Friday, December 5, 2008

Dimensions of Lead Scoring

I get asked very frequently how marketers should think about lead scoring... how do you come up with a rule that scores leads based on "explicit" things like title, industry, and company size, while at the same time counting "implicit" things like what they've done on your website.

The way I see it, you don't. The two don't really mix. One of them, the explicit criteria, is about whether the lead is the right person, in the right role, at the right company at the right company. It measures ability to purchase. It's a key thing to measure, certainly, but it's not the whole picture. You also have to understand whether a buying process is actually happening in that company, and for that person.

The way that's measured is another dimension - intent to purchase. For this, you look at much more implicit information; web activity, searches, repeat visits, deep dives into specifications, response to marketing campaigns, etc. This tells you whether you are looking at a person who is actively considering your solution based on what is happening in their business.

Without looking at both of these dimensions, you're not able to tease out the right prospects for your sale team to focus on. Looking at the four corners of this chart, you can see why, it all comes down to what you'd want to do with each lead type:
  • A1: Great leads; the right buyer and showing a lot of interest. Sales needs to call them right away
  • A3: Right person, wrong time; this is a prospect who is the right role in the right company, but they are showing minimal interest. Calling them aggressively is wasting your time and theirs. They need to be nurtured over time until you see them showing the signs of being truly interested.
  • C1: Not the right person, but excited; lots of interest, but minimal ability to purchase. Perhaps their interest can be leveraged into an introduction to the right people. Or, perhaps they are a student or a job seeker, and will never be a buyer.
  • C3: Not the right person, and not showing interest. There's not much point marketing to these people or trying to call them.

Lead scoring needs to look at both of these dimensions, but trying to merge them into one will always risk confusing the keen student with the mildly interested CEO. Obviously you want to communicate with them very differently, so you need to separate the dimensions you score on in order to differentiate between them.

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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