Following up on my previous article investigating how to get the most of out of Hubspot’s free edition, I wanted to take a deeper dive into scoring leads for marketing purposes for new businesses just starting out. Many times, lead scoring is overlooked in the setup as it is either, too complicated for sales to decipher, or it is too difficult for marketing to build out.

What is Lead Scoring?

Lead scoring is quite simply, a means to measure the quality of inbound marketing leads. The goal is to ensure that the right leads are being followed up with at the right time.

Prior to Lead Scoring, leads submitted a form and were handed to sales in the order they were received. All leads were thought to be equal and handled the same way as a queue for customer service support, where you will be handled in the order you were received. What we have come to realize since that time is that not all leads are equal and some leads need to be nurtured to get to the point they are ready to purchase. Because of that, marketers have come to look for digital, and even offline, signals to determine when a contact should be reached out to by sales.

But lead scoring is not that simple. It’s not like a baking recipe or scientific formula that yields the same results time after time. Lead scoring is more like the state of the modern web, constantly being refined, and redefined to meet the changing needs and personas that develop over the course of time. Because of this, lead scoring models should be re-evaluated at regular intervals ranging from six to twelve months.

Profile Scoring vs. Engagemement Scoring

There are two things you can score for your contacts on to help determine how sales ready they are. They are the profile, who they are, and their engagement, what they do.

Profile scores are fairly straight-forward to setup, but will vary from organization to organization. For instance, depending on the product(s) you are selling, certain business sizes, titles, departments, roles, industries, or other factors may be more important than others. For instance, if you are selling to an accounting department, you may place more weight on individuals in those departments whereas someone selling to a human resources department may have the accounting department in their CRM for billing purposes and would not want a lead from that department to be scored and contacted by sales.

Engagement scores, on the other hand, are the scientific part of the score that will be continually tested. With engagement scores you evaluate different actions taken by a user, such as an email click or form submission, and measure that with both the frequency of the actions occurance, and the recency of the action to create a value for that specific action. As there are so many factors that affect an engagement score it is important to continuously monitor how your leads are scoring in this category.

The Lead Scoring Bell Curve

When it comes to measuring the success of a lead scoring program, far too often the mistake is made of measuring it against marketing qualified leads (MQLs) generated. While it is important that your lead scoring system generates MQLs, it is not the goal to simply generate them, but rather the point is to generate the right MQLs.

As a result, the measure of the best lead scoring platforms is seeing how they produce results on a bell curve. That is, you are trying to achieve a balanced scoring model where the top tier are easily separated out for your sales team, the largest group in the middle is a group you watch go up and down and sometimes contact depending on their profile score, and lastly you have the bottom group that needs to either be nurtured into the higher tiers, or sometimes simply left alone because they are not a relevant audience of yours.

In the previous step of building out the different scores, it is important that for the points that you add in each of the Profile and Engagement that you find ways to negate points from their scores. Otherwise, you could face a common obstacle in the marketing / sales relationship which is explaining why someone with a high score of 1,000, for example, is just as ready to buy as someone with a score of 100. This type of inbalance makes the alignment of a bell curve model nearly impossible to maintain because of the outliers that can occur as a result.

Hubspot Lead Scoring Build

There are 2 ways you can build out this type of scoring in Hubspot and it comes down to what version you have. We will look at what you can do in the free version, and lower paid versions that limit you to a single scoring model, as well as the Enterprise edition of the Hubspot Marketing Platform which allows you to have multiple custom scoring fields for a more dynamic, and diverse scoring model.

The Basic Lead Scoring Model Setup

If you have only one scoring field available to you, it is important to focus on the most dynamic piece of your model which is the Engagement Score. In this model, you will separate out your contact profiles, or personas, using segments built with dynamic lists. By grouping your contacts in this manner, you can use this as a filter in your reporting later on to see how each group is scoring relative to the others.

Advanced Lead Scoring Models

More advanced lead scoring models can be built when you have additional scoring fields at your disposal. In this case, unlike the basic lead scoring model, you can build a scoring model specifically to look at the personas or explicit data that you are collecting to see your entire database as as whole to understand your audience.

Final Thoughts

While this this lead scoring model outlined for Hubspot usage works in many cases, it is by no means perfect, or the only model to consider. In fact, depending on what you are selling or what you are measuring, there are times when a cumulative lead score that continues to add points in can be beneficial such as when you are looking to uncover brand ambassadors. In that scenario, you want to find out and score someone every time they interact with your brand. Unlike the sales cycle that has a finite ending of a closed opportunity, building brand loyalty and tracking similar engagements does not necessarily have that same ending.

When you think about building a lead scoring model for your company, regardless of what you are trying to measure, be sure to take input from your data sources, as well as your cross-functional teams to make sure your scoring encompasses as much feedback as you can. This information can only further narrow down your scoring to find the right people that you need to measure and get the right content in front of them.

In a future article we will take a look at how you can incorporate workflows into this process to further automate your lead scoring and look at ways beyond numbers to express the readiness of your leads and contacts.