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    July 12, 2012 // 12:30 PM

    Lead Scoring: 13 Criteria You Should Be Using to Grade Leads

    Written by Corey Eridon | @

    lead scoringintermediate

    Most marketers know about the importance of setting up some sort of lead scoring schematic. It helps improve sales and marketing alignment when both teams can agree on the qualities of a great (and not-so-great) lead -- not to mention it makes the sales organization more efficient by letting them spend time only on the leads that are the most sales-ready.

    But just because you know lead scoring is important, doesn't mean you know where to start. I mean, we've written about how to "do" lead scoring, but never about what you're actually supposed to score. What indicates a lead's sales-readiness will change from business to business, but there are some pieces of lead intelligence, lead behaviors, and lead activities that many savvy marketers tend to universally consider in their lead scoring programs that we'd like to share with you. This list should help get the wheels in your brain turning so you can get started with a lead scoring program that actually gives your sales and marketing teams some pertinent information about your leads!

    Lead Scoring: 13 Pieces of Lead Intelligence You Can Use

    Before we get started, let's remember that you can give positive scores OR negative scores for any of these pieces of information. Depending on the marketing software and CRM you're using, the method of setting this up will differ for everyone -- if you're using HubSpot, simply install the Lead Grader app (aptly named, eh?) to make both positive and negative lead scoring possible.

    Alright -- now we're ready to dig into all the ways you could score your leads, whether positively or negatively!

    1) Contact Information

    Do your forms require visitors to submit just an email address? First name, last name, and email address? Phone number? Street address? All of the above? Depends on the form? You can use the amount of contact information a visitor provides as an indication of how interested they are in completing a purchase with your company, and score leads accordingly. For example, if the only required form fields are first name, last name, and email address, but you make providing a phone number optional, you might want to award some extra points to leads that provide their phone number, anyway.

    2) Budget

    A lead's budget can be assessed multiple ways -- you could ask for it on your landing page form, a salesperson could inquire about it over the phone or email and input that information into your CRM, or you could even take a guess based on a company's revenue. However you acquire that information, a salesperson probably wants to work leads with the highest budgets first -- so score them accordingly! Likewise, leads below a certain budget threshold may require a negative score so they aren't bubbled up to reps.

    3) Organization Size/Type

    Are you more interested in B2B organizations, or B2C organizations? Or are you looking to sell to leads that work at a tiny little local business, as opposed to enterprise organizations? Award points to leads that fit the organization size and type you hope to close more deals with, and set up negative lead scoring for those that are the opposite of what you're looking for.

    4) Job Type

    If you're a B2B organization, you're probably targeting not just organization types, sizes, and industries, but also certain job functions and seniority levels within those organizations. Whether your decision maker is in the C-Suite, or you prefer getting in good with administrators and working your way up to someone in middle management who will make the final call, you should be assigning greater points to those who fit your company's ideal job criteria.

    5) Location

    Only selling to a certain geographic location? Get those outliers outta your sales team's queue! Anyone that falls outside the proper city, state, zip code, country, whatever it is, should be given a negative lead score. And if you're targeting certain areas for any reason -- perhaps you're expanding (congratulations!) -- you can give those locations a higher lead score than others, too.

    6) Events Attended

    Live event attendance can be a huge signal of a lead's interest in your company -- after all, they're taking time out of their day to dedicate their physical or virtual presence to you. Keep in mind that an event could mean a conference, sure, but even something like a live webinar, too. You can associate different scores with all of your live events so those highly engaged leads get to sales reps faster.

    7) Pages Visited

    What a lead does on your website says a lot about their level of interest in spending money with your company. Is a lead visiting your About Us page? Big whoop ... when you compare it with leads visiting your pricing pages! That's a lead that's interested in your specific solution (and spending money on it), and as such should receive a higher lead score. Similarly, visitors that visit 50 pages are certainly more interested in your company than those that read 5, as are those that check out more high-value page as opposed to clicking away after one look at your homepage. What I'm trying to say is ... consider not just the number of pages a lead visits, but also the types of pages they visit when implementing lead scoring.

    8) Downloads

    Downloads are one of the most common indicators many marketers use to bump up (or down) a lead's score. And by downloads, I mean that great lead generation content you've created and put behind a landing page to incite conversions and reconversions. But it's also important discern the value behind each lead-gen offer to associate the proper points value to it; remember, certain offer downloads tend to indicate more sales readiness than others.

    mapping marketing offers

    So a lead that downloads an offer from the orange bubble would likely deserve fewer points than one that downloads an offer from the blue or gray bubble; after all, downloading, say, a free trial certainly indicates more interest in a purchase than a simple checklist!

    9) Frequency

    How often a lead interacts with your website and its content is another indication of how interested they are in making a purchase with your company. So in addition to scoring a lead based on the content asset he or she downloads, you can also score a lead based on a frequency threshold. Are leads that download 10 pieces of content from your website more likely to close? Bump up their lead score! Are leads that visit your website 15 times within a month more likely to close? Bump up their lead score, too! Any repeat action on behalf of a lead is typically a good indication you've captivated their interest in some way; they probably wouldn't hate talking to someone from your sales team if they're that into you.

    10) Engagement

    On a similar note, a lack of activity on a lead's part can indicate a loss of interest, different needs, or that they've found another solution provider. Has a lead stopped visiting your website? Stopped downloading your content? Spent less and less time on your pages? Stopped engaging with you in any other way? After a certain amount of time -- 10 days, 30 days, 3 months, it all depends on your typical sales cycle -- it may behoove you to assign a negative score to those leads so your sales organization doesn't spend time chasing a ghost.

    11) Email Activity

    For leads who have opted in to receive email communications from you, their engagement with your emails is a critical measure of their level of interest in making a purchase with your company. If a lead opens every email in your lead nurturing series or clicks through on those awesome email offers like clockwork, you can bet your sales team might want to know. Maybe you could tell them ... by bumping up that lead's score.

    12) Off-Site Events

    Not everything that indicates how sales-ready a lead is takes place on your website. Nope! There are activities leads can engage in off your website that -- with the help of tracking cookies -- your marketing software can capture, and you should consider scoring. For example, leads that are engaging with your social media presence regularly deserve a little more attention than those that leave your site and vanish into internet oblivion. Give those leads a little boost in their lead score when their off-site activities indicate interest in you!

    13) Lead Source

    Leads come from all over the place -- Facebook, your blog, PPC, organic search, you name it! Do you know which ones close at a higher rate? Many businesses, for instance, find that leads coming through organic search close at higher rates and for higher average sale prices than those that come through paid search. Wouldn't it make sense to adjust lead scores for any given lead by the source from which they came? We sure think so! Use closed-loop reporting to identify which sources have higher close rates, and assign leads from those sources higher point values.

    What activities and intelligence do you consider when scoring your leads?

    Image credit: Steve Snodgrass

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    Topics: Lead Management

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