Lead Scoring Model: A Comprehensive Guide to Get Started with Lead Scoring in 2023

Sayani Deb

A thriving business needs a reliable lead generation system. Agree?

However, the more leads you generate, the more picky and choosy you must be in your hunt for the ideal leads. 

You don’t want your sales team to chase prospects that lead to a dead-end. Instead, you must look for leads who are sales-ready.

So, how do you know if a lead is sales-ready?

That’s where a lead scoring model comes in.

I’ll tell you all about lead scoring models in this blog. If you want to build one, join me and let’s get started!

What is Lead Scoring?

Lead scoring is a process to identify leads who are sales-ready. It is often used by marketing and sales teams, where they assign scores or numerical values to their leads. These scores tell how interested, and likely a lead is to make a purchase.  

What is A Lead Scoring Model?

A lead scoring model enables you to rank leads based on multiple attributes and assign values or data points to evaluate their sales readiness. Once the scores are assigned to leads, they become qualified and are prioritized based on the scores. That means those with the highest scores are contacted first.

But the question is - what are the scores assigned to leads based on?

Businesses build lead scoring models based on specific lead scoring criteria.

  • Intent or behavioral data
  • Demographic or Firmographic (for B2B) data
  • Lead Source
  • Interaction with the organization

Take a look at this lead scoring example. Here, the lead scores are assigned for different attributes.

Why do you Need a Lead Scoring Model?

All leads are equal.


Some leads are not ready to buy immediately, some may consider purchasing in a few weeks, and others are just entering the funnel. 

Building an efficient lead scoring model is necessary to understand this difference and identify the ready-to-harvest crops. 

Here are a few benefits explaining why a lead score model is essential. 

Measurable ROI

When all other factors are equal, measurable returns result in higher budgets for your sales team. In addition, it ensures better resource allocation to things that are beneficial to everyone. Measurable ROI on lead generation also helps to focus on the primary goals and discards ineffective ideas to ensure valuable innovations. 

Increased sales efficiency

Are your leads ready to purchase? Lead scoring models help you answer this question. Thus, your sales team can focus on the ready-to-purchase leads rather than going after the ones who have just entered the research stage. 

Implementing a lead scoring model helps you determine the prospects who need nurturing and the ones you should proactively reach out to close the sale successfully. Hence, you save time and resources, making your sales process more efficient. 

Aligned marketing and sales

A lead scoring model brings the marketing and sales teams together. You can determine the sales-ready leads through the collaboration of both teams. Thus, the marketing team can create more targeted campaigns for the prospects and hand off the ready leads to the sales team to seal the deal. 

However, ensure that open communication exists between the sales and marketing teams. You can tweak and adjust the lead scoring model with effective feedback per your needs. 

Increased sales

Your sales team can invest time in leads ready to convert by effectively identifying hot leads. Thus, you can save the cost associated with leads who aren’t ready to buy. Also, you can offer prospects a better experience by providing relevant content based on their buying journey stage.

When you implement an efficient lead scoring model, you can increase revenue in several ways. 

  • Improvement in time management for your sales teams
  • Determination of marketing efforts driving qualified leads
  • Lead segmentation and communication-based on their level of sales readiness.

Shortened sales cycle

The B2B space is popular for longer sales cycles. By implementing a lead scoring model, businesses can cut off a lot of work from chasing leads who aren’t ready to convert. Your sales team will no longer have to wait for leads to take action. Instead, they can zero down on the hot leads, nurture them, and complete the sales. 

Factors that All Lead Scoring Models Have in Common

Though the lead scoring process is the same for all businesses, all lead scoring models may differ. This is because different companies build lead score models based on various attributes depending on their ideal customer profiles.

Here are a few common factors that you can find in all robust lead scoring models.

Lead scoring threshold

A lead scoring threshold is the limit or point value that qualifies a prospect as sales-ready. When a lead score reaches this threshold or exceeds it, they are considered Marketing Qualified Leads or MQLs and are passed on to the sales team. 

To set a threshold, look at your historical data. Then, identify the characteristics that marked the lead as qualified. For example, scheduling a meeting is the top indicator of lead conversion. Then, your lead scoring threshold must be such that when any lead schedules a meeting, they get enough points to qualify as MQL. 

Remember two things when setting a lead scoring threshold.

  • Do not keep the threshold too low; you will qualify leads prematurely, and sales reps will have a tough time pursuing them. 
  • Do not set the bar too high, as you may risk losing out on leads to competitors. 

