3 steps to set up a lead scoring model and common lead scoring mistakes

[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_column_text]

How to set up a lead scoring model and common lead scoring mistakes

Lead scoring is a method to identify marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and to see how sales-ready they are. It means that your leads get points when they fulfill criteria that you find important to qualify a lead. Those criteria could be based on their interest in you and how well they fit your buyer persona. They could also lose points if the lead fulfills criteria that you don’t seem likely would lead to a sale. When the lead reaches a certain score, it’s considered an MQL and marketing can deliver them to sales. In other words, the higher the lead score, the more sales-ready the lead is. But to be frank, deciding what to score on could turn out to be quite a big project both for sales and marketing teams, which is why we put together this guide whre you learn how to set up a lead scoring model to know what rules to score on and how to qualify a lead. 


Why use lead scoring? 

First off, 69% of top-performing companies say that good cooperation between sales and marketing teams is the most important factor to maximize marketing automation ROI. And lead scoring is a practice that really aligns sales and marketing. When the lead scoring model is based on insights from both teams, the teams are on the same page when it comes to what qualifies a lead and no leads fall through the cracks. This means that the sales team can put their time and focus on the leads that are most likely to buy at this time. Furthermore, nobody likes to be sold to, especially if a lead is just getting acquainted with you. So, just like the basis of marketing automation is to deliver the right content at the right time, lead scoring helps you find the perfect timing for sales as well. The leads are handed over to the sales team when the leads are qualified and ready to make a purchase decision. eMarketeer supports lead scoring where you are able to set up your own score rules, score all contacts in the database, and filter out the ones that you consider as qualified leads.[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line” custom_height=”10″][vc_column_text]

3 steps to set up a lead scoring model

Lead scoring works the best when you have insights from both sales and marketing teams, so put together your lead scoring model together. To set up a lead scoring model means that you list the actions and attributes that you find important to qualify a lead (these are then what you want to score your rules on), how many points each of those rules should be worth, and at what score you consider a lead as a marketing qualified lead (MQL).[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line” custom_height=”10″][vc_column_text]

1. What should you score on? Your customers have the answer

The first thing you need to do when you set up your lead scoring model is to determine which actions and attributes do you find important that a lead. Here you should think about both their persona and their marketing engagement. Your customers sit on a lot of the answers here. Looking at their demographics and company profiles. Some examples of data points you could look at there are country, job titles, industry, company size, etc. The next step is to analyze their behavior. Map out which marketing content they consumed and how they engaged in it before they became a customer. What emails did they click, which web pages did they visit, what content did they download, did they attend webinars or events? Also, keep in mind what activities and campaigns you have planned in the future and what marketing engagement you find important there as well. 

This step means that you do a lot of analyzing and collecting data, but, rest assured, it’s worth it because the more you know about your customers, the more fine-tuned and accurate is your lead scoring model. Collect all data you have on your customers and put together your buyer personas:



The data points in your buyer personas, are now what you can base your lead score rules on. There are two types of score rules; explicit scoring is based on how well the leads match your buyer persona when it comes to demographics and the company profile. Implicit scoring means that you score based on their marketing engagement. So the more your future leads match your ideal customer profiles and their behavior, the more points do the leads get.

Another important step is to look at the sales conversion for each action and attribute that you find. How often does that action or attribute lead to a sale? List this as well, it’s going to help you out in the next steps of putting together your lead scoring model.[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line” custom_height=”10″][vc_column_text]

2. When is a lead an MQL?

[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner column_margin=”default” text_align=”left”][vc_column_inner column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_column_text]The most common score range used in lead scoring is 0-100 points, but it’s up to you if you want a wider or more narrow score range. We find that 0-100 allows you to be more finetuned and detailed in your scoring since you have more numbers to pick from, which is also why we had it in mind for the default score rules that are available in eMarketeer. Now, decide how many points a lead should have to be considered ready for a sales contact. That’s what we call your sales threshold and that’s when a lead is an MQL. For example, if a lead has a score of 80 or more, they are considered “hot” enough to be contacted by sales. You could set also set thresholds throughout your whole lead scoring range. For example: 0-50 points = cold leads, 51-79 points = warm leads, and 80+ points = hot leads.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][divider line_type=”No Line” custom_height=”10″][vc_column_text]

3. Set points to each lead score rule

Time to decide how many points each rule should give the lead when they fulfill the rule. This is where it becomes important that you also look at the sales conversion for the rules. You most likely notice that some rules lead to a sale more often than others, for example, a product demo request might lead to a sale more often than a newsletter sign-up. A website visit to your pricing page might lead to a sale more often than a visit to the blog. You could say that it’s the sales conversion that determines how many points a rules should be worth. The closer the rule is to a sales, the more points should it award the lead that fulfills the rule. Some other considerations you could keep in mind when setting points for your rules: 

  • You could combine several rules into one
    An email opened in itself might not be worth that many points. You might not even want to score on that. But, in combination with a click and several visits to a landing page, it might show some more interest. You could then combine several actions into one rule, meaning that the lead only gets the points if it fulfills all those actions.
  • Use negative scores as well
    You could also use lead scoring to find the leads that are not relevant and not likely to buy from you. You do that by setting up rules that you don’t seem likely will lead to a sale and thus removes points from the lead’s score. For example, if they have “student” as their job title or if they’re from a country where you can’t ship your product.


  • Don’t forget to think about the time frame and occurrence 
    Let’s say that you set up a scoring rule for downloading a whitepaper. Time goes and you don’t really see more any more activity from the lead. Unfortunately, it has probably lost interest. You want the lead score to reflect that as well, and you do that by adding a time frame. In other words, the lead should only get the points if that whitepaper download happened within a specific time, for example, the last 3 months. If it’s been longer than that since the download happened, the points expire and are removed from the lead’s score. You could also consider occurrence. How many times must a lead fulfill a rule to get the points. For example, the lead must visit a specific web page 3 times to get the points. 



[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line” custom_height=”10″][vc_column_text]

Common lead scoring mistakes

To sum up, let’s remind ourselves what you shouldn’t do when it comes to your lead scoring model:

  • Leave the lead scoring model as it is
    You’re never done with lead scoring. You need to make sure that the leads you hand over to sales actually buy. If you notice that those numbers decline, you might need to tweak your rules or your sales threshold. Furthermore, as time goes, you keep learning more and more about your customers. Perhaps they also change behavior or profile. As your customers evolve, so do your buyer personas, which means that lead score rules will also need updating. Sync with your sales team on a timely basis and be open to the fact that you can never quite leave your lead scoring model.
  • Not using negative score rules
    Use lead scoring to also filter out the “bad” leads from the “good” leads. Add scoring rules for undesired behavior that removes points from the lead’s score.
  • Set the same points for all rules
    Some rules lead to a sale more than others. Let that determine how many points a rule is worth. The closer it is to a sale, the more points is it worth.
  • Not considering a time frame for your rules
    Let’s say that a lead visits your pricing page on your website. Now, if that happened yesterday, that visit is absolutely relevant in qualifying the lead. But if that visit happened a year ago and there has been no action from the lead since? Well, then the lead has most likely lost interest and you shouldn’t have sales focus on it all. If you don’t consider a time frame, you end up with leads with scores that are not current. See your lead score time frame as an expiration date for your points. That way, you ensure that your lead score indicates the leads’ “sales-readiness” right now.


You now have the steps to set up a lead scoring model that delivers MQLs. Don’t forget that you can also use this guide of you need help with implementing your lead scoring model in eMarketeer.
Good luck!


Book a demo

Fill out the form below, and we will be in touch shortly.
Book a demo