Lead Scoring Revisited…or at Least Reiterated

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One of the areas that I’ve spent a lot of time focusing over the past six months is lead scoring. Specifically, multidimensional lead scoring. I’ve written about it here before, and my white paper is still available on the Bulldog Solutions web site. We shot a 10-minute video white paper a few weeks ago, which should be available soon. The slides I talk to in that are available below courtesy of slideshare.net.

And, just yesterday, Laura Ramos posted a topic diving into lead scoring over on the Forrester Interactive Marketing blog.

All this is to say that the topic remains very much on the top of my mind. And, as is no great surprise, I’ve got additional thoughts that I’m still working out on the subject — mostly driven by our experiences putting multidimensional lead scoring into practice at Bulldog Solutions. I expect I’ll be working through some of these over on the Bulldog blog in the coming weeks. But, I thought I’d start here to at least get a little bit of a list going.

To start with, we haven’t uncovered anything that invalidates any of the concepts in the white paper. Quite the contrary, actually. It has been very well received by everyone to whom it has been presented and has sparked some interesting conversations. And, as we’ve put it into practice, it’s holding up to be as viable an approach as we expected.

The two areas that I’m most looking to flesh out my thinking are as follows:

  • The Buying Cycle Dimension — Partly because the paper itself was getting to be darn long, and partly because we were not yet in the process of implementing a third dimension, the paper only briefly speaks to the “buying cycle position” dimension of lead scoring. The paper was initially titled “2-D” lead scoring rather than “Multidimensional” lead scoring, and our CMO pointed out that this was overly limiting — we were only implementing two dimensions at the time, but we knew there were others that we would be moving on to. Specifically, he was referring to the buying cycle position. This is a bit dicey to work out, but it’s a straightforward concept: a lead who is checking out detailed product specifications and pricing on your web site is likely much closer to making a purchase decisions than a lead who is simply reading white papers or analyst articles on a topic.
  • Multiple Offering Types — this was flat out an oversight on my part, largely due to the fact that I’m at a startup that does not yet have a wildly extensive set of offerings. But, in my prior life, this issue very much was at the fore, so missing it was definitely a whiff. The issue is that one lead may be highly qualified for one type of offer but very much not qualified for another offer. In our case, we have offerings where the economic buyer is a marketing executive. We have other offerings where the economic buyer is a marketing manager. The marketing executive is actually not a qualified lead when it comes to some offerings. And vice versa. So, how does this get handled with the lead scoring? I think that this situation is an indication that you may have multiple profile scores — one for each broad offer type. I don’t think the engagement score changes from offer to offer — this is a measure of engagement with the company / the brand and is offering-independent. And, I don’t think the buying cycle position will differ, either. But, I’m still working this out. We’re testing it out manually with some upcoming activities.

One of the benefits of multidimensional lead scoring is that it does make it manageable to add additional nuances and complexity over time. And, while the lead scoring is primarily a lead qualification mechanism, it serves other purposes: it’s one factor in segmenting your database for different nurturing programs (or content within the nurturing programs) — based on what quadrant in the multidimensional matrix the lead falls in; and, it can be used for lead routing — again, based on what quadrant in the lead matrix the lead is in may dictate whether the lead is routed to an inside sales organization or directly to another organization within Sales.

As always, let me know if you disagree or can add color from your own experiences.

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