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Lead Scoring Best Practices: How to Create an Effective Lead Scoring Strategy

A large number of businesses tend to make a single crucial mistake over and over again: They focus all their efforts on generating leads and sometimes drop the ball when it comes to lead nurturing.

This may happen for a number of different reasons. They might just be forgetting to follow up. It’s possible that they’re choosing to pursue the wrong leads, or even that they’re focusing on pursuing potential leads that turn out to not be in their target audience. ​​So how should you go about this?

Lead scoring can help with all of this, allowing you to better focus your resources on leads that are most likely to convert. You can upgrade your scoring and significantly increase conversions by using the right integrations, such as:

In this post, we’re going to discuss how to create an effective strategy with lead scoring best practices so you can generate not only more leads, but more conversions, too.

What is lead scoring? 

Lead scoring is the process of assigning numeric values to different traits that your customers have, using a points-based system to assess the potential value of a lead. Leads can gain or lose points based on different traits. 

We all know that some types of customers are more high value than others, and that some are also more likely to convert than others. This allows your sales team to focus their resources in the right place, as they’re able to better identify hot or high-value leads.

What is predictive lead scoring?

The phrase “predictive lead scoring” is sometimes used to describe any type of lead scoring. The entire idea is to use different user qualities in order to help you predict which will be more valuable or more likely to convert.

In some cases, though, predictive lead scoring refers to a specific type of lead scoring system that utilizes machine learning to see which segments of your audience are most likely to convert, basing customized contact scoring models around that data.

The idea is to use real data specific to your business that your team may not have even picked up on just yet. This can help you really understand who your audience is and identify them early on so that your sales team can get actionable data right away.

How this works 

Say you have a graphic design agency. You know that referral leads from other clients are most likely to convert, so each lead that comes from a referral gets five points. Customers who find you through an organic Twitter link, however, are actually less likely to hire you; they lose two points off their overall score.

You could start to add up the points like this: 

  • 5 points for referral traffic
  • 5 points for being a business with 300k+ in annual revenue
  • 3 points for not having their own in-house designer 
  • -2 for inquiring about occasional projects instead of retainer work in the initial email 
  • 10 points for working in a B2B industry, which is a prime niche for your agency

Why is lead scoring important? 

When you have a CRM brimming with leads, it’s easy to feel full of hope and potential. In most cases, however, many leads that come in won’t convert.

Many members of your sales team have gotten pretty good at spotting who will be most likely to convert and who won’t. There are certain traits that just make leads dream clients or are almost completely incompatible with your brand, products, or services.

All businesses that are actively marketing will eventually receive plenty of leads, especially with PPC campaigns. So it’s crucial for your sales team to have a reliable and standardized approach to assess which leads should get more of your attention and even what offers to present to them. This can help you convert high-quality leads faster, increasing profitability. It’s a crucial part of conversion funnel optimization

Lead scoring also has a few peripheral benefits worth mentioning. While creating your scoring system, you may realize that some of your marketing campaigns are targeting the wrong audience segments, almost setting yourself up for failure. You may have also given your sales team misguided advice on which leads to pursue. This can help you focus across multiple departments, boosting your odds of gaining more quality leads faster. 

How this works: A lead scoring example 

Say that you’re a marketing agency that works exclusively with eCommerce businesses. 

You know that your target customers fit into a certain profile, which includes the following traits:

  • Leads should have titles of CMOs or higher 
  • Clients in the fashion, sustainability, and home and garden industries typically retain longer and spend more with you
  • You’ll work with any brand who will spend 1k per month, but prefer clients who spend at least 5k per month 

These particular traits earn positive points with lead scoring.

You also know that you have several indicators of high-intent leads, which include the following:

  • Getting in touch through your “Contact me”
  • Actually scheduling a meeting with your sales team 
  • Downloading a lead magnet on your site 
  • Opening email series campaigns regularly 
  • Creating an account with your company 
  • They came from referrals of existing clients 

You plug all of this information into a lead scoring tool so that it understands how to spot high-value clients. This can either be synced with your CRM (or, in some cases, you can use the native lead scoring tools that come with some CRMs), so all contacts receive a score that’s based on these factors. 

