Master HubSpot Lead Scoring: Your Step-by-Step Guide

Bastien Paul
Bastien Paul
March 25, 2024

Streamlining your sales process starts with efficient lead management. HubSpot lead scoring is your ally in this endeavor, ranking leads to ensure you channel resources where they’re most effective. In this article, we demystify the HubSpot lead scoring process and walk you through the necessary steps to implement a system tailored to your sales strategy. Expect insights on setting up criteria, balancing factors, and optimizing lead scores for targeted marketing and sales alignment.

Key Takeaways

  • HubSpot’s lead scoring uses a point-based system to rank leads by combining demographic data with behavioral data, allowing for precise and targeted management of potential customers.
  • Effective lead scoring models in HubSpot require setting up balanced positive and negative scoring criteria, which includes considering explicit demographic info as well as implicit behavioral data along with score degradation techniques.
  • Lead scoring is not just a one-time setup but a continuous process in HubSpot, involving regular reviews and adjustments to criteria, using analytics for optimization, and aligning closely with sales feedback for enhanced accuracy.

Decoding HubSpot Lead Scoring

Illustration of a funnel representing lead scoring process

Lead scoring, at its core, is a prioritization framework. It meticulously ranks leads based on their likelihood to convert into paying customers, ensuring your efforts are targeted where they matter most. It’s like having a crystal ball that gives you a sneak peek into the future potential of each lead. But how does HubSpot fit into this picture?

HubSpot’s lead scoring models use a point-based system that combines demographic data (like job title and company size) and behavioral data (such as interactions with your brand or products). This systematic and quantifiable approach enables a more efficient and targeted management of potential customers, letting you nurture your leads effectively. With a numerical score assigned based on set criteria, HubSpot’s lead scoring allows for a methodical and quantifiable valuation of potential customers.

The Anatomy of a Lead Score

Illustration of positive and negative symbols representing lead scoring points

The magic of lead scoring lies in its ability to evaluate a lead’s potential value using a blend of demographic and behavioral data. By assessing details like industry relevance and decision-making abilities, positive scores are assigned, enhancing our understanding of a lead’s potential value.

However, it’s not just about the positives. Negative scoring also plays a crucial role in this process. Factors such as lack of decision-making authority, invalid contact details, or simple inactivity are assigned negative scores. This approach ensures a balanced evaluation of a lead’s potential, helping you filter out low-probability leads and refine your marketing strategy.

Crafting Your Lead Scoring Model

Illustration of collaboration between sales and marketing teams for lead scoring model

Crafting a robust lead scoring model requires:

  • A comprehensive review of contact properties
  • A deep understanding of parameters that contribute to a lead’s value
  • A collaborative effort between sales and marketing teams.

Setting Up Scoring Criteria

To set up effective scoring criteria, it’s important to consider both explicit demographic data and implicit behavioral data. But don’t forget about negative scoring. It’s essential to account for instances of lead disengagement to ensure a balanced scoring model. In HubSpot, criteria for lead scoring can be set using up to 100 groups of filter criteria, providing versatility for scoring conditions that impact the score.

It’s not just about setting criteria - ensuring the integrity of these criteria is equally crucial. HubSpot allows custom properties to be validated for data quality and configured with unique values or made searchable across the CRM, ensuring the reliability of your scoring criteria. By leveraging analytics and customer feedback, you can define scoring criteria based on empirical foundations.

Adjusting Points for Lead Actions

Assigning positive points for lead actions is a crucial part of lead scoring. Some examples of lead actions that can be assigned positive points include:

  • Visiting your website
  • Downloading gated content
  • Requesting a demo or consultation
  • Lead from LinkedIn ads
  • Attending a webinar or event
  • Engaging with your social media posts

These actions are significant indicators of a lead’s interest and readiness to engage, HubSpot will update the contact property original source according to these events.

But it’s not just about website activity. Social engagement, such as interactions with your brand’s tweets or post shares, can also be factored into lead scoring, use HubSpot tracking url to make sure it's updated. This helps gauge a lead’s alignment and engagement with your brand.

Additionally, high email engagement, particularly with high-value emails, can signal a lead’s potential readiness for further sales engagement.

Balancing Positive and Negative Factors

While positive scoring attributes are crucial, it’s equally important to consider negative scoring. Techniques like score degradation help to avoid inflated scores and filter out leads that become inactive or unfit for your sales pipeline.

