Lists, Lead Scoring & Workflows

HubSpot Alumni
HubSpot Alumni

Setting Up A Lead Scoring Strategy For The First Time

Hi all,


I've noticed that lead scoring is a topic that is coming up more and more on my calls with businesses. A recurring thread here has been that they either started a lead scoring model before but it didn't work, or they know that they should start one, but have no idea where to start.


With that in mind, I thought I'd share with you all some tips and tricks to ensure that your lead scoring system is a strong MQL machine right from the start. If you have already established a form of lead scoring in your department, then hopefully you might read something here to make it perform even better.


The Number One Mistake People Make With Lead Scoring

Often when I hear someone say that they gave lead scoring a try and it didn't work, there is a common mistake made that, when addressed, can often bring immediate change and results to your system. That mistake? You didn't ask sales for their input.  Often we just view lead scoring as a project for marketing to own, so we will work on creating a model by ourselves and hope for the best. The point of lead scoring isn't to just benefit marketing, it's as much a part of sales processes as it is the marketing teams. So why do we leave them out of the conversation? Yes, we know who are target persona is, and yes we know what problems our solution can solve for them, but do you know what questions sales ask in the qualification process? Do you know what the most common themes are in your closed-won deals, or common traits that your closed lost deals possess? 


By sitting down an asking sales these questions, you will ensure that your lead scoring helps surface those interaction points or those character traits that your sales team look out for when they start to do their own qualification process. Don't forget, the point of an MQL is to be able to pass on a lead to your sales team that they don't need to do prospecting with, they can just get straight to doing what they do best, and that's sell. So start your lead scoring by inviting sales along to help build it out. Some questions you can ask include:


  • What job title is most likely to purchase from you?
  • What geos were the most successful for you last quarter?
  • What are the most common questions prospects ask you about us?
  • Is there anything on our website that gets mentioned by your customers? Like a blog post or a video we hosted?
  • What did the last 5 leads you disqualified have in common?
  • What do you look for when going through your book of business for a potential lead?


Don't Make It All About Action


Next up, if your lead scoring model is just based around how contacts interact with your website or your emails, you are most likely going to be sending across more and more leads that your sales team will disqualify. The reason for this is because you know very little about who this person is. Think about a traditional high-street store. I might see your ads on the television, I might see your pop-up on a website, and I might walk by your store every day on my way to the office, but that doesn't mean I'll ever purchase from you. So why would you tell your floor staff "Hey, next time that guy walks by, stop and ask him if he wants to buy something". You have no idea who I am! So your lead scoring should be the same. People will visit your website, they will open your emails and they might like something you posted on Facebook, but that doesn't instantly mean that this person is a higher priority lead than someone who might not follow you on social media and only submitted one form on the website. That person might have used less of my assets, but they could very well be my ideal persona and someone more likely to purchase. 


Your lead scoring model should be based around demographic information along with how well someone interacts with your website. This is what your sales team is doing when they start prospecting for leads, so it's what you should do when trying to surface MQLs. Don't get me wrong, you're not looking to get their life story here, but because you asked sales what they do when prospecting, you can start to add items to your lead scoring that help surface those leads with only a few questions. Some example areas could be:


  • Job title
  • Industry
  • Company size
  • Biggest pain point 
  • What persona are they?


How Do I Decide On A Score?


Remember, the most important information you can collect here is demographic-based. So it's important that if you get details that point towards your target persona or demographic, that you give these answers a high score. To put this into perspective, which lead would you work first:

  1. Someone who opened the past 5 emails sent to them, is subscribed to my blog and worked in an industry I can sell into
  2. Someone with my target job title, works in the industry I can sell into, isn't subscribed to my blog and opened 2 emails from us in the past month.

The second one here is more valuable, simply because I know more about them, so you should give more weight to the persona information instead of the interaction information. But don't get me wrong, I don't want this to sound like there is no value in the first option. If someone is heavily engaged with your content, then of course there is a fair chance that they are likely to be someone I can sell to. But I don't want to risk sending this prospect to sales if they are not ready to be sold to just yet, or if I don't know enough about them. This is where the strategy behind your lead scoring kicks in.


Use Lead Scoring To Nurture Information From Your Database


Good lead scoring strategies are not just "If you reach a score of x then create an MQL and lets sales sell", they should be divided up into different ownership levels. Depending on what score someone has should determine if sales should take over, or if marketing should do some nurturing of there own. For example, if we have my friend from before that interacted loads with my website, but I don't know who they are, how can I use lead scoring to get that information from them? This is where I use a model called "Radar, Research, Revenue". It looks like this:


