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Fresh Cuts

  • Writer's pictureDrew Donaldson

Lead Score Modeling for People Who Hate Baseball

I hate baseball season, not so much the game itself (warm sunny day,

Baseball glove
If you don't know every player's RBI, the last fifty years of home run records, and have the infield fly rule tattooed on some part of your body. You cannot possibly consider yourself a baseball fan.

fresh-cut grass, cold beer...What's not to love!) but the stat-obsessed fandom that surrounds baseball.

Most sports have a fandom that ranges from the casual fan to the hardcore loyal. Baseball fandom, however, appears on a binary. Ether, you're are a walking baseball stat database, able to quote near-endless facts and figures or a closet fan like myself, who are really just there for the ballpark frank and free mini bat giveaway.

I feel like Lead Score modeling (LSM) gets the same rap. No one will say they outright hate LSM. Everyone knows it's important and that they should probably know more about it. But at the same time, I don't imagine many after-dinner conversations start with "Talk to me about your companies LSM."

Why it's Hard to Talk About Lead Score Modeling

I'm convinced the reason we as marketers and business owners don't talk about this topic in more detail and more often (beyond a few bullet points in the leadership team's conference season deck.) is because we've created our own binary in our discussions around LSM.

Those who understand what LSM is and those who understand how LSM works.

Most business owners, regardless of technical acumen, can understand the basics of an LSM. They know which of their customers are the money makers and what qualities all good prospects share. But as soon as you dive into the strategy or technical analysis, eyes glass over, and sweet Caroline starts playing in the space between their ears.

Cream of Tartar
Cream of Tartar: Don't leave home without it

Let's face it, as marketers, we make this whole process seem incredibly tedious and way too technical. We're the baseball nerds who won't stop quoting the last fifty years of pitching line ups to a less than enthused audience.

LSM has the same brand viability as cream of tarter. No one cares what it is, they just know that Mom's cookies recipe calls for it and that we absolutely can't be out of it I know I bought a jar of it last month.

So let's start fresh and agree to both a simple explanation and calculation.

The Calculation:

To start, let's replace the term lead score with the more descriptive "Prospect points." (leadership loves alliteration).

Next, let's give ourselves some baseline values for our core engagement activities.

  1. If a prospect responds to cold outreach + 1

  2. If a prospect downloads gated content + 2

  3. If a prospect books a phone meeting + 3

  4. If a prospect reaches out based on a referral + 4

  5. If the customer reaches out with a proposal and intention to hire +5

Now our calculation will be simple for every action a prospect takes, we're going to add the points associated with that action.

And you're done! LSM has been rebranded to Prospect Points, and all the math has been reduced to elementary level arithmetic. You're welcome.

Wait, were you expecting more?

Complicated Knobs

See, this exactly why no one wants to talk about this topic; as soon as we try to simplify it, some knob goes and tries to make it complicated again.


If we're honest with each other, the implementation is where most organizations struggle. Depending on the martech stack, your scoring could be occurring manually in a google doc or somewhere in the bowels of the oracle headquarters right next to Larry Ellison's catamaran collection.

If you hired me as your strategist tomorrow (which you can click here!), the first thing I'd try to find out is where your model is located and who has the levers to manipulate it. I would suggest you do the same within your organization. Start by looking at your CRM and marketing automation platforms. Nine times out of ten, your model or at least modeling capabilities will be built into one of these platforms.

Next, schedule an exploratory call with the platform(s) and ask four simple questions

  1. Does our current plan include the ability to create lead score models?

  2. If so, can you please show me how to access and use that feature in my instance?

  3. What automated calculations can the model perform?

  4. Are their native integrations that will let me import my (webinar/social media/ video) platform data into my model?

Now that last two questions sound more complicated than they actually are. First, you would ideally want lead scoring to happen automatically based on your prospect's behavior. Whether or not your prospects open and email register for an event etc.

Unless you are running a micro-business with only a handful of prospects, regularly scoring leads by hand could take you hours, if not days, to complete, only to have to start the process over again as soon as you finish.

Instead, you want to make the computer do the tracking and math for you.

Second, Having a native integration of your various marketing tools inside your CRM or Marketing automation tool is a huge time saver and can allow unfettered access to powerful data sources as you continue to optimize your model.

For example, Integrating third-party data from a webinar provider can help you separate the tire kickers from those with a sincere interest in your product or service. Look for engagement in the Q&A, resource downloads, and shares or playback of the on-demand event.

Side note on APIs

Use API's
Don't use the API unless you have to

As someone who has developed custom API calls and platform integrations, I can promise you that an open API is not comparable to plug-and-play native integration. It's the equivalent of ordering a five-course dinner at your favorite restaurant versus cooking the entire meal at home. Is it possible? Sure! Will you actually do it?...probably not.

In Conclusion...

To put a bow on your new model and help you explain it to your boss.

"For every action our prospects take (reading an email, visiting our site, etc.), we award them "prospect points."
Once a prospect has enough points, marketing passes the prospect's file to sales, who performs one final check on their viability before reaching out to the prospect and attempting to make a sale. If we do all our calculations right, our sales team has to spend less time cold calling and more time closing sales. That's why I need the ______ As well as a (raise/ increased budget) of $____ , and _____. Otherwise sales is going to suffer, and those guys really need a break."

--✂️--- Cut out the above to create a fun LSM wallet card ---✂️---

See, that's not so complicated.

At Gro•Haus, we live to make life easier for marketers and business owners. If we can simplify something as complex as lead score modeling, imagine what we could simplify for your business. Book a free strategy session today, and we'll award you ten whole prospect points of your own!


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