You’ve generated leads - now what? 6 steps to creating a lead scoring strategy that converts

Inbound marketing

by Bridget Fricke on September 17, 2020

All leads are not of equal importance to your Sales team. Some are ready to speak with a salesperson and purchase. Others aren’t ready and still need to be nurtured. Creating a B2B lead scoring strategy is essential to converting leads into customers. Here are the 6 steps we recommend.

#1 What is lead scoring? What is a lead score? Define and set goals

Lead scoring is the process of assigning a numerical value to a lead that determines how likely they are to convert from a lead to a paying customer. A lead score is the numerical value assigned to a lead based on positive and negative factors. According to CSO Insights, companies with mature lead generation and management practices have a 9.3% higher sales quota achievement rate. (CSO Insights via HubSpot, 30 Thought-Provoking Lead Nurturing Stats You Can't Ignore)

No two lead scoring strategies or lead score is exactly alike. Tailor yours to fit your team, your industry, and your goals. 

#2 Which factors go into a lead score? Envision your ideal and not-so-ideal customers

Lead score graphic

A lead score is comprised of attributes and actions. Lead score attributes include a lead's company size, title and other demographic information. Lead score actions include a lead's behavioral information like page visits, email clicks, form submissions, and interactions with your business. Consider the actions and attributes of your ideal and your not-so-ideal customers while choosing the factors you want to go in to your lead score. 

Envisioning your ideal and not-so-ideal customers example:

Ideal customer

  • Company has over 500 employees
  • Has “Director” in their title
  • Manufacturing industry business
  • Has had 2 or more sessions AND has viewed 4 or more pages
  • Opened email AND clicked on call-to-action
  • Submitted information on a download form

Not-so-ideal customer

  • Company has under 500 employees
  • Has “Coordinator” in their title
  • Non-manufacturing industry business
  • In the last 30 days has not visited your website
  • Unsubscribed from your email newsletter
  • Has not submitted information on a download form in the last 30 days

We recommend choosing about three attributes and three actions to focus on when first starting out. Combining properties based on the common behavior of previous customers is also helpful. 

Lead scores will change over time, but the general rule of thumb is the higher the lead score, the more likely the lead is to convert to a customer. The next element to consider is the point values associated with each.

#3 Assign values to attributes and actions for effective lead scoring

Use a scale of varying importance for both types of points, because some signify readiness to purchase more so than others. Assign favorable attributes and actions positive point values. For example, (+1) point for small importance, (+3) points for moderate importance, (+5) points for high importance, and so on. Assign unfavorable attributes and actions negative point values. For example, ( -1) point for small unimportance, (-3) points for moderate unimportance, (-5) points for high unimportance, and so on.

Recommended lead score point values:

  • Score emails low. Email clicks should have a higher score value than opens though.
  • Score event attendance moderately. Webinar or other event attendance usually indicates means they view you as a thought leader and therefore trust you. 
  • Score a combination of actions with moderate to high point values. This includes number of page views AND form submissions on any form, or any significant combination. The logic here is that someone who is searching the website to learn something and then submits a form is a very engaged lead and highly interested.
  • Score specific request form submissions high. Contact Us, Request a Quote, Request a Demo, or any others request of specific product information means they have done their research and are close to purchase.
  • Score specific download form submissions high. Forms focused on high-value educational items such as ebooks, case studies, templates, or anything you can reach out and be the lead’s “guide” on the matter. This is an avenue to a relationship with the lead and signals immediate interest.

Remember, your lead score is easily customized so it's all about what your goals are!

#4 How to start tracking my leads? Decide between manual vs. predictive lead scoring

Lead scoring can be conducted either manually or electronically with predictive algorithm scoring models. Here are some pros and cons to consider before choosing the method that works best for your business:

Manual Lead Scoring
Pros Cons
Great for smaller businesses just starting the lead scoring process Not viable for larger businesses
Can be done via spreadsheet without paying for software Takes a significant amount of time and expertise 
Easily customizable Does not integrate with your CRM
  Requires updating lead scores manually (meaning repeating the process each time you want an updated lead score)
  Notifications are also manual (meaning your spreadsheet won’t notify you when a lead becomes high priority)

If you choose to start lead scoring manually, we recommend downloading a spreadsheet of your leads from your database and filter by your lead scoring criteria. Assign positive and negative values and determine lead score via summation of all the factors. Distribute high scoring leads to Sales and set up an alert on your calendar to conduct the process again sometime soon.

Predictive Lead Scoring
Pros Cons
 Great for businesses with a larger volume of leads and not a lot of time to spare Your data needs to accurate - i.e., incorrect demographic data means incorrect lead score
 Automatically uses CRM data  Not possible without a CRM
 Automatically collects actions and actions Can be expensive (a cost-benefit analysis will tell you if it’s worth it or not)
Electronically assigns positive and negative points (after you set it up)  
 Uses an algorithm to calculate a lead score so you don’t have to  

If you choose to start lead scoring electronically, pull up your CRM and input positive and negative lead factors. If you use HubSpot's CRM like we do, this process is seamless! Lead scores calculate (and update) automatically with the software’s algorithms. Next, you'll need to determine lead groups, threshold limits and the marketing or sales activities associated with each.

#5 Determine lead groups, threshold limits and activities

Defining lead score groups and threshold limits will help determine when it’s time to initiate marketing activities like nurture emails or sales outreach to close the deal. According to a recent DemandGen report, nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads. (Source: DemandGen Report, HubSpot). Personalize lead groups, threshold limits and activities to align with your goals for optimal success.

Lead groups, threshold limits and activities example:

0-20 (Low priority, leads are not ready) implement newsletter subscribe popup on your home page to collect visitor information

21-40 (Medium priority, nurturing leads) ask them what their challenges are via chat bot or form

41-60 (High priority, further nurturing leads) enroll in a nurturing email marketing workflow based on their challenges. Relevant emails drive 18 times more revenue than broadcast emails, according to researchers. (Source: Jupiter Research, HubSpot)

61+ (Highest priority, leads are ready to purchase!) Sales outreach to close the deal

After you define lead score groups and threshold limits, set up trigger alerts to initiate sales and marketing activities that are either manual or automated. Manual activities include calling a contact directly or removing them from your contact list. Automated activities include automatically enrolling leads into an educational email series. All the details can be laid out in process documentation and discussed at team meetings.

#6 Follow up, create process docs and keep teams accountable

Process documentation and training meetings are important to the success of the lead scoring strategy. Process docs need to be detailed and easily accessible. Training meetings should be interactive and run through scenarios.

Implementing a new process is difficult for anyone, but when everyone is on the same page the organization is more successful as a whole. With cooperation from Sales and Marketing, successfully converting leads to customers is an attainable goal.

Key takeaways

Overall, a B2B lead scoring strategy is essential in converting *the right leads* into customers. Lower lead scores in the lead pipeline need to be further nurtured by marketing activities. Higher lead scores are ready to be sold to and should be targeted rather than "wasting" time on lower scores who are not ready yet. Tailor your lead scoring strategy to fit your needs in order to ensure success.

Reach out to us for help with your B2B lead scoring strategy and implementation.


Leave a comment