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Lead Scoring and 4 Pitfalls to Avoid…

By August 26, 2016 June 13th, 2019 No Comments

In this post, we’re going to walk through Lead Scoring 101. First – we’ll explain why any customer focused organization should implement lead scoring, while illustrating why it’s a foundational component to Revenue Marketing.

We’ll describe what lead scoring is. Then we’ll detail the three variable categories that make up a solid lead score. Last, we’ll help marketers avoid the common pitfalls we’ve seen that cause lead scoring efforts to fail fast.

So First, What’s Lead Scoring?

When’s the last time you were “scored”? How about your last social event? Get any of these questions?

“Hi, nice to meet you… What do you do”?

“Oh, that’s really interesting, and how big is the company”?

“Ohh, that’s great – and did you grow up here? – where’d you go to school?’

It’s predictable. I find it funny enough that I almost got some generic business cards made that listed the answers to all these questions – just to drop them in the person’s hand to save a little time.

But, people are curious and want to know.  Even subconsciously,  how valuable is this person that I’m meeting?

That’s lead scoring. When people find out the answers to the above questions, they mentally put others in a bucket – maybe a good one on the top shelf – or maybe they quickly move on to the hors d’oeuvres.  Sounds kind of harsh right? So, why would a marketer invest the time in creating one?

Your Sales Team Deserves It.

The truth is – your sales team demands good  leads. They can’t  waste time  calling down a list of prospects who aren’t possibly in the market to buy your product or service. This is where a solid lead score can make marketers look like super heroes.

Your Prospects Actually Want It.

If a marketer builds a successful lead score, people who aren’t a good match for a sales outreach won’t get one. That’s a big human impact. Marketers who funnel every lead into a sales queue are wasting people’s lives. If a prospect isn’t interested in the product because it’s not a good fit, it’s not the right time, or they’re not the right decision maker – then why inconvenience them with a call – right? Instead, marketers with good lead scoring logic will enroll this individual in a nurture stream and listen for buying behavior in the future.

Prospects who score highly, more than likely want a call. This means we can be responsive to qualified prospects who are reaching out for help in their decision process.

Typical lead scores aren’t very sophisticated. Instead, it’s just a sum game.  Let’s looks at some answers to our networking analogy;

“Oh, you’re a Director”? 10 points.

“Oh wow, there’s 500 people at your start-up”? 20 points.

“Geez, you went to  École Normale Superieure in Paris”? 20 points.

At a certain threshold – someone is going to be asking for your business card. Marketing automation systems work the same way. As soon as a prospect crosses that lead threshold that I’ve predetermined, the lead will then be promoted to the next step. That next step could be an enrollment in a specific campaign. Or, it could be an activity for a salesperson.

What’s in a Lead Score?

Lead Scoring in a Marketing Automation tool is typically comprised of three major elements; Firmographic, Demographic, and Behavioral Attributes. Let’s try to quickly break these down. If you’re bothered by the lack of options here, there’s more lead scoring rules available. Here’s a handy lead scoring cheat sheet that you can also use to get started, as well as a variety of other helpful documentation on lead scoring in Marketo.

It’s important to not trust assumptions and quick answers. Instead, identify data driven inputs for these values. Start small. There’s no reason to add restrictive criteria if you’re not sure.  Feel free to get creative for now.


Company Size  – What’s our target customer size? (revenue basis)

Target Account – Are there particular accounts we’d like to prioritize?

Vertical – Are there vertical types which are a priority for us right now?

Employee Count – How many people are in the firms that typically buy from us.


Job Title – Who are the decision makers we really love speaking with?

Industry – Is this individual working in an industry that’s a good match?

Time to Purchase – Is the timing right for a human interaction?


Content Interaction – Is this prospect looking at the careers page or the product pricing sheet?

Visiting Websites – Would sales want to speak with someone that just came to our site?

Opening Emails – Is opening an email a good indicator a prospect is open to a sales conversation?

Why should you care? Sales has time to call everyone…

If a marketer can prove they know what good leads are made of  – they’re in a better position to land budget to get more of them. Salespeople detest being handed a stack of horrible leads that haven’t been appropriately scored. It’s a sure fire way to gain the disrespect of your hustling sales team. This will decrease marketing’s credibility within an organization and relegate your marketing programs to “just another annoying thing I have to click through in CRM”.

Remember, the most impactful result of a lead score is increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of your sales team.

Why do most Lead Scoring efforts fail?

They don’t start with the data.

We’ve all been wrong – a lot. That’s life. But, still take a shortcut when you can. Good data doesn’t lie. If you approach determining these lead scoring variables by analyzing your existing customer base, you’re going to be 10 steps ahead.

They don’t ask sales first.

Who has the most front line exposure in your organization. It’s more than likely a sales guy. Empower the top salespeople to weigh in heavily on this topic – right out of the gate. They’ll want to help you succeed – because it’s their success.

They’re too restrictive.

Set the bar low right out of the gate. Start with a low lead scoring threshold and then dial It up over time in an iterative improvement feedback cycle. Sometimes, the mistake is made to set the threshold very high – but this only serves to limit the overall number of new leads entering the pipeline.

They’re not refreshed through iteration.

Lead Scoring isn’t a one-time effort. Lead scoring should be something that’s refreshed on a frequent basis. By leveraging historical analysis, you can illustrate what’s working and what’s languishing. There should be a culture of improvement over time, guided by real data. You want data, lots of data. By analyzing the leads that close, and by creating a feedback loop for sales, you’ll be improving your lead score over time.

Lead Scoring is an impactful tool for accelerating marketing sophistication that drive major revenue. Further, when done right, lead scoring can impact the customer buying experience in a dramatically positive way. Lead Scoring isn’t a daunting process. In fact, it’s something that can be done retroactively to determine its value, before making a systems or change management investment.

If you’d like to chat about it – I’m sure you’ve see the livechat. Or, feel free to drop us an email. 

Jesse Fowl

Jesse Fowl

Jesse Fowl believes that at its core, marketing is about crafting experiences that evoke emotions – good, bad, or otherwise. As the managing director and lead strategist at Solomon, he is an expert in turning customer-centered design into reality, enabled by his team’s mastery of technology and data-driven insight. Jesse began his career at nineteen as an engineer in Silicon Valley. After the tech bust he began managing marketing IT systems of high-profile casinos in Las Vegas, where he focused on Loyalty Marketing and learned about the power of hospitality-driven and experiential relationship sales. Jesse spent time in the world of Big 4 consulting, managing enterprise marketing projects for Fortune 5 finance and high tech clients, before founding Solomon Solutions in 2014 and growing it into a multimillion dollar global martech disrupter. Jesse lives with his family in the Pacific Northwest, where he enjoys fly fishing and BASE jumping from live volcanoes.

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