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How to score your BtoB prospects? The complete guide

Your prospects all have a different level of maturity in the conversion funnel, some may be at a more advanced stage than others. Understanding this difference is critical to assessing your leads’ conversion potential and improving your marketing performance. Hence the practice of lead scoring!

This technique allows you to establish an effective business marketing strategy based on the maturity of your prospects. It consists of calculating and assigning a score to your prospects in order to know their potential as well as their interest in your business.

This inbound marketing methodology, mainly used in B2B marketing, allows you to focus on the most engaged prospects and design the best strategy to convert others. In this way, your marketing actions will be more personalized and more targeted. Discover lead scoring best practices through this article.

Why do lead scoring?

Lead scoring can help you get better sales opportunities. According to statistics, almost 90% of your potential customers are probably not ready to make a purchase. They hesitate or wait for the right moment to take action. To this end, lead scoring plays an essential role in evaluating potential buyers effectively. This technique will then allow you to focus your marketing actions on the most promising prospects.

Currently, most companies focus solely on finding new leads. This is logical, but you will lose more time and money if the results are not there and your prospecting campaign does not lead to a purchase. To optimize your campaigns, you need to make sure your prospects are genuinely interested in your business. Like targeting, scoring is now a powerful lever for companies. Indeed, it allows you to optimize your costs, increase your revenue and boost your conversion rate.

Best practices for lead scoring

Scoring relies heavily on collecting relevant data about suspects and prospects. They are then scored against a set of predefined criteria. The idea is to obtain measurements to determine the probability of purchase of a potential customer. However, rating models may vary depending on your business needs.

There are 6 essential steps to properly organize your lead scoring strategy:

1 – Define your buyer persona

The first step is to define your ideal persona or customer profile. This will allow you to determine if this person’s profile is a perfect fit for your products or services. The goal is to specify the exclusive criteria of your target audience.

Let’s say you offer useful applications or software for high-growth companies. Immediately, your ideal targets will be business leaders and especially decision-makers.

You must therefore define the criteria that meet your expectations, then you build your persona by carrying out different actions upstream:

  • Study your customers’ data;
  • Conduct a survey of them;
  • Conduct online research;
  • Do an interview with your sales representatives…

2 – Determine the scoring criteria

Certain behaviors of your prospects can tell you if they are ready enough to make a purchase or not. The goal is to determine which prospects are most engaged in the buying cycle. Thus, you must take into account two types of scoring criteria: demographic criteria and behavioral criteria.

Demographic scoring

Demographic scoring criteria include essential information about your leads: age, gender, geographic position, industry, company size, company function, etc.

These different criteria can be adapted and refined according to your needs. It is therefore wise that these criteria are in line with your buyer persona.

Behavioral scoring

It is important to note that the behavior of a prospect on your website is also an important evaluation criterion. And there, for once, these factors are based on the relevance of your Inbound Marketing strategy. Here are some concrete examples:

  • The opening rate of your newsletters;
  • Subscriptions on your social networks;
  • Downloading your white papers;
  • Comments on your blog;
  • Consulting your pricing page;
  • Registration for your webinar;
  • Contact by phone, email, contact form…

2 – Understand the customer journey

For your lead scoring strategy to be effective, you need to understand your customers’ journey. Do not hesitate to use the data you already have in your possession. This is a very important step, because a prospect with little engagement will not be inclined to set up a possible appointment, for example. There are 3 lead statuses to consider.

  • « Hot » prospects who are sufficiently ready to consume your products or services. They just need a little help to make the purchase.
  • The « cold » prospects that remain to be convinced. Use the power of your content marketing strategy to offer them relevant content that provides solutions to their problems.
  • « Dead » leads that can’t be converted because they’re off target. They may visit your site, but have no intention of buying.

Understanding the journey of your prospects will allow you to distinguish how to propel them along the buying cycle, but also to award them points based on their level of maturity in the sales funnel.

3 – Establish a rating scale

Now that you have the list of criteria (in an Excel file for example), it’s time to assign a rating to each of them. To do this, you need to establish a rating scale for your prospects. For example, if it’s a 100-point scale, you can give 20 points to the main criteria, and then you reduce the score based on the importance of the factor. Here is an illustration:

  • If a prospect reads an article on your blog or signs up for your newsletter, you can give them 5 points.
  • If they download an e-guide from your website, you can give them 10 points.
  • If they attend an event you’re hosting (for example, a webinar), you can award them 15 points.
  • If they contact you directly and express interest in your trial offer, you can award them 20 points.

So, a prospect who has decided to contact you directly or who has requested a free trial is much closer to the conversion stage than a prospect who has only read and commented on an article on your blog occasionally.

As your prospect progresses through their journey and takes them to the next level, be sure to award them points. Thus, the prospects with the highest scores will be considered hot leads. You can then ask your sales team to contact them first. As for the others, you have to wait a little longer until they reach a higher score. Do not hesitate to provide them with relevant content regularly so that they mature to the point of being ready for the conversion stage.

The only problem is that, this whole process, if you do it manually, can take you a lot of time and energy. The ideal is to have an all-in-one marketing automation solution like Magileads.

5 – Think about negative scoring

Negative scoring is a lead scoring technique that involves assigning negative points to a prospect. This technique allows you to refine your lead scoring strategy. Indeed, logic dictates that if a lead’s score is very high, he can be considered a qualified lead. However, it turns out that this is not always the case.

For example, let’s say a researcher comes to your site and downloads all the documents they find. Thus, his behavioral score will be very high. But given his status as a researcher, his demographic score will be lower. So you have to give him negative points to make his score more accurate, according to logic.

You need to be vigilant, because someone can do competitive intelligence by claiming to be particularly interested in your business. He will open all your newsletters, download all your ebooks and even become your subscriber on social networks… But your offer will not interest him. In this case, you must simply exclude it from your lead scoring!

6 – Automate lead scoring

It is possible to generate a large number of leads on the Internet. You cannot do lead scoring manually, unless the number of leads generated is small. On the other hand, there are platforms that allow you to manage lead acquisition and scoring automatically.

The Magileads solution offers all the levers to automate your prospecting campaigns and increase their ROI: targeting, enrichment of your databases, animation scripting and scoring of your prospects… while putting more intelligence in your prospecting.

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