What is Prospect Lead Scoring?

authorToni Becker dateJanuary 09, 2021

We all know that lead generation is the lifeblood of any business however, you need to make sure that you are generating leads of the highest quality because you don't want your team to waste time and resources chasing dead-ends. Rather, your team should be spending their time engaging with promising, high quality leads - and this is where lead scoring comes into play. 

Before we start, we should outline that effective Lead Scoring will help a business close more deals.

Lead scoring is a methodology that is used to rank prospective clients against a scale that reflects the perceived value of each prospect to the business or organisation. This kind of scoring is made up of a variety of factors and can include: job position (is the prospect a decision maker in their business?), social media followers (is the prospect a thought-leader?), company size or even how engaged they are with your content - whether it be marketing emails or website visits. These are just a few examples of what kind of data is used to establish a lead's value to your business - let’s delve deeper into the methodology of prospect lead scoring and how it will benefit your business. 


How Does Prospect Lead Scoring Work?

A lead scoring model is a specialised and analytical system used for evaluating the quality of leads. Essentially, points are given to a lead based on a variety of factors including their industry, level of interest in your business and related qualities associated with previous high-value clients and leads. Thanks to the automation, data collection and audience segmentation tools made available by Customer Relationship Management systems, this methodology is easy to implement and manage. 

Creating a Powerful Lead Scoring Model

  • Ensure Marketing and Sales Alignment:

    When it comes to selling, it is vital that your sales and marketing team are in alignment because if these teams are cohesive, less leads will fall through the cracks and your sales team will have greater insight into which leads are of a higher quality. Essentially, prospect lead scoring allows for your sales and marketing teams to work together which ensures there are no leaks within your sales funnel.

    A powerful lead scoring model will have these two departments working side by side  to develop lead scoring criteria which ensures all departments are on the same page when it comes to your marketing message and sales message.
  • Develop a Lead Scoring Threshold:

    A lead scoring threshold refers to the point value when a prospective client is recognised as sales-ready. Once a leads score has exceeded or reached this amount, they will become what is known as a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) and will then be handed from marketing to sales. Your “threshold” needs to be correct as you do not want to waste your sales teams time by qualifying leads prematurely. You also don’t want to raise the threshold too high as you may be sitting on a promising lead for too long and they may contact your competitors before you have the chance to speak to them.

    So, how is a threshold actually determined? Your team needs to look at the current and previous clients and study historical data that can tell them about what characteristics mark a qualified lead. For example, if leads that request a demo usually become clients, then leads that request this should automatically be marked as an MQL.

    Once your sales and marketing teams have identified what the threshold is, you will be able to set this up on a CRM such as HubSpot, and you will automatically be notified when a lead becomes an MQL.
  • Create "Explicit" Lead Scoring:

    Explicit lead scoring is when you assign points to a lead based on specific qualities such as demographics and characteristics. For example, explicit lead characteristics include: job title, industry experience, seniority within a business, company size etc. Having this information allows you to evaluate your leads and will help your marketing and sales team understand whether or not they are a good fit and likely to make a purchase.

    There are a variety of ways to get this information, from social media data to lead generation forms. For example, you can create a landing page that provides downloadable, helpful content such as an e-book or e-guide, and in order for a user to access the content, they need to fill out a form or questionnaire.
  • Implement "Implicit" Lead Scoring:

    Explicit lead scoring refers to demographics and characteristics while implicit scoring refers to awarding points to a lead based on their individual behaviour. That is: how they have interacted with your business and how they have engaged with your brand.

    Implicit Scoring Behaviour's Include:

    • Website and Webpage Visits
    • Email Clicks / Email Opens
    • Social Media Engagement / Interaction
    • Content Downloads
    • Contact Requests
    • Webinar or Newsletter Subscriptions
    • Demo Requests

    We previously discussed the importance of downloadable content for information and data gathering purposes however, this kind of content can also be used for implicit scoring. The act of downloading an e-guide or e-book infers that a prospect is interested in something your business offers, and this can be added to their lead score. 

    By understanding a prospects behaviour, how long they have spent on your website gathering information, and looking into their social media engagement with your business page, you have greater insight into their level of interest, and this kind of information (when gathered correctly) contributes more to a leads overall score than explicit scoring.

    By using a CRM, you are able to successfully track every interaction a user has with your business and this will help you gather and score implicit data successfully. 

  • Negative Scoring

    Not all interactions a prospect has with your business will be a step toward a sale and your lead scoring model needs to recognise this fact. By implementing a system of negative scoring, you are able to remove points from a lead score based on characteristics or behaviours that imply a lack of interest in your business or service offerings. 

    Negative Lead scoring should take the following into account:

    • Visiting your website’s careers page (they are interested in becoming an employee rather than a customer)
    • Unsubscribing for your newsletter or email list
    • A job title that does not fit your target audience i.e.: a student that is interested in your website content for academic reasons only. 

    Negative lead scoring should be in place to prevent high scores that are essentially a waste of time. With a negative scoring model in place, your sales team can quickly identify weak leads and focus their time nurturing high quality leads that have a higher chance of conversion. 

  • Understand Score Degradation

    Score degradation is about tracking stagnant leads, that is: those with a lower lead score that have not engaged with your company in a while. You want to know who these leads are in order to direct them through the sales funnel and not leave them stuck at a certain point within the funnel. Similar to negative scoring.

    Score degradation helps you determine who has lost interest in your business, and allows your sales team to refocus their efforts. 

Lead Scoring Requires Consistent Refinement 

It is important that you do not become complacent with your lead scoring model. You want to make sure that it is always up to date and that you keep an eye on anything that can be refined. This means you should always be updating your model based on your most recent customer data. For example: if you have noticed a decline in sales conversions, you may be setting your scoring threshold too low - and this should quickly be amended. 

Keep an eye on your MQL to conversion rate, and if you notice a decline then there is a chance your target customer persona has shifted slightly and your model needs to be adjusted

In Summary

Your lead scoring model should consist of the following:

  • Marketing and sales alignment: Ensure your marketing and sales team work together when understanding your target market and their specific needs.
  • Lead Scoring Threshold: The point value of when a prospective client is recognised as sales-ready.
  • Explicit Lead Scoring: Assigning points to a lead based on specific qualities such as demographics and characteristics.
  • Implicit Lead Scoring: Assigning points to a lead based on their behaviour and engagement with your business.
  • Negative Scoring: Removing points from a lead score based on characteristics or behaviours that imply a lack of interest in your business.
  • Score Degradation: Tracking stagnant leads.
  • Regular Refinement: Amend your model to suit the evolving needs of your target audience.

If you are looking to implement a strong prospect lead scoring model for your company, the Nexa team is here to help.

At Nexa, we know that lead generation is the lifeblood of any business and we have been providing Inbound Marketing and Sales Lead Generation to a wide variety of businesses for well over a decade.  With Lead Scoring, we alo help businesses to identify and prioritise prospects, which not only helps salespeople to close more deals, but also increases their efficiency by reducing the time lost when following up with cold leads.

As experts in Lead Generation and Lead Scoring, we are proud to be the region’s leading and only HubSpot Diamond Agency Partner and have been recognised as thought leaders and innovators within this field. If you are looking to generate leads, we can help. Contact Nexa today and drive highly qualified sales leads for your business.