What is lead scoring?
Lead Scoring is the process of assigning a “score” to each one of your contacts that reflects their conversion potential and level of interest in your business. This score can be used to qualify leads for marketing messages or sales outreach.
One of the biggest challenges marketers face is knowing where leads are in the purchase process. Using a lead scoring model allows you to achieve this at great scale.
As marketing tools become more sophisticated, consumers will continue to develop less tolerance for marketing that isn’t personalized.
One common way that marketers fail this potential customer litmus test is sending acquisition-focused messages before leads are ready. Nobody likes to feel like they’re being sold something. It’s uncomfortable and can sometimes even feel invasive, especially if you’re not looking to make a purchase.
The reason this happens is often that businesses don’t take the time to nurture or guide leads through the acquisition life cycle.
Many businesses, particularly those in the B2B industry, require a large amount of trust and education before they can convince leads to make a purchase. That’s why it’s so essential to track leads as they move closer to a conversion, adjusting your marketing tactics and messaging along the way.
The easiest way to do this is to implement a lead scoring workflow with marketing automation.
Before you get started though, make sure that your email signup forms are GDPR-compliant if you have contacts living in Europe. They should clearly state that you plan to send them targeted emails using marketing automation according to their behavior and interests. This will ensure that you have proper consent to track this online behavior for your lead scoring.
As mention in the definition above, automated lead scoring gives each of your marketing leads a numeric score. The score corresponds to a lead scoring model that you create, taking into account various details about your contacts, which may include:
- Contact attributes (i.e. demographics)
- How they came to your site
- Specific behavior/actions (engagement with your emails, visits to specific pages on your site, etc.)
Basic Lead Scoring Automation Example:
When a contact opens your welcome email and clicks on a link, add ten points to your score. The logic is that a contact who clicks on a link in your welcome email clearly has a higher interest level in your business than a contact who fails to make the same click.
Obviously, this is a simple example and would be just a small piece of a larger lead scoring model, but hopefully, it illustrates the idea.
Why lead scoring is useful
If you’re doing business online, you likely have thousands of people visiting your site and interacting with your business every day. Lead scoring helps you identify the people who have shown the most interest in your product/service.
Once you have identified these people, you can follow-up with more targeted messages to move them towards becoming your customer.
Dynamic list segmentation with lead scoring
What is dynamic segmentation?
Dynamic segmentation consists of using marketing automation to arrange contacts into specific lists based on specific characteristics or behaviors to better target them with your marketing emails in real-time.
Although you can create dynamic segmentation using various methods (specific action triggers, contact attributes, etc.), it is also one of the most popular use cases for lead scoring.
Once you create your lead scoring model, you can use each contact’s score attribute to determine which list they should be added to. This will enable you to send email campaigns that are much more relevant to the reader.
When a contact reaches a score that is greater than 4, they will be added to a list of “new qualified leads.”
How to build a lead scoring model
As previously mentioned, lead scoring helps you sort through all of the leads who come to your website and identify those who are most engaged and ready to convert.
So, how exactly do you go about setting a lead scoring model up?
Define the important steps leads take before acquisition
The first step is mapping out your acquisition life cycle. This usually consists of 4 stages:
For lead scoring, you should really focus on the first three stages.
To create your lead scoring model, you will need to identify key actions that leads take and categorize them according to each of these stages. Then you can determine the proper amount of points to assign each action for your lead scoring automation workflow.
Awareness is the very top of the acquisition funnel. It consists of the very first actions users take when they visit your site.
In the case of lead scoring for known contacts, this is usually indicated by signing up for your email list. You could also include people who give you their email address from an event or for a contest.
For the actions that fall in this first step, you can assign them a relatively small number of points (e.g. 5 or 10) to get them started in your lead scoring model.
In this stage, contacts have moved beyond the point of just being aware of your business to actually engaging and showing real interest. Actions at this stage might include:
- Downloading an eBook or other resources from your site
- Frequently engaging with your email campaigns or newsletter (e.g. clicked on your 3 previous emails)
Actions in this stage should receive more points than the previous (e.g. 10 or 20) because they show a higher level of interest in your business.
This is the final stage before conversion. It is usually the point at which leads have realized they need a solution and are researching their options. Exploration actions would probably include:
- Contacting sales
- Filling out a form for a quote
- Visiting your pricing page
These actions will receive the highest amount of points (e.g. 30+) and should push your contact into the category of “sales qualified leads.”
How to successfully implement lead scoring with your business
Now that you have identified the key actions your contacts take before becoming customers, it’s time to put your lead scoring model into action!
Assign points to actions in marketing automation workflows
You can start by creating workflows for each of the three stages in the acquisition cycle. In each of these workflows, create starting points that correspond to each of your key actions in this stage. Then add the action that updates the contact’s lead score accordingly.
If you follow this method, make sure to check the box that allows contacts to enter the workflow multiple times.
This will ensure that they receive points for any of the key actions in this category.
Set up dynamic segmentation workflows
Now that you have your lead scoring model established, you can use the lead score attribute to automatically add your contacts to targeted lists according to their interest level in your product or service.
To do this, simply assign point values to different categories of leads. Here is an example:
- New leads: Scores < 20
- Warm leads: Scores of 20 – 49
- Qualified leads: Scores 50 – 80
- Sales qualified leads: Scores > 80
After defining these parameters, you can set up your segmentation workflow to add users to each corresponding list.
Be sure to include an “escape” that resets your leads score if they start to show a lack of interest after receiving more targeted emails from you. You can use a condition based on their engagement with email campaigns in a set period of time (e.g. the previous 30 days).
Note: If some of your actions are highly qualified (e.g. requesting a quote from your sales team), you can include a condition in your lead scoring model workflow that automatically adds them to your “sales qualified leads” list.
Other use cases for lead scoring
Although we mostly talked about using lead scoring for dynamic segmentation, it can also be used for other purposes:
- Instead of segmentation, you can use lead score as a trigger to immediately (or after a set period of time) send that contact a specific email or SMS.
- Set up a score that is specific to one action (e.g. newsletter clicks) that is important to your goals and track engagement for specific contacts.
- Find your most qualified leads to use for ad targeting on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
There are a number of possibilities out there, and your key actions and use cases may differ depending on your business.
Hopefully, this guide gave you a better idea of how you can use a lead scoring model to better target your leads. You should use these tips as a jumping off point and adapt the workflows to match your business goals.
Just make sure that whenever you implement this type of data processing for contacts who reside in Europe, you must get consent in accordance with the GDPR.
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Inbound Marketing Manager @SendinBlue. I love helping SMBs and eCommerce businesses reach a larger audience by writing on digital marketing best practices and advanced techniques. In my free time, you can probably find me skateboarding or tinkering in an overly-complex spreadsheet. 😉