Recruiting the right type of members into your group is imperative to a cultivating a healthy and sustainable association. You want to attract individuals that align with your evolving values and stay with your association for the long run. It can be tough to predict if a prospect is right for your group if you’re not qualifying them at the start. To learn more about your prospects, how they’d fit into your association, and empower your team with actionable data, we advise lead scoring.

How to Use Lead Scoring to Qualify Prospects

One way to qualify a prospective member is by using lead scoring. Lead scoring “and grading is a custom blend of behavioral (implicit criteria) and demographic (explicit criteria) that shows the leads most likely to close,” (ArcStone).

Behavioral Criteria

The behavioral criteria is any interaction a prospective member has with your association online (or offline in some cases). This could be:

  • Number of page views
  • Pages per session
  • Engagement with your content – downloads, clicks
  • Form submissions – event registration, contact form, newsletter opt-in, donations, etc.
  • Emails
  • Social Share

Determine what criteria above is most vital to a good lead and what’s not so important. Give each action a number or score. Actions like event attendance or donations will have a higher score, whereas page views or clicks may have a lower grade number. Set up a grade sheet and use it to evaluate incoming prospects.

Here’s an example grade scale where 5 indicates a high-quality lead, and 1 represents a poor quality lead. Poor quality doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not worth pursuing further down the road, they’re just not ready at that moment.

Lead Scoring Points – Behavioral

Submitting Contact Form – 2
Registering For Event – 3
Downloading Content – 1
Donation – 4
Email to Admin – 3
Opt-In to Newsletter – 1

Keep in mind that a prospect’s lead score can also decrease based on their actions. If they unsubscribe from your newsletter, that (+) 1 turns into a (-) 1.

Demographic Criteria

Before we work through an example together, we need to set the same values for demographic criteria as well. Demographic grading criteria usually align with your ideal member persona. If you’re not sure what the ideal member type is for your association, check out this article first >> 7 Simple Steps to Create Member Personas

A few of the common demographic variables are:

  • Job Title / Position
  • Industry
  • Location
  • Company
  • Career Interests
  • Digital Habits

These variables in combination with behavioral signals help the membership director / recruiter and internal marketing staff better direct their efforts. Perhaps a new lead has checked all the boxes when it comes to demographic variables but has a low score on the behavioral scale. The marketing team then knows it’s their turn to swoop in with more deliverables and ways for prospects to interact.

How To Grade a Lead

Now that we’ve got our explicit and implicit variables, let’s walk through an example together. This fictitious score sheet is for the Association of Certified Accountants located in Minneapolis, MN. The association wants to bolster their networking options for prospective members by attracting high-level executives to mentor newer professionals. They’d also like to ensure these executives are local and can participate in physical meetings.


Job Title: COO at Financail Investments, Inc. +5

Years of Experience: 10  +5

Location: Minnesota   +5

Industry: Finance, Accounting  +5


Subscribed to Newsletter  +1

Attended Prospective Networking Event  +4

Downloaded Whitepaper  +2




Job Title: Student -1

Years of Experience: 0 -1

Location: North Dakota   -5

Industry: Finance, Accounting  +5


Subscribed to Newsletter  +1

Submitted Contact Form  +2

Downloaded Whitepaper  +2

LEAD SCORE = 10 (-7) = 3

After analyzing both lead score sheets, it’s easy to see that the membership director should focus their efforts on lead #1. While this example may be somewhat simple, using lead scoring can help direct overall marketing efforts and gives the sales team reason pursue particular candidates.

If you’re having troubles generating a sustainable amount of prospective members, check out our many articles on Growing Your Membership.