A HubSpot Marketing Agency’s Guide to Lead Scoring

Published on: | Caroline Lane

There’s nothing worse than wasting time, resources, and money on leads that ultimately don’t lead to more revenue. And that’s what’s bound to happen if you believe that all leads are created equal. 

The best way to combat that is by prioritizing leads, and lead scoring is an effective way to achieve this. Lead scoring is a method of assigning value or “points” to leads based on certain information, including their engagement, demographics, and firmographics. With lead scoring, you can figure out which leads have the highest chance of closing in a strategic and systematic way. 

HubSpot’s lead scoring function is especially easy to use and can work wonders for your pipeline. Here’s everything you need to know about lead scoring in HubSpot, straight from a HubSpot marketing agency that’s been implementing effective lead scoring campaigns for years! 

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What’s Lead Scoring For? 

There’s a common misconception that lead scoring will only give you qualified leads. 

In reality, lead scoring is used to prioritize the leads that have the highest chances of actually buying a product or service. Scoring allows marketing to remove any junk leads, nurture leads on the brink of being sales-ready, pass the best leads to sales, and help sales prioritize who they should engage with and why. 

Remember, lead scoring is a helpful tool, and should be treated as such. It’s not a magic recipe that will result in solely “perfect” leads that will close 100% of the time. That’s just not possible! What it will do is help you figure out which leads have more potential than others, so your teams can focus their efforts accordingly. 

Lead scoring is also an ongoing process. It’s not something you set up once and never again. Lead scoring is meant to be an iterative process that is tweaked and adjusted as you note how well it is or isn’t working. Monitor how lead scoring is helping with acquisition and efficiency, and don’t be afraid to make changes to the scores based on that. 

Most Common Lead Scoring Mistakes 

Lead scoring can do a world of good for the sales pipeline, but there are two common mistakes when it comes to assigning values to leads: 

1.Being Too Broad (A Marketing Mistake) 

A lot of marketers report on marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) and share those numbers with leadership. So naturally, they want those numbers to be high. That leads to a big lead scoring mistake: being too broad in assigning values. By broadening the values of what’s considered an MQL, that lowers the threshold drastically. So, a marketer isn’t generating more leads or qualified leads; they’re just widening the net of MQL criteria. 

This negatively affects business in several ways. If you have 80 MQLs, but 30 of them are bad, then they shouldn’t have become MQLs in the first place! It also creates a “boy who cried wolf” scenario with sales. If marketing sends leads to sales too early or too often, then sales can become burned out, and stop paying attention to what marketing sends their way. That means even if the lead is good, sales might be too frustrated with the low-quality leads to notice, which means opportunities to grow revenue are ignored. 

MQLs shouldn’t be a KPI for marketing – it's too easy to artificially change the numbers. Marketers should report on revenue and opportunities so that lead scoring can be adjusted and drive real results. 

2.Being Too Narrow (A Sales Mistake)  

On the other hand, if sales only want perfect leads, then they might be missing out on leads that may not seem “perfect,” but are certainly qualified and have some potential. If all MQLs are becoming SQLs, then something isn’t right with the lead scoring criteria. Sales must accept that disqualifying leads comes with the territory, and that by narrowing in too much when lead scoring, money is being left on the table. To put it simply:  

“All leads should be followed up with. Not all leads should be sold to."

- David Ledgerwood, Managing Partner at Add1Zero 

 

How to Get Lead Scoring Right 

To avoid mistakes and tap into lead scoring’s full potential, all you need is the right framework. 

1.Set the right expectations 

Start out by asking yourself: how many MQLs should become sales-qualified leads (SQLs)? The standard answer is about 70 to 85%, but no more and no less.  

If you’re below that range, analyze which leads aren’t making it to the SQL stage. Is it because they’re not qualified? Or because they’re being ignored? (Best practice: leads should be followed up with within 2 business hours.) In that case, either adjust the lead scoring or speak to sales and make sure they’re explaining why they’re disqualifying leads. 

If you’re above the 70 to 85% range, then it’s time to adjust lead scoring. Give fewer negative points and more positive points, and look at leads that didn’t make it to MQL and figure out which of those might’ve been a good fit for sales. 

At least at the beginning, lead scoring can be a trial-and-error process to find what makes the most sense for your business, but the payoff is worth it! 

2.Account for what matters 

When it comes to lead scoring, it’s crucial to account for properties that really matter. Those include: 

  • Engagement: Did someone visit a website page? Download a resource? Attend a webinar? Click an email? Those are all examples of engagement that should be positively scored. Some engagements should be scored higher than others, like visits to a pricing page or a case study page. (Pro tip: don’t gate your case studies!) 
  • Demographic: Job titles, functions, departments, and seniority are all things to consider. Don’t forget to assign negative points for job titles, too. 
  • Firmographics: What's the size of the company? How much revenue does it make and what’s its industry? With HubSpot, you don’t have to ask for this information on a form – it's automatically filled out. Target account lists are also helpful here, so you can give points to leads who are from accounts you’re actively pursuing. 

3.Be positive! (and negative, too) 

Don’t just assign positive values to your lead scores. Negative points will help you filter out junk leads, job seekers, and wholly unqualified or unrelated people, so no time and effort have to go towards anyone with a minimal chance of converting. 

Conclusion 

Effective lead scoring can be the change your pipeline needs. Prioritize leads that are most likely to close and stop spending time on people who aren’t qualified, and you’ll see revenue rise in no time. 

If you want to implement a lead scoring strategy that’s effective and powerful, a HubSpot marketing agency that knows the ins and outs of lead scoring can help. 

Want to Know More? 

Looking for a full-service growth marketing agency with expertise in HubSpot’s lead scoring tool (and all the other HubSpot tools, too)? You’ve come to the right place. 

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