Friday, March 13, 2009

Lead Scoring - Caps and Buckets

The first step of any lead scoring initiative is careful planning of what you want to score and how you want to score it. This is essentially the "question" you are asking that the lead scoring algorithm will be able to answer. For example, understanding who a buyer is vs how interested that buyer is at this moment in time are very different questions. That would require two dimensions of scoring, one for explicit (who) and one for implicit (how interested).

Once you have settled on a dimension to look at, the next thing to think through is the "buckets" of information within that dimension. For example, if we are understanding how interested a person is, we may want to look at whether they responded to email campaigns, whether they attended events and whether they downloaded trial versions of your product.

However, the thing to consider in looking at each of these "buckets" is where to cap the score within each bucket. For example, if viewing a whitepaper is worth 3 points, is viewing 5 whitepapers worth 15 points? Is viewing 10 worth 30? Most times, the answer is no, and setting up the appropriate cap in your lead scoring system allows you to avoid having scores that are non-sensical because of this type of prospect action.

If, instead, you define a maximum score for whitepapers of 10 points, a prospect will not exceed 10 points regardless of how many whitepapers he or she views. Other points would have to come from other activities, giving a more balanced view of prospect interest.

This question is one of 8 critical lead scoring questions to consider when thinking about a lead scoring system.
Many of the topics on this blog are discussed in more detail in my book Digital Body Language
In my day job, I am with Eloqua, the marketing automation software used by the worlds best marketers
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Anonymous said...

I commented on LinkedIn, but I'm also curious as to whether Eloqua outsources some of its own lead generation and sales appointment setting, or is it all handled in-house?

Carlos Vidal said...

Steve - If you are assigning points elsewhere for sequential and unique site visits then I would agree that capping white paper views makes sense. In terms of lead prioritization, you would want to know who is the most active within a large set of "high score" leads to contact them first. Where things can get complicated is in companies that have multiple product offerings and the customer is researching a combined solution. Separate lead scores might make sense if your sales force is aligned by the product sets.

Managing the lead score of an existing customer over time is also an interesting endeavor given they may return to research other product offerings but the individual is not the same due to different department, etc..

Steven Woods said...

great comment, thanks. Shawn Elledge had an interesting point that also ties to yours, that high activity on whitepapers *might* actually be an indication of being very early in the funnel, rather than late, when buyers are more specific.

We're mostly in house, although we've done some for special projects.