Just imagine if all leads were created equal, how simple would our marketing efforts be? Sadly, not...
When you first get going with inbound marketing, many people are focused on simply generating as many leads as possible. But inbound marketing is not only about getting leads.
It’s just as important to figure out which leads are relevant: who is going to buy what you’re offering. This is where lead scoring comes in. Before we dive in, let’s take a look at what a lead actually is.
What is a lead?
In inbound marketing, leads are defined as visitors who have demonstrated clear interest in what you sell. They have often done a little more than just subscribing to your company blog.
A lead has often filled out a form to download an eBook or something similar, and have usually provided more than just their email .
But just because a lead has shown interest for your company, it doesn’t mean you should pass their details onto the sales department to contact straight away.
To find out whether a lead is really ready to be contacted, the inbound methodology teaches us to take a step back and evaluate the lead and their behavior: who are they? How relevant are they for your company? When mapping the interest they have shown your company, which stage of the buyer’s journey are they at?
ou can use lead scoring to help answer some of the questions and map a lead’s behavior so you can evaluate how ready a lead really is to buy.
Read more: 5 ways of generating more leads
What is lead scoring?
Lead scoring is a method used to rank leads on a scale you define yourself in HubSpot. When a person becomes a lead and performs an action or specific behavior, for example, on your website, opens an email, clicks on links or sees any specific piece of content, they are assigned points for these actions.
The points are calculated based on the information they provide you in combination with how they interact with your website.
Lead scoring therefore, helps sales and marketing prioritise leads and improve productivity. It gives you the option of contacting more qualified leads whoare actually ready to talk to sales, rather than calling those who not near the decision stage and aren’t ready to speak to a salesperson quite yet.
How do you go about it?
Everybody is different. Every company we work with has its own unique model for what to award points based on. Marketing and sales should come together and define what information and actions identify a lead as sales ready.
Start by taking a look at the leads already in your system and what they have in common. By looking at the historical data you can decide which criteria should be awarded the most points based on how likely a lead with these identifiers is to buy from you.
But remember, lead scoring should be an ongoing process. You will need to revisit the criteria regularly and take a look at qualified leads to see if they really are ready. After a while the automated process should be doing most of the work for you. You will also need to revisit the lead scoring whenever adding a new persona, product, campaign etc.
Want to learn more about inbound marketing? Read the blog post: What is inbound marketing?
What should you give points for?
Whilst each company is different, lead scoring is a successful approach as it provides a proven framework for understanding behaviour that indicates how ready an individual is to buy. We’ve created a short list of suggested basic criteria to help you set up lead scoring for your company.
What you should award points for can be separated into two categories; if the lead is a good fit for your company and how interested the lead is.
Is the lead a good fit for your company?
- Demographic information
- Information about the company they work for
- BANT - budget, authority, need, time
Is the lead interested?
- What they do on the website or blog
- How they interact with emails you send
- What they do in social media
How many points should you award?
Some might struggle prioritising what is most important to the company. There are several ways to go about this. Our recommendation is to gather information from your sales team, your clients and website data.
The information will help you see more clearly what characteristics can be seen in connection to converting from a lead to a customer. And whilst you might start with some educated guesses by testing, analysing and adjusting your lead scoring, you will soon be able to build a very accurate picture of what a good lead looks like to your company.