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Lead scoring guide

What is lead scoring? – Guide [Process, benefits, and best practices] 

Key Takeaways
  • Only 25% of leads you generate are rightful and have the potential to convert. So, it's essential to identify the most promising leads and focus efforts on them rather than unqualified leads.
  • Lead scoring is identifying the potential leads that are most likely to become paying customers of your business.
  • The top four benefits of lead scoring are: driving better marketing campaigns, synchronized analytical approach, ROI growth, and enhanced efficiency & productivity.

According to Gleanster Research, only 25% of leads you generate are rightful and have the potential to convert.

And from those rightful leads, only 10% to 15% will make it to the bottom of the funnel and convert.

That’s dreadful! 

So, instead of wasting your crucial time and resources on leads that aren’t your customers.

Why not only focus on the prospects that are most likely to convert?

In contrast to this, another scenario that also occurs in most companies is that hot leads (legitimate ones) are often thrown away just because they didn’t make it to the bottom funnel.

And this is something that can be solved.

Here’s where lead scoring comes in!

Lead scoring is a systematic approach to finding your business’s most valuable and relevant leads.

It will enable businesses to save time from getting wasted on unqualified leads and boost productivity with automation.

Let’s dive into the definition.

What is lead scoring? 

Lead scoring is the process of identifying the most valuable leads that are most likely to become paying customers of your business. 

Certain qualifying attributes are decided based on which a lead gets scored.

And when they reach a certain defined threshold score after completing those tasks, they are qualified leads. 

The higher lead score indicates that the lead is more likely to become a customer.

And if the score is low, then there are two ways to handle that.  

Firstly, if the score is too low, then the lead can be disqualified.

However, if the lead’s score is close to the threshold, we can understand that with the help of some nurturing, it can be qualified. 

And as mentioned, the score is defined by numerous attributes of the lead, such as email subscription, webpage visit, etc.

But to better segregate the gathered information, there are two types of lead scoring.

  1. Explicit lead scoring

In explicit scoring, the data points to leads are assigned to leads based on their demographic information.

So that would include information such as: 

  • Job title
  • Job role
  • Level of job
  • Industry
  • Company size
  • Company revenue
  • Geographic location
  1. Implicit lead scoring

In implicit scoring, the data points to leads are assigned to leads based on their behaviors. 

Such behavioral qualifying attributes are…

  • Website visits
  • Time spent on the website 
  • Specific landing page visits
  • Downloads of lead magnets 
  • Contact requests
  • Newsletters sign ups
  • Webinar enrollment
  • Free trials/product demos
  • Engagement on social media 
  • Email engagement (email opens/clicks)
  • Social media interaction
  • Response to ads 

Moreover, the process of lead scoring has two ways of scoring leads. One is positive scoring (+), and another is score degradation, or negative scoring (-).

So, you assign a positive score whenever a prospect performs an action you want them to make.

However, if they perform any unwanted action, you assign a negative score, which is eventually subtracted from the total score.

This process helps the marketing and sales teams stay in sync. In addition, both teams are involved in defining qualification criteria, thus ensuring a better quality of leads for the business.

Now, let’s look at a lead scoring model and its example to better understand the concept.

What is a lead scoring model?

A lead scoring model is designed to prioritize leads for a business. It includes the scoring criteria like their behavioral intent and demographic and psychographic information.

The lead gets to assign a positive and negative score based on such criteria.

There are various effective lead scoring models available that you can adopt for your business.

However, all businesses are unique and differ in their target audience buyer persona, so for a successful lead qualification, building a tailor lead scoring model would drive effective results.

Lead scoring model example 

When it comes to lead scoring systems, there’s just one approach to scoring leads.

So, below is a basic example of how you can score leads:

Company: A SaaS company with software products to help medium and large-scale businesses better manage their brand guidelines, creative collaboration, and digital asset management.

Target audience: Creative directors, brand strategists, and leaders of businesses looking for a platform that can help them digitize their creative collaboration easier and one place for the creative teams to find all the information about the company.

Qualification criteria: The prospects must score at least >=65 to qualify as a lead.

Now that we have a clear idea for whom we’re qualifying leads let’s define the criteria the prospect has to meet to qualify as a lead.


Activity Points per Activity Score 
Visits the website and views the pricing page +15 points 15 
Signs up for a demo session and webinar of the product +20 points 35 
Subscribes to the newsletter +10 points 45 
Attends the demo session and the webinar +15 points 60 
Views the pricing page repeatedly: at least 10 times +10 points 70 
Unsubscribes from the newsletter -5 points 65 
Final lead score 65 

Now, as the prospect scored 65 points, it can be qualified as a lead for the SaaS company. 

