There is no doubt that lead scoring can be a highly effective way to identify high-value leads. As part of a lead generation strategy, scoring allows your marketing team to increase conversion for email marketing and various other digital campaigns.

In their 2012 B2B Benchmark Report, MarketingSherpa found that a staggering 73% of B2B leads were not sales-ready. A few years later, things had not improved much, either. A Netprospex 2015 State of Marketing Data Report showed that over 66% of records were missing revenue and industry data. The Demand Gen Report 2016 Lead Scoring Survey found that 86% of businesses were scoring leads, but almost half of the respondents admitted that their scoring efforts needed improvement. Less than 2 in 10 considered their efforts to be effective. Just 15% of respondents thought that their scoring efforts would result in genuine leads.

Even in 2019, many companies are either not scoring leads at all or not investing in a strategy that adds genuine value. Many are making attempts that are being sidetracked by dirty data, failure to consider the customer journey, combined scores that did not result in an accurate score, and many other mistakes that jeopardise the process. The result is a lead scoring strategy that is wasting far more time, budget, and effort than it should.

The Biggest Lead Scoring Mistakes to Avoid

Done right, lead scoring offers a powerful tool that offers plenty of value to B2B and B2C businesses alike. While many companies know that there is value in scoring leads, not all of them go about the scoring process in a way that delivers effective results. When you treat this strategy as an afterthought or try to rush through it, you will likely not get much in the way of results. When you take the time to invest in a solid strategy, you will see just how it help your lead nurturing campaigns.

To help you get a better idea of how not to approach lead scoring, we have put together a list of some of the most commonly made mistakes. Keep reading to find out what not to do.

Not investing in lead scoring

This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many companies are not investing in lead scoring in the first place. Some companies assume that they will know how to identify good leads from the large number of potential leads they get from various channels. Others use an outdated system or try to manually score leads instead of investing in a dedicated strategy or model.

If you are manually scoring leads, without any sort of model or strategy, don’t be surprised if you do not see any return. Likewise, if you are focusing on demographics only or combining your scores for a rough overview, you likely won’t get much insight into which leads are truly viable. Once again, it comes down to investing in this strategy or treating it as something that is nice but not really truly important to your results.

Focusing on the wrong data

You might be putting in the time, thought and effort, and still end up not seeing any results. One common reason for this is focusing on the wrong data. There are many ways to score leads and many data points to consider when scoring potential leads. Demographics is certainly one aspect, but it’s not the only aspect. You also need to consider behaviour and even intent. Think about it this way… which lead would be considered more viable for your business – a CEO in your target area who has completed an enquiry form, requested a cost estimate, and downloaded an info pack or a low-level employee who technically meets your demographic requirements, who has also downloaded your free lead magnet and watched a few videos without taking further action?

When you put all of your focus onto demographics without looking at intent and behaviour, you end up wasting valuable time and effort. You also run this risk of scoring leads incorrectly and losing potential leads that may have converted into sales.

Not investing in clean data

On a similar note, dirty data is another major issue that can jeopardise your lead generation campaigns in a big way. Duplicate data is more common than you may think, leading to all sorts of problems, from multiple lead nurturing campaigns sent to the same person, to incorrect scores being given when leads do not respond. Missing information can also put a dent in your campaigns.

To ensure that your leads scores are accurate and up to date, always ensure that you review your scores and schedule regular data clean-ups, too. Check that information such as names, positions, email addresses, location, and even interest are still valid and pay attention

Combining your scores

Treating all lead scores the same is never a good idea, either. Demographic lead scores differ greatly from behavioural scores. Intent also plays a big role in the scoring process as it indicates a willingness to purchase. A lead could look good on paper, with a high demographic score and even a decent behavioural score. If there is no sign of intent, that lead is not as likely to convert as one that is already actively engaging with your content, making enquiries or showing interest in making a purchase.

Make sure that you treat each score separately and that you clearly rank your leads in a way that puts intent and behaviour first. This will help to weed out any low value leads that are not likely to end up as customers at any point, even if they fall within your target audience.

Ignoring the customer journey

Another major mistake is to not consider the customer journey. A brand new lead will have a very different score to someone who has already visited your website, interacted with your social channels, signed up for your email, clicked on a few links, and downloaded anything from your channels. When you treat all leads the same, whatever stage they are in along their journey, you end up with a score that is not always accurate.

Score inflation can also have affect your scoring model. Most leads perform a number of actions over the course of their journey. You may award points for specific behaviours, but, unless you are resetting after lapsed time, you may end up with leads that have high scores even if they have not interacted in a long time. Consider not only the journey but also the timing. Use expiration dates and make sure that you review and subtract points over time.

Setting and forgetting

Finally, a mistake that will also cost you is setting up your lead scoring model and them forgetting about it completely. This approach is not a quick fix or something that should be treated like a quick fix. When you set it and forget it, you run the risk of inflation and various other problems. That means that your lead scores will seldom be accurate, which defeats the purpose entirely.

Review and update your scores often, take the time to determine whether you are still scoring on the right data and keep your data clean to avoid further costly mistakes.

Taking the time to not only score leads but also set up a scoring model that works will help you fine-tune your lead nurturing efforts. Stay clear of these mistakes, stick to best practices, and you will soon see the benefit that lead scoring can add to your digital marketing campaigns.

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