How to get started with lead scoring in HubSpot?

Nov 13, 2020

Sales only want "good" leads from marketing, right? But what is a good lead, and when is it ready to be handed over to the sales team? Lead scoring is a useful lead validation method to be used to mine the most precious nuggets from your inbound database. In this blog, we will teach you the basics of lead scoring and practical tips on how to get started with lead scoring in HubSpot. 

From data to lead

It is not always possible to manually estimate the value of all the small touchpoints that potential buyers (i.e. leads) leave behind when moving in the online environment. Luckily automated systems able to do this work tirelessly and continuously using the calculation formulas defined for it. However, you don't have to start coding because creating these calculation formulas in HubSpot is more straightforward than it might sound!

What kind of a lead is relevant for the sales?

Lead scoring is one way to validate inbound leads collected by marketing. Lead scoring enables better and more efficient use of automated systems to distinguish between active, hot (enthusiastic about a product or service, showing interest) or otherwise relevant (e.g., of a certain type, industry, and size) leads.

The system processes the leads based on the set conditions and gives it points, aka "the lead score". Contact points can be accrued based on any activity on the company's website or other online interaction with the company. When a specific point limit is exceeded, the leads can be transferred for sales, for example, by filtering into the list those contacts that exceed the "hot" lead score in the light of the points.

Lead Scoring at HubSpot

Lead scoring, a scoring logic tied to leads' activity level, provides an excellent way to identify potential leads from a large amount of data. HubSpot has its own HubSpot score property, where you can define which kind of activities accumulate negative or positive points to the contacts. Typical sources of the points are content downloads, page visits, list memberships, specific buyer persona, or even the company's industry represented by the user.

In the scoring model, it's also good to think about negative attributes: if a contact is identified as a job seeker or student, it can be smart to try to prevent those contacts from rising to sales contacting lists.

Identify the essential attribute types

There are two types of distinguishing attributes in lead scoring: demographic and behavioral.

Demographic factors include industry, turnover class, staff size class. HubSpot's Insights feature complements contact information based on the company's domain if that information is available online. Scoring can also be accumulated by data from third-party systems, such as Vainu, which enriches the corporate data and contact's demographic information.

Behavioral scoring attributes are instead based on the activities the leads have conducted in the online environment.  E.g. how many times a contact has visited a website or what kind of guides they have downloaded, what kind of events they have attended, which specific websites they have visited. Each activity adds up more points to the lead score.

The points collected through these attributes will accumulate and when a certain point limit is exceeded (which you have set yourself), the lead will be transferred for sales. Simple.

Get started with a simple scoring model

In HubSpot, you are able to create multiple different scoring models to suit your business needs. The HubSpot Score property can be used to create both positive and negative attributes. The weights of scoring are worth thinking carefully: the fact that a person has visited a particular website is not equal to the fact that he or she has attended an event you have organized. Thus, different activities are given different scores according to their importance.

A good example: visitors to job search sites are not contacts that are relevant to sales. These contacts, who are most likely job seekers or students, can be given minus points based on job search page visits. This is a good way to prevent these contacts from ending up on sales call lists.

What is a sufficient score limit for a hot lead?

Whether 10 points is a lot or not is always determined by the organization itself. There is really no general rule for how scoring logic should be constructed. As a rule of thumb, the more activities, different levels of interactions, and points of contact between an organization and a leader, the larger the scale of point weights can be. For one company, 10 points mean a hot lead; for another 100 points is just the number of points a lead earns from downloading a guide. It is all up to you.

Create different scoring models for different types of leads

Several separate scoring templates can also be created in HubSpot. The HubSpot score property is a default field in the system, based on which you can start building a score. Recently, HubSpot also offered the ability to create multiple scoring fields in the form of custom properties. Why might a company need to develop two separate scores? Well, if a company operates in several different markets but only has one shared HubSpot license, it may make sense to create unique scoring models for each market and a team. In this way, sales and marketing teams are able to actively develop and optimize the scoring model to serve the specific market in the best possible way.

Pro tip: Set "best before" dates for points

One big common problem with lead scoring models is the cumulation of the points over time unless there are clear rules on how long each point is valid. In HubSpot you can set a "best before date" to each attribute. Using that saves unnecessary work and manual pruning of lists.

Example: a contact has downloaded guide X. The additional rule is set to "is less than 2 weeks". These points will be removed for those contacts that have exceeded the two-week time limit after uploading the guide. The aim of lead scoring is to provide sales with up-to-date and dynamic information on which leads are currently hot. This is why "best before dates" for points are a great addition when building scoring logic.

Learn how to take advantage of sales and marketing tools at HubSpot

Want to learn more about lead scoring? We put together a hands-on guide to sales and marketing collaboration using HubSpot tools. Download our free guide and gather practical tips, exercises and tool tips for teams to use.

Sales and marketing alignment in HubSpot free guide

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