Everything a Salesforce Admin Needs to Know About Lead Score

Lead scoring is a shared marketing and sales process for identifying the hottest leads.  With lead scoring, you assign a numerical point value to each lead you generate based on how they have engaged with your brand and their professional information. This process helps sales and marketing teams prioritize leads and respond to them appropriately.

In a marketing application, many consider Lead Score to be nearly as important as Lead Status. However, it is an invaluable tactic that many companies, particularly start-ups, are struggling with.

Hear Stacy O’Leary, 5x Certified Salesforce Consultant at Quickly Consulting, and Sarah Nichols, Engagement Manager at Expert Marketing Advisors, discuss the importance of lead score to your marketing and sales funnel and what it means for Salesforce Admins.

You will learn:

  • How lead score is calculated to identify marketing qualified leads (MQLs)
  • Tips and tricks for maintaining data quality
  • How to present lead score in Salesforce
  • Strategies for score-based automation
  • How to filter list views or reports based on score in Salesforce

Sarah Nichols:

Hi everyone, we’re just going to wait like 30 seconds to let people join in.

Okay, well, we’ll get started. Thanks much to those of you who have joined in today’s webinar on everything. A Salesforce admin needs to know about lead score. I am Sarah Nichols. I am the engagement manager here at expert marketing advisors, and also spend a lot of time on the marketing program side of things.

And I’m excited to talk about lead scoring today.

Stacy O’Leary:

And I am Stacy. I do the Salesforce implementations for EMA. So a lot of brand new orgs, a lot of training people that have never used Salesforce before, a lot of training, brand new admins. So is, which is especially fun to do. And I also do Salesforce blog writing for Salesforce, Ben and for EMA.

So that’s pretty fun. So Sarah, what is lead score? Yeah. So we’re gonna dive.

Sarah Nichols:

into just kind of the basic background and definition of what lead scoring is and how we utilize it to make that handoff from marketing to sales. So lead scoring is really a shared activity between both marketing and sales, and it’s a way for us to rank someone’s sales readiness, essentially.

You know, day to day, you’ll meet somebody even in person and, you know, they’ll express interest in something and you can say, okay, like this seems like a good fit from a sales perspective. And this is our way when we’ve never had a chance to meet anyone, to take a look at what behaviors they’re taking, who they are, what their professional background is to determine is this person, do they have the intent potentially down the funnel to make a purchase?

The goal of lead scoring is really just to identify who is ready to move beyond our marketing nurture emails and our marketing activities to sales and which require a little bit more nurturing before we pass them on to sales, but no lead should be left behind. We wanna look at everybody everybody’s a potential customer.

So lead score is really based on interest shown in a business and their current place in the buyer journey. We look at it from two sides, we look at it from their behaviors and their demographics leads, behavioral scoring is saying they’ve took these certain set of actions. They’ve registered for a webinar.

They’ve looked at five pages on the website, they’ve requested a demo. And then we rank them with a score. And demographic looks at who is this person? What’s their job title. Is that job title, a good fit for who we anticipate would be our buyer or influencer are, do they have the right amount of revenue to be able to afford our offering?

And we set a threshold for a score. So typically an example of this would be a threshold of 50, and we wanna see some half of those points coming from their behavior. And half of those coming from their demographics.

Stacy O’Leary:

So I, I think that feeds in, sorry, really well, to kind of the difference between sales and marketing and, and marketing’s job is not actually to create deals or to create sales it’s to create that funnel that supports sales, because they’re the ones who are actually gonna be calling and negotiating and trying to get the, the actual deal done with the marketing’s job and lead scoring is before all of that happens. And so we really want to know which of those people signing up for our webinar, which of those people reading our blog are really potential customers and potential prospects we can send to sales and which ones are not.

Sarah Nichols:

That’s a great point.

I mean, as we set up the marketing and sales funnel it really is a conversation between marketing and sales, because from the marketing side, it’s like, we, we know the best practices we know. Indications of interest, but then sales is having those real time conversations and can say, you know, these people just are not a good fit and they need to be communicating that back to marketing so that we can have the scoring in the best place that we’re sending good leads, not just a ton of leads over, but good quality leads over to sales.

