Lead Scoring Explained

If your organization relies on generating leads and then turning those leads into paying customers, you could likely benefit from lead scoring.

The top reasons companies give for not investing in lead scoring:

  1. It doesn’t work (you’re not doing it right)
  2. We follow up with all leads so scoring won’t do anything (see #3)
  3. Don’t know what it is

Lead scoring, in principle, is actually quite easy. You assign a score to every lead that tells you how likely that lead will become a paying customer. Then you use the score to adjust how you follow up and who you follow up with.

The goal with any lead scoring program is to focus your time and money on converting those most likely to convert without wasting money on the rest. You should be able to increase your conversion rate and lower your cost per conversion. You may also learn more about your lead sources so that your lead generation efforts can improve with time.

To get started, you will need to create a lead scoring model. There are third-party companies out there that can help you with this, or you can task a data scientist on your team. The model will be based on historical data – all your leads and customers. The person building the model will use the data to figure who factors impact the likelihood that someone converts from a lead to a customer.

Some of those factors might be:

  1. Demographic data – gender, age, locations
  2. Company information – position, industry, company size
  3. Past behavior – purchases, website visits, email opens

Once the model is built, you will be able to assign scores to new leads as they come in.

A model might assign leads a score from 1-5, with 1 being the most likely to become a paying customer. You might follow up with your 1’s first, 2’s second, etc. You might follow up with 1’s differently than 2’s, with phone vs. mail or email.

After you implement the model, you will continually test it to make sure it’s working correctly. You should be able to accurately predict the conversion rates for each score. Then you can adapt your follow up process to improve upon them.

Most models will need regular maintenance to keep them up to date. Having the person who built it look at it again every 6 or 12 months is usually recommended.

Bottom line: a well-crafted lead scoring model which impacts how leads get followed up should help you grow your sales.