7 Lead Scoring Best Practices

Lead ScoringLead scoring is a great feature within Marketo. It has single-handedly helped millions of students and professors avoid being called by Inside Sales reps (if they only knew!). It is also one of the more complex programs to setup inside of Marketo, and there are thousands of different ways to approach building yours.

I like to always start by getting my clients to complete the Revenue Pulse lead scoring worksheet. This outlines all of the different behavioral actions and demographic information that Marketo can physically score on. By going through the list, the client can identify what behavioral and demographic traits are important to their business and get everyone aligned in the lead scoring process.

Then comes the implementation. If we are starting from scratch, this is nirvana. We can setup Marketo to enable them to automatically score on all of the things they want to in the worksheet. If we are working with an existing environment there is typically a few fundamental changes that need to be made in order for scoring to work properly.

Through this process, I have come up with lead scoring best practices that hopefully help you make your lead scoring implementation go a little smoother:

1. Avoid scoring on open text fields
I’d say this is probably the most common mistake I see with lead scoring models. Its almost always on the job title field, and it almost always doesn’t work (actually, it never works). Instead of trying to score on an open text field, group the job roles that your organization cares about into a list of under 10 – and then score off of those. Your scoring will be WAY more accurate and reliable.

2. Use a standard set of forms
For some reason, Marketers love making new forms. It’s a fact. Even if they have the same fields. This makes scoring a lot more challenging as you continually have to update your lead scoring model with the new forms that you create. It also creates a data consistency problem as certain fields are dropped when new forms are created (especially those pesky hidden fields). I typically recommend making one standard set of forms, per call-to-action. This means you will have one form for a webinar, one form for a whitepaper, one form for a demo, and so on.

3. Look back at closed won opportunities and try and find key trends
If you already have customers (aka if you are not a startup  starting from scratch) then you should be able to do a forensic analysis of your customer database and determine trends within that group. The big ones to look out for are, industry, job title, size: # of employees and annual revenue, and location. Based on this information you can better build out your demographic scoring to find those ideal targets.

4. Get your Sales team involved
Depending on the size of your Sales team, this can be relatively painless. Create a survey in Survey Monkey that allows Sales to provide feedback on how valuable they find each scoring item. This can help shape how you score your leads. Most organizations skip this, but I think it is a valuable part of improving Marketing & Sales alignment.

5. Consider using a data append tool
If you find in your customer analysis that all of your customers have annual revenues of over $1B, then it would be a great scoring indicator to flag any new leads who come into your database with that criteria. The problem here is that many prospects lie on their form submissions, or simply do not know. This is where a solution like ReachForce is really great. In addition to being able to provide you with accurate data for those demographic pieces, it improves form submissions by cutting down on the number of fields you need to ask a prospect for. It’s a win-win, really.

6. Use tokens to setup the score changed
Because no lead scoring model is perfect the first time you set it up, it’s important to be able to quickly and easily modify the scores of each component. By using tokens for each scoring item, you can simply change the score of that item at the program level, and it will flow through the flow steps of all your scoring smart campaigns.

7. Create both demographic and behavioral score fields
Lead score is a field that comes standard, out-of-the-box with Marketo. Two that do not, are demographic and behavioral. By creating these two new fields, when it comes time to recycle a lead in your lead lifecycle, you are able to remove their behavioral score, but keep their demographic score intact. This means that if someone who really fits your demographic profile gets recycled, they won’t start all over again to get back to your Sales people.

There you have it guys. If anyone would like me to share the lead scoring worksheet that I use with my clients, please email me at pierce [at] revenuepulse [dot] com.