Scoring is a method of assigning numbers to one or more marketing automation actions or behaviors taken by a prospect or customer. With scoring, you can quantify varying levels of engagement with your marketing automation programs.

A score — the actual number you choose to assign — is both a data point and a field in your database. Any field in your database can have an associated score by assigning a number based on the data in the field. You can also use scores to trigger future automations in response to an action or behavior that pushes the score over a certain threshold.

You can use scoring for lead qualification, segmentation, cold leads identification, and much more. Scoring leads based on their interactions allows you to measure their interest and sales readiness.

Scoring models should start as very basic and grow more elaborate over time. It is critical not to start with a larger scoring model. To begin, you need to understand the following terms:

• Percentage of sales readiness: This is a percentage estimating how close a prospect is to a buying decision. For example, if a prospect is 50 percent sales ready, he is halfway to a buying decision.

• Sales-ready score: This is a number you choose to determine when someone is 100 percent sales ready. Many people suggest just using 100 for this number. The number will change based on your lead-scoring model if you have one in place already.

The easy way is best, and 100 allows for quick, clean math. For example, when someone reaches a score of 100, she is 100 percent sales ready and ready to be passed along to sales.

To create your scoring model, you also need to have the following in hand:

• A spreadsheet with three columns

• One hour of your best salesperson’s time

Use your spreadsheet to list all your assets. The first column is for the name of the asset, the second column, the stage of the asset, and the third column, the score of the asset.

To create a score for each action, get help from your best salesperson, because that person is the best judge of which actions deserve which scores. Follow these two steps:

1. Ask your salesperson, “If a person took only this action, how sales ready would this person be?”

Ask for this number as a percentage. Then multiply the percentage by your sales-ready score to determine the score for your action. For example, if your sales rep thinks that reading a white paper amounts to a prospect who is 30 percent sales-ready, and your sales-ready score is 100, then your score for the white paper is 30, because 30% x 100 = 30.

2. Give the asset a score.

Give the asset the score from Step 1 and record it in your spreadsheet. Keep in mind that you will need this spreadsheet to manage your scoring model in the future, so keep it handy.