Implicit scoring

Implicit scoring is the practice of assigning leads points based on their behavior. For instance,

  • Attending webinars
  • Free trials or product demos
  • Social media interactions
  • Website visits
  • Contact requests
  • Subscriptions
  • Content downloads

Say, someone attends your webinar. Assign scores for their very act of attending the webinar, as it indicates a certain level of interest in your product or service.

Implicit scoring contributes significantly to the total lead score as you can assign points to a lead every time they interact with your brand. Use your CRM to track your lead’s interactions and score them accordingly.

Explicit scoring

This practice of scoring leads involves assigning points based on specific qualities or attributes. For instance,

  • Demographic details like age, gender, income, and location.
  • Firmographic details include job title, industry, company size, revenue, experience, seniority level, and job role.

These are specific details on which you can assign points to your leads. Say, your ideal customer is the founder of a tech SME. You can check a lead’s company details, job title, and industry to find your best fit. 

Sales and marketing alignment

As I have already said, aligning sales and marketing for lead scoring is necessary. If both teams aren’t on the same page, leads will surely fall through the cracks. Or, you may qualify a few half-baked leads and pass them on to the sales team.

Marketing and sales must work together to avoid such mistakes and ensure no leaks in the funnel. Open communication is a must so that everyone learns about it when they change the lead scoring model. Also, building proper communication channels between the two teams will ensure everyone stays updated with the latest happenings. 

Score degradation

This practice involves reducing a lead’s score if they are stagnant. That means you lower the score if a lead does not interact with your brand for a long time. For example, reduce a lead’s score if they no longer open your emails. Score degradation helps you take out the low-potential leads and helps you focus on the valuable ones.  

To implement score degradation in your lead scoring model, start with two things.

  • Decide which action would result in deductions, and
  • Set the point deductions. 

For example, considering your implicit scoring practice, if you assign +10 for subscribing to your marketing emails and newsletter, assign -10 for unsubscribing. Consider discussing with the marketing team to understand which actions high-potential leads mostly take consistently. 

Understanding the Different Types of Lead Scoring Models

Data says you can experience a 77% increase in lead generation ROI with a lead scoring model. But for that to happen, you must thoroughly understand lead scoring models. 

In this section, I am going to explain to you the different types of lead scoring models. Take a look and choose the model that best suits your business needs. 

Purchase Intent Model

Purchase intent data is behavioral data. It helps you evaluate a lead’s conversion probability. Using this lead scoring model, companies track a lead’s or a company’s online activities that indicate the lead’s purchase intent. 

For instance, a lead looking for a software solution researches brands and their competitors reads online reviews, and downloads content, indicating the lead’s purchase intent. 

According to Gartner, here are a few examples of lead behavior that may help you gauge buyer or purchase intent.

Examples of lead behavior to gauge buyer or purchase intent

You can gather purchase intent data from multiple sources. Use your CRM to track leads or collect data from third-party digital sources. This lead scoring model helps you reach potential leads early in their journey. 

Demographic/ Firmographic Model

By now, demographic and firmographic data is pretty clear to you. This lead scoring model is based on such data. Most B2C organizations use a demographic lead score model, while B2B companies use a firmographic lead scoring model. 

Being a B2B company, you can create a lead form to collect relevant firmographic data from your leads. Then, assign points to leads who fit your ideal customer profile. You can also deduct points from leads who do not have the characteristics you’re looking for. 

Engagement Models

As the name suggests, this lead scoring model is based on the lead’s engagement with your brand. Therefore, you can assign points based on how they interact with your brand.

Email engagement is excellent for lead scoring. It is because you can quickly determine how your leads respond to the marketing campaigns. Tracking open and click-through rates works well when considering emails to track engagement. 

With an email lead scoring model, you can easily identify the hot leads with high potential for conversion. Also, you can create custom campaigns to generate more qualified leads. 

Example of email lead scoring model. 