This was just a basic example of scoring leads. However, there are multiple frameworks available via which you can score your leads. 

If you want to check out some of the efficient ways you can score leads with the help of lead scoring models, check out our blog ‘lead scoring models you don’t want to miss out!

Top four benefits of lead scoring 

Benefits of lead scoring

1. Drive better marketing campaigns 

According to Zety, 80% of prospects say ‘no’ at least 4 times before saying ‘yes.’ And this results in a lot of wasted time for sales reps.  

In other words, sales reps are nurturing prospects that don’t have a high intent of making a purchase.

With lead scoring, sales reps can identify which prospects have achieved the highest score, and they can then prioritize prospects.  

And then, sales reps can maintain a laser focus on leads with the highest score to drive marketing campaigns based on their score.

If they have a very high score, then the messaging of the communication will be different.  

However, if they’re barely close to the qualification threshold, then then the messaging of the communication will be accordingly. 

2. Synchronized analytical approach 

Another significant benefit of lead scoring is making the process of qualifying prospects from an instinctive process to a data-driven analytical approach. 

Due to this, the process is easily manageable, easily helps identify the potential leads for the business, and is cost-effective.

And, unlike earlier, key insights can be derived with this approach. 

3. Growth in ROI 

Did you know? According to Marketing Sherpa, organizations that implemented lead scoring saw a growth of 77% in their lead generation ROI (return on investment). 

So, by implementing lead scoring, businesses can achieve…

  • Improved efficiency across the sales funnel
  • A better marketing campaigns
  • A better response time
  • Less or no waste of time on unqualified leads, and more. 

4. Enhanced efficiency of processes and productivity 

As lead scoring helps identify the most promising leads from the crowd, allocating time and important resources becomes easier, resulting in enhanced efficiency. 

In fact, according to Adobe, even as little as a 10% increase in lead quality equals a 40% increase in sales productivity. 

Moreover, you can automate your lead-scoring efforts to boost your lead qualification process.

So, with automated lead scoring, marketing leads will qualify based on the lead scoring criteria.

That helps you execute different lead scoring models simultaneously and frees you from the time-consuming task of lead scoring. 

Ultimately allowing you to focus on other essential tasks other than scoring, such as nurturing the prospect to convert them into a hot lead. 

Auto-prioritize your success!

Auto-prioritize your success!

Set your lead scoring model on auto-pilot and build a list of potential leads that are ready to pay you.

Explore Salesmate!

How to implement lead scoring system in 4 effortless steps? 

Lead scoring system in 4 steps

1. Identify your ideal leads 

Before you hop on to creating an effective lead scoring system for your business, it’s best to know who you’re creating it for.

So, that means identifying the ideal leads for your business.

An easy approach you can take is to evaluate your current high-value customers and see the traits they have in common.  

And, if you’re short on customers from a specific industry, you can build ICPs (ideal customer profiles) and start from there.

So, by which factors will you identify your ideal leads? Here are a few questions you can keep in mind: 

  • What is the industry of the business? 
  • What is the size of the company? 
  • How much revenue does the company generate (estimated)? 
  • Where is the location of the company? 
  • How many decision-makers are involved? 

2. Define qualification criteria and score for each activity 

Qualification criteria mean defining the factors you want your prospects to fulfill to be qualified leads.

For instance, if you’re a startup that offers creative branding and marketing services to SMEs, then here are a few factors that might be important for you: 

  • Is the deal value >=$10,000? 
  • Have they signed up for the marketing newsletter? 
  • Is the lead located in the USA, UK, or South America? 
  • Has the lead visited the service offering page at least five times? 
  • Have they booked a meeting with you? 

After you’ve sorted out which factors you want your prospects to accomplish, the next step would be to assign scores to each of them to identify the most important factors.

As the example company taken is a startup, so we can assume that money is a significant qualifying factor.

So, if a lead with a deal value of $15,000 arrives, assigning (+20) points would be wise.

In contrast, signing up for a newsletter might not be that important for the lead. So, assigning (+5) points would be right.

3. Set a threshold for qualifying 

You’re almost there! The next thing on the agenda is to set a certain threshold score that the prospect must achieve to be qualified as a lead. 

There are three types of leads: 

  1. Cold lead 
  2. Warm lead 
  3. Hot lead or sales-ready lead  

Now you can define a score limit for each category of lead.

So, prospects with a score between 0 to 40 would be considered a cold lead, prospects with a score of 41 to 70 would be regarded as a warm lead, and prospects with a score of 71-100 would be the hot or sales-ready leads.

Qualification Threshold

4. Choose a lead scoring software and automate the process 

As mentioned in multiple places during the blog, lead scoring sounds good when you have only one or two models in hand for your products.

