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Marketing automation - lead scoring

Marketing automation is a hot topic these days for CRM users. One of the key areas in this area is that of Lead Scoring. In this article, we explain how Lead Scoring can be configured, measured and provide a significant business benefit to sales and marketing users of CRM.

Lead scoring is not a new practice or concept. However, the ability to score leads automatically in CRM from activity carried out by a lead is one that many clients are now turning to.

Lets start of with a quick definition. In my terms, I describe a lead as a 'suspect' that provides information about an individual or organisation that is un-qualified. This presents the challenge of understanding just how much time and effort I should spend in contacting and profiling the lead so that I can turn them into a prospect.

Lead scoring is a mechanism, usually automatic, that allows us to assign a score, usually a single score, that can rise and fall with activity carried out by that lead. This score is then stored on the CRM lead record - although contact scoring is also a possibility.

In turn we can then use that score to determine who to contact based on their current lead score. Additionally, we could be using CRM process flows to detect that score changing and then automating internal activity around that score.

Lead scoring requires a couple of bits of technology to really work effectively. Firstly, we need a software service that will not only create and send emails but track users activity with the email, for example, did they open it. Secondly, it would then be useful to track lead or contact web activity - which pages did they visit, did they download any documents. So web tracking becomes central to that scenario.

There are many suitable peices of software out there but in the Dynamics CRM world we would certainly want to consider Microsoft Dynamics Marketing, Core Motives and Click Dimensions.

The challenge for the marketeer is then to decide what to score and what value to provide to specific activities. They might decide that opening a single email attracts a score of 5 and travelling to a tracked web page attracts a score of 20. CRM doesn't do this out of the box but you could use one of the applications above or even get a developer to build something specific. Remember that if a web visitor switches off cookie support on their browser then its unlikely that you will get much in the way of a lead score.

What isn't immediately obvious is a negative score! Consider an email blast going to a bunch of leads and on some of these leads the email address is wrong causing the email to bounce. We should consider giving these records a negative lead score - so perhaps -10. Perhaps the lead or contact un-subscribes from a regular newsletter - again, we should be reducing the value of the overall score. In addition we should be automating a checking process at this point in order to determine why the email failed.

The marketeer should then be working with the sales team to identify a threshold value that determines that the lead is beginning to increase in value and is worth contacting for qualification. Other records, with a lower score, might not be tackled directly but perhaps lead down a different trail of marketing communications. Here is where the true business benefit arises - knowing who to target and when and with solid information about the areas that they are expressing interest in. The sales conversation is more educated and directed at the services and products that the potential customer has been researching.

I hope you have found this short article useful. If you would like specific help in lead scoring or marketing automation then please contact us for details on our Marketing Automation workshops.



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