Industrial Manufacturing Marketing Agency | Windmill Strategy

How To Use Lead Scoring Data to Inform Your Paid Media Strategy

A sound B2B lead scoring strategy provides data you can use to refine your paid media campaigns and make them more effective in attracting your ideal customers.

Berit Hansen
Written by Berit Hansen

Connecting lead scoring data with paid media analytics can be the secret to creating efficiencies within your campaigns that drive increased lead quality and quantity. A well-defined lead scoring process also helps align sales and marketing teams for more productive collaboration.

The Importance of Lead Scoring

What is Lead Scoring & Why Should You Be Using It?

Lead scoring is a strategic process of ranking leads or prospects based on how valuable they are to the organization. At Windmill Strategy, we use lead scoring in our own marketing, and we recommend it to our B2B marketing clients.

Google Ads tends to view any conversion as an equal success, but—let’s be honest—not every website conversion is equally valuable to your business. To be strategic about your ad spend, and to work toward continuous improvement of your overall marketing efforts, it’s important to establish a lead scoring practice and assign a value, or a lead score, to every lead that comes through your website. Once you have a process established, lead scoring is simple to implement, and it’s critical to helping prioritize sales efforts and to continuously honing marketing effectiveness.

When determining what makes a lead good, bad, or somewhere in-between, the most important factors are usually those related to your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), such as company size or industry, as well as the type of project or engagement that is being requested. Many organizations also use engagement metrics (downloading a whitepaper, attending a webinar) to programmatically calculate a lead score within a marketing automation tool, but for the sake of this article, we’ll stick to desirability to the company as the primary marker for evaluating leads.

Why Should B2B Companies Use Lead Scoring?

Improved Sales Efficiency

Lead scoring allows sales teams to focus their efforts on leads that are more likely to convert. This prioritization ensures that your resources are used efficiently, leading to higher conversion rates and shorter sales cycles.

Increased Marketing Effectiveness

Understanding which leads are most valuable also helps your marketing team tailor their efforts more precisely. Campaigns can be optimized for high-value leads with highly specific keywords and ads, while campaigns or keywords that appear to be attracting lower quality leads can be de-emphasized or discontinued.

Content generation efforts can be focused around topics that answer the questions of your highest value prospects, based on patterns seen on other pages throughout the website and the types of leads that convert from specific landing pages.

Better Sales & Marketing Alignment

Lead scoring fosters better collaboration between sales and marketing teams. In many instances, we hear from marketing teams that their sales teams won’t take leads from the website seriously—often because of the overall volume of poor-quality leads that their website has historically attracted. When sales and marketing create a shared definition of what constitutes a high quality lead, both teams can work together more cohesively, ensuring a smoother handoff and a more integrated approach to attracting, engaging, and converting the highest-value prospects. Website leads of a higher quality are better for both the sales team and the marketing team.

Increased ROI

By focusing efforts on attracting, engaging, and converting the leads with the highest value, your overall marketing return on investment (ROI) improves. You can minimize efforts that tend to produce lower value leads and concentrate on resources and tactics more likely to bring in revenue.

How to Lead Score

In order to get started with lead scoring, it’s important to start with a solid definition of your ICP. What are the characteristics of your ideal customers and the companies that tend to be the best long-term fit? Which of your products, services, or engagements would your company benefit the most from selling more of? Are there specific job titles that you prefer to work with or that are more likely to close and/or result in quality work?

The goal is to hone in on the types of companies and inquiries that share some or all of the following characteristics:

  • High lifetime customer value
  • Deliver a significant and sustainable revenue stream
  • Produce strong profits
  • Help you strategically grow
  • Are easiest or most likely to close

We always recommend that you integrate your CRM with your website, so that leads that convert on your website forms can be automatically entered into the CRM. When working within the CRM, a field can simply be created to house a numeric value; we recommend a 0-5 scale. If you’re not using a CRM, whatever tool you’re using to keep track of inquiries and leads can be modified to house an additional numerical value. Some of our clients review leads monthly and assign a lead score in a meeting. Use whatever method is easiest to integrate into your process, so that once a lead is received, either the marketing or sales team can easily assign a value based on a clear rubric.

Every company’s rubric will be slightly different, but here’s a basic starting point:

Value Rubric

For industries with long sales cycles, as nearly all of our clients have, lead scoring becomes even more important. If a deal can take three years to close, that’s a long time to wait for data about which campaigns or tactics were effective. By instead looking at lead quality as a leading indicator—assessing the leads based on desirability and likelihood to close—you can create a feedback loop that produces data that can be acted upon within months, based on the volume of conversions.

Using Lead Scoring Data to Inform B2B Paid Marketing Tactics

Analyze the Data

Once your sales team has a lead scoring rubric of their own and gets into the practice of using it consistently, lead quality data can be fed back to your marketing team to inform their efforts. Passing back information from your sales department to your marketing team on sources of high or low quality leads allows marketing strategies to be optimized for the right kinds of leads. This practice is specifically helpful for paid advertising. With source, campaign, keyword, and the lead score all pulling in from your CRM, paid media specialists can drill down to specific ads and keywords that tend to attract different kinds of search queries and leads. This data allows your marketers to tailor future campaign endeavors to attract higher quality leads.

Segment & Graph Your Data

The best way to analyze lead scores in an easily digestible manner is to segment each score, on a scale of 0 to 5, by commonalities. Whether you’re looking at campaigns or keywords, focus your efforts by honing in on individual pieces of the puzzle to find trends.

Let’s walk through an example. The marketing team can start by breaking your data up by lead score per campaign. For each campaign you’re running, see how many counts of each lead score come from that campaign during, say, a 6-month period. What patterns do you notice? Is your Semiconductor campaign more often than not providing lead qualities of 4-5 while your Medical Device campaign averages more 1-2 quality leads? Here’s a graph of some of our own marketing campaigns, created in Hubspot. Campaigns run along the X-axis, while the lead scores stack up by color in each bar.

To take it a step further, do the same exercise as above with your keywords. Do you notice any keywords that are consistently driving spam leads? Any that seem to resonate with the right users? Graphing out this data can help you spot trends between different campaign types much more easily. Here’s a graph that shows quality scores along the X-axis, with keywords associated with each score stacked up by color in each bar. (Note that the complete keyword legend is not visible in this graphic.)

Put Your Analysis into Action

When patterns have been found in your data, your marketing team can put this analysis into practice. Once they know which keywords and campaigns drive poorer-fit leads, they can pause them and start running research around other keywords, ads, and content that may resonate more with your audience, or perhaps determine different products or services to promote.

On the flip side, if your marketing team can identify the keywords and campaigns that are driving higher quality leads, they can put more budget and effort behind these to continue moving forward in the right direction. Knowing where marketing may be wasting budget and time within your efforts is invaluable to shoring up your marketing strategy to increase ROI. By integrating the lead scoring methodology into your marketing efforts, you can use your data to create a plan that attracts your right audience at the right time and the right cost.


Using lead scoring data to inform your B2B paid media strategy will help bring in higher quality leads and allow you to back off on tactics that bring in undesirable or so-so leads. Having a shared understanding of what constitutes a good or bad lead helps your sales and marketing teams work together more cohesively and ensures that more good leads come from your website and digital marketing efforts.

Need help making sense of lead scoring data?