  • Score 0-29: No special actions are taken
  • Score 30-59, aka Radar: Marketing owns this process. If someone reaches this stage then it's based on interaction points mostly, since these contacts a low score on my model as I have given demographic information a higher score. When someone reaches this stage, I want to encourage this contact to submit another form so I can learn more about them. So when they hit Radar, I might enroll them into a workflow with some MOFU style content to encourage a form submission. I might also have smart rules on my forms so that my form questions change to be more based on qualification style questions. My goal here is to learn more about them through my content.
  • Score 60-89, aka Research:  If someone reaches this stage, the scoring is high enough so that I should have more information about this lead and am able to tell that they are my persona and they are engaged with our content. This is when I create an MQL and pass ownership over to sales. From here my sales team might have a sequence built out that they will enroll the contact into, which references that they have engaged with our content heavily recently, so we wanted to book some time to see if there is anything we can help them achieve. The goal for this stage is simple: sell without having to worry about heavy prospecting time
  • Score 90+, aka Revenue: At this stage, the lead should now be a customer or on the cusp of becoming one. This is why it's important to ensure that none of my scoring possibilities can reach a score of 90 easily. This is important because once I hit this score and have purchased, you don't just say goodbye to the lead scoring. You can continue to use lead scoring from a sales perspective to identify someone that might want to purchase and add-on, or if someone has a really high score then marketing might reach out to ask if this customer wants to be a testimonial I can use for my website. There is also the score that perhaps by Services team could use this to spot someone that is a customer in their name, but suddenly their score has dropped.


If you follow this model and strategy, it will leave you it a lead scoring system that encourages your marketing team to nurture the right leads, that takes the qualification time out of the sales process so that the sales cycle is much shorter, and can help your team create more content to use.  It's important to remember also to keep monitoring your lead scoring. If you review it once a quarter it will allow you to modify different criteria to be better aligned with the goals for each stage. I hope you found this helpful and if you do have any questions on lead scoring I'd be happy to answer them!

5 Replies 5

Setting Up A Lead Scoring Strategy For The First Time

Hi There  - Great ideas and thanks for sharing. But what about maxing out HubSpot's scoring instance for unique behavioral engagements. Example - we have 60 events a year. Each time someone RSVPs to an event I want to give them 10 points. Each time they attend an event and opt into our Marketing comms, I want to give them 15 points. I cannot use a list because HubSpot would only count that person 1 time (lets say one prospect RSVPs 4 times and attends 3 times - I want them to get 10 points for RSVPing 4 times and 15 points for attending 3 times). What is your suggestion for scoring? I have only ever been about to score manually - there is no real way to automate this but would love your thoughts. Workflows don't work, lists don't work, and new properties are tricky esp if you conduct 60 events a year and 30 webinars. Let me know what you think. There are easy solutions to the issue but the functionality doesn't exist in HubSpot today. Thanks - Amanda


Setting Up A Lead Scoring Strategy For The First Time

Is there a knowledge base article that goes into detail about implementing the formula to calculate the lead score? This is great information about best practices and the principles of lead scoring methodologies but I believe I have missed the section about enabling this field on a contact, company and deal record. Primarily, I would like to move to "deal scoring" in which certain attributes influence the level of fit and subsequently the likelihood a deal will move to closed some beyond the simply measuring pipeline by stage. I'm guessing the answer is here and within related posts ( but I thought reaching out to the community would help guide me as well.


As an example, on a deal record, we would like to adjust scoring based on the number of identified/tagged buying roles and a custom field we've named Dispostion towards OUR COMPANY. This would be one factor in the scoring but I haven't been able to cobble together a working prototype. I'm almost positive I'm missing some obvious knowledge base articles and training resources but with that admission, I would welcome all comments and direction.

Contributor | Platinum Partner
Contributor | Platinum Partner

Setting Up A Lead Scoring Strategy For The First Time

@GElrod Suffering with the same issues, we've developed our own method to do this...happy to share if it help. PLz confirm if so and we can communicate offline..

Contributor | Platinum Partner
Contributor | Platinum Partner

Setting Up A Lead Scoring Strategy For The First Time

Awesome summary for anyone getting into lead scoring, especially representing multiple teams.


We are doing advanced lead scoring solutions for clients sometimes across both sales and marketing teams but specific to the REVENUE category and when a sales person get their 'hot' lead notifciation, @SeanReid do you have any advice for when the sales person arrives at the contact in CRM - what the quickest, easiest way they can ascertain what attributed to the said score without having to traul through the entire activity feed? Would you recommend a custom report for scoring? perhaps leveraging columns in a table for example filtering for score but also only MQLs and SQLs IE how can the sales person isolate what caused the score (as if looking at the test criteria tool on the score property itself) in a quick view but without having to use the test criteria tool since its about 4 clicks to get there, test a record and time to load screens. Is there a way to achieve the same summary snapshot as the test criteria button but on one page?

Top Contributor

Setting Up A Lead Scoring Strategy For The First Time

Thanks for sharing @SeanReid! I've had several separate conversations about this very topic just this week, and they've all started with "what should my scoring rules and points be?" as if it's a cut-and-dry, cut-and-paste process. It all depends on the specific organization, what their customers are like, and how the sales team operates.


Thank you again!