But, as your business grows and your product/service offerings grow, opting for CRM software to help you automate the lead scoring system will become quite necessary.

Also, remember that many lead scoring tools available on the market with their lead scoring model.

However, it’s best to choose one that doesn’t limit you to just one model and allows you to create one that suits your business requirements, such as Salesmate lead scoring software

Qualify like a Pro!

Qualify like a Pro!

Salesmate lets you build a tailor lead scoring model and set it for automatic lead scoring.

Explore Salesmate!

5 lead scoring best practices to score leads efficiently 

You can make your lead scoring effective by following these key tactics. Let’s learn them in detail.

1. Keep better sales and marketing alignment

The definition of what constitutes a qualified lead is different for a marketer and a sales rep.

However, both have a common goal – to find the most valuable lead for the business. 

So, while the marketing team is developing a lead scoring model and defining the qualification criteria, it’s also best to include the sales team.

So, aligning your sales and marketing teams ensures that marketing teams generate fruitful leads for sales reps.

2. Pick the right tool for lead scoring 

Lead scoring is a hectic process. As you introduce more products or services in your organization, there are going to be more lead scoring models to handle. 

So, it’s best to automate the process of lead scoring with the help of the right tool.

Additionally, lead scoring is not the end of the bridge; it’s the start of an entire customer journey (which includes communication, nurturing, and conversion).

And to do so much, it’s best to do everything in one platform, such as Salesmate CRM.

You can do everything within one ecosystem, from scoring your leads to converting them into paying customers. 

3. Utilize negative scoring 

As we saw in the lead scoring model example earlier, just as there’s positive scoring, negative scoring also greatly impacts determining the quality of the lead.

Negative scoring helps find the perfect balance between the scores and ensures that the total score that’s being evaluated isn’t inflated. 

Here are a few factors you can consider in to score negatively: 

  • Generic email address instead of a professional one. 
  • Unsubscribed from a newsletter. 
  • Missed demo sessions and live webinars. 
  • A lot of time is spent on the careers page. 

4. Upgrade/optimize your lead scoring process timely 

As lead scoring depends on various qualifying factors, optimizing your lead scoring process is essential.

For instance, if there’s an update in your business strategy or products or a market shift, then optimizing your lead scoring strategy is extremely important.

Optimizing your lead scoring model will help you qualify better for your sales teams.

5. Avoid using a common lead scoring model for all your products/services 

Lead scoring consists of multiple factors that help us decide whether the generated lead is an ideal fit for the business or not. And those qualifying factors differ from product-to-product and service-to-service. 

For instance, the target audience of a ‘sales & marketing CRM’ and ‘CMS are going to be different.

And so are its qualifying factors. If the same model is applied, there’s a high chance you’ll waste a lot of time, energy, and resources.

So, it’s best to create a separate scoring model for each of your products/services. 

Last but not least, here are some of the best lead scoring tools you can keep in mind to help you get started on your lead scoring journey.  

6 best lead scoring software you must consider in 2024! 

Before you begin to score through the software, do keep this in mind.  

Lead scoring is only the beginning of the customer journey.

Other factors also come into play here, such as lead nurturing, moving them across the pipeline, automating the lead scoring process, generating reports on the number of leads converted, and much more. 

Therefore, choosing software that can help you do everything within one platform is best.

From making the first cold call to the prospect to converting them into a paying customer. So, here is a list of the best lead scoring tools:

  1. Salesmate 
  2. Slintel  
  3. Act-On 
  4. HubSpot  
  5. Keap  
  6. Madkudu 

If you want to see a detailed breakdown of each, lead scoring tool’s pros & cons and discover the best choice for your business, check out our blog here. 


To conclude, lead scoring is an absolute essential for a business to implement in order to grow successfully.  

Lead scoring not only helps businesses successfully identify the potential leads for the business, but also enables them to save time and resources. 

The ROI of lead scoring businesses achieve exceptional.

Did you know? According to Adobe, 22% of sales teams who prioritized their sales efforts are more likely to meet or beat their sales targets. 

Lead scoring also enables the sales and marketing teams to personalize their efforts for each lead, increasing the chances of converting them into paying customers significantly. 

Moreover, there are various lead scoring models available, and businesses can choose the one that best suits their needs and goals. 

Overall, lead scoring is a great process that can help businesses streamline their sales and marketing efforts, improve their conversion rates, and ultimately drive their growth and success. 

Dhanashree Pal

Dhanashree has been into writing since her teens. She believes writing is the best way to express and explain everything happening in this world. Reading and imagining are something she can do for hours. Enthusiastic about exploring new places and food. Young and hopeful of becoming better with every passing day.

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