So we can take a look at this, just kind of, for those visual learners of what this actually looks like. This is just a spreadsheet, not what it would actually look like in your marketing automation tool, but just gives like an outline of kind of what weight we would give to certain behaviors and to certain job titles.

So for example, if you look under behavior scoring one website session, it’s an Inca. I mean, they showed up they’re on your website. Like maybe they have an interest, but it doesn’t tell us a ton of information. So we wait that with a. And if they’re visiting, you know, many pages, many different solution pages, for example, we might bump that score up a little bit higher.

But if they’re actually filling out a form, that is a really good indication that they want to speak to someone with sales. So we’re gonna pretty much automatically set them as an MQL for demographic scoring will give different weights to people based on if they’re an actual buyer versus an influencer.

The size of the company, their budget. But another piece that I didn’t really show here is that we can go beyond this and also suppress people. So if we wanna suppress competitors internal employees that they’re not receive, they’re in your marketing automation tool, but they’re not scoring. We can also do something called decay scoring.

Where, if they haven’t had a certain, they haven’t taken any action within X amount of days, you know, maybe 90 days we might wanna decrease their score. So, you know, it’s always in motion. And one thing to note is that we can put a cap on the score. Cause a question will get as well, does their score just keep climbing, climbing, climbing, and we don’t want that to happen where they have like a 1000 score and we don’t really know what to do with that information.

But I don’t know, Stacy, if you have any input on the Salesforce side of things for that things that you’ve.

Stacy O’Leary:

seen from, from the Salesforce admin side, this, this particular view is one that I end up seeing a lot on calls, but I don’t actually have. A lot of Salesforce, admin input that, that I can provide here, that’s useful because I’m not a marketing expert.

So, you know, I can, I can sort of guess. And from how long I’ve been working with you, Sarah and the EMA team, what sort of things are positive indicators and what sort of things are negative indicators, but really this is just sort of informational for the Salesforce admin. But I do like to know, because it went,  it’s gonna impact.

The field in Salesforce, that’s gonna impact campaign membership in Salesforce. So I kind of want to have a general idea of what things are going to cause changes in Salesforce. And this behavior scoring list is, you know, almost exactly a list of the sort of logged activities that I’m gonna see on a lead or a contact in Salesforce or campaign membership as well.


Sarah Nichols:

So one thing I wanted to touch on is data hygiene. It seems it’s like, is it really related, but kind of an adjacent topic? We really wanna focus in on data quality and data completeness at the point of data capture. So creating those required fields on your forms, you know, volume is great, but if you have a bunch of leads and you don’t know anything, any valuable information about them, then what do you really do with it?

Low quality or incomplete data can really hinder the lead scoring process because we don’t know their professional information. And the way that we go about, if you already have a ton of data, you wanna look at data, data, hygiene, we can focus on verification and validation. So a way to do this is just augmenting existing lists that you have using tools like.
Zoom info, seamless crunch base. I mean, they can help with kind of filling in some of the gaps of existing data and then setting yourself up for success as you capture new data moving forward. We typically recommend doing a data hygiene check, at least quarterly, just stay on top of it so you don’t get too bogged down.

And then another thing is really reassessing. Your lead scoring parameters fairly regularly. It’s not a static one time, one, and done type of activity. We really want to be taking a look at is the weight that we’re putting to certain behaviors and demographics really accurate. And this goes back to the conversation between marketing and sales sales can say.

Yes, they’re taking this action, but in the conversations that we’re having on the phone and in person, it really isn’t accurately reflecting their interest. We need to adjust that score. If we have a certain threshold of say 50 to become an MQL, and they say these people are reaching 50. But they’re just not ready.

You’re sending them over and they’re not ready to go yet. Then maybe we bump that up a little bit. So we make sure that they come a little bit with a little bit more readiness to the sales team. And then are your demographics accurately reflecting who your buyers and influencers are? Some of the smaller teams, the startup.

