Why should I use Hubspot signals

What is lead scoring and how to properly rate leads

When you're starting out with inbound marketing, your biggest concern is getting enough leads. But now that you have enough leads, it's time to think about which leads could become customers and which ones just wanted to be smart.

What is lead scoring?

Lead scoring is a process for evaluating leads. So that those leads can be identified who actually have a purchase intention. Explicit data can be used as evaluation criteria. This is information that leads themselves provide, e.g. when filling out a form. And implicit data can also be used. This is information that leads leave behind through the use of your website, email or other channels.

With lead scoring, we want to ensure that sales don't run after every lead. Just because someone downloaded a white paper from you doesn't mean they have an intention to buy. On the other hand, there are sure to be leads for whom your offer fits perfectly and who want to buy right now. You should contact these leads before your competition does.

This article is about which data you should pay attention to in order to recognize valuable leads and how you can set up a lead scoring process with the help of marketing automation software.

Which data are important for lead scoring?

1. Function of the lead

You certainly have a clear idea of ​​who your customers are. Especially if you work in the B2B area, not everyone can become your customer. You have probably thought about who makes the purchase decision for your products and services.

If you've developed buyer personas before, it's pretty clear that good leads simply correspond to your buyer personas. In B2B, it is primarily about the function that a lead has in a company. We ourselves use 3 buyer personas with these functions: Marketing Manager, Sales Manager and Managing Director.

You can obtain this data by asking leads to leave the relevant information in the form when downloading, or you can simply research this data on the Internet. This is particularly easy in the B2B area, because hardly any decision-maker today does not have a LinkedIn or Xing profile, or you can also find the information on the lead's website.

2. Company data of the lead

Again in B2B it is mostly the case that your products do not fit every size, not every industry, not every region. You can also request this data in the download form. But you have to be careful not to ask for too much data the first time you download it. Because the more fields your form has, the lower the conversion rate.

If you use marketing automation software that automatically asks new questions in the form with each new download, you can access your information via several downloads without the lead being annoyed due to the large number of data fields.

But if you don't have the time to automatically collect all data about several conversions, then it is worthwhile to simply research this data on the Internet. Of course, this is only possible if you don't have thousands of new leads per month.

We ourselves concentrate on medium-sized companies with 50 to 500 employees. There are always exceptions to the bottom and the top.

3. Interests of the lead

The next step is to find out if the lead is actually interested in your products and services. You can inquire about this again using the download form. For example, you could ask what is the lead's biggest challenge right now.

If, for example, a lead answers this question with "lead generation", this is a clear signal for us that this lead is interested in our services.

But you can also find out this information implicitly through the behavior of the lead. For example, if your lead on your website keeps opening the product pages or spending time on the pricing page.

Another signal could be that your lead is taking a free trial, free assessment, demo or something similar. This also applies if your lead opens certain marketing emails about your products and services. Or used keywords on social media that suggest a purchase intention.

We ourselves pay attention to whether a lead opens the pages with the descriptions of our services, or whether he downloads the white paper about working with us, or whether a lead uses our marketing assessment.

4. How active is a lead

It is in the nature of things that a lead who is still far ahead of a purchase decision is not as active as a lead who wants to sign the next week. If you are using marketing automation software, you can recognize this behavior by the amount of implicit data that a lead leaves behind.

Multiple downloads, many page views, many e-mails opened and clicked, all of these can be an indication that a lead will make a very specific purchase decision in the near future.

5. Negative signals

Just like positive signals, negative signals can also help evaluate leads. A competitor is most likely not going to be a good lead. Someone who opens your career page is looking for a job rather than a product. Students and professors aren't really looking for your products and services either.

The location, the size of the company, the industry, unsubscribing from the newsletter, opting out of all communication, inactivity over a longer period of time and much more can be negative signals.

What matters most

1. Talk to sales

Your sales colleagues know your customers best. Go through the positive and negative signals mentioned above with them. Ask about additional criteria. Also check which marketing information the sales department thinks works best.

Try to find out which marketing materials the sales department uses to help them reach a close.

2. Ask customers

Often the sales department is not so talkative and there are sales employees who do not like to be looked into the sewing box. So just ask a few customers what helped them buy from you.

You can easily do this in the context of buyer persona interviews. It is good practice to do buyer persona interviews on a regular basis, even if you have already created your buyer persona profile.

3. Turn on your analytics

With good marketing automation software, it should also be easy to create so-called attribution reports. For example, the tool accesses a specific list of leads. This could be the list of Sales Ready Leads, for example. The Attribution Report examines which content has contributed particularly often to a lead ending up in this list.

You can certainly do this by hand. Simply take a sample of Sales Ready Leads and use the timeline to research the similarities of leads that have made it to the "Sales Ready" lifecycle state.

The timeline is the recording in your marketing automation tool in which all the results of a particular lead are automatically recorded.

Set up lead scoring

We have now laid the basis for lead scoring by finding out which criteria and which data count. Now the task is to operationalize the lead scoring. We recommend developing a points system with 100 points. The more points a lead collects, the higher the likelihood of a deal.

Here are the steps to do this:

1. List criteria for good leads

Choose criteria that emerged from discussions with sales, customer interviews and analytics. For example: customers who have requested a free assessment, a certain position in the company, a certain size of the customer, etc.

2. Calculate the contribution of the individual criteria to a degree

You can estimate or calculate the contribution. It works like this: Through your analytics, you have learned how often individual criteria have been met that someone has become a customer. You convert the frequency of the criteria into a rating.

In a very simplified way it could look like this:

In this example, 20 new customers were examined for criteria of good leads. In the Number of Customers column, you can see how often each criterion was met for 20 customers. First, the contribution was then converted into a percentage and, finally, points were determined for the scoring.

3. Set up scoring

This step can only be taken if you are already using marketing automation software. We use HubSpot Professional and in HubSpot the first 3 criteria of the lead scoring shown in the table above look like this:

We can now test every lead in HubSpot. I personally achieve a lead score of 38. In this video you can see the lead scoring in HubSpot in detail:

4. Working with the scoring

The scoring itself is not the goal, but a tool for lead qualification. So the final step now is to use scoring for day-to-day lead qualification. After all, we want to find out in an efficient way which leads are worth starting sales activities.

For this purpose, we have created a list in HubSpot in which those leads with a score of more than 30 and that have been on our website at least once in the last 30 days are dynamically saved. This is what this list looks like:

There are now 56 contacts in that list. That's a number that we can work with very well in sales.

Conclusion: what is lead scoring and how does it work?

We generate around 250 leads per month. Of course, not all of them are suitable to become our customers. With the lead scoring as described above, we filter out about the 50 best leads and concentrate our sales activities on them.

This saves us having to follow up around 200 leads with whom we have little chance of reaching a conclusion. This is the point of marketing automation: Achieve a lot more with little time and resources.