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When I used to hear terms like “lead scoring,” I assumed it was something our sales team should be doing. What I didn’t realize was that lead scoring is something a digital marketer like myself should understand. Knowing how to incorporate this tactic as part of integrated marketing and sales efforts is empowering not only for marketers, but also for their brands. 

In learning how to use lead scoring within our organization, I also discovered what not to do with this tactic. Here’s what I found out:

Defining Lead Scoring

Not every lead will end up buying from you. Some have a greater potential to convert than other leads. Lead scoring helps organize those leads by their potential, with a score between 0 and 100. The higher the score, the greater probability you’ll convert that prospect into a customer.

Lead scoring works for those sales processes that haven’t yet become completely automated. Scoring isn’t necessary when an automated system does all the work of following up on each lead. However, when labor is involved, the scoring system can reduce the time and money spent on leads that will never convert.

With the ability to help your existing sales team, lead scoring can be a critical tool for a higher conversion rate. But to derive any value from the practice, you have to do it correctly. 

Here are tips on doing so:

Don’t Ignore the Information a Person Provides

With so much data, it would make sense to think it all gets analyzed. But I’ve seen companies overlook some of the critical data that people provide beyond their contact information.

Don’t forget to look at each lead’s designation, including if the person is a student or a CEO. The student most likely is doing research, but the CEO has the power to make purchase decisions.

Also, ask for that type of information when you create your sales form. That includes adding a space for individuals to state their designation, as well as other data points that can help with scoring, such as industry or business segment and company size.

Don’t Forget to Track Other Channels

At first, I thought lead scoring was just for activity through our website. But it’s also highly effective for email and social media interaction. Additionally, you don’t want to miss scoring leads through other things like events, webinars, and demos you host, where you can better understand why someone attended and whether he or she is a serious buyer.

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Don’t Overlook Lead Behavior

There may also be a tendency to focus on the literal data instead of looking beyond that information at lead behavior. This is often avoided because it can be challenging and lead you into gray areas in terms of ethics. First, make it clear on your website that you’re using tracking technology, so your visitors are fully aware of what you’re doing.

The behaviors that you should watch for include which pages leads visit and how long they’re there. The longer they remain, as well as the more pages they visit, the greater their lead score should be — they’re clearly more serious than someone who visited one page for a minute.

Don’t Forgo the Available Lead Scoring Tools

Since I was unfamiliar with the process, I also did not realize how many lead scoring tools are available to boost results. Doing it on your own, rather than using a tool, may lead to lost opportunities because the tools provide a more comprehensive set of metrics to do the lead scoring. They also remove some of the subjectivity we’re prone to as marketers with human enthusiasm and blind spots.

Don’t Stop Lead Scoring Just Because the Lead Converts

It’s a mistake to look at lead scoring as a process that ends once a person buys a product or service from you. If you do, you’re missing out on more sales opportunities. Continue with lead scoring to study each customer’s behavior and see how likely he or she is to buy again — as well as when and why.

For example, a lead may have converted and bought a lower-end product from you. By continuing to score her as a lead, you can determine if she is using this as a test product and has the likelihood of spending more money with you on a higher-end product.

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Don’t Make Decisions Without Consulting Your Sales Team or Customers

Numbers provide insights, but they shouldn’t be the sole resource your strategic decisions, campaign messaging, or audience interaction is based upon. The sales team is in the field and in front of your audience, so your salespeople can provide further direction that informs those lead scores.

It also helps to engage with existing customers and your audience to learn more about them, their needs and expectations, their budget, and the timing they’re considering. Checking in with this other perspective also helps balance the information you receive. Then, you can analyze everything for a much bigger, more detailed picture of where these leads are at.

Don’t Use the Same Lead Scoring Process

Just because it’s somewhat quantitative doesn’t mean that lead scoring doesn’t have a qualitative side where it becomes more art than science. I thought of it as an equation at first; in reality, it is dynamic and requires regular adjustment. 

This is especially true if your company has a long lead life cycle, where the pattern of lead types and behaviors has a greater chance of changing. There may also be a need to adapt your lead scoring process for leads that reappear or for those who are existing customers.

Lead scoring may sound like a discipline far removed from marketing, but it’s truly not. Understanding prospective — and existing — clients better is beneficial for anyone conveying a brand’s message. The only catch is that you can’t expect lead scoring tools to do everything for you — there’s a point when your marketing savvy has to take the lead.


Leading scoring is only one integral part of lead management. Find out how to “Do More with Lead Management” to better grasp the entire process and convert more leads into sales.

Read the guide.




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