Sometimes don’t even know who their ideal customer is and scoring is an opportunity for them to hone in on, on, who’s actually gonna be making a purchase. They’ll say, you know, anybody with money is my ideal customer and that’s not necessarily the case. We wanna make sure it’s a really good fit. And so sometimes we’ll even.
Turn down the threshold to something, instead of doing 50, maybe do a 20 and it gives the sales team the ability to take a closer look at who is MQL.

What’s their job title. What size companies do they work for?

Who’s in actually, who’s actually a good fit. So all that to say, when you put lead scoring in.

Make sure to revisit it regularly. And that it’s actually working for you and the sales team and producing good quality leads. So now we’ve gone through kind of the overview of what is lead scoring, and we’re gonna dive into what admin spec, Salesforce admin specifically need to know.

Stacy O’Leary:

Perfect. So. It’s so interesting that you talk about sales and them, you know, telling marketing if something is or isn’t working.

And it’s such an interesting thing because, I mean, I’m sure you’ve seen it all the time. Sarah is how many clients do we talk to? Where, you know, sales, the sales team will say, why is this an MQL? I have no idea why this came over to me. What, what did this person even do? And it’s something that, that we find ourselves repeating all the time.

This is what lead score is. This is why it matters to you as a sales rep. Because it’s something that is sort of an indicator of a quality prospect. And we definitely find that that sales teams who, who don’t know about lead score, don’t know a lot of what marketing is doing or trying to help with them.

They can’t turn around. Support marketing, or they’re not able to give effective feedback and it just sort of silos those two teams and they can’t really work together effectively, which is definitely something that we want to try and make those teams more integrated so we can get a better performance for everyone.

So when we’re actually in Salesforce what we’re looking at. Just sort of a basic score would be just a number field. And that’s what we’re showing here as our lead score. And, and that’s something that I recommend showing I don’t recommend hiding it because I don’t think that we want that information to be a secret.

I don’t think it’s, it’s a good thing for the sales team to have less information about a lead. But you don’t have to show them the exact number if you don’t think the particular number. Relevant, if you want to, I’ve seen people do what we have here, which is a lead equality formula. So we’re just doing a text formula.

You know, if the score is greater than, or equal to 60, we’re doing high. If it’s, you know, let’s say 40 to, to 60, we do moderate. And if it’s under that, we do low. You can do enlightening. You can do what we have here in the top right corner, which is just a rich text component, which has a criteria on it.

That’s that only shows the component when it reaches a certain score. And then in addition, in almost every case, lead score is tied to lead status. And so once we hit that threshold in Marketo, I believe that the out of the box is 65 points. So we’ll update the lead status to MQL or SQL, AQL, whatever terminology your company uses, but lead score and lead status are generally really tied together and there’s a lot of ways to show it or to present it in Salesforce, I will say I think the only thing, the only wrong thing you can do here is to hide it completely and not show your sales reps, anything for lead score that that’s gonna keep them in the dark and make it harder for them to give quality feedback.

Sarah Nichols:

Stacy. We, we have a question that kind of relates to this area is we score in HubSpot and push to Salesforce. Are we able to score directly in Salesforce? Do people do that?

Stacy O’Leary:

So yes, I have seen people do that. However, I would only recommend that if you don’t have a marketing platform that can do it.

And that’s because your marketing platform is generally going to be better at lead scoring than Salesforce, because it has a little bit better view of what people are clicking on, on your website. UTM tracking and all of those sort of things are going to be very easily visible in your marketing platform.

And some of those things are not visible at all in Salesforce, or very difficult to see. So I wouldn’t recommend Salesforce unless you don’t have a marketing app at all. Marketo, you can do this really easily. HubSpot has a way to do it. I think even Pardot has a way to do it. So I would definitely recommend the marketing app if that’s an option for you.

