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Lead Scoring 101

What is lead scoring and why is it so important?

The official definition of lead scoring:

Lead scoring is a methodology used to rank prospects against a scale that represents the perceived value each lead represents to the organization. The resulting score is used to determine which leads a receiving function will engage, in order of priority.

In its simplest form, lead scoring is a way to prioritize incoming leads based on a lead's interest in your brand using simple math to score.

Lead scoring can become more complex, however, if your business model is complex and you have multiple personas as well as ,

Establishing a lead scoring process will take time initially. Once the process is setup, however, the hard work and time consuming part is behind you. Then you will only need to monitor and tweak until your model is working the way you project it to work..

More importantly, you're probably more interested in why lead scoring is important. So, here's the 101 version:

  • Aligns lead opportunities with specific goals

  • A source that requires marketing and sales input

  • Identifies lead qualification and assigns value

  • The value determines the next step and priority

  • Automates the guesswork associated with inbound marketing

There are many different lead scoring models but for the purposes of keeping this simple, I'm going to review two different models so you can see how it works and how they are different. With this information, you should be able to create your own.

  1. Online Behavior Consider how you might value a one-time visitor to your website vs. a visitor who has engaged with your chat, downloaded a document and looked at your pricing page. The level of engagement a visitor has with your website provides great insight into their level of interest in buying from you. The interest level is how you assign point values. If you could look at the behavior of your existing customers, what would that behavior tell you about their interest level before buying from you? How interactive were they with your brand? How long did it take them before they became a customer? Before you begin the lead scoring process, it's important to understand your existing customer portfolio. If you have too many customers to do that - because it would take a long time to evaluate - take a sampling of your different customer types (or personas) to sample and evaluate. The lead scoring process for online behavior needs to start with the number and types of forms and pages you have. List your highest value pages and forms: pricing page, documents to download, page visits and demo request. These high value pages should receive a higher value since this is an indicator these visitors are farther along in their buying journey. Also consider behaviors that are not ideal for your lead scoring model. Instead of using a positive lead score for a valuable behavior (regardless if it's 3 page visits or 30 page visits), consider using a negative score for behaviors you want to push lower on the priority list. For example, if there has been a long delay between visits or downloads (10 days, 2 months, etc.), they may no longer be interested or have had a change in priorities (we've all been there!) and therefore should have a negative score assigned to them. It doesn't mean they aren't a lead possibility, it just means there are other higher priority leads to nurture before focusing on the low engagement potential opportunities.

  2. Demographic Information Consider how you might sell to only a specific area and someone outside that geography wants to buy from you. Having your personas identified is helpful with lead scoring! If you have one persona, though, that's OK. Just know the characteristics that make up that persona so you know when you start to see a change and potential need to create a second persona. Let's say you're target customer is a CSO (Chief Strategy Officer). You will want to include a field on your online form for leads to identify what their position is so you can apply a lead score value to that field as the leads arrive. As with the online behavior negative lead scoring process, you will want to assign a negative score, i.e. -1, -5 etc., based on the titles or demographic data that is not a fit for your business - or just outliers to your desired persona.

Use the values - positive and negative - as a way to organize your leads in order of highest conversion opportunity.

To be effective at this process, you need to understand your 1) target customers, i.e. personas and 2) behaviors that are ideal and not ideal for your purposes.

To be a rock star at this process, have Marketing and Sales involved in this process from beginning to end. Why? So the entire team affected by leads can provide input into the ideal customers, direct interactions combined with data and create a seamless lead hand-off process.

Are you lead scoring already? If so, I'd love to have you on my podcast! Send me a message and let's chat.


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