How to Use Lead Scoring to Optimize Lead Generation
I began my career in B2B sales, and my first CRM was a little plastic box full of index cards of customers and prospects. On top of our outbound calls to at least 100 people per day, we were expected to engage with at least 15 existing customers or prospects by emailing or by sending them a handwritten letter or fax. I was the marketing automation, and it was up to me to hustle and learn as much as I could about the prospect before attempting to engage.
Thank goodness for today’s marketing automation platforms. As an industry that started with Unica back in 1992, marketing automation connects brands to targets by sending tens of millions of personalized emails, text messages, direct mail and social engagements to their users based on interactions.
However, all of those engagements create a firehose of data by pulling together three different technology platforms.
- Web Analytics: We know what content our customers and prospects are engaging with
- Email/SMS/Social Engagement: We can communicate one-on-one
- Digital Assessment Management: We have a library of content to share
Every business needs to maximize ROI. To do this, they need to leverage all of the data points at their disposal and shift the focus toward acquiring, retaining and growing high-value accounts. This strategy requires a partnership between marketing and sales, and will help companies find, engage, close and grow accounts that matter.
Optimized Lead Gen
For marketing and sales to partner effectively, targeting accounts at the right stage of the buying funnel and delivering focused and personalized programs, messages and content are crucial in maximizing velocity through the funnel whether that be to an initial sale, cross-sale or upsell, renewal of a contract or even advocacy.
There are three key parts of an advanced lead scoring methodology that will help to deliver against those objectives.
Data and Scoring: Big Data
Using multiple sources of online and offline customer engagement data (including email opens/clicks, display media views, online and social interactions, whitepaper downloads, events, webinars), a marketer can build up a clear picture of where exactly an account sits in the buyer funnel and design outbound contact strategies to best fit. This data enables marketers to be laser-focused with marketing efforts to enable effective lead handling and improved conversion by sales teams.
By integrating recency and frequency data, first-party transactional data, buyer power scoring and so on, marketers have a powerful tool to drive next-best touch decisions. Layering known persona data into the engagement strategy also allows for more tailored and relevant information. Knowledge of who plays what role in the decision-making unit (DMU) allows marketers to further refine communications with creative tailored to the needs of the customer.
Vincent Hontebeyrie of the Dell EMC marketing ops team commented: “Bringing together big data from multiple online and offline sources allows us to generate a deep understanding of customers’ current stage in the buying cycle. We use this to support the orchestration of our contact strategy enabling sales teams to communicate with our customers and prospects with messages that are relevant, timely and through the right channel.”
Data and Scoring: Scoring Using Advanced Analytics and Business Rules
Using big data to fuel advanced analytical models combined with business rules accounts can be scored using multiple factors and allocated into journey stages. Scoring could include the importance of the behavior/engagement event data, combined with frequency and recency levels.
Scoring cutoffs can be set allowing accounts to enter, stay or leave a specific segment. As the customer data is refreshed with new data, the scores are refreshed and an account either stays where it is or moves to another funnel, depending on the behaviors shown.
Once allocated to a journey stage, accounts are then treated in the best way to maximize velocity through the journey funnel. The communication, channel and timing are all optimized to be as relevant as possible to the contact at that moment in time with the right message, right timing and right vehicle.
Measurement and Insights
Treatments in this way can show clear uplift in the number of leads converted and the efficiency by which pipeline is created — using advanced analytics to score leads can drive greater return on marketing spend.
Various iterations, tests and pilots with close analysis of performance allow programs, treatments and performance to be optimized.
Advanced lead scoring using methods and practices can drive ROI by leveraging all of the data points to acquire, retain and grow high-value accounts by;
- Deep Understanding of Customer Buyer Journeys; crucially where customers and prospects are in the cycle
- Decision Making Unit (DMU); understand the group making a decision and what they are each individually focused on
- Driving Engagement; right message, right timing, right vehicle
- Get the Modelling Right; ensuring engagement is accurately mapped to sales stages to allow accurate messaging and engagement
- Content; invest in personalized content … without it accurate targeting will not build relevancy and engagement
Related story: Analyze, Report, Repeat: Track This, B2B Marketers