Perfect. Great question. So. Once we get that lead score into Salesforce. What do we do with it? And there’s sort of a endless array of options here. One thing you can do with it is notifications and I would definitely do this. If you have a really solid threshold that you’re happy with and, you know, you think works really well.

And your sales team is an agreement with you on that. So this is just a basic example of an email alert you can do. You can also do these out of Marketo or HubSpot or whatever the tool is. If you’re just using Salesforce, you’ll just wanna do it with Salesforce. But whatever it is, it’s important that we all are aware and we know what’s happening.

And also what this alert means to the person that’s receiving it, which is usually like the leader contact owner. The other thing we can do is list view filtering. So in your list views, you can actually, as long as the field is there, you can set a filter that says. You know, here are all of my leads or here are my, all of, all of my contacts with a score of 60 or higher.

And the status is not disqualified or however you want to, but we need the field to be in Salesforce so that we can actually filter with it. And then the same thing goes for your reports and dashboard. What’s really interesting. If you do a report and dashboard is you can see that follow up. You can sort of look at all of your leads that are in that have a high score and see what status they’re in and sort of see are people updating them.

Did they reach out? Did they follow up? Are they actually working on the things that we sent them. And that’s gonna be a big indicator to you, even if you don’t get, you know, verbal, immediate feedback from sales, if they’re not working on the stuff that you’re giving them, that’s something to investigate.
Are they not having enough information? Are they just not logging into Salesforce? That’s something that you’ll want to look. And then finally, oh, go ahead, Sarah.

Sarah Nichols:

Oh, sorry. We have seen to kind a the question. This is scoring in a sense is almost bidirectional in the sense that if sales says this person is disqualified, there’s no potential there ever.

Then we can just disqualify them. But what if they’re just not ready yet? And that’s where sales can hand it back to marketing and we can reset their score and let them essentially just bubble up again. Nurture them. And then maybe down the road, they’re ready again to meet with sales. So it’s great to have the ongoing conversation with sales about why they’re just qualifying people.

Do we need to send them back into the Mar marketing automation tool for nurturing or do we just kind of say, you know, lost and, you know, walk away.

Stacy O’Leary:

That’s such a great point about communications. Cause one thing I have seen happen is sale. Sales reps will just disqualify leads and they don’t put in a reason.

And then marketing just sees its disqualified and they don’t really know why, but what will happen is sales will keep disqualifying, disqualifying, disqualifying, and then eventually sales will be unhappy. And they’ll start complaining about all these bad leads they’re getting from marketing and. It turns out they have been like, let’s say disqualifying partners or vendors the whole time.

And this could have been solved really easily by someone in sales saying, Hey, you know, just don’t score everyone with an Optive email address cuz they’re a partner and. We don’t ever wanna NQL them. We could save so much headache for sales by getting rid of those things for them, but only if we know what they want us to filter out.

Sarah Nichols:

And we did get one question. Is it better to send those email alerts that you mentioned through Marketo? Or is it better to use Salesforce or I, you know, any marketing automation tool?

Stacy O’Leary:

Yeah, I would say if you have Marketo use Marketo. Because Marketo’s going to be the first system that knows, and then it will sync to Salesforce.

However often your sync is set up to run. Usually I think Marketo’s every 15 minutes or so. But I would say definitely do it from Marketo if you can. And if you can, or if you’re not trained or you don’t have the ability to set it up in Marketo, then you can go ahead and use Salesforce.

Okay. So. Let’s see, we have one more question. Do you think that lead scoring should be more affected by ABM as we get more accurate AI intent based data? Is this fully obsolete going forward or do you think there are ways you should add in regarding external intent? Okay. So ABM for anyone who’s not familiar with, it is account based marketing and that’s sort of where your sales team will.

Choose a selection of, of companies that they’re targeting or maybe an industry. We see a lot of people adding  accounts and contacts for fortune 500 companies or global two K companies. And that’s sort of what ABM is. We’re targeting particular companies. We’re not waiting for the leads to come to us.