Negative points can be assigned to certain undesirable behaviors or attributes, while positive points can be assigned to desirable ones. By considering these positive and negative attributes, this enables you to prioritize leads effectively, even amongst those with similar levels of engagement, by excluding non-prospects and adjusting the threshold of positive actions needed for sales team notification.

This balance between positive and negative scores ensures that leads are prioritized according to your business goals and buyer personas.

Predictive vs. Manual: Choosing Your Scoring Approach

Illustration of a scale weighing predictive and manual lead scoring

When it comes to HubSpot, you have the power of choice - predictive scoring or manual scoring. Predictive lead scoring uses the power of machine learning to analyze data, automating the lead prioritization process, and integrating a variety of data sources to predict the most motivated buyers.

However, predictive scoring isn’t without its limitations. Some drawbacks include:

  • The potential for one-size-fits-all results
  • Lack of industry adaptability
  • The process often remains a ‘black box’ that does not explain how scores are calculated.

On the other hand, manual scoring in HubSpot allows for customizable point assignments based on defined criteria, serving as a configurable alternative to predictive scoring.

Segmenting Leads with Multiple Scores

Segmenting your leads using multiple scores allows for more accurate targeting and prioritization. This can be particularly beneficial when dealing with new audiences, product lines, or different sales approaches like up-selling and cross-selling.

Segmenting can also help route leads to the right sales teams based on buyer fit and interest in specific tools. Different prospects can be held to different scoring requirements based on factors such as:

  • industry
  • company size
  • annual revenue
  • email domain
  • custom properties

Segmenting your audience data based on common themes can refine lead scoring and messaging, particularly for businesses offering multiple products.

Implementing Lead Scoring in HubSpot

Illustration of customizing lead scoring criteria in HubSpot

In HubSpot, you can customize the default HubSpot score contact property and create custom score properties for contacts, companies, and deals, if you have Professional and Enterprise accounts. This customization provides flexibility in optimizing your sales and marketing efforts.

During property creation, you can build scoring criteria directly, providing detailed customization of how scores are calculated. To set criteria for your HubSpot score or custom score property, navigate to Settings > Properties, search for and click on the property name to set criteria that will add or subtract points. You can test these criteria by selecting a contact name and viewing which criteria they met.

HubSpot contact property scoring

All records, including those with existing scores, will be reevaluated when criteria are saved, with scores updated to reflect new criteria. Remember to maintain clear documentation of the lead scoring criteria and any changes made to provide transparency and facilitate ongoing optimization.

Fine-Tuning Your Lead Scoring System

Fine-tuning your lead scoring system is a continuous process. Here are some steps to help you optimize your lead scoring system:

  1. Regularly review and adjust lead scoring criteria to ensure alignment with current business goals and market trends.
  2. Automate the lead scoring process to improve efficiency and accuracy.
  3. Use A/B testing to test different scoring models and identify the most effective criteria.
  4. Implement predefined workflows to streamline the lead qualification process. By following these steps and continuously improving your lead scoring system, you can optimize the qualification of leads and improve the efficiency of your sales process.

Feedback from sales teams and ongoing campaign analytics play a critical role in fine-tuning the lead scoring model, ensuring it aligns with the teams’ experience and market responsiveness. HubSpot’s real-time updating of score properties and reevaluation of all records, including existing scores, supports a model of starting small and scaling with precision.

Utilizing Lead Scores for Marketing Automation

HubSpot’s lead scoring isn’t just about prioritizing leads - it can also be a powerful tool in marketing automation. Here are some ways you can use lead scoring in your marketing automation workflows:

  • Notify the sales team when a lead hits a specific score
  • Send specific content to leads via email once they hit a certain score
  • Trigger specific actions in your marketing automation workflows based on lead scores

HubSpot’s lead scoring models automatically adjust a lead’s score based on specific activities such as form submissions or whitepaper downloads, reflecting the engagement level of the prospect. Furthermore, HubSpot’s lead scoring system facilitates testing of score criteria for contacts, offering a practical view of how scores are calculated prior to implementation. By integrating lead scoring models within your marketing automation strategy in HubSpot, you can reduce points for interactions as they become less recent, helping maintain a focus on the more engaged leads.

Sales Alignment Through Lead Scoring

Aligning your sales team with your marketing efforts can significantly improve your lead scoring system. By establishing feedback loops, you can incorporate insights on lead quality and conversion rates into the adjustment of scoring criteria. Providing comprehensive training to sales teams on the lead scoring process and its use in automating sales prioritization can refine the sales approach and ensure that teams do not overlook quality leads.

