| 23 February, 2022

Lead Scoring: What It Is, Why You Need It, and How to Set It Up in HubSpot


When a new client comes to us for help with lead generation, marketing automation, or increasing sales, one of the first questions we ask is: “Are you scoring your leads?” Often, the answer is no, and we can help our client achieve a quick win. Lead scoring is easy to set up, runs automatically in the background of your CRM, and begins working immediately.

What is lead scoring? 

Lead scoring is the use of a points system to score and qualify leads based on attributes and/or behaviors. For example, if you’re a B2B company, you might award points if a contact has provided their work email address (attribute), downloaded a content offer (behavior), opened one of your marketing emails (behavior), viewed the pricing page on your website (behavior), or works at one of your target account companies (attribute). The more qualifying attributes and behaviors a lead has, the higher their score. 

A lead’s score is then used to determine whether they are ready to be passed from marketing to sales, otherwise known as lead qualification. Lead scoring models can be simple or more complex. (We will almost always argue that simpler is better, but it depends on the organization.) They can include negative attributes that deduct points (e.g., the contact works for a competitor or has only visited your careers page). And they can be weighted to award more points to the qualifying factors that matter most to your team. 

Why is lead scoring important? 

Without lead scoring, we often see sales teams waste time chasing after leads who aren’t ready to talk, while high-quality leads languish in their database, receiving no follow up, and are eventually lost to a competitor. 

Lead scoring is an easy way to surface the contacts in the database who are most likely to buy, while funneling those that are good leads but not yet ready into marketing automation programs. Because a lead scoring system calculates points automatically based on a combination of factors, it can rank leads better than a human manually combing through lists of prospects. The larger your database of contacts, the more important this type of automation is if you want to make the best use of your sales team’s time. 

Does lead scoring have other benefits? 

Yes! We also love using lead scoring to segment marketing leads. Let’s say you score your leads on a scale of 0 to 100. Leads with a score of 50 points or more are considered sales qualified leads (SQLs) and passed to sales. But not all leads with a score below 50 are equal. There’s a big difference between a cold lead with zero points and a warm lead with a score of 45. These leads may require different messaging, and the lead with 45 points has likely exhibited enough specific behaviors that communications can be personalized based on their interests. Further segmenting marketing qualified leads (MQLs) can allow for this type of targeted approach. 

Lead scoring is also a handy way to determine the most engaged leads in a specific group. For example, let’s say you want to send a direct mail piece to your prospects in Texas. You have a list of 20,000, but your budget only allows for a print run of 5,000. Sorting by lead score will allow you to target your top 5,000 leads. 

How do I set up lead scoring in HubSpot? 

HubSpot makes lead scoring easy with a default property called “HubSpot Score.” This property allows you to build your lead scoring model by adding positive and negative criteria. You can add up to 100 criteria, though we recommend starting simple! 

Think about behaviors like:

  • Website views
  • Marketing email opens
  • Marketing email clicks
  • Email subscriptions or opt-in status
  • Social media interactions
  • Form submissions
  • Purchase history
  • Webinar or event attendance

Then think about attributes like:

  • Annual revenue
  • Company size
  • Industry
  • Job title or persona
  • Original source
  • Qualifying data such as work email or phone number

For each criterion, assign a number of points. We like to create lead scoring models that add up to a maximum of 100 points; this way, it’s easy for everyone to tell which leads are cold, warm, and hot. 

Before saving your criteria, you can test the model on different contacts to make sure it’s working as expected. Then, just hit save and all contacts in your database will be automatically scored. 

Once you’ve set up your lead scoring, the next level is automated workflows based on contacts’ scores. For example, a workflow might assign a lead to a sales person once their score hits 50. But even without any workflows, customizing your HubSpot Score property will allow you to sort, filter, and segment contacts based on score, making marketing communications and sales prospecting easier immediately. 

Looking for help making your HubSpot portal more automated? Contact us to learn how we can help.

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