Are you satisfied with your lead scoring? If the answer is “no” or “maybe”, keep reading.
This post will look at the 10 best lead scoring practices for driving better results. You’ll also discover the single most common mistake that jeopardizes your lead scoring strategy.
Let’s dive in!
Sidenote: If you are brand new to lead scoring, make sure first to read our post on what lead scoring is and how to use it in your business.
10 Must-Know Lead Scoring Best Practices
- Start small, scale as you go
- Assign a lead scoring threshold
- Use negative points
- Talk to your customers
- Integrate your CRM and marketing automation with lead scoring
- Customize your model based on high-value pages
- Set up a point decay rate
- Repetitive behavior
- Refine your lead scoring strategy regularly
- Create multiple lead scoring systems for different products
1. Start small, scale as you go
Most marketers make the mistake of trying to make their first implementation perfect. They bite more than they can chew.
If you haven’t used lead scoring before or are just launching a new lead scoring process now, there is no point in overwhelming yourself.
Imagine creating the perfect system, carefully preparing dozens of scores, and then, after 5 months of hard work, you find out your lead scoring fundamentally doesn’t work. You have to start from scratch.
So… You might be wondering if you should care about the strategy at all.
Yes, you should. The best way to go about it is to put together the essential parts in place and create a simple lead scoring flow.
For instance, your starting strategy may look like the flow below. The scoring is calculated based on the 3 most critical actions users perform in the app: “Signed Up’, “Task Created”, and “Project Created.”
You can adapt a similar method for your product and use the most important aha moments to score leads and users.
Regardless of whether you run a B2B SaaS app, a B2C service, or some other type of digital business, avoid starting with a complex lead scoring process.
Here’s what you should do instead:
- Choose the 3 to 5 most important triggers to score. If you are a SaaS product, you can score app actions; if you are a marketing agency, you can score your lead nurturing form submissions and your demo bookings, and so on.
- Keep scores simple. For instance, increase each positive action by 5 points. No need to go crazy on the numericals at this point.
- Launch and see if this flow helps you qualify leads or if it needs adjustment.
After a while, you can start building upon that foundation as you collect more feedback, understand your audience better, and learn more about the best practices of scoring leads (kudos on doing so right now!)
2. Assign a lead scoring threshold
Setting the right lead scoring threshold will maximize your sales potential. A threshold is a point value where a lead is considered sales-ready or qualified and should be passed on to your sales team for further outreach.
Now it’s essential to get the threshold value right. Fail do to so, and either of these could help:
- If your threshold is too low – leads won’t be sales-ready, yet you’ll be sending them to your sales reps, which will lead to a low number of closed deals, and an increase in customer acquisition costs as your salespeople spend time on bad leads.
- If your threshold is too high – you risk losing sales-ready leads to your competitors.
We are not going to lie. It’s hard to figure out what the ideal lead scoring threshold is. It will take a lot of data, time, and feedback from your sales team to nail it down. Even then, your lead scoring will never be perfect.
Pro tip: The easiest way to approach this is to talk directly to your sales reps. They’ll know exactly when a lead is ready to be converted and should be above the threshold. Good sales and marketing alignment is the key in this exercise.
But what’s even worse is not setting a threshold at all. That means you are simply collecting lead-scoring data for the sake of collecting it and not acting on it. The lead scoring threshold gives you the green light to act.
That’s why you should make sure to decide and set up a threshold from day one.
Encharge makes this super easy with segments. Use the field condition to build a segment of all people who reach a specific lead score. For example, all people with a lead score of more than 20:
Then, you can send your leads to CRM and even assign a follow-up task to your sales reps as soon as your leads reach the threshold. To do that, you can use the Entered Segment trigger step to automate sales tasks in your CRM.
In the example flow below, a new deal is created in HubSpot, and a task to follow up with the lead is assigned to the sales rep.
3. Use negative points
Most people focus only on the positive actions a lead performs. They increase the score for every email open, opt-in, page visit, reply, etc.
But what about the negative actions?
If you are like most marketers, you don’t pay too much attention to negative scoring. You might be totally ignoring it. But that can completely mess up your lead scoring system and drive poor results.
If a lead keeps opening emails but also visits your careers page, they might not be a sales opportunity at all.
If you don’t account for the negative scoring, you will get a lead with a high score, and you’ll be wondering, “Why are they not replying to emails?” When in fact, the poor guy (or a gal) is simply interested in applying for a job at your company.
An easy way to prevent this is to add negative scores to “punish” bad behavior such as:
- Canceling appointments.
- Unsubscribing from your email list.
- Visiting the careers page.
- Has a free email address.
- Is a competitor.
You can see an example of that below.
4. Talk to your customers
Staying in the loop with your team is essential, but so is talking to customers.
You never really know what works in marketing — you can only guess. One way to turn guessing into “knowing” is by testing.
For instance, you can A/B test different variations of your messaging and find out which one is better.
Yet, testing requires a lot of data and time, and even then will only give you quantitative data.
The best and easiest way to find out how to close your leads is to ask your customers directly. You can create forms, send them feedback emails, or schedule a phone call with them.
Doing so will help you tremendously as you start to understand your leads’John is motivations, challenges, and timeframes.
5. Integrate your CRM and marketing automation with lead scoring
Want an effective lead scoring system?
You need your CRM and your marketing automation tool tightly connected and working together, hand-by-hand.
How does this work exactly?
Marketing automation does all the lead scoring in the background and automates customer journeys for you.
