Here's a quick tool from Marketing Today that will let you play with your anticipated return on campaigns and calculate the potential return on your investment. Be sure to bookmark and pop this up on your browser when your CFO wanders by.
Seems like at every party and professional gathering I attend, someone asks me how to score.
Have you heard of lead scoring yet? Are you doing lead scoring in your organization?
Many folks use a primitive form of lead scoring. That’s assigning the lead an A, B, C ranking based on a set of qualifying criteria. That’s one way to prioritize your leads for the sales force, but it also leads to a lot of unnecessary confusion and, in some cases, conflict. On more than one occasion, I’ve heard sales guys argue, “That wasn’t an A lead. That was a C lead at best.” The reason they may be arguing for that is that many sales people are gaged and judged on their disposition of the A leads in a CRM system. If they don’t follow up on them, it affects their evaluation. It’s much easier to take non-performing A leads and shove them back at marketing and ask for a regrade.
Lead scoring gets rid of those arguments. Instead of A, B, and C grades, leads are scored along a continuum, where individuals who show the most interest are the most qualified and those prospects that show the strongest propensity to buy percolate to the top of the list. A lead score is just a number, but in Eloqua, unlike many other systems, that score is dynamic. Let me explain.
Let’s say you send out a direct mail piece to a prospect with an idealized URL printed on it, for example, www.eloqua.com/karencooper. When Karen receives the piece and visits her customized web page (which you can create through Eloqua), the database records a response. Based on her visit, you can then send her a follow-up email. Or send an email directly to a sales person’s Blackberry, or customize the content on her personalized page. Or anything. The value in having an integrated system is that you can respond in one channel based on activity in any other channel.
In this example, you score Karen’s activity based upon criteria you and your sales team decide upon. You give the activity a numerical score, say 25 points for visiting her personal landing page following receipt of a direct mail piece. Let’s say that her opening an email is another 15 points, and then she requests more information from you for another 50 points. Now she’s got a historical score of 90 points.
Now you take a look at Karen’s demographic info. Maybe she’s VP of customer service at a key target account of yours, and she’s indicated she’s looking for a solution now. Perhaps that adds another 110 points to her overall score.
You can decide with sales what to do with people who have a score of 200 points. Maybe Karen stays in a lead-nurturing program with marketing until she’s accumulated more points. Maybe her information goes to an inside sales rep for further follow-up. Maybe her information gets beamed directly to a sales person for an immediate call. It’s up to you and sales to determine the rules of engagement based on your experience with the profile of your ideal prospect.
Now here’s a really cool thing you can do with lead scoring. Of course, you can dynamically change the scores as you get more information about the relevance of the type of activity they do. But let’s say a sales person calls Karen, and she says she’s just doing some research and isn’t ready to buy yet. And her score languishes to around 200 for a couple of months. Maybe you even decrement her score every month due to inactivity. But let’s say September rolls around and all of a sudden she’s all over your web site. She’s looking at product pages, she’s looking at your financials, she’s downloading white papers on effective customer service. Her score has just hockey-sticked up in just a few short days. That activity level over her baseline, that change in the rate of her activity is ALSO an indicator of interest. And you can put that in the system and develop rules around it so that you don’t miss people who are their peak moment of seducability, when their attraction to your solution is the greatest.
How to get started
First of all, you can’t automate a process that doesn’t exist. So you need to sit down with pencil and paper, marker and whiteboard and agree with sales on some key definitions:
Once you have your rules in place and agreed upon by sales and marketing (be sure to include management), you can start to develop your automation plan. Working on a technology platform that lets you automate much of the tactical execution of activities frees you up to work on developing an overall strategy, come up with compelling content that will appeal to your prospects and customers, and get creative about the types of multi-channel programs you develop.
As with all business processes, lead scoring is iterative. You won’t get everything right the first time. Plan for that. However, in time you’re going to find that you have a richer, more complete picture of your customers that you can then use to tailor your interactions. And your sales people will appreciate the communication with you and feel that you are part of their team, rather than the person who just sends them unqualified “A” leads all the time.
In this episode of The Innovative Marketer Podcast, I speak with Ruth P. Stevens, Columbia University business professor, consultant and author of Trade Show and Event Marketing.
Ruth Stevens, one of the most influential people in B2B marketing, according to BtoB magazine, knows a lot about lead generation. And event marketing. And just about every business-to-business marketing strategy you can think of. We spoke for over an hour (but I cut it down to the best 18 minutes) about topics like how to make your trade show spend more effective and things to avoid in your outbound marketing.
Listen now. (right-click to save to your desktop).
Tip: You can also subscribe to the Podcast automatically in iTunes by searching for "innovative marketer" or simply click this link to add the Podcast to iTunes automatically.
1. Use the same call to action link in multiple places.
2. Craft the layout of your copy so users can easily scan the content.
3. Be succinct.
(thanks to the people in the elevator for prompting this posting)
Steve Gershik has been a VP of Marketing and demand generation leader for over 18 years. He frequently writes and speaks about marketing automation, brand management, demand generation and Internet marketing.