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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistTue, Jul 14, 2015 7 min read

An Example Of Inbound Marketing Lead Scoring For Beginners

Lead Scoring For Inbound Marketing LeadsAs evangelists for inbound marketing, we spend a lot of time helping our clients understand what inbound is, how it helps them, what we have to do to make inbound work and why they should care.

We shoulder this burden because we know inbound works. We’ve seen the results with clients who have embraced inbound and supported us in the partnership to build their Marketing Machine.

When it comes to inbound marketing lead scoring, a lot of our clients are just happy to be getting inbound leads and talking with people who asked to talk to them, as opposed to interrupting people like they used to. So, lead scoring becomes important for a more advanced client or one who is looking for even more data than a standard program delivers.

For those clients, here is the basic scoring system and lead-nurturing strategy.

Keep It Super Simple

Of course, scoring algorithms can be highly complex. But, they don’t need to be, especially when clients are using lead scoring for the first time. The easier it is to understand, the easier it is to set up. Start with the funnel. Obviously, prospects reading top-of-the-funnel stuff are less qualified than people looking at middle- or bottom-of-the-funnel offers.

So, for each top-of-the-funnel offer (No-Risk Offer) downloaded, give the prospect ONE POINT. For each middle-of-the-funnel offer (Low-Risk Offer), like a webinar or assessment, give the prospect THREE POINTS. For each bottom-of-the-funnel offer (Direct Business Offer) requested, give TEN POINTS. You can see from the scoring that Direct Business Offers are worth 10 times what the whitepapers and e-book downloads are. This reflects the importance of getting people to convert on those bottom-of-the-funnel offers, but it doesn’t entirely dismiss someone who downloaded three whitepapers and attended three webinars.

Make Sure It Can Grow

If you were to implement the scoring model above, you’d have a system. It would be extremely simple and reflective of a prospect’s activity with your business prior to engaging with sales. But, you might want to set up a system that can have elements added over time. Here are a couple of other suggestions.

You might want to give each prospect ONE POINT every time they visit your site. You might want to identify certain pages on your site that are more appropriate for people who are further along in their buyer journey. For instance, a case study, success story or testimonial page is usually viewed by people closer to the Decision phase, so perhaps a visit to one of those pages earns THREE POINTS.

Now, you’re giving people who keep coming back a higher score than those who stop by once and never return.

Teach It To Them So They Use It Every Day

To be honest, I’d stop here if we’re talking about basic scoring. You don’t need to make this more complicated. Your model includes values based on offers and values based on visits, with visits to certain bottom-of-the-funnel pages garnering a higher value.

The next step is figuring out what to do with those leads and how to get the sales team to engage with high-scoring ones. What we’ve seen work best is selecting a pilot team and working closely with that small group of engaged people. Explain to them the value of lead scoring, how it focuses their attention on better leads, how you created the scoring model and how you’ll adjust it over time.

Then, work with them every day to make sure they see the leads and follow up according to your redesigned Inbound Sales process. Make sure you get feedback on the leads so you can tweak your scoring monthly.  

What Not To Do

I’ve seen other blog articles that suggest field data is worth scoring. If someone is a CEO, for example, he or she might get a higher score than someone who is a Marketing Manager. This might work, but it could also work against you – like if someone doesn’t follow up quickly on a lower-scored Marketing Manager lead who is ready to buy today. I would prefer to score them equally and let a person do the qualification there. Some people score on geography or industry. Again, unless you don’t work in certain areas or support certain industries, I wouldn’t recommend including these in your scoring model.

While all leads are good leads in my eyes, not all are equal in value. Scoring allows you to quickly give a value to your leads, which helps sales people prioritize, choose process steps and work more effectively to close more leads, more quickly.

WARNING: Please don’t use scoring to ignore any leads. If someone is taking the time to fill out a form on your website, it doesn't matter who it is or what they’re requesting. They’re interested in your business. Ignoring them is the best way to make it nearly impossible for them to ever hire you or purchase something from you. Treat every lead like they might be your next best and biggest client. That means giving them a remarkable experience.

Start Today Tip – Implementing even a simple scoring system, like the one we outlined above, is going to require some marketing software, like HubSpot, Marketo or Infusionsoft. All of these offer scoring, and while the setup might be a little different, delivery is similar. After you set up your system and track it, the value of the lead has to equate to some business value. Either higher-scoring leads close faster or for more money. Once you get this feedback from sales, you can tweak your model accordingly. Plan for this ongoing optimization if you want to really get good at lead scoring.

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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.