What is Lead Scoring and How Can It Help You With Your Goooooooaaaaallllll!?

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I went to a DC United game over the weekend, and soccer is on the brain, thus the goofy title. But lead scoring isn’t a joke, and it really can do exactly what the title says… help your business accomplish its goal of more sales and, of course, more money. But what is a lead score? And exactly how can it help you?lead scoring gooooooaaalll

What is Lead Scoring?

After looking at several definitions online, I think this one from popular marketing automation firm, Eloqua, sums it up best: Lead scoring is the practice of using an algorithm to assign a ranking to sales prospects based on an understanding of the prospect’s interests and buying intentions. It’s a way to read peoples’ digital body language and decide how interested they are in your product. The higher the score, the closer you are to the “goal”… which is, of course, the sale.

If you’ve studied marketing, you’ve probably heard of a similar concept referred to as a BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline for purchase) score. Traditionally, these were the factors that helped determine if a lead was “sales-ready”. Thanks to technology, we can now track people’s online research and score them before they even have a BANT score. (How can you have a need or a budget if you aren’t even sure what “it” is?) Maybe the prospect is in the very preliminary, consideration stage of purchasing a product or service (as in, the thought just crossed their mind and they decided to do a quick Google search). That’s the beauty of the new lead scoring system; you can identify where they are in the buying cycle, and put your product or service in front of them earlier in the process, making them more likely to pick you when the time comes.

There are generally two parts of a lead score: fit and activity. Different marketing automation vendors may have different names for these two parts (demographic and behavioral, personal and interest, explicit and implicit), but it all boils down to the same thing…

Fit refers to what you know about someone , which can include their industry, the company they work for, or their particular role in the company. All of this helps to determine whether or not they are the type of person to whom you would normally sell.

The activity score has to do with how engaged they are with your product , which helps determine where they are in the sales cycle. This includes whether they’ve interacted with any of your marketing emails, attended a webinar, or looked at certain pages on your website.

The combined fit and activity score is what determines the next correspondence they get from you— for instance, will they get another email or a call from one of your sales reps?

Each company is different, so lead scoring is also unique to each company; most marketing automation vendors will help you through the initial process… which you will continue to tweak as you learn more about buyer behavior.

Lead Scoring Example – Beckham’s Blasters

Since we started on the topic of soccer, I’ll use the example of Beckham’s Blasters, a made-up professional team that wants to sell more season tickets to businesses. For this example, we’ll say a SRL (Sales Ready Lead) has an activity score of 100 or higher and a fit grade of “A” or “B”. We’ll look at two potential customers… Mia and Cristiano.

Our fit criteria for the soccer team’s corporate sales include the prospect’s job title, company size, zip code and whether they were a previous season ticket holder. By weighting each of these factors in the marketing automation system, the software will assign them a fit grade of A-F.

The activities we’re tracking are visits to the team website, interaction with marketing emails, purchases from the online store, and a few other activities outlined on the chart below. Here you can see how Mia and Cristiano would be scored in a marketing automation system:

Beckham’s Blasters Corporate Sales Lead Scores

Job Title CEO HR Manager
Size of Company 100-500 Employees 10-25 Employees
Local Address Yes Yes
Previous Season Ticket Holder Yes No
Visits to team website (+5) 6 visits = 30 4 visits = 20
Time on site (+1 per minute) 20 minutes = 20 30 minutes = 30
Email clicks (+5) 0 = 0 3 = 15
Registration to team events (+10) 0 = 0 2 = 20
Games Attended (+10) 8 = 80 2 = 20
Online store items purchased (+5) 0 = 0 1 = 5
Date of last visit > 6 months (-50)
8 months ago= -50
2 months ago = 0
SCORE: 110
Mia’s Lead Score: A80 Cristiano’s Lead Score: B110

Based on their scores, Cristiano is a SRL and ready for a phone call from one of the Beckham’s Blasters sales reps. Mia, on the other hand, needs more nurturing. Maybe she’ll respond to an email offering a discount to the online store or maybe she’ll visit the website more often as the season draws near. Either way, it’s evident that now is not the time to contact Mia. Since Cristiano is sales-ready, the marketing automation tool is programmed to send a notification to the sales team. It’s kind of like marketing passing the ball to sales so they can kick it in to the goal.

Looking for Marketing Automation software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Marketing Automation software solutions.

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About the Author


Besa Pinchotti

Besa Pinchotti is Marketing Director at Capterra. By day, she helps connect buyers and sellers of business software. By night, she uses her skills as a former journalist to tell the stories of troubled software buyers so the world can learn from their lessons.


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