What Is Lead Scoring? A Beginner’s Guide With Examples

What Is Lead Scoring? A Beginner’s Guide With Examples

Before a client buys from you, they take a few steps from which you can gauge their interest. If a lead visits the site once, they're probably not a potential customer. If they come to you repeatedly, view products or subscribe to your newsletter, they are already more interested in your services. To better capture these leads and not waste your time with those who are not interested, lead scoring will help you.

What is lead scoring

Lead scoring is the process of evaluating leads. It makes it easier and quicker to know how far a lead is on the path to purchase and if it's a good time to pull out all the stops to get it.

It works by assigning points for the online activities that leads perform. The higher the lead's score, the more likely they are to become your customers.

In order to use lead scoring, you need to have:

  • A website, use social networks, send a newsletter, use online ads and other online activities where you can track lead activity,
  • a tool for identifying website visits (e.g. Leady.com),
  • a system that can collect and work with lead data, usually part of a CRM,
  • a strategy for evaluating lead activity, i.e. assessing which activities you want to track as indicators of business potential.

By the way, find out more about what a lead is and how to work with it in a separate article.

The point of lead scoring is that it does not track general traffic or readership data. It pairs individual activities with specific leads so you know exactly which user is taking which action.

For example, the activities for which leads are scored could be:

  • (repeated) visits to the site,
  • Viewing a certain page of the site (for example, with contacts),
  • downloading a price list, product list, offer, etc.,
  • subscribing to newsletters,
  • opening a newsletter inbox,
  • responding to social media posts,
  • clicking on a PPC ad, etc.

Lead scoring models

To see which activities are important indicators of sales leads, analyse the buying behaviour of your existing customers.

Find out the sequence of steps that engage and persuade clients. Was it a newsletter, a conversation with your business owner, a testimonial or a case study? Did they follow you on social media or click on an ad?

Depending on this, choose the evaluation model you will use for lead scoring. Take inspiration from the following models based on:

  • Online behaviour - assesses leads based on whether they come to you by clicking on a PPC ad, for example, or whether they search for you based on the products you offer. It also looks at how leads behave on the web or social media, how they respond to your content.
  • Content - differentiates leads based on what content they are viewing on the site, as different parts of the site can have different relevance to the business. When someone visits the homepage, it's less meaningful than when they view products or download a price list.
  • Frequency - In this model, points are assigned to a lead based on how often they perform the activity. It makes a difference whether they visit your website or social media profile once a month or several times a day.
  • Demographics - assesses leads based on the information you know about them. In addition to name and email, their location may be important to you, i.e. if they operate in the same location as you.
  • Negative scoring attributes - you can also assign negative points to leads, which reduces their potential for trades. This way you exclude not only leads who are not interested, but also, for example, leads who are interested in working for your company (who follow your content, but most often browse the careers page).

You can modify and combine the models in different ways to track and evaluate exactly what you need.

Looking for ways to actively seek leads? Take a look at our article with proven techniques.

Demographic vs. behavioral lead scoring

Businesses that embark on lead scoring tend to prioritize scoring based on behavioral data —⁠ how the lead behaves on their website, what content they view or which ads they click on. But lead scoring works best when it combines behavioral metrics with demographic ones.

Imagine the following situation: A lead has scored high with you because they regularly open your newsletters, read your articles, and return to your website regularly. But it's from a company that's too small for your product and services, and it's located on the other side of the world. So, despite the high score, it is irrelevant to you.

For that reason, score leads based on demographics as well – this will help you filter out fans who love you but will never do business with them.

Lead scoring procedure in 4 steps

1. Before starting lead scoring, get to know your customers perfectly. Create personas that will tell you, among other things, which metrics to focus on when scoring leads. Do you have a small business as your main persona? Use firm size as one of the metrics. You can find a detailed procedure for creating personas in our SalesDriver hub.

2. Decide which metrics and data you want to track when scoring leads. Always include website visits or interactions with content you create across channels (such as a newsletter, social media posts, or a blog). Then define demographic metrics based on the mentioned personas or other customer data. For example, be inspired by the lead scoring models mentioned above in the article.

3. Assign a point value to individual metrics (activities of leads) according to a simple rule – the more interest in your product/services the activity indicates, the more points you assign to it. When a lead fills out a form on your website, it means more interest than when they start following you on LinkedIn. Therefore, there should be more points for completing it. For demographic metrics, assign points based on how relevant the metric is to you (for example, a business might get more points for being from a key segment than for being mid-sized).

4. Finally, determine the point limit, after crossing which the lead qualifies. So he shows a high potential to become a customer, and your merchant will know that it is high time to contact him. Try to set a limit and continuously adjust it according to the results.

Examples of lead scoring

When you have everything set up, lead scoring can look like this:

Lead A fills out a form on the website (gets 20 points), responds to your LinkedIn post (10 points), and opens and reads your newsletters regularly (15 points). His total score is 45 points.

Conversely, lead B visits your website and only looks at the homepage (5 points), starts following your company profile on LinkedIn (5 points), but doesn't respond to any more posts. He has only 10 points.

Based on lead scoring, you know that lead A has much more business potential because he is more active and interested in your business than lead B.

Negative lead scoring

In the examples, we show lead scoring models that only work with earning points. However, the opposite procedure has also proven successful for many companies, where they deduct points from leads or assign negative points. Typically for activity that is contrary to how you imagine your ideal customer to be. We recommend combining positive and negative points when screening leads.

Companies deduct points from leads for, for example:

  • unsubscribing from the newsletter,
  • a very short visit to the site,
  • a long or repeated visit to the career page,
  • a fake email address,
  • irrelevant segment or location.

They also use negative points to filter out people who interact with you for purposes other than business (like job seekers). Your website is probably visited by your employees, their family or your competitors. Companies easily award -1000 points to these leads to completely remove them from the lead list.

What else is lead scoring for?

The main advantage of lead scoring is that you can evaluate which lead to pursue and reach them at the right time. You will also know which ones not to waste your time with.

In general, lead scoring will shorten and streamline your buying process because:

  • it allows you to quickly and more accurately determine which lead has the potential to become your customer,
  • increasing the number of closed deals,
  • it allows you to better predict how your deals will perform, because you can compare the score of the leads with whether you have actually traded them,
  • encourages collaboration between the sales and marketing teams, with marketing focusing more on leads that haven't yet shown interest, while handing over leads that are ready to be traded to sales.

Store all lead data in CRM. You'll have them together, you won't get lost, and you'll know at a glance which phase of the business cycle each lead is in and what you need to do to move it forward. But first, try the CRM for free, so you can be sure that it will pay off for you.