Lead scoring is one of the most popular—and misunderstood—topics in marketing today. It’s often one of the first subjects my clients ask about when we’re developing a marketing automation strategy. Many enter into these early strategy conversations convinced they need lead scoring and are eager to get their rules up and running as fast as possible. But there are benefits to approaching lead scoring cautiously and first evaluating its use at the big picture level.
If lead scoring turns out to fit with the goals of your marketing automation strategy, you can use these four steps to get started and get it right.
1. Establish Goals
Lead scoring is only effective when it is used in service of realistic, measurable goals, and it’s imperative these goals are established at the outset of a campaign. Then, if an aggregate quantitative measure of lead engagement and funnel stage (lead score) is helpful, lead scoring can be properly constructed.
2. Include Scoring Rules from the Outset of a Campaign
Once goals are established, lead scoring should be included in a campaign from the start, even though we expect scoring rules to change. Collecting data early is rarely a bad thing. It allows marketing and sales teams to establish baselines, as base-level performance data provides a foundation for refinements and optimization as the campaign progresses (see step 4).
3. “Just Start”
Companies can’t know the value of lead scoring until they see it in action. Often, the most challenging element of a lead scoring approach is just getting it started. The best way to see if and how lead scoring provides value to marketing and sales processes is by setting it up, measuring results and establishing baseline metrics. Now, you may need to be judicious about how you use lead scores and with whom they are shared in the early going, but don’t let that prevent the starting gun from firing.
4. Plan on a Process of Refinement and Optimization
Like so many areas of marketing, a lead scoring approach isn’t going to be perfect on the first day. In fact, as a data-driven methodology for prioritizing leads, one should expect to use early data to make changes—else it’s another guess-driven approach. Lead scoring is a tool that requires refinement and optimization to be effective, and companies need to plan for that. Evaluating lead scoring results and revisiting the scoring rules on a monthly or quarterly basis is a great way hone the scoring process.
Lead scoring isn’t right for every company, and it certainly isn’t a sales and marketing cure-all. But by performing the right due diligence and making sure the data is used to optimize scoring, companies can find value in a lead scoring approach.