Lead Scoring and Why It’s Important to Your Marketing Efforts

November 13, 2012

What Is Lead Scoring?

Lead scoring is a key component of an efficient marketing and sales process. By assigning scores to your leads, you can determine which ones are ready to send directly to Sales and which ones still need nurturing in Marketing. This practice not only provides Sales with better-qualified leads, it also streamlines communication between the two departments.

How Are Scores Assigned?

Lead scores are usually determined by matching the web activity and engagement of a prospect with your company’s target demographic.

Your Sales and Marketing departments should first meet to define your ideal customer profile. Create a list of attributes that are most important for that target customer and assign values to them, e.g., company location, company size, and industry.

Explicit Vs. Implicit Scores

There are two methods of lead scoring: explicit and implicit. Both methods should be used in developing a comprehensive prospect analysis.

Explicit scoring is based on information supplied by the prospect, e.g., name, job title, and location. This information is gathered from forms submitted on landing pages for event registration, newsletter sign-up, and e-book downloads.

Implicit scoring is based on information you gather indirectly. It’s often referred to as behavioral scoring because it asks questions about prospect activity. How many times did a prospect visit our web page? Did the prospect click on a link? Did they fill out a form?

Scoring behavioral information can be more difficult than scoring explicit information. For example, it’s possible that two leads could have the same score, yet one lead could be an active lead, i.e., they generated significant activity over the past few days, while the other lead is latent, i.e., their score was accumulated over a longer period of time. Active leads are better candidates to move down the funnel towards Sales while they’re still “hot.”

Keep in mind that not all prospect activity is equal. A visit to your Careers page should be scored much lower than a visit to your Services or Products pages. Someone interested in services is the type of lead you want, not someone on a job hunt.

Data Quality

Sometimes the data gathered from prospects will have a negative influence on their lead score. For example, a Yahoo or Hotmail address is generally not as credible (or valuable) as an address with a corporate domain name. Therefore, you might want to assign a negative point value to that information.

What Next?

“No Leads Left Behind” is a good motto to follow as you’re gathering lead scores. After you forward your active leads to the Sales Department, continue to nurture your latent leads and, if necessary, send them back to the top of the funnel.

Lead scoring allows your sales team to spend their time where it counts – with qualified leads. If sales time is wasted with unqualified leads, your company will suffer. Pursuing qualified leads can increase sales productivity and guarantee a better return for your business.


For a helpful guide to lead scoring, check out The Definitive Guide To Lead Scoring, a workbook by Marketo. The Guide includes several handy worksheets to help you get started.

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