Difference between Lead Qualifications and Score

Lead Qualification

Lead qualification is the process of determining whether a prospect fits your ideal customer profile, has a high chance of becoming your customer, and most importantly has a higher probability of being a successful long-term customer.


Lead qualification helps you cut through the clutter of leads or contacts that have made their way into your database through some mechanism. It helps you segment your pool of leads into three broad categories :


  1. Invalid leads - The leads which were directly disqualified by the Lead Qualification team.
  2. Not interested leads - The leads which aren’t ready to buy yet, so are given back to the marketing team for nurturing.
  3. Interested leads - The leads which are sales-ready, so they are directly given to the sales team for closing the deal.


Lead Scoring

Lead scoring is the process of ranking leads in order to identify which leads are ready to move to sales and which leads require further nurturing. So you would assign a score to each lead based on various attributes, including the interest they show in your business, and their current place in the buying cycle.


Lead scoring helps sales and marketing teams prioritize the leads qualified by lead qualification when the number of qualified leads outnumbers the resources available in your sales and marketing. Remember, you’re scoring leads based on how likely they are to convert into paying customers, so the points you assign to each behavior should reflect that.


Lead qualification and lead scoring might still appear similar but let me show you how these two processes differ functionally using an example :


A company provides information security software and consulting, the company has a lot of leads, but its sales team needs to figure out who's really interested in their product and who's just starting to look around. The sales team implements lead qualification along with lead scoring and comes up with a table, as shown below :


Lead Qualification Criteria

Qualification Questions

Resulting Lead Score


As far as I understand, your current security system does not suit your goals. Have you already determined other challenges that need to be addressed? Have you determined the system requirements?

If I understand you correctly, you do not use any network security software currently?

Have you already formulated the functional requirements? Do you have some RFP or can I send you a questionnaire?

5 points – strong need and product requirements are defined

4 points – moderate need and most requirements are defined

3 points – weak need and some requirements are defined

2 points – weak need and no requirements are defined

1 point – no need


Previously, have you already considered such solutions?

What products and features were of interest?

Have you addressed a similar challenge before?

What is your priority for the functionality of such solutions?

5 points – strong interest

4 points – moderate interest

3 points – neutral position

2 points – skeptical

1 point – prefers another supplier

Decision timeframe

What do you think is, potentially, in case our meeting goes well and you think the functionality of the product suits you, the timeframe in your company for making such purchases?

If there is interest after the meeting, tell me, please, how does the purchase authorization process in your company usually go?

How long does the process usually take?

5 points – 3 months and wants to meet with the provider as soon as possible

4 points – 6 months and ready to meet in the next month

3 points – 12 months and ready to meet the next 3 months

2 points – more than 12 months

1 point – no defined timeframe exists


Can I ask you if there is any defined budget for the project?

If there might be a demand for this service, have you previously allocated a specific budget for it?

Haven’t you considered such a project before and fixed budget frames?

I am asking this in order to prepare the best proposal in terms of functionality.

5 points – budget is approved

4 points – budget is expected to be approved

3 points – budget is negotiated

2 points – need to ask for a budget and a possibility of its allocation is quite fair

1 point – no budget at least for the next 12 months

Authority role

Tell me, please, in case of success, how is further confirmation usually conducted? Do I understand correctly that you prepare a proposal for your colleagues? Who else is involved in this decision-making process?

Tell me, please, will anyone else attend the meeting or participate in future cooperation with our team? Who else will be involved in the decision-making process?

5 points – the main/final approval

4 points – preparation of requirements

3 points – recommendation role

2 points – minor role, advising

1 point – no role


The sales team calculates a lead score for each lead using this table, this allows the team to easily determine the lead quality and they categorize leads as :


  1. Hot lead: 20-25 points
  2. Warm lead: 13-19 points
  3. Cold lead: 7-12 points
  4. Disqualified lead: 5-6 points


Hence lead qualification and lead scoring are two separate processes, but they work together in determining whether a prospect fits your ideal customer profile, and thus segment your leads based on how likely they are to convert into paying customers.