Everything you see above is possible only because of marketing automation. If it weren’t in place, you would have to do everything manually. In this example, it would mean:
- Checking everyone’s score
- Finding high-score leads
- Writing personalized emails
- Sending the emails
You would have to do everything yourself, email by email. That would be impossible to do.
Secondly, there is your CRM – customer relationship management. This is your single source of truth for your sales reps. Deals, follow-ups, and all sales-related tasks live in your CRM.
Further reading: What is the Difference Between CRM and Marketing Automation?
If you want the best results, you must connect both of these systems together.
It’s fast, easy, and powerful.
6. Customize your model based on high-value pages
When it comes to lead scoring, not all activities are equal. The same applies to your web pages on your website.
For instance, let’s say you are measuring time on site. And there are two leads, let’s call them Mark and John.
Mark is visiting your “About Us” page, and his time on site is 3 minutes. Then, there is John, looking at your Pricing, but he stays there only for 2 minutes.
Which of these actions do you find more valuable?
The second one, for sure. Yet if you don’t score high-value pages and actions differently, your score would be inaccurate. You’d be giving a lot more points to Mark instead of John, that has a much higher potential for turning into a customer.
And this is why your lead scoring model must account for these things.
To achieve this in Encharge:
- Install the website tracking code in your website’s <head> section. This is needed to track page visits.
- Create a flow using the Page Visited trigger.
Mostly it’s just details like these that really make the difference. So be sure to set it up in your lead scoring system and award high-value behavior.
7. Set up a point decay rate
Imagine you have a hot lead.
They open every email, download content, visit blog posts, and doeverything that a well-qualified lead does.
But after a while, all of that stops. Maybe it’s because a lead does not need your product anymore or has signed up for a competitor. Either way, they no longer engage with your company the way they used to.
If you fail to set up a point decay rate, their score will stay the same over time.
That means your leads might not be interested or be already using competitors’ products, yet you still perceive them as hot leads.
So what is point decay, and how to set it up?
Point decay is decreasing lead points after some time of no activity. For instance, you can set it up like this:
- 30 days of no action – 15 points subtracted
- 60 days of no action – 30 points subtracted
- 90 days of no action – 50 points subtracted
Doing so will allow you to eliminate leads that are no longer interested.
It will clean your list and remove leads that would never turn into customers. The length of the point decay should be based on the length of your sales cycle.
Experiment with it, talk to your team and make sure to set it properly.
To set a point decay rate in Encharge, create segments with the Last Activity field. For example:
Then, you simply use the Entered Segment trigger with the Lead Score step:
8. Repetitive behavior
Most businesses score leads based on a specific action. For instance, if a lead opens an email, it gets 3 points; if it visits your website, it gets 1 point.
While there is nothing wrong with that, you must score repeated actions, too.
A lead visiting a pricing page 5 times is a lot more engaged than a lead that does it only once. Yet, you give no additional points for repetitive behavior, and your lead scoring system will get skewed.
That’s why you must account for that and increase the score with repeated actions. It’s the only way to maximize score accuracy and get the desired results.
In Encharge, most triggers get fired every time the action is performed. So, for instance, in the example below, the lead will receive 2 points every time they click on the specific email:
9. Refine your lead scoring strategy regularly
Many marketers like the idea of “Set it and forget it.”
But if you approach your lead scoring this way, you will most likely experience a big downfall.
Your business is changing all the time, and what might have worked in the past might not work now.
Some patterns are also a reason to revisit your lead scoring:
Do you see a drop in the number of conversions or sales?
Maybe you’re getting many qualified leads but no conversions – you have a low threshold.
Either way, it signalizes that you should change up a few things.
Even if everything works just fine, there is always a way to make things better. We suggest having a meeting with your marketing and sales team at least once a quarter to revisit your strategy together.
Doing so can lead to a massive increase in closed deals for your business.
That isn’t true for only lead scoring, though.
When sales and marketing teams are in sync, companies become 67% better at closing deals.Source: Marketo
You should be revisiting all your marketing strategies, perfecting your campaigns, and delivering better results over time.
10. Create multiple lead scoring systems for different products
If your company has several product lines or services, it is best to create a separate lead scoring model for every product. This should be a no-brainer, yet many companies use a generic model for all products.
A great example of a multi-product company is Google.
They sell their Google Pixel phone, Google Workspace apps, and PPC ads. Do you think using one lead scoring model for all of these products is a good idea?
Of course not. It’s nonsense. Leads buying these products are totally different.
Yet if you use a generic lead scoring system for all of them, you are throwing all these different leads into one basket, which is far from optimal.
11. BONUS: Don’t score every email open
Email opens can be a great indicator of a lead’s interest.
However, if you are scoring every email open, you might inflate your score and skew your system.
Suppose you’re sending emails every day. There are two leads, one is checking your pricing page, and the other is just opening your emails. If we ask you which of these leads is more valuable, your answer is probably the first one.
But the score could say the opposite.
And that’s why it’s much better to look at the click rates, conversions from emails, and other more valuable metrics than just email open.
That’s why only 11.5% of marketers are only scoring based on conversions from emails — the rest are scoring based on a combination of opens, clicks, and conversions. (Source).
Ready to perfect your lead scoring strategy with these best practices?
Lead scoring is an excellent way to maximize your sales potential.
Unfortunately, few businesses use lead scoring to its full power.
In this post, we’ve armed you with the knowledge to apply the 11 best lead scoring practices in your marketing automation strategy for 2022.
Or sign up for a 14-day free Encharge trial and start scoring your leads today.