  • Click-through on a product - 20 points
  • Click-through on a promotion - 10 points
  • Email open - 5 points
  • No response after 4+ emails - -20 points

Website Visitor Scoring Model

One of the most popular lead scoring models is the website visitor model, wherein companies track visitors' activity on your website to identify potential leads. A few signs indicate the visitor’s interest in your product. These include:

  • Visiting your pricing page
  • Providing email address in exchange for an eBook
  • Reading blogs
  • Visiting the “about us” page

Though all of these actions indicate interest in your brand, a few indicate higher interest, and others lower. Hence, you can assign points based on what actions they take on your website and their interest level. For instance,

  • Visiting your pricing page – 12 points
  • Providing email address in exchange for an eBook – 20 points
  • Reading blogs – 7 points
  • Visiting the “about us” page – 5 points
  • Download PDF – 10 points

Bonus💡: Negative Scoring Attributes 

Though this is not a lead scoring model, it would be good for you to know about this practice. 

Most lead scoring models include negative scoring to pick out the non-prospects or to adjust their ranks in the lead scoring system. This practice involves assigning negative scores to leads who do not take the desired action or do not fit your buyer persona. For example,

  • Unsubscribing from the newsletter
  • Typing ‘Student’ in the job title
  • Friend, family, or competitor
  • Visiting the career page
  • Spam submission

People performing such activities might visit your website for academic purposes, to understand your strategy, etc. Assigning negative points to such leads will help you get them out of the sales lead scoring system. 

5 Steps to Building Your Own Lead Scoring Model

Now comes the fun part – building your lead scoring model. 

Step 1: Identify your ideal leads

Make a list of your ideal lead’s characteristics. It should look something like this👇

  • Company size
  • Company Revenue
  • Lead’s job title
  • Company location
  • Industry or company vertical
  • Department using your solution
  • Number of employees working in the department

Besides these aspects, several others can help you narrow down your ideal leads. Have a conversation with your marketing team to pinpoint the characteristics of your target market. 

Step 2: List the lead scoring criteria

A good lead scoring model uses two categories of data – demographic/ firmographic and behavioral. 

For demographic/ firmographic data, you can use a lead form or gather them from lead conversations. There are five aspects you must know about your lead.

  • Job title
  • Company size
  • Industry
  • Location
  • Department

Behavioral data tell you about a lead’s interaction with your brand. This data is based on a lead’s activities on your website and their interactions with your emails. Here are a few positive 🟢 and negative 🟥 signals to watch out for.

🟢 Downloading content and requesting a demo

🟢 Visiting the pricing page

🟢 Signing up for a free trial

🟢 Attending webinars

🟥 Not opening emails or not responding to emails

🟥 Visiting the careers page

🟥 Unsubscribing from the mailing list

Step 3: Assign points

This is the most challenging part of building a robust lead scoring model, and several companies trip on this very step. However, you can always take your time to get things right. 

One of the most effective ways is to assign points through equal distribution between demographic/ firmographic and behavioral data. This approach ensures that your leads do not have higher scores because they match the ideal lead profile or show engagement with your brand. 

For example, if your ideal lead is an SME CEO, assign 20 points. But if a student visits your career page, assign negative scores. 

Here are a few mistakes you must avoid when assigning values. 

❌ Scoring by email opens. Instead, score by email clicks. 

❌ Assigning the same score for each web page.

❌ Avoiding negative scoring

❌ Not setting a time limit for events like reading an email, responding to emails, downloading a guide, etc.

Step 4: Set a lead scoring threshold

Once you are done assigning values, set the lead scoring threshold. I have already told you why and how you can set a threshold to ensure passing on the right leads to the sales team.

As you set a score threshold, you can instantly identify the leads that need to be prioritized. Also, you can easily identify the ones ready to purchase, those needing attention, and those needing further nurturing. 

Setting a threshold can look something like this.

  • Hot leads (the sales-ready ones) – Scoring higher than 75
  • Warm leads – Scoring between 75 and 45
  • Cold leads – Scoring below 45

Step 5: Revisit, re-evaluate, and adjust your lead scoring model

When building your lead scoring model, your rules are generally based on a hypothesis. But when you implement the system, you might observe new lead trends. 

For instance, you might find out that leads reaching the scoring threshold aren’t ready to purchase, or there’s active engagement from leads within a specific industry you haven’t considered.  These observations require you to revisit the lead scoring model and make the necessary changes to keep up with the latest lead trends. 

How Can RevenueHero Help with Your Lead Scoring?

Bringing together your lead scoring model and RevenueHero can help you work smarter😎 

The software can accelerate your lead-scoring process by scoring your form submissions right on your website or landing page. Set your rules and watch RevenueHero qualify leads in an instant. 

That’s intriguing, no? 

To learn more about RevenueHero, schedule a demo now!

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