You Ask, I Answer_ The Future of Lead Scoring

Sangram Vajre asks, “I’m not sure there’s a future for lead scoring, are you?”

Lead scoring as we currently know it isn’t great, but it is better than complete blindness. However, lead scoring today is overly dependent on demographics and firmographics.

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Just because someone can buy doesn’t mean they’re willing to buy. IBM codified this decades ago in the 1960s in its BANT acronym, but modern marketing technology has largely ignored BANT in favor of just assuming everyone is always qualified and ready to buy.

The future of lead scoring is behavioral and contextual. Understanding where a person is helps understand whether or not they’re likely to buy, and instead of lead scoring as an activity score, it will evolve to probability. Machine learning will power the next generation of lead scoring, fed by APIs, data, news, and significant training.

For example, if someone’s an intern at a company, do we discard them? In a contextual lead scoring system, they might be the most valuable person in the pipeline, because the CMO isn’t going to be Googling for SaaS procurement vendors. She’s going to delegate that down 20 levels and it will eventually end up on the intern’s desk.

Here’s a simple example of understanding time contextually. Yesterday, I ran a forecast on the number of people searching for “outlook out of office”. When someone’s searching that, we know they’re about to go on vacation. When in the next few months will that search peak? The weeks of June 17 – July 8\. That’s when predictive analytics software forecasts the most intent for that term – which means a next generation lead scoring system should automatically discount those weeks in its algorithms. Anyone who does respond during those times should have an accelerated nurture program because it’s likely they will be on vacation at some point shortly thereafter.

This is what lead scoring will evolve to – probabilities that inform activities, so that sales professionals do more of the right things, at the right times, with the right people.

Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

Song everybody asks on today’s you ask I answer, I’m not sure there’s a future for lead scoring

lead scoring as we currently know, it

isn’t great. But it’s better

than complete blindness, modern lead scoring today’s lead scoring, it really should be called activities scoring, right when somebody is in our system will assign things by titles will assign things points by company size they work at and will assign them things that are activity based, like hey, you downloaded a white paper, you’re what attended a webinar.

But today’s lead scoring is overly dependent on demographics and firma graphics, meaning you know this person’s age, or this person’s gender, or this person’s size of company, annual revenue, number of employees, all these things which are public data points that are built into a lot of CRM and marketing automation software,

we score for things like title like cmo or vice president or SVP or whatever and and assign people higher points in our systems for those things.

The problem is that a lot of these characteristics are really very, very basic qualifications. they qualify whether somebody can buy our product or service. The problem is with lead scoring as it is today. Just because somebody can buy doesn’t mean they’re willing to buy and certainly doesn’t mean they’re willing to buy from us.

IBM codify this years ago in the 1960s with an acronym called BANT, which stands for budget authority need in time frame, does this prospect have the budget to buy our stuff? Do they have the authority to sign the deal? Do they have a need for our product or service? And do they have a a timeframe in which they’re looking to make a purchase Modern Marketing technology, it’s really interesting marketing automation of marketing technology has largely ignored band the way systems are structured, they just kind of assume that everybody is always qualified and ready to buy, right? Again, if you throw in all of your data, and it’s just analyzing firma graphics and demographics, and saying, well, they are the CMO of a fortune 500 company is clearly qualified to buy, right? Well, yes, they may have budgets, they probably have authority, but we have no idea about need, we have no idea about time frames. So should they be scored highly in the system? The answer is no. They we have no idea about three of the four characteristics of of this band acronym. And as much as sales professionals and especially vendors love to Pooh Pooh the band concept as being outdated. Well, no, we can’t even get our software to do it. And

it’s, it’s still I think, a relevant way to to prioritize what you work on. So

how

can lead scoring change? What is the future of leads going another future of lead scoring two things is behavioral and contextual. understanding where a person is helps understand whether or not they like goodbye. And instead of lead scoring as an activity score. It’ll probably evolved to probabilities, it’ll probably evolved to to one or more percentages, zero to 100% along multiple dimensions, understand the band stuff still has to be in there, you still need the basics can this person a company even afford our stuff?

