What is lead scoring?
Lead scoring is the umbrella term for a range of models that attempt to provide a quantitative way to identify and categorize leads based on their likelihood of converting to a sale.
Lead scoring usually contains the same basic building blocks: first the marketing or sales team comes up with a list of qualifying questions, then collects the answers to these questions about the leads they have in their lead pool, and finally they apply some sort of numerical value to each answer. The sum or a weighted-average calculation of these measures ideally determines how the lead compares to other potential sales opportunities and hopefully identifies the highest potential leads, saving time and increasing sales conversion rates for the team.
Scoring… on what criteria?
Determining the judging criteria is the most significant challenge marketers face when trying to implement lead scoring. In my experience, it’s easy to default to demographic traits such as the location of the lead, the size of the company, and other easy-to-determine factors that may superficially play a role in determining the likelihood of a sale.
However I recently came across the work of Dr. Jamie Monat, a professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute who proposed a very compelling theory on how to develop a list of qualifying questions for a better lead scoring model.
Dr. Monat suggests that there are eight major criteria that determine a customer’s purchase decision, and that any lead scoring model should focus on qualifiers that align with all eight of these purchase decision indicators. For example, one purchase decision indicator is “