Are Your Leads Ready to Buy? 5 Crucial Ways to Score Your Leads

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Posted: January 23, 2014 | Scoring

If you’re in marketing, you probably know better than to pass “any old lead” over to your sales team. Yesterday on the blog, we shared our new infographic about defining a lead, but how do you score your leads once you’ve found them?

Lead scoring is the process of assigning a score to leads, which ranks them by their readiness to buy. Without a four-dimensional lead scoring system in place, your sales team won’t know which leads to prioritize. Promising leads might be rejected; bad leads might be pursued.

As marketers, here are five things to consider as you implement lead scoring:

  1. Score Decay
  2. Program Success Scoring
  3. Interactive Scoring
  4. Positive Demographic Scoring
  5. Negative Demographic Scoring

Here’s an overview of those terms, and how to use them in your lead scoring:

Score Decay

“Score decay” refers to subtracting points from a lead’s overall lead score, due to website activity or interactive behavior that doesn’t align with your qualification criteria.

lead scoring 1 score decayTake a look at the card above. If a lead visits my unsubscribe center or career page, that’s a red flag – my lead is not interested in receiving emails from my company, or they’re interested in a job, not a product.

A decay score will also be triggered by inactivity over a certain period of time. Let’s say a lead is inactive for six months. I can guess that lead has either lost interest in my product, or is longer working at the same company.

Program Success Scoring

Success lead scoring increases a lead’s score, triggered by success in your programs.

lead scoring 2 success lead scoring

Take a look at the card above. If a lead stops by my booth at a tradeshow, I increase their lead score because it indicates potential interest in my product. I also increase the lead score when a lead reaches a pre-defined success step in my email programs – in this case, opening or clicking on an email. The last piece of success scoring is overall program successes. In how many of my programs has this lead reached a success step? For instance, if a lead has reached a success step in four of my programs, I will give that lead an additional 15 points.

Interactive Lead Scoring

Interactive lead scoring increases a lead’s score based on their interactions with all of your marketing materials. We consider interactions in six different areas, shown below:

lead scoring 3 interactive lead scoring

Key web pages: These are pages on your website that indicate a lead is interested in your product, such as your pricing page. An interest in pricing obviously indicates that your lead is evaluating your product, so the lead score should increase.

Email opens: If any of your marketing emails are opened, this is “icebreaking” behavior that deserves some recognition – so increase the lead’s score.

Multiple website visits: When a lead returns to your website multiple times in one day, this indicates interest, especially if they are visiting those key web pages we discussed earlier.

Form fill outs: Does your website contain “Contact Us” forms or gated content? When a lead fills out a form requesting contact, they are interested. Depending on the form, you might raise the lead’s score more or less. For instance, a form that requests a demo might score higher than a form gating a whitepaper.

Content downloads: Downloading a non-gated asset might indicate the lead wishes to educate themselves more about your product and industry, potentially before making a purchase.

Email interactions: Last, but certainly not least, if a lead clicks a link in an email, their lead score should increase.

Positive Demographic Scoring

Positive demographic scoring is essentially increasing the score of the leads who match parts of your ideal customer profile.

lead scoring 4

Does the lead’s organization generate enough revenue to buy your product? Does the lead have a job title you typically market to? Is his or her company in the right industry? You might increase or decrease the lead’s score based on this criteria.

Negative Demographic Scoring

Negative demographic scoring is, more often than not, another form of score decay.

lead scoring 5

When a lead fills out a form with what you suspect is false information, I recommend deducting points from their overall lead score. For instance, if a lead enters a generic (rather than business-affiliated) email domain or includes a number in their name, chances are this is a “fake” lead.

For more information about lead scoring, check out Marketo’s Definitive Guide to Lead Scoring.

Are you using any of these rules in your lead scoring? Are there any rules that we didn’t cover, or that you’re curious about? Leave your comments and questions in the comments below.

Frank Passantino is a Product Manager at Marketo. He has spent the bulk of his career in marketing and business development and has experience in both start–up and midsize companies in the SaaS space. He joined Marketo in July 2013.

Read Frank's Blogs

New to scoring your #salesleads? Here are 5 crucial indicators that a lead is (or isn't) ready to buy.

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