If we’re selling $1,000

an hour consulting and the person has $1,000 total and they have an eight hour project, of course, they they can’t afford this thing. So the band data we’ll see important demographic and firma graphic will still be in there too, is just we won’t make those the primary considerations

what will be primary considerations. A lot of again, contextual behavioral machine learning powered marketing automation will will create the next generation of lead scoring fed by API’s social graph data, public data, news data, which is incredibly unused within marketing automation software. Right now, you can pull data off of public news feeds about companies. And it’s just not being used hardly at all predictive analytics and significant training, taking the existing CRM data and all the information we have about a company as they were going through the buying process. For those deals that were successfully closed, we have to train our machine learning systems to recognize more things like that, as well as things that you know, may not be relevant. So, for example, let’s look at a couple of examples.

Contextual and, and behavioral behavioral example, if someone’s an internet company, should the system discard them in a firma graphic system, absolutely the wrong title out they go, but in a contextual lead scoring system based on behavior, that intern might be the most valuable person in the pipeline because the CMOS not gonna be googling for SAS procurement software vendors she’s going to delegate that down plenty levels in the corporation it’s gonna end up on the internets desk the internal be like will tell the intern Hey, go research SAS procurement vendors than the intern will go Google it right and and pull it together shortlist the tiger like G to crowd or cap terror or something, put together a short list of all like the five companies in a little box and and put the end elevate that up the chain. And that’s what the CMO will see a good lead scoring system that understands context and behavior will take that into account like hey, the interns or the assistant of the coordinators, probably doing all the research and let’s make sure that they get research oriented information. Another example is time we systems do not take into account time real simple example yesterday was running a predictive forecast on the number of people searching for the term outlook out of office when someone’s searching that they’re about to go on vacation, right? How do I turn this feature on so I can leave the office and not checking email, right, when in the next few months is that search term going to peak it’s going to be the weeks of June 17 through the week of July 8. During those weeks, at least in the United States. The predictive analytics software says search intent veteran will be the highest it will be all year nobody’s going to be at their desk. No one’s going to be reading email. Well, far fewer people.

And the next generation lead scoring system should take that into account. It should discount those weeks in its algorithms to nurture the nurture programs might automatically just turn off or throttle down for anything except highest value prospects. And anybody who does respond during that time, they should get an accelerated nurture program because frankly, if they’re not on vacation during those weeks, then the program be on vacation sometime shortly thereafter. So the system could either speed things up for those folks and again, a system that understands time and context if the internet is doing research and and trying to put together a shortlist you might have a much faster nurture program for that person. Rather than someone who’s a CMO, you might have a much longer nurture programs just keep awareness present, but not necessarily dumping the truck full of data on a desk. The intern needs that to do their job well in a search the CMO probably not as much so that’s what leads going for the most successful marketing automation companies will likely evolve to probabilities that will inform activities so that sales professionals do more of the right things at the right times with the right people. We’re not there yet. We’re far from there yet. There are not nearly as many systems using all this data Well, it will eventually get there and my guess is what probably some of the larger vendors or some of the most agile startups who are willing and able to experiment and ingest a lots of new data sources and run that machine learning training on the inside to see okay is is being mentioned in the news as an indicator of something is showing up on the layoff dot com an indicator that maybe you should be throttling back your your marketing automation can see where all these different data sources could come into place. So a great question so on a song in terms of the future, there absolutely is a future but it will look nothing like it does today. And it will be informed by machine learning and artificial intelligence to take into account behavior and context. As always, if you have a question for you ask I answer please leave you can leave at the comments you can click the link below to submit it that way. Subscribe to the YouTube channel and the email newsletter and I’ll talk to you soon. Take care

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