Lead Scoring vs Lead Grading - You need both!

If you’re in marketing you have without a doubt heard about lead scoring. It’s one of those buzzwords that been around for a while and typically drives people to spending months mapping out their leads to develop a score. This process involves taking everything you possibly know about a lead - website activity, demographic data, form submissions, sales activity, etc - then rolling it all into one number.

Then there is the expectation that this score will now indicate how engagement should take place with this lead going forward.

Two examples:

  1. Lead is a CEO of a Fortune 500 company and has registered for one webinar - Score = 100

  2. Lead is an individual contributor at a 10 person company that has engaged with every piece of content on the website - Score = 100

How would we use this score then? Two very different leads look the same.

Obviously this is just an example, but something that happens everyday for marketers. When there is an attempt to roll so much information into a single number, you quickly run into an issue where the score doesn’t really mean anything anymore.

So - the solution? Start grading your leads.

Take the qualifications of the Person and use this to determine a grade, while the activity/engagement data is used only within the score.

The Lead Grade can be A/B/C/D or 1/2/3/4 or Good/Okay/Bad - but ultimately is an indication of “How qualified is this person to buy what we are selling?”

Here is a quick list of some things to include within the Lead Grade:

  • Job Title

  • Company Size

  • Location (City/State/Country)

  • Form Data - Current pain/solution needed.

  • Check with the sales team - they probably have some attributes they look at to quickly determine if someone is a good fit.

Once you’ve built out your Lead Grade - now it’s time to take all of these factors out to the Lead Score, so that it is entirely activity based.

Now let’s look at our examples again, but this time with a Lead Grade and Score applied:

  1. Lead is a CEO of a Fortune 500 company and has registered for one webinar - Grade = A & Score = 10

  2. Lead is an individual contributor at a 10 person company that has engaged with every piece of content on the website - Grade = C & Score = 100

See the difference? This will have a big impact on how you market to these leads going forward.

For #1 - we need to focus on driving engagement with additional content to warm them up and increase the score.

For #2 - we can tell they are super engaged but not a great fit, so would probably want to filter them out from any marketing focused on driving them to sales.

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One last thing! Don’t try to get your Lead Grade or Score perfect the first time around - because you won’t. Take a best guess and get it live. Then look through some recent customers - how does the score/grade look there? Check with sales and have them review their leads - does the grade line up with their quick gut check on lead quality?

You can continuously iterate on both the lead grade and score to ultimately have powerful indicators on the quality and engagement of the leads you’re marketing to.

Let me know your thoughts or pointers in the comments! If you need help with lead grading/scoring - don’t hesitate to reach out and we will be happy to help!