickly!
An Example of Lead Scoring
To illustrate all this a bit, here is a simple and basic example of lead scoring. Every time a visitor comes to your website, it gives you valuable information. It can be gathered to create a lead scoring system. Then distribute points for each action performed, such as:
- + 3 points to leads who have viewed one of your blog posts;
- + 5 points to leads in the same sector as your persona ;
- + 10 points for leads who download one of your lead magnets ;
- + 20 points for your leads having the typical profile of your customers;
As you can see, there are points awarded concerning the actions carried out (downloading and reading of an article) and points awarded according to the person’s characteristics (sector of activity and profile).
In the opposite case where a prospect leaves you only irrelevant information, such as a false email address, that he rarely consults your articles or that his industry does not correspond to you, you can withdraw the points of his grade.
This way, you can see at what point in the buying cycle where your prospects are, which will help you organize your actions about the individuals you want to target.
What Are The Advantages of a Lead Scoring Strategy?
Although lead scoring is a somewhat off-putting strategy to put in place, it brings many advantages, whether for large companies with well-defined marketing and trade centers or SMEs. But not only! Time is a precious resource for any business, and you have to know how to spend it wisely.
marketing prospects never turn into customers. (source Hubspot )
If this figure seems absurd to you, it is nevertheless genuine. And why is it difficult to turn prospects into customers? Because our time is badly distributed because our efforts are not used wisely because marketing and sales are not aligned… All of these reasons prove that the implementation of lead scoring is important.
Save Time By Automatically Processing Leads
The lead scoring system will help you quickly identify qualified leads and those who are not. The goal for you is not to waste time on profiles that are not or not very interested in your offer to focus your efforts on those attracted to your business and what you have to offer. It’s up to you to work on your strategy!
And who says saving time, says saving money! Lead scoring will unconsciously participate in the excellent performance of your income by reducing marketing and acquisition costs by analyzing what works, for whom it works, or, on the contrary, what does not.
Increase Lead-To-Customer Conversion Rates
Prospects are not all the same or deserve the same attention. With lead scoring, you will categorize your prospects according to their degree of maturity in the marketing funnel. This will help you know which ones need to be addressed by the sales team and lead nurturing campaigns.
Lead scoring helps you move your leads forward in the buying journey and increase their level of maturity. This allows you to focus your efforts only on those who score high enough to convert into customers.
Standardize Sales and Marketing with Lead Scoring
The marketing and sales teams must collaborate and align their processes for a lead scoring strategy to work. The marketing team must generate and provide qualified leads to the sales representatives, who will report the events that are happening in the field to be able to adjust the scoring system.
The marketing team identifies the “hot” prospects, and the sales representatives can then judge their interest. We will then speak of MQL for a qualified lead for marketing and SQL for a qualified lead for sales. To find out more, it’s right here.
💡 To remember: using both lead scoring, marketing automation, and lead nurturing, you will manage to launch more effective and relevant campaigns.
How Do I Assign a Score to a Lead?
In lead scoring, you can assign marks based on characteristics (business sector, geographic area, type of position, etc.) or behavior (downloading a document, time spent on the website, requesting a demo, etc …) prospects.
These criteria are to be defined according to the sector of your company and the knowledge available to you thanks to your buyers’ personas. Ratings can be positive or negative.
If you target a segment of the population precisely, you must collect demographic information through a form, for example, to verify that your prospects are part of your target. And if not, deduct points from those that do not correspond to your business.
You can also target your prospects according to the company (size, sector of activity, B2C or B2B, etc.) and collect the information which will be helpful to you to grant or remove points.
The behaviors and actions that visitors can take on your website give you a lot of information about their purchase intentions. You can analyze the downloads, the types and number of pages viewed, the forms that have been filled out, etc. These elements will allow you to award points or not.
You’ll also need to look at your open and click-through rates to collect data about your prospects’ email engagement. Social media engagement can also be a good indicator.
💡 These criteria ensure that the score you give to your prospects represents the likelihood that they will buy into your business.
It is up to you to define the criteria that will be important. You may consider that a “gmail.com” address does not qualify a prospect and remove 3 points from his rating. But you can also estimate that a person who works in the same sector as you deserves to gain five additional points.
How To Succeed in Your Lead Scoring Strategy?
Define your personas and scoring criteria; the first step to take is to define your personas to obtain a clear understanding of your target audience and the characteristics that constitute your typical customers. You will thus know if a prospect can correspond to your product or/and service.
But that’s not all! You should also choose and list the behaviors and criteria to note, those you think are essential, and that will tell you whether or not a prospect is ready to be taken on by the sales team.
Mentioned a little earlier in the article, this is where we talk about behavioral scoring (example: subscribe to the newsletter, download a white paper, visit a web page, fill out a form, etc.) and demographic scoring (e.g., geographical location, professional, sex, etc …).
These criteria must be by your personas. Do not hesitate to adjust them as you go and with feedback from salespeople. You can also use Google Analytics to identify the actions of your prospects.
💡 Don’t forget to identify negative behaviors, which show a lack of interest or disengagement on your prospects.
Understand The Customer Journey For Their Lead Scoring
To set up an effective lead scoring strategy, you also need to understand your customer’s journey. To do this, use the data you already have. This is an important step because a prospect who is not mature enough will not be willing to make an appointment, for example. We generally distinguish:
So-called “hot” leads: they are ready to buy your offer or need a little help to make their buying decision (example: free trial)
So-called “cold” leads: they still need to be convinced. This is where your content marketing strategy will prove its worth by feeding your prospects with content that speaks to them and responds to their problems.
So-called “dead” leads cannot be converted because they are outside your target. They usually visit your site but do not intend to buy.
By knowing your prospect’s journey, you will know on the one hand how to help them move forward and, on the other hand, how to award your points according to their level of maturity in the customer journey
Determine The Rating Scale For Your Lead Scoring
Once you have your target, background, and the associated content in mind, you can create the scoring scale that suits you best. For example :
- If your prospect is still in the research phase and downloads a template or reads one of your articles, you could award them 5 points.
- If they attend an event, such as a webinar, you can add 10 points for them.
- And if he asks for a demonstration of your offer, you can offer him 20 points.
Each time your prospect advances in his journey and takes a higher step, do not hesitate to add more points. Once you feel your prospect is “hot” enough, you can send them to the sales team.
This process will always remain the same: prospects have a problem to solve. For this, they look for solutions and try to form an opinion to choose. To succeed in converting, you must focus on your target and provide them with the appropriate content to help them decide.
Find The Right Tools and Software For Your Lead Scoring
There is marketing automation software for the management of your leads and your lead scoring strategy. These tools will allow you to save time by automatically performing repetitive and daily tasks based on your criteria.
All your contact information will be centralized to facilitate the work of the sales teams and your marketing teams, who can rely on it. Many CRMs are available.
You will work on your strategies and find potential customers quickly. It will also be easier to sort and clean the data on your contacts.
Analyze and Adjust Your Lead Scoring
There is no guarantee that your lead scoring system will work the way you want it to. You should regularly analyze your process to see if it is effective and optimize it when needed. You need to be able to adapt to changes.
Your business, personas, market, and data will constantly evolve. This is why you need to keep an eye on your strategy
You will then be able to determine which of your prospects are mature enough in your funnel and take the necessary actions to close as many sales as possible.