Knowing which leads to follow up with – and when – is undoubtedly one of the hardest parts of a salesperson’s job. It’s not uncommon for a sales rep to harbor a mile-long list of potential customers and let once-hot leads slip through the cracks.

The ability to organize the long list of qualities that make a good lead takes a great deal of skill and attention to detail. This is where building an automatable lead scoring process comes into play.

Follow the steps below to create a game-changing lead scoring process for your sales team:

1. Identify Your Qualifying Criteria

There are two main types of criteria you’ll want to score: behavior-based and demographic based.

Behavior-Based Criteria

To make a list of behavior-based criteria, put yourself in your prospects’ shoes and ask yourself, “If I were thinking about buying X product, what are all the possible actions I could take?” Here are a few examples to get you started:


  • Visit specific tracked landing pages such as order forms or sales pages. (You can easily track these visits with a system like ONTRAPORT and tracking pixels.)
  • Download free lead magnets such as ebooks, checklists or podcasts.
  • Fill out forms that indicate interest in learning more.
  • Click email links in offer emails.

Demographic-Based Criteria

If you’ve noticed that people of a certain demographic tend to gravitate toward your product or service, use that knowledge to your advantage, and incorporate it into your lead scoring system.

Let’s say that previous customer data tells you that 70% of your business comes from women in their mid-twenties living in California. In that case, it makes sense to consider a 24-year-old woman from Los Angeles a prime demographic target. Any demographic, including job/role, annual income, marital status or education could help you pinpoint a qualified lead. The more specific you’re able to accurately get, the better.

2. Rank Your Criteria and Assign Values

Once you’ve decided what ingredients make a strong lead, you’ll want to assign point values to each one. If you’ve ever followed a cooking recipe, you’ll know that even the simplest batch of chocolate chip cookies can be ruined if the recipe doesn’t specify ingredient amounts. After all, nobody wants a cookie made with too much baking soda and not enough sugar.

The same thing applies to your lead score values: If you rank a lead who subscribed to your email list as high as a lead who frequents your sales page, your sales team is sure to be disappointed when they call a lukewarm lead who’s not ready to buy. In other words, the person who subscribed to your email list is likely less ready to buy than the person who frequents your sales page, so don’t ascribe to them the same value.

To avoid confusion, sort your list of scoring criteria from most to least important. Assign larger numbers to actions that indicate stronger buying interest and lower numbers to actions that indicate less interest. When you’re satisfied with each score value, automate it with a system like ONTRAPORT.

3. Set a Score Threshold, and Link it to a Routing System

Before your sales team gets started calling any lead with points, set a threshold number that reasonably estimates when a lead is ready to buy. Depending on how many points you assign to each action, your threshold could be a score of 10, 50 or even 100. It doesn’t matter what the number is, as long as it indicates when a lead is hot enough to call.

To get the ball rolling on sales calls, consider linking your scoring system to a lead router. Lead routers can distribute calls in two ways: round robin or weighted random.

Round robin lead routers evenly distribute leads one-by-one to each of the sales reps that are in the router you create. Everyone will end up with the same number of leads over time.

Weighted random allows you to set a percentage of leads per salesperson. This is helpful for sales teams with reps of all different experience levels because it allows you to assign a higher percentage of leads to the more experienced team members.

4. Stay Current by Degrading Scores Over Time

Hot leads today may not still be hot leads in a month. If they earned a high score for visiting your sales page three times in February and still haven’t purchased, you can bet they’ve cooled down by March. Make your lead scoring process account for this with a degradation plan.

Lead degradation is simple: The longer leads go without converting, the more points drop from their score. This guarantees that high scores reflect new activity but shouldn’t take away from points awarded based on demographic criteria.

5. Continuously Self-Assess and Improve

You may notice over time that leads who download your free lead magnets aren’t as hot as you thought. Sales reps are calling, but people aren’t buying as often as the lead magnets’ score implied. Keep your scoring process fluid and make changes as needed. The more you adjust your system to reflect reality, the more effective it’ll get.

Make a note on your calendar to review your scoring process monthly or quarterly to make sure your process never goes out-of-date.


Have you implemented lead scoring? Share your tips in the comments below!

Anticipate Your Leads’ Buying Habits to Close More Sales
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Anticipate Your Leads’ Buying Habits to Close More Sales
Get your sales team reaching out to hot leads at the right times with a smart and automatable lead scoring and routing system.
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