What Is Lead Scoring and How You Can Do It In GTM

Lead scoring is an imperfect science, and one that will depend on where and who you work with. To “score” a lead means to assign it some value that can be used for evaluation of the lead’s quality later. For example, you could qualify or score a lead based on the lead’s budget. If you are a design agency whose projects typically cost $5K-$10K and the client has a budget of over $10k, then that would be a great lead, while if they had less than $1k, they wouldn’t be able to afford to work with you, and it would be a bad lead. You could also evaluate the lead based on the lead’s title. For example, if you’ve determined that leads close at a higher rate if you’re dealing with a VP or C-Level executive, you could score the lead based on who submitted it. If it’s a VP of Sales, then it’s a Hot lead, while a Junior Analyst might be a Cold lead.

Lead scoring is hard because every business is different and there are no industry standards to score your leads against; you have to use your own in-house data and experience to determine what is a Cold, Warm, or Hot (or Bad, Medium, or Good, or whatever other scoring rubric you’d like to use) lead. Before you start scoring leads, talk to as many people on your sales team as you can to determine what makes a lead Hot or Cold, and what information they use to qualify leads. This type of intel is what will help you decide which metrics to use to score a lead.

With that in mind, if you have the data and can qualify your past leads by a particular characteristic of that lead, then you can significantly improve your analysis of your leads using Google Tag Manager (GTM)  and Google Analytics.

Why Is Lead Scoring Important?

Scoring leads can help your sales team save time, while also empowering the marketing channels that are producing leads.

Your sales team knows that saving time means they can vet more leads, build more relationships, and hopefully close more deals. Scoring leads before even contacting the client can save your team a lot of time. By scoring your leads as they come in before you even see them, you can filter out leads that will mostly like go nowhere. Leads that aren’t deemed Hot and are less likely to close can be moved down the contact que so that leads who are more likely to convert are contact quicker. All leads, if they appear to be genuine, should be contact regardless of their Hot, Warm, or Cold status. Those Cold leads might become Hot one day and we want to maintain a good relationship with any lead. In many cases, you might already be collecting this information in your lead capture form. Do you ask for the lead’s title? A budget? The number of employees at their company? Any one of these inputs could become a lead scoring qualifier—you could even combine them.

Let’s say, we know leads from SVP-level titles usually close at a higher rate for a number of reasons:

  • They have the power to make a decision with very little oversight above them
  • They know what budgets they’re working with
  • They have a clear view of goals
  • They have a team who can help manage the new product
  • Etc.

Knowing your lead came from an SVP can allow you to move it up the queue and get in touch with that lead ASAP.

Now, how does lead scoring help your marketing team? There is always ambiguity over where a lead came from. Was it a paid ad? A traditional ad? SEO? TV? Radio? It could be one or any combination of these.

Lead scoring won’t necessarily help you sort out your attribution issues, but it can help you demonstrate which sources and mediums produce the highest quality leads based on your qualifiers.

Let’s say we’ve set up lead scoring based on the Title of the lead. In Google Analytics, we can drill down to see how many high-quality leads came from each channel in addition to where the lower-quality leads are coming from. If we find that PPC produces 5x the number of high-quality leads that SEO does, then we can invest more in PPC and figure out why SEO is not producing high-quality visitors. Without lead scoring, we might be under the impression that both PPC and SEO produce the same number of leads, completely ignoring the quality of those leads.

Use lead scoring as another way to justify your spend, whether that is time, money, or resources. If a channel isn’t producing high-quality leads figure out why or move on.

How to Score Leads in Google Tag Manager

To score our leads, we will take input from our lead form, compare that value to a baseline for lead quality, and then fire an event based on those qualifications.

Here is the premise for our example:

We run a company that sells software to real estate agents that helps them manage their properties. We want to use lead scoring to attribute leads to different marketing channels and adjust our marketing spend based on this data.

Our lead form asks for the following information from our visitor:

  • Visitor’s name
  • Email address
  • How many properties do you manage

We found that agents that manage more than 100 properties are more likely to use our software than those with fewer than 100. Because of this, when a visitor fills in a value of more than 100 in the “Number of Properties, You Manage” field we will fire a “Hot Lead” event. If it is between 99 and above 30 this is a Warm lead, and anything below 30 is Cold, meaning they likely won’t buy our product.

