What Is Automated Lead Scoring?

Post written by Max Schleicher
On Sunday, August 6th, 2017

Automated lead scoring is when your marketing system places a numerical value on a potential customer, scoring every interaction the lead has with your company, and weighting these scores based on the expected value.

Of course, for this to work, your marketing team will have to set up a model that accurately scores inbound leads. This model will be designed, tested, and improved by your marketing team. So there’s always going to be some human element to your scoring metrics.

Why is automated lead scoring important? Because you can determine which leads have enough engagement with your brand to be qualified to move on to communicate with the sales team. That’s crucial – especially for young startups.

As your funnel grows, your lead scoring needs to be ready to scale. As you attract bigger clients, you need to make sure your sales team is streamlined to give the most attention to the most important leads. Automated lead scoring does just that.

What Is Lead Scoring?

A prospective customer that interacts with your company online is going through the customer journey, which begins and ends with different interactions and experiences that occur at different touchpoints.

Lead scoring is applying a numerical value to a prospective consumer based on who they are and the way they interact with your brand.

When a lead reaches a specific value based on the amount and type of interactions they have with your brand, you can pass the lead to the sales team or direct the prospective customer to a particular experience touchpoint.

For example, a lead with a high score could be automatically pushed into a “low funnel” email campaign requesting they sign up for a product demo.

Define a Lead

Leads have a different meaning at every company.

That’s why before you choose to automatically score your leads, you must first define what a lead is at your company.

Are leads simply consumers who submit their contact information in a form? Are they people who “opt in” to download a case study for your site?

Before you commit the time and effort you’ll need to build a lead scoring model, make sure you circle up with your leadership and get a clear definition of what counts as a lead for your marketing team. The last thing you want it is to build a model, then learn that next quarter your organization is going to define leads in a new way.  

How Do I Score a Lead?

There are a few companies providing lead scoring automation lead automation software like Marketo and Hubspot to track prospects through every step of the marketing funnel and to automate your lead scoring.

As an InboundNow.com reader you might wonder if Inbound Now’s automation component supports lead scoring and the answer is that they’re not quite there yet but they hope to have an extension developed by mid 2018.

From there, you can score your leads by two parameters: demographics and interactions. Let’s start with demographic lead scoring.

Before we dig in, a quick note. Life will be so much easier if you use a data integration tool such as Clearbit. Tools like this automatically fill in demographic data (job title, size of company, industry, etc.) once your prospects give you their contact information. This will help you so much. You can even set up a system so that it “backfills” data for your leads. In other words, if a lead gives you their contact information today, your automation software should be able to add this data to all their past interactions (assuming your cookies have been working properly).

Now, let’s get into the details. For demographics, be sure to add a score for each different field based on the following:

  1. Industry. You’re a marketer, so you know that the value of a lead will depend on their industry. If you’re serious about automating leads, there’s a good chance you’ve already done your homework and calculated the expected revenue for leads based on their industry. Use that value as a basis for weighting industries for each lead.
  2. Experience. How many years of experience does the person you are selling to have? What is their job title? For example, the score for digital marketing specialist might be lower than chief marketing officer.
  3. Company size. A quick way to gauge the size of the opportunity for a lead is to look at how big the company is. Different data providers will show this data in different ways. But usually, you’ll look at the number of employees or locations to get a sense of how big the prospect is.

Score by interaction with your website (this includes content downloads and how the lead landed on your page) based on the following:

  1. Organic landing page. If you know that organic traffic to one page always converts better than other pages, it’s a good idea to give any lead who comes through that doorway a higher score.
  2. SEM keywords. Assign each paid ad a score based on where the page / keyword is in the marketing funnel. If your historical data tells you that prospects that search for a particular term covert highly, reflect that in a higher lead score.
  3. Remarketing ad. Remarketing is extremely effective, so score any returning leads higher based on historical conversion rates.
  4. Email. Score the lead based on the interaction they have with an email. Did they click on one link from one email? Did they click on multiple links?
  5. Referral. If someone came to your site by clicking on a link on another site, that may give you enough information to score them higher. For example, because people who read online reviews convert higher, you may give extra weight to someone who came to your site after clicking on one of your Facebook reviews.

Once your automated lead scoring is set up, you can update the weights based on how the leads are actually converting. Now that you’re measuring and modeling conversions, you’re ready to track how well your model works and keep making improvements to your scoring.

Conclusion  

Automated lead scoring makes your marketing more productive. It allows your search engine optimization, search engine marketing, and email metrics to work together.

When your website pages start ranking better for new keywords, or convert better on certain landing pages, you can update your lead scoring weights to reflect this. By systemizing your lead scoring, you’ll be able to update your lead weights quickly to reflect new insights you have about what drives conversion on your site.

About the Author:
Max Schleicher works as a Digital Marketing Manager for ReviewTrackers in Chicago, IL.

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