Picture this: yet another cold outreach in your inbox saying,
Have you ever heard of lead scoring? Lead scoring helps prioritize leads, identify the most engaged prospects, and streamline your team’s sales process, resulting in increased revenue and growth. Lead scoring is essential in achieving long-term business goals and positively impacts your organization’s sales pipeline.
Let’s go over all your processes, rewrite them from scratch, and actually, now that we’re at it, let’s completely re-think your data infrastructure.
Quite a bummer, right?
I get it; lead scoring may not be the most exciting part of our jobs as marketers, and we’ve all heard (and read) about how daunting it is even to get a lead scoring process started, let alone get some results.
On top of that, you’ve done your own research on lead scoring. And yes, it has the potential to be disruptive for your business. But here’s the thing: your current numbers look solid, and you’re cruising along just fine. So, why rock the boat with a new tool, revamp your processes, and dive into the nitty-gritty of reviewing your data collection and all that jazz?
So you tag that email “Companies I Don’t Want To Hear From Ever Again” and go along with your day.
Truth is, you might as well be throwing cash out the window.
Don’t want to brag, but over the years, our team has created, implemented, and analyzed thousands of lead scoring models. We have a pretty accurate idea of what it takes to kick things off, including what data points you actually need (not that many, pinky promise), how good your data needs to be to have an impact (95% of the time, you’re already there,) and whether you need to panic (you don’t) about what to do with your score results.
So here’s our no-BS checklist of what you need to get value out of lead scoring in just 5 steps.
Let’s kick things off.
Debunking Lead Scoring Misconceptions
But before, just honest answers to recurring objections we hear about getting lead scoring for B2B SaaS companies.
(You just want to read the lead scoring plan? Here’s a handy shortcut.)
a. Don’t buy lead scoring software in two months—buy it now
The economy is scary these days; that’s no denying it. As B2C buyers, we’re putting off any non-essential purchases, and it’s only natural that as B2B buyers, we tend to do the same.
That’s even truer as B2B marketing buyers. Chances are, leadership asks you to reduce costs at least once per week. “What can you live without?” they ask.
With your job on the line, you don’t want to even think about buying new software.
You might think, “Sure, we need it, but let’s wait a couple of months.” (which really means if revenue gets better). But here’s a friendly reminder: lead scoring isn’t just an investment for the future; it’s a tool for the present (which really means revenue doesn’t just get better on its own.)
Lead scoring boosts efficiency. It helps your team focus on the leads most likely to convert, saving time and resources.
Plus, relying on acquisition costs is even more unsustainable in uncertain times. Lead scoring can spotlight existing customers ready for an upgrade, supporting effective upselling strategies.
So, can you really afford to wait on lead scoring? Given the immediate benefits and long-term value, probably not.
And that’s not all.
b. Don’t treat lead scoring as a TOI (Tick-Off Item)
A day in the life of a marketer is full of requests of all sorts coming from whatever places; some of them–let’s face it–are not that rewarding.
If this last sentence resonates with you, do yourself a favor and go listen to Will Foust’s soothing words from our latest Hot Take Live event, “The Four Most Dangerous Words in Marketing.” (thank you, Will!)
Bringing it all back home, have you ever heard, “It just seems like we should start using lead scoring?” I bet you have.
And when it happened, lead scoring was immediately sent–next to the email I mentioned in my intro–to that box in your head where the things you don’t want to hear end up.
But there’s a difference between being requested to implement lead scoring because someone read it in an in-flight magazine and getting that validation by experts that audit your company, industry, and vertical.
Don’t let lead scoring slip through the cracks because someone spoiled it for you. We have seen it work for so many types of companies and cases and can give you an honest assessment of how it would work for you. Book your time with Breadcrumbs (it’s free.)
c. We all failed in the past (that is how we learned how to succeed, actually)
That is another objection we hear a lot. That’s linked to lead scoring being around for a while and having gained some bad reputation (sometimes with reason). Truth is, we all failed in the past (we’ll probably fail again at some point), but this is precisely what helps you (and us all) to succeed.