Incorporating the sales team’s understanding of the ideal customer profile into manual lead scoring and establishing clear buyer personas enables sales representatives to:

  • target and prioritize the most promising leads effectively
  • establish clear thresholds for the transition from Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) to Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) in the lifecycle stage
  • track lead status to see the progress of your sales
  • maintain consistent communication on these criteria

This can significantly enhance the handoff and qualification of marketing qualified leads, ensuring a smoother transition to working with qualified leads.

Reporting and Analyzing Lead Quality

Reporting and analysis are crucial to comprehending the efficacy of your lead scoring model. HubSpot’s reporting tools allow you to visualize the distribution of leads across different scoring ranges, helping highlight trends in lead quality and the effectiveness of lead scoring attributes.

Evaluating conversion rates of leads with different scores is key to understanding whether the lead scoring system is effectively predicting and improving the quality of leads passed to sales. Continuous analysis and incorporation of long-term trend data related to lead behaviors and conversion rates is essential for making informed adjustments to the lead scoring model.

Feedback from sales teams is crucial for ensuring the lead scoring model reflects real-world interactions and outcomes, allowing for refinement of scoring criteria to better identify high-quality leads.

Enhancing Lead Scoring with External Data

Integrating external data sources can provide a significant boost to your lead scoring metrics. The incorporation of AI into lead scoring processes enhances precision and accuracy by analyzing external data patterns that may be overlooked by traditional methods.

External data sources such as:

  • online behaviors
  • email engagements
  • form submissions
  • social media interactions
  • Use HubSpot tools to enrich your CRM data.

can significantly improve lead scoring metrics. Third-party intent data feeds offer valuable insights into market activity, informing lead scoring, although care must be taken to select credible sources to maintain data integrity.

Lead scores can be enhanced by integrating CRM data and marketing automation platforms with HubSpot using tools like Segment, enabling a more dynamic and automated update of lead prioritization. However, HubSpot’s lead scoring capabilities can be limited when relying only on internal data, calling for the integration of additional customer data to optimize the scoring system.

Overcoming Common Lead Scoring Challenges

Despite its benefits, lead scoring isn’t without its challenges. To overcome limitations in HubSpot’s lead scoring, such as limited data and the use of generic fields, integrating advanced tools like MadKudu can be beneficial.

Automated lead scoring with tools like MadKudu addresses many challenges of manual lead scoring by eliminating much of the manual effort and employing statistical methods to qualify leads. Ethical use of data for lead scoring plays a critical role in maintaining trust with your prospects, ensuring you respect their privacy as you gather insights.

Regularly disqualifying leads that are unlikely to convert helps save time and resources, making lead management more effective.


To sum up, HubSpot’s lead scoring system offers an effective way to prioritize leads, align sales and marketing efforts, fine-tune your lead scoring model, and overcome common lead scoring challenges. Armed with this knowledge, you’re now equipped to leverage HubSpot’s lead scoring system to revolutionize your approach to prospect prioritization. The ball is in your court!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I set up scoring criteria in HubSpot?

To set up scoring criteria in HubSpot, utilize both explicit demographic data and implicit behavioral data. You can also validate custom properties for data quality and configure them with unique values.

Is HubSpot lead score automatically calculated?

Yes, HubSpot lead score is automatically calculated using their proprietary AI-based algorithm, which assesses the potential for a lead to become a customer. No manual editing of lead scoring properties is permitted.

Can you do lead scoring in HubSpot?

Yes, you can do lead scoring in HubSpot by using the "Hubspot Score" property, which allows you to award or deduct points for specific fields in a few clicks, enabling data-backed prioritization and timely follow-ups for closing more deals.

What is the typical lead scoring model?

The typical lead scoring model is based on important customer details and helps to focus on contacts most likely to convert, optimizing marketing efforts.

How lead score is calculated?

Lead score is calculated based on the lead-to-customer conversion rate, which is determined by dividing the number of new customers by the number of leads generated. For instance, if there are 50 customers from 350 leads, the conversion rate is 14%.

Bastien Paul
Bastien Paul
Bastien is the CRO of Hublead. With over 5 years in marketing and sales, using Hubspot, Bastien has written several studies and marketing guides based on data, many of which are well-known in the industry. Bastien likes to question standard marketing and sales beliefs and aims to make things simpler and more efficient.
hubspot linkedin integration with hublead

Connect HubSpot to LinkedIn with Hublead

Try for free