An Introduction to Lead Scoring

Lead Scoring for B2B companies can be a very valuable method to ensure that sales people in your organization are spending time with quality sales-ready leads.

As potential buyers navigate through their own personal purchase funnels, their level of engagement typically increases as they get closer to their first contact with your sales people. Research supports that companies that have a sound lead scoring process in place, their win rates increase as well as their revenue per deal.  Lead Scoring is typically implemented within a Marketing Automation platform.  The concept of lead scoring is simply; as prospective customers begin the engagement process (download content, newsletter sign-up) they are sent nurturing emails (also called drip campaigns) on an ongoing basis.  As these prospects engage further (email clicks, webinar views, etc), they are given more “points” until a threshold is reached which means those leads go to CRMs automatically to begin sales outreach.  Marketing Automation combines lead nurturing email communication with lead scoring and advanced analytics, all synced to a CRM such as Salesforce.com.

What are the steps?

1.  First, speak to sales and marketing executives.  Sales will describe the ideal SQL (Sales-qualified Lead).  Marketing will do the same with their MQL (Marketing-qualified Lead). The best practice is to get both departments to agree to a universal lead definition.  Once both sides agree, we can start the lead scoring process.  Part of the sales-marketing alignment is to make sure each department understands the importance of lead scoring.  When leads are scored, sales people can easily gauge their prospect’s level of interest in your solutions, and can engage with those prospects with more information on their behavior and activities, which can lead to increased levels of closed deals.

2.  Implement Marketing Automation.  It goes without saying that a system that automatically scores leads and sends them to Sales when those leads are sales-ready makes the process so much easier and efficient.

3.  Create the lead scoring matrix.  This is another task that needs to be done with Sales and Marketing present.  We’ll review all of the category types to be scored.  There are two main categories:

Explicit: These are data points that profile a prospect such as Title, Role, Industry, Timing

Implicit: These items score based on website or email activity, such as web pages visited, emails clicked, and content downloaded.

Here’s a link to the matrix NuSpark Marketing uses with examples of category types. Click Here.

As you’ll note, we use a scoring range of 1-10, but also allow a score up to 15 for those category types deemed crucial.  We also include some negative score levels if prospects haven’t engaged in 30 days or give personal email addresses.  The 1-10 scoring range can be subject to change based on the scoring modules available within Marketing Automation systems, but generally, 1-10 is sufficient.

4.  Determine the lead score when those leads have engaged enough, reached a certain score, and are ready to go to the Sales people.  The matrix suggests one way to do this, but it’s important that the sales-ready lead score be updated frequently pending on what the feedback of Sales gives you.  Both the lead scoring matrix and the lead score threshold need to be reviewed on a timely manner.

The myriad of B2B thought leaders all have their own view on lead scoring and how to prepare a matrix.  There is no right or wrong method.  The important thing is that the process does not have to be complicated.  By utilizing a matrix such as above, it gives you one of the first steps to aligning Marketing and Sales.  And that’s a good thing!

Please let me know if you have any questions on this process.



About Paul Mosenson

NuSpark Marketing Founder, Chief Lead Generation Strategist and Online Media Director An experienced B2B and B2C marketer, Paul has been helping clients generate leads and grow their businesses for over 25 years. Paul helps plan and optimize marketing and lead generation programs.