Any brand focused on inbound marketing needs a lead nurturing strategy. Even once leads enter your database, they’re still a long way away from becoming customers. Through a series of automated emails, you can nudge them closer to becoming sales-qualified, increasing your chances of converting leads into customers.
But how do you know when they’re ready? How can you optimize your sales effort to make sure you reach out only to prospects who have shown enough interest to suggest they’re ready for a sales pitch? That’s where lead scoring enters the equation. In our newest edition of HubSpot Tips and Tricks, we’ll focus on how you can use the COS to set up your own lead scoring system.
An Introduction to Lead Scoring
At its core, lead scoring is a simple concept. It describes the process of ranking leads against each other, allowing you to focus your sales effort only on prospects with the highest chance of success.
To achieve that goal, marketers engaging in lead scoring set up a system that assigns points based on individual actions taken by leads. The more points a lead accumulates, the more likely they will be to convert to customers.
Both the need and the success of setting up a lead scoring model are well documented among inbound marketing thought leaders. A Gartner study found that no less than 70% of leads are lost due to poor follow up. By scoring your leads, you can target your efforts better and ensure an improved communication system.
Implementing a lead scoring system, in other words, comes with significant benefits. A MarketingSherpa study, for example, found that organizations embracing the concept received a 77% in lead generation ROI. Similarly, Kentico found that lead scoring resulted in a 38% lift in customer conversion rates.
Determining the Criteria
As is the case with every type of marketing effort, of course, lead scoring can only be effective if you build the right model for it. That should begin with establishing the exact criteria that matter for your brand.
A good start is to separate your criteria into two sections: static, and dynamic. Static criteria include everything that will not change about a lead, and is determined by their demographics. The closer a prospect is to your ideal customer and persona, the more of a head start they should get as a qualified lead. The reason is simple: your message will be more tailored to them and their pain points.
Dynamic criteria, on the other hand, depend on what exact actions your leads take after they enter your database. Here, you can build on a variety of variables:
- Pages visited. If a prospect visits a page on your website that indicates conversion interest, such as your pricing page, you should count that as an indication of interest.
- Downloads. Your content marketing efforts are likely not finished after generating a lead. When a prospects fills out an additional sign up form to download a whitepaper or sign up for a webinar, count it.
- Engagement. Opening and especially clicking on nurturing emails show that the prospect continues to be interested in your brand.
In addition, you may also want to consider setting up negative lead scoring criteria that allow you to go beyond simply adding up the points. As HubSpot points out, you may want to consider assigning negative scores to prospects who live outside of the geographic region in which you sell. Depreciating points for a lack of action over time is also a possibility.
Your final step in building your model should be to assign specific values to the individual criteria based on their likelihood of being conversion predictors. You can adjust the values over time, as you evaluate leads that are determined to be qualified.
Setting Up Lead Scoring Within HubSpot
Given the above complexity in building a lead scoring model, it’s tempting to forego the process of lead scoring if you don’t think you have the marketing expertise to execute it. Fortunately, HubSpot has made it easy for even smaller business to integrate the concept into their lead generation and nurturing efforts.
The process is simple. After navigating to the Lead Scoring section within your COS, a simple set of drop downs allows you to select criteria based on your evaluation in the previous step, and assign specific points to each of them. Next, you can set up a threshold that determines exactly when a lead is qualified to be passed on to sales for a pitch.
Finally, you can build a workflow that allows you to email qualified leads dynamically to sales, or assign them to a user once they become available. The result will be an automated process that only requires a one-time set-up and subsequent evaluations and adjustments as necessary. HubSpot’s guide on setting up lead scoring can walk you through the process step by step.
When implemented, lead scoring can make a major impact on both increasing your conversion rates and optimizing your sales processes. Used correctly, it’s a no-brainer, improving your ROI while simultaneously saving everyone involved valuable time.
Don’t let the complexity of the process fool you: through HubSpot, you can set up lead scoring without needing a PhD in inbound marketing. Of course, you can always ask for help if needed! As your resident HubSpot experts, we’d love to walk you through the process of scoring your leads and maximizing your sales success. Contact us to get started.