I could cite a looot of quotes on failure and success, but one of my favorites is from Thomas Edison, “I have not failed. I have found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”
This can be applied to many things, including how we see lead scoring: so far, you’ve probably only found 10,000 ways that don’t work.
That’s the reason why we built Breadcrumbs, a different take on lead scoring–more on our approach to lead scoring later.
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d. You won’t break your marketing automation tool–nor your CRM
Confession: in a past job, I clicked a Refresh button and broke an Enterprise client’s account. It wasn’t my fault, yet it happened. Since then, I’ve been very wary about clicking the Publish or Refresh buttons.
So yes, I understand the fear that comes with working with data.
Most of the time, nurture sequences are those untouchable beings that someone in the past mystically created and that nobody ever touched again. They work, but you (your team, your leadership team, your board, and the entire world) don’t know how.
So, no, you don’t want to re-think them. And that’s not what this is about, really. All you’ll need to do to activate a powerful scoring engine is just add the scores to your existing nurture sequences to route scored leads to their destination (more on that later.)
Note: of course, if your nurture sequences don’t work–or you have gaps in your nurture strategy, we’re here for you. (Here are our best practices for HubSpot workflows, for example.)
e. You don’t need that many data points
This section should start with “in this day and age.” The truth is, there’s a tension here between the ability you now have to collect A LOT of data points and the actual usefulness of those data points.
After seeing thousands of lead scoring models at Breadcrumbs, our team validated that the most successful ones rely on just 5-9 key data points with high impact.
Those are crucial data points that you need to consider for your lead scoring system.
You can get a little help from a friend–Reveal–which will analyze your entire database to find the attributes and actions that have the highest impact on your revenue.
More on this later (shortcut here.)
f. You don’t have bad data (even if you think you do)
Sorry-not-sorry to bring that up, but perfect data doesn’t exist. This is actually good news. It means you don’t need perfect data to have an impact.
Chasing perfect data means stalling: since you’ll never get there, you’re probably putting off actions that would have an impact on your revenue and bottom line.
See where I’m going, right?
There are actually a number of strategies to improve data quality, but my point is that you probably already have all the data you need to have an impact. They’re just very likely scattered across your tech stack (and departments and ownerships and whatnot.)
I get it, you don’t want to make sense of the data–that’s an epic endeavor, a job for another day (or era.)
That’s where solutions like Breadcrumbs come in: we make sense of the data for you, and you call the shots.
g. Your CRM will only get you that far
Take HubSpot. I mean, I love HubSpot–I use HubSpot every day, and at Breadcrumbs, we are a HubSpot Gold Partner and offer HubSpot services, including onboarding, so we know a thing or two about it.
But for lead scoring? Not the best.
HubSpot is such a big product with so many functionalities, and lead scoring is just one of them. At Breadcrumbs, we live and breathe lead scoring.
Some examples? When using Breadcrumbs, you can:
- Use data from all your data sources (not just what lives in HubSpot)
- Score on fit and activity to find your ICP that is engaged now (not just rely on one)
- Improve your model based on real-time data (not just hoping it works next month)
- Validate different hypotheses (not just one-fits-all scoring model)
- Score for all revenue goals (not just acquisition; think upsell, cross-sell, and retention)
The best part? We don’t ask you to turn HubSpot down (or any CRM/MAP you’re using) but complement it with a bunch of sophisticated lead scoring functionalities.
Lead Scoring Kickoff Plan: The Ultimate 5-Step Checklist
There’s no point in trying to convince you to buy into lead scoring, get you this far, and then tell you that you need months to implement your first lead scoring model.
So here’s our quick start guide to get your first lead scoring iteration up and running–I took note of the time; get ready to be surprised!
Let’s get started!
1. Make a list of your current leads and your best customers (hint: they are in your CRM/MAP)
What: It’s prep time: Go to your MAP or CRM and create two lists, one of your current leads and another of your customers.
Time: It usually takes just 10 minutes.