So a new potential customer completes the lead form and is a social media manager for a sustainable-focused fashion brand with 2k per month in ad spend after downloading a lead magnet and with the intent to book a sales meeting, they’ll be given a high score.

Your sales team will know to act right away to schedule that pitch deck meeting and close the deal before they get a chance to book with another agency. 

How to create a lead scoring strategy 

Creating a lead scoring strategy is a research-intensive process, but it’s well worth it. Let’s take a look at the lead scoring best practices that will help you create an effective strategy.

1. Assess your existing customers 

The first step of creating a lead scoring model is to closely examine your existing customers.

First, we recommend segmenting your customers. That graphic design agency company might have the following segments:

  • High-value retainer clients who spend 3k+ per month and retain several years on average 
  • High-value, high-profile clients who spend 15k once but grant significant exposure 
  • Mid-value retainer clients who spend 1k per month for one year on average 
  • Low-value clients who want to work on an assignment-only basis, which can be more difficult to work with 

Each of these audiences has some consistent qualities. For example, the top value retainer clients often tend to be larger-sized companies with big budgets and consistent needs. Most of these high-profile clients also have big brand name recognition

Some examples of different traits that you may want to look for when creating a lead scoring model ( including traits for both B2B and B2C brands) include: 

  • Brand name recognition
  • Company size 
  • Company revenue 
  • Monthly ad spend revenue 
  • Annual household income 
  • Geography
  • Industry
  • Personal credit score 
  • How they found you
  • Expected budget 
  • Desired features 

You can actually create lead forms on Facebook Lead Ads that help you get some of this qualifying information upfront; you just need to know what information you’re looking for first. 

2. Choose a lead scoring model 

Lead scoring models will help you identify high-value sales opportunities at different points of the sales funnel and your individual customer journey or lead lifecycle. This technically goes beyond lead scoring and really falls more under the “contact” scoring sphere, as it can apply to existing customers as well as leads. 

Examples of different contact scoring models include:

  • Lead scoring models, which are designed to identify high-spending and/or long-retaining customers 
  • Upselling models, which look for contacts that you can sell higher-cost products or plans to 
  • Cross-selling models, which help you identify users who may be interested in additional products or services 
  • Re-engagement models, which help you find users who need to be re-engaged in order to retain them 
  • Brand advocacy models, which allow you to identify users or customers who may be a good fit for brand advocates or referral programs 

Different lead scoring models will take different indicators into account. 

Re-engagement models, for example, are going to look for indications of disconnected customers, such as repeatedly filed support tickets or decreased log-ins or usage of the tool. 

Upselling models, meanwhile, may look at indicators like users who reach the top limits of their monthly plans.

Robust contact scoring tools will also allow you to test out different versions of a single model, making it easier to determine which factors really lead to identifying high-value opportunities. 

3. Consider using a lead scoring tool 

You can conduct lead scoring manually, but this can take a significant chunk of time as you need to assess each lead individually.

Lead scoring tools can be a lifesaver for this reason. They can automate the process of lead scoring, giving you accurate and actionable data.

Breadcrumbs.io is an excellent example of a lead scoring tool that’s small-business-friendly while still having the capabilities to help enterprise-grade clients. They’ll help you find a lead scoring model with a quick setup process and detailed analytics so you can continually improve your lead nurturing and lead scoring efforts. 

One thing that’s important to note is that it’s crucial to use lead scoring models that account for both user demographics and their behavior, while also factoring in the recency and frequency of actions.

A user who has visited a key landing page on your site, signed up for a newsletter, and started a free trial is much more likely to convert than someone who only signed up for a webinar. That being said, that user who completed their free trial six months ago is less “hot” than someone who just signed up for a webinar this week. 

Identifying high-value sales opportunities is complicated because customer journeys are often complicated; it’s essential to choose a tool that allows you to take all of the above factors into consideration. 

4. Train your sales team how to use this 

This last step is simple: Once your lead scoring system is set up, teach your sales team how to use it.

