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"Optimization" has become a massive buzzword across all industries; marketers, in particular, continue to strive for it. However, optimization is not a goal; it's a pathway to achieving a goal. What is being optimized and what it will achieve are the major considerations.

Marketers optimize for easily identifiable metrics within dashboards, such as lower cost per click and higher volume of leads. The results may look decent for some campaigns, but if those metrics aren't tied to business outcomes, such as revenue, they beg more effort toward optimization.

Quality is an added data point that affects not only campaigns but also the quality of leads, collaboration between sales and marketing teams, and customer experience. Scoring is a solution marketers can use that optimizes quality over traditional, simple metrics.

What Exactly Is Scoring?

Fundamentally, scoring is the process of taking qualitative attributes and remolding them into something quantitative to make better, more streamlined decisions about data sets. As marketers retrieve more data, finding patterns and opportunities within a flurry of information becomes more challenging. Scoring categorizes audiences based on solid data generation, making decision-making more methodical and precise.

Scoring, also referenced as "lead-scoring," ranks prospects and activities to transfer a lead from Marketing to Sales. It answers the question, "Is this lead ready to take the next steps with Sales?"

Scoring assists in determining the next steps on the customer journey, whether the prospect is ready to buy or needs additional time or more information. Simple indicators and metrics such as conversation history or email subscription rates are supplemental in determining high-quality leads. Scoring also adds value to internal processes by helping to govern and improve decision-making.

Savvy marketers know that a traditional inbound lead funnel isn't the only place where scoring affects performance. Effective new marketing strategies such as conversational marketing, omnichannel communications, and account-based marketing use scoring to move several facets of the customer journey.

In a typical martech stack, there are plenty of opportunities to implement and engage a variety of tools, including chat, customer relationship management and automation functions, marketing attribution, and customer success.

Applying scoring through multiple marketing strategies gives an edge to your marketing operations.

Building the Foundation of Your Scoring System

To establish a scoring system, follow what makes marketing so effective: knowing the core audience and setting goals. That will complement all your current marketing efforts.

In the beginning stages of implementation, build a plan that accounts for every channel and aligns with your team's overarching goals.

For example, if there are established sales goals around a specified revenue amount, the marketing team can bolster those plans with scoring. Along the scoring system journey, marketing teams can also deliver high-quality leads for Sales to reach objectives while simultaneously focusing efforts and maximizing team resources.

Developing an ideal customer profile or detailed buyer attributes within the scoring system strategy will ensure lead closure success. Once profiles are compiled, collect all necessary information and data possible. Consider what similarities and differences in characteristics your customers have. Likewise, determine the profile of previously unsuccessful leads and the commonalities they share.

Assemble data from all target sources within your means and bandwidth. Essential insights can be extracted from surveying and interviewing your customers. Work closely with the sales team members and identify patterns they experience—from prospective leads they've closed to those lost to competition, or leads that did not closely align.

Verify assumptions from call recordings and closely listen to the needs of customers and prospective customers. After verifying customer and prospect wants and needs, the team can fine-tune marketing engagement and ongoing conversations.

Along with boosted engagement, teams can assess customer success using metrics such as tracking form fills, email open rates, and patterns in geographic locations.

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Forging a foundation for lead-scoring does not happen overnight. But gathering the necessary insight and data can make high-quality lead-scoring the centerpiece of fostering active customer engagement.

More Resources on Lead-Scoring

Your Lead Data Is Bad, Fix It With Predictive Lead Scoring

A Guide to Effectively Qualifying B2B Leads [Infographic]

Lead-Scoring Accuracy Checklist: How Do You Rate?

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Quality Over Quantity in Lead- and Conversion-Scoring

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image of Chris Todd

Chris Todd is senior manager of demand generation at CallTrackingMetrics, a marketing analytics and attribution solution.

LinkedIn: Chris Todd