Clément Hurstel
VP Demand Strategy
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Lead Scoring Part 2/3

Lead Scoring is a major part of any demand generation activity. It’s the backbone of the analytical management of your client and prospect paths and their segmentations. In our first article, we explained what Lead Scoring is, defined its dimensions and showed how we can build a map of our prospects that helps steer demand generation activities.

Now let’s look at a few traps and issues involved in Lead Scoring and get to the core of its mechanics.

Lead Scoring traps to avoid

The explicit data that fuels a Lead Scoring system is based on declarative information.
Which means that: :

  • There are always false positives.
  • The quality of your data is essential
  • The topic of false positives must earn a consensus among the sales teams who must contribute to the quality of this data themselves.
  • Lead Scoring is not a prediction tool that reveals whether a sale will be concluded with such and such prospect.

Lead Scoring is an iterative approach that needs to be tested and confronted with the reality of your sales environment. Its aim is to enable your sales forces to priorize and rationalize their efforts by revealing sales opportunities. Lead Scoring measures the ENGAGEMENT of a QUALIFIED prospect towards a solution the company offers.

A Lead Scoring algorithm is not only the worker bee of your marketing automation serving sales, it also serves sales and marketing alignment..

The Aberdeen Group has ranked a sample of businesses (261) according to the level of satisfaction of their "Sales Enablement" policies. Three groups were formed: 'Best-in-class' (the top 20%), 'Industry average' (the average 50%) and 'Laggards' (the lowest 30%). They then asked the different groups if they had achieved their sales objectives.

99% of the companies stating the highest level of satisfaction with their ‘Sales Enablement’ activities achieve their objectives.
— Aberdeen Group

This is why the involvement of your sales department is mandatory:

  • To avoid the traps mentioned above
  • To propagate the approach within the sales department
  • To organize feedback and adapt your scoring algorithms.


The key steps in building your lead scoring strategy

1. Lead taxonomy and Service Level Agreement

Defining a lead scoring algorithm first requires a close cooperation with the sales departments. It involves coordinating your marketing action plans and sales action plans and treating the traditional frictions between the 2 departments beforehand.

1.a Define a common language

Below are the key definitions proposed by SiriusDecisions of the different types of leads according to the standards imposed on the marketing community.

Do you speak Lead ?

Inbound Lead
Leads generated by the results of an inbound marketing activity (Website, SEM/SEO, Netlinking, Social, incoming calls, etc.)
Outbound Lead
Leads generated by the results of an outbound marketing activity (E-mail Campaign, Event, tele-prospecting, etc.)
MQL - Marketing-Qualified-Lead
A lead that satisfies the specific criteria defined by marketing and sales, but which has not yet been transmitted to sales.
  • MQL-TKG : an MQL that was generated by tele-prospecting activities.
  • MQL-MKG : an MQL that was generated by marketing activities other than tele-prospecting.
SQL - Sales-Qualified-Lead
A lead proposed by marketing to sales but whose qualification still needs to be confirmed.
SRL Sales-Ready-Lead
A lead that sales has accepted in its sales action plan and whose qualification has been confirmed by marketing.
SAL Sales-Accepted-Lead
A lead that sales has accepted in its sales action plan and whose qualification has been confirmed by sales.
SQO Sales-Qualified-Opportunity
A SAL that meets the criteria defined by sales management (Budget, Authority, Need and Timeframe).

A lead covers all of the definitions above, which form the components of your Business Pipeline.

1.b Define the rules of engagement for sales and marketing

Lastly, the graph below illustrates how to make the different marketing and/or sales scenarios correspond according to your leads map. The aim is to organize these actions to make each lead progress from one phase to the next.

2. Rating and Weighting

Of course each phase strives to concretely score and weight the interactions and information on which your leads typologies are based. It requires having a map of your digital ecosystem and the different interactions that are proposed to your prospects. Here is an example of a summary document that perfectly recaps what needs to be done and that can help you clearly communicate the entire lead scoring mechanism.

To build this document and strengthen sales cooperation, it can be extremely useful to gather data by questioning your sales people. To understand what this involves, I encourage you to read this article written by Josh Hill (, a brilliant American consultant and expert in Marketo: How to build Lead Scoring Sales Survey

3. Modelling and implementing

The modelling phase is important because it’s a specifications document that must adapt to the restrictions and prerequisites of your CRM and marketing automation platform. This phase should be undertaken with your operational teams and a certified technical consultant. You will save considerable time and avoid a lot of frustration. The devil is in the detail and experience shows that compromises must be made at this stage.

The main idea is not to build a rocket but to stay pragmatic and respect a balance between the efforts made in implementation and the maximum amount of value you want to derive from your Lead Scoring strategy. In this case, perfect is often the enemy of good.

Implementation can usually be broken down into 3 phases:

  • Batch Scoring : the overall incrementation (and decrementation) rules
  • Campaign Scoring : the rules specific to a campaign
  • Profile Scoring : the rules pertaining to explicit information


The steps to Lead Scoring are actually quite simple and logical but they contain traps in terms of weighting and challenges specific to any transversal project. We have explored a few of them. Leadership in this type of project is a key factor for success.

In this series’ third article we will address the topics of steering, Lead Scoring integration into sales and the different ways to test your algorithm.
Lastly, we’ll answer the question: Do you really need Lead Scoring?

Stay tuned & Happy Marketing!