So lead scoring, I think still has value with an ABM model because. We still know, even if, you know, everyone’s, company’s a little bit different with the type of intent and the score that we apply to those different actions. We know that when they come to us, that is a better indicator than when we just randomly pick.

Even if you are targeting a specific company, someone that shows interest on their part is gonna be more likely to become a prospect than just someone that you pick mm-hmm . So there’s definitely, I think still value in lead scoring in the long term, long term, even with AI intent and ABM and all of that.

Sarah Nichols:

And also if you’re doing list polls where, you know, from an ABM perspective and you’re doing, you know, a list poll based on actual company name, You’ll get a, you know, you can get a laundry list of folks internal to the company and leads gr help can help you hone in on who the best person is to speak with on that team.

So you can reach out to the actual decision maker instead of somebody who may have no influence over a purchase.

Stacy O’Leary:

Yep. Great. Great questions, everyone. Thank you. So I think we’re ready to move on. If we have any final questions or anything that anyone would like to add in.

Sarah Nichols:

And if you have, if you something pops up, you have a question after the webinar, feel free to come over to the expert marketing advisors, LinkedIn page, leave questions there. Reach out to us. You can also contact us at contact expert marketing, advisors.com. But wait just a second and give people a chance.

If there’s any final questions.

Stacy O’Leary:

It’s so interesting. Sarah, I reached out to one of my clients this morning a Salesforce admin, just, I wanted to see what she would say. And I asked her, what, what do you think lead score is? What do, what is lead score? And she just said, oh, it, it makes things M and it was kind of interesting because that’s sort of exactly.

What I expected to hear and what sort of some, some Salesforce admins think it is, is it doesn’t really impact Salesforce. It doesn’t matter for us. It just gives us MQL. And that’s all we need to worry about, which is really only like a small part of the picture. So I think it’s something that’s really interesting because we don’t always, we don’t as Salesforce admins, we don’t have a lot of input in what, what Causes an MQL or what causes the score to go up and down because we’re not the marketing experts, but we are the, the system connectors and we’re the ones, you know, sort of helping and training in Salesforce itself as a system.

So I think it’s really important to be educated about important things in platforms that connect to Salesforce.

That’s a great point. And we. We’re gonna revisit a question real quick because the, we missed the answer. She said, I missed the answer to my first question for a phone call. Mm-hmm we score in HubSpot and push to Salesforce.

Are we able to score directly in Salesforce or do people do that?

I was gonna revisit it. So yeah. So the answer to that one is that. I would always use the marketing tool to do scoring. If you have a marketing tool, I would only ever use Salesforce for scoring. If you don’t have a marketing tool at all.

And that’s because you’re welcome. because the marketing tool is just going to be better at it. It’s able to track. Most of them are able to track UTMs and they’re able to track a lot more activities that a prospect might take as opposed to Salesforce, which is really. The recipient of data from other systems and might not even have access to all the data that’s required to have a good scoring model.

Perfect. I think that’s the last question.

Sarah Nichols:

So thank you so much to everybody for joining us today.

It was a really fun conversation, some good questions. And thank you, Stacy. And Stacy is gonna be a Dreamforce next week.

Do you wanna talk about your session real quick?

Stacy O’Leary:

I’m really excited. I’m doing the one dashboard every admin needs. It’s a dashboard that is uses all outta the box component. So there’s no cost or. Any admin can set it up, even if you’re just learning Salesforce. It’s a great dashboard for you. And it’s just gonna tell you all about the users in your org. Any licenses, your API calls, overages.

Really the point of it is to make sure that when your Salesforce renewal comes up, you are not spending more than you need to. And you’re also not surprised when you run out of Salesforce licenses. So it’s a really good session. I hope everyone that’s coming to Dreamforce is able to see it. We’ll, we’ll do a blog post on it as well.

And thank you, Sarah, for doing this webinar with me today. I think this was actually our first webinar that we got do together. This was a lot of fun and I’m glad we got a lot of really great questions. So thank you everyone for coming. Thanks everyone.

Thank you

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