Remind them that they should never automatically count anyone out or be dismissive; this is a valuable tool that can help them identify which leads they can pursue more intently. 

Teach them how to use the system to gauge for easier-to-convert or higher-value leads, by using lead scoring across multiple different platforms. Now, as soon as a fresh batch of leads shows up after a promotion or through a PPC lead sync data drop, they’ll be ready to respond appropriately. 

Can I use native lead scoring tools? 

Many CRM platforms have their own lead scoring tools that are built in as a bonus add-on feature. This includes Salesforce®, ActiveCampaign, and HubSpot. There are even email lead scoring tools like those offered by MailChimp

You can use LeadsBridge to sync information from these marketing tools and create dynamic lead scoring systems. Using our platform-to-platform integrations, you can effectively score and obtain information about your leads.

Discover our popular integrations for each of these marketing tools which can help you achieve your lead scoring goals:

 Salesforce® integrations:

Facebook Lead Ads integration with Salesforce®

TikTok Lead Generation integration with Salesforce®

Salesforce® integration with Facebook Conversions API

ActiveCampaign integrations:

ActiveCampaign integration with Facebook Custom Audiences

ActiveCampaign integration with Facebook Conversions API

Facebook Lead Ads integration with ActiveCampaign

TikTok Lead Generation integration with ActiveCampaign

HubSpot integrations:

TikTok Lead Generation integration with HubSpot

LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms integration with HubSpot

HubSpot integration with Facebook Custom Audiences

Mailchimp integrations:

Facebook Lead Ads integration with Mailchimp

Google Sheets integration with Mailchimp

Mailchimp integration with Facebook Conversions API

Mailchimp integration with Facebook Custom Audiences

Many of these tools are good baseline-level lead scoring tools. This means that they are automatically synced with your primary source of customer data, such as a tool that you’re already using, and they give you great baseline data.

Most of these tools are not highly specialized like other options on the market that focus exclusively on contact scoring.

For example, some lead scoring tools only allow you to take either behavior or fit into account— not both, even though both are clearly vital to consider.

Others don’t calculate the timing of user actions or the frequency of the actions. There’s no time decay, so someone who interacted with your business a year ago is seen as being just as relevant as someone who got in touch an hour ago.

And some of the email marketing lead scoring tools like MailChimp looks most closely at what happens on their platform, including email open rates and recent unsubscribe rates. This doesn’t draw a full picture.

Can these tools be helpful? Sure. But our recommendation would still be to look for a more specialized tool. 

Lead scoring and marketing automation: What’s possible 

Ideally, you want to choose a lead scoring tool that integrates with all of your other essential tools that are storing high-value customer data.

In many cases, this may include:

  • Your email software
  • Your CRM
  • Facebook for lead ads 
  • Other customer data platforms that assess customer journeys 

Lead scoring and marketing automation works by syncing this data for you automatically into one place and then transporting it to the lead scoring tool of your choice. That way the tool is getting all of the relevant data possible, and so is your sales team. 

Final thoughts: Lead scoring best practices & tips 

With a strong and thorough lead scoring system in place, you can identify quality leads quickly so your sales team can convert them faster

In order to get the most out of lead scoring, we recommend taking note of the following best practices:

  • Have all new lead information go straight to your sales team. This is easy with email lead scoring, but make sure that you’re using tools to sync lead generation on platforms like Facebook.   
  • Ask for qualifying information on lead forms. Even social platforms allow you to create lead generation forms that ask custom questions; take advantage of that, because having the right information from the get-go can make a huge difference. 
  • Adapt your lead scoring strategies as your business evolves. Over time, changes in the market, consumer behavior, and your own products or services may change your target audience segments. So modify your models accordingly. 

You want to have all your potential leads sent straight to your sales team ASAP. See how to do this with LeadsBridge’s automatic sync for Facebook Ads.

Ana Gotter

Ana is a strategic content marketer specializing in business, finance, and marketing writing, though she's worked across a range of industries. She works from her home in Orlando with her three dogs and can be contacted at www.anagotter.com.

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