Are you incorporating social media activity into your lead scoring process? Are you creating a distinct model for each of your product lines? Are you putting your third-party data into context with prospects’ actual activity? No? Then you’ve got work to do.
Chief Marketer recently talked with Chris Parisi, vice president of technology, and Amy Bills, vice president of marketing, at Austin, TX-based B-to-B demand generation agency Bulldog Solutions about the top lead scoring trends B-to-B marketers need to know.
1. Get to know the score on prospects’ social activity.
Social media is where customers are talking today. But there’s a lot of activity that happens in the social media channels that many marketing automation systems just can’t see, says Parisi, and that creates an information gap for many marketers.
“If I send an outbound email with a link to a LinkedIn page, I can track that, but I can't track the conversations that happened in between,” he notes. “Did they sit in on a demo somewhere? We can track back the referring URL to that channel, but what was the middle tier of the conversation?”
At a high level, everyone is trying to figure out what all the tweeting and liking means, he says. “But unfortunately, while we can monitor keywords, today there’s not a lot of tracking. We may know someone’s ‘handle’ in social media, but we need to get their email address and get them in the database. Then we need to figure out the right time in the process to try to convert them.”
“Many clients have been encouraged to jump into social media, but it can be hard to justify up the food chain,” adds Bills. “Needing the ability to prove some value out of social media by incorporating it into scoring and tracking it is why we’re starting to see attempts to make that connection.”
2. Not all leads are created equal.
All the activity of all your prospects shouldn’t be given equal weight. Look at things on different levels, says Parisi. For example, it makes perfect sense to give a prospect points based on whether he clicked on a link or opened an email. But consider what link led him to click and which email he opened, and award points accordingly.
“You need to look at the signals customers are giving you based on what they’re clicking or downloading, and then weight that,” adds Bills.
One thing that would make the process easier for marketers is the ability to better integrate their content management and marketing automation systems, something Parisi doesn’t really see happening yet. This would allow marketers to see an asset and the product family it belongs to, and to make sure the metadata about prospects’ activity surrounding that asset made their way into the marketing automation tool.
But for this to happen, tagging that content when someone visits a page or URL and shows his interest needs to be an easier process. “Right now, it’s a lot of [usually manual] maintenance,” Parisi notes.
3. Got multiple product lines? Create multiple models.
When a company sets up a lead processing automation system, it makes perfect sense to group everyone together at launch, to make your efforts more robust. But as time goes on, that might not be the best strategy.
“A lot of people using automation technology are now past the pilot phase and paying a lot more attention to detail and fine-tuning their efforts,” Parisi says. “If your company has 10 distinct product lines, it makes sense to come up with multiple models, and they score and route leads [to the sales force] on a product level.”
4. Put your third-party data into context.
Companies are acquiring more and more data from third-party partners. But the problem, notes Parisi, is that while they’re getting the customer profile information, they’re not getting a clear picture of the activity the customer was doing on the other site.
“Customers need to account for that too. You may know what your company did with the partner, like a webinar, but beyond that you don’t know what [prospects] were doing on the third-party site,” he says. “People are trying to figure that out and give points [when they can] for awareness of previous activities [outside their own sites.]”