Here are some instructions to create a list in the most popular CRM and MAP:
If you’re using a custom system (or a CRM that we don’t yet support), you can use the Breadcrumbs API to connect your data sources–in this case, the lists would need to live in your system.
Why: These lists are the foundation of your lead scoring model. Your lead list is the list you’ll score. Among these leads are your future customers. They just don’t know it yet. Your customer list is your training list. You’ll use this list to tell the AI what winning attributes to look for that your best customers have. AI works at its best with at least 100 contacts; if you have less, you can use a proxy further up in the funnel (i.e., if your closed-won list is too small, you can replace it with prospects or leads who started a sales conversation.)
2. Identify what your best customers have in common (hint: use Breadcrumbs Reveal)
What: Enter Breadcrumbs. Create a free plan, connect your MAP or CRM, select your lead list (scoring list) and your customer list (objective list), and wait 10 minutes.
Time: Considering the 10-minute waiting time, we’re at 30 to be on the safe side.
Your action items for this point are:
- Create a free plan with Breadcrumbs
- Connect your data sources and run a Reveal analysis
- Get a sense of what you’d need to do by looking at the demo below:
Why: Breadcrumbs Reveal will automatically surface the best attributes and actions that show intent.
3. Create a scoring model with the higher impact attributes and actions (hint: use Breadcrumbs Copilot)
What: Create an AI-driven scoring model with Breadcrumbs Copilot and set it on testing mode.
Time: Adding 10 minutes, a total of 40 minutes.
While you wait for the Reveal analysis to be ready, get a sneak peek at this next step with this interactive demo:
Open this KB article on how to create a scoring model with Copilot in another tab, and get back to Breadcrumbs! By the time you’re through with it, the Reveal analysis is ready (yep, that fast.)
It’s time to create your own model–In the last step, remember to set your model in testing mode.
Why: First, it’s free. We don’t want to charge you before you see the value of lead scoring for your business. Second, before knowing that the scoring model works, it would be unwise to route back the score in your CRM or MAP. Don’t get me wrong, routing is essential in scoring, but testing a model gives you the confidence that you’ve set it right before you set it live. Lastly, scoring is an iterative process. When you first test your model, you’ll likely see areas of improvement right away that you want to address in your first live model.
4. Write back the information on your CRM/MAP (hint: use Breadcrumbs)
What: It’s showtime! Activate your scoring model in Breadcrumbs.
Time: literally one minute.
Now go to Breadcrumbs > your scoring model in testing mode > click Activate. That’s it!
Why: After all your hard work, it’s now time to roll out your first scoring model!
5. Add rules to your existing lead nurture campaigns to include scored leads (hint: use OR logic)
What: Let’s get back to your CRM or MAP. Take your existing nurture sequences and add the scores with OR logic.
Time: I’m adding 20 minutes here as you may need more time to identify and change the sequences. This is the final step, so the total time is 60 minutes. Quite neat ☺️
On a tech level, each CRM or MAP has its own instructions on editing workflows, for example, HubSpot.
But what scores go with what workflows?
Just a quick example here (we spoke about this more in-depth here):
- Scores: A1-2, B1-2, C1-2, D1-2 → To your sales team, ASAP.
- Scores: A3–D3 → Lead nurture with bottom-of-the-funnel content such as case studies.
- Scores: A4-D4 → Nurture the contacts into the A3-D3 bracket.
Why: you don’t have to completely re-write your workflows to have an impact. Chances are, your nurture sequences are already running (and we made a pact earlier not to break them!). So, add your scores to the existing nurture sequences so that the leads will be routed the right way.
Don’t Take Our Word For It
One thing is saying we’ve seen great results, another is actually showing it. In this last section, I pass the baton to our customers.
If you’re a video person, take a look at this 5-minute chat we had with Christie Horsman, VP of Marketing at Thinkific, where she delved into key results her team achieved after starting using Breadcrumbs for lead scoring.
If you’re more of a reading person, our case studies offer in-depth analysis of success stories when using Breadcrumbs.