3 Types of Qualifying Criteria for Scoring Marketing Leads

3 Types of Qualifying Criteria for Scoring Marketing Leads

By Dan StasiewskiMar 13 /2013

lead scoring criteriaLead scoring isn’t really a numbers game. Sure, there are points assigned to a lead based on multiple criteria, but lead scores are used to determine sales-readiness by quantifying activity that's driven by quality information. And that information comes from two places: the lead and your sales/marketing team.

In fact, the historical website activity data and good old-fashioned sales qualifying questions can provide all the information you need to begin scoring leads—and automating communication based on those scores. But not all information is scored equally. Here are three primary types of criteria that should be established in order to properly qualify leads and how each influences the actual scoring:


Scoring based on engagement seems pretty simple on the surface. Criteria that fall under this category usually includes interactions like number of pageviews, website visits, social media mentions and emails opened or clicked.

Engagement, however, can provide more false positives than other type of criteria. You can prevent this by taking the average number of interactions for specific criteria (or the median if the numbers are excessively out of proportion) and making that number your top point score. Then work backward, grouping the number of interactions based on obvious patterns in criteria for various points.


Scoring based on behavior goes beyond broad-based engagement and really starts to investigate specific interactions, or combination of interactions, that determine a lead’s level of interest.

For example, if we know a user visits or uses an ROI calculator on your website or downloads a specific pricing sheet as they are moving closer to sales-readiness, then you can give an appropriate score for that specific interaction. Behavior-based scoring involves looking at the historical trends for leads who moved to sales qualified, opportunity or customer stages in the lifecycle and finding patterns in their paths. The benefit of scoring on these interactions, rather than just engagement, is that it weeds out the tire-kickers and is less likely to allow someone’s score to be disproportionate to his actual interest.


Scoring based on persona is the most valuable type of scoring you can do. Beyond a lead’s actions, the information a lead provides about him/herself can make a marketing automation system do much of the time-consuming qualifying before a lead even hits a salesperson’s queue.

For example, if you’re selling solar panels to homeowners, you might know one of your most likely candidates has a certain income-level, can utilize a state or local tax credit, or is more likely to be married than single. By scoring based on these specific qualifiers, you can quickly determine if the lead is the right match for you.

But don’t forget about disqualifying people. If you know someone’s electric bill needs to be a certain level in order to benefit from your solar panels, you can negatively score someone who comes in way under the number you’re looking for.

For B2B sales, you might know a decision-maker commonly has a certain title (or simply ask if the lead is the decision-maker). You can score a person with director or president in his or her title higher than someone at the management level or below—or even negatively score an associate level employee.

How These Points Are Used

Once your lead scoring is in place, you can do a number of things using a marketing automation platform, including: 

  • Alerting salespeople when a lead in their queue reaches a certain score
  • Sending an automatic email to a lead when she reaches a certain score
  • Changing a lead’s lifecycle stage to marketing qualified when he crosses a score threshold
  • Providing more specific content to a lead based on a combination of lifecycle stage and lead score
  • Update a lead’s rating in CRM software from warm to hot

Of course, there are many other ways you can use lead scoring, but the primary goal is simple: how your sales team determines a lead’s sales-readiness. Whether you go strictly with a lead score or add an at-a-glance layer (like lead grade) on top of the score, your efforts will help sales focus their efforts on leads who are further along in the buying cycle.

Are you using lead scoring? What criteria do you use to score leads? Let us know in the comments below.

photo credit: MudflapDC

dan stasiewski blog photoDan Stasiewski is an Enterprise Data Consultant at Kuno. When he's not talking about marketing data and trends, he's probably in a movie theater... or randomly breaking into song. You can connect with Dan via TwitterLinkedIn or Google Plus.

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The Author

Dan Stasiewski

When he's not talking about marketing data and trends, he's probably in a movie theater... or randomly breaking into song.