Let’s look at each step to set this up.

Creating Our Variable

Our first order of business is to create a variable in GTM that can store the value the visitor enters into our How Many Properties Do You Manage? Field. To do that let’s head to the GTM container for our site.

In the left-hand column choose Variables.

Scroll down the page until you find User-Defined Variables and then click New.

Name the Variable “Number of Properties” and choose Custom Javascript as the Variable Type.

In the Custom Javascript field, we’ll need to write some Javascript to get the element entered into the field and pass that along to the Datalayer.

In our case, we’re going to use the document.getElementsByName method to get our form field with the name “numProperties”.

Our code will look like this:

This code looks at the name of our form field (“numProperties”) and extracts the value and returns it to our function. Depending on your site’s configuration your Custom Javascript will be different, but the idea is the same: get the value or a field and store it in the Datalayer for use later.

Here is how that looks if we set it up in the Chrome Dev Console:

User enters “200”

Our Custom Javascript pulls out the “200”

We now have our Variable which our Tag and Trigger will use to determine what to fire and when. Save the variable as Number of Properties. Whatever value is entered into the “Number of Properties You Manage” field will be stored in our Number of Properties variable moving forward.

We should note that this test above just verifies that we have the right code to pull the value we want. To fully test whether this code works on its own and in conjunction with our GTM Tags and Triggers, the entire process below will need to be completed and then a form will need to be submitted to verify everything is working together and showing in Google Analytics.

Creating the Tag

Our Tag will be simple; we’ll need to create three of them, but they are all similar. Here is what our Tags should look like:

We’re going to create three of these tags, each slightly different. This first tag is for Cold leads or leads with less than 30 properties. If the Variable value in our previous step is less than 30, this tag will fire.

Warm Leads Tag

Hot Leads Tag

Save all these Tags with no Trigger yet.

Creating Our Triggers

This where the whole system gets going; this is where we leverage that variable we captured and use it to fire our various tags.

Our Trigger logic will work like:

IF Number of Properties variable is LESS THAN OR EQUAL to 30 THEN fire Lead Form – Cold

IF Number of Properties variable is GREATER THAN 31 && LESS THAN 100 THEN fire Lead Form – Warm

IF Number of Properties variable is GREATER THAN 100 THEN fire Lead Form – Hot

We’re also adding in the condition that this only applies to forms on the Homepage or Page Path that Equals “/”. This isn’t entirely required and will be dependent on where your forms live on your site. If you have a form that is sitewide, then you would want this tag to fire on all pages. In our case, we only have the form on the homepage, or “/” page path.

Here is how these tags are configured:

When a Tag, Trigger, and Variable are put together our completed tag looks like this:

What Happens Now

When a visitor goes to our form and fills in the “How Many Properties Do You Manage?” field and then submits the form, GTM will evaluate the value in the field and either fire a Cold, Warm, or Hot lead form event to Google Analytics.

In Google Analytics, we can then drill down to see how many leads we collected in total or drilldown to see how many Cold, Warm, and Hot leads we’ve gotten. We can then use this data to evaluate the content targeting of the page, the fields in the form, and any other element that might affect the types of leads we get for the positive.

Trying It Out

If we go to our form and enter 73 in the “How Many Properties Do You Manage” field we can see that our “Warm” tag fires

Here is the value that GTM is using to evaluate this:

In Google Analytics this data appears like this:

Then, if you drill down a bit further, you can see what kind of lead it was:

Now we can see how many Hot, Warm, and Cold leads each marketing channel produces, and then we can re-evaluate our marketing plans accordingly.

Beyond This

This will get you started with lead scoring in GTM, but you will need to use your own data, experience, and resources to figure out the perfect mix of data for your own purposes. Make sure to allow enough time for leads to convert after implementing lead scoring; if visitors to your site typically make multiple visits over a period of weeks or months before converting, you’ll want to hold off on making decisions based on this data until you’ve allowed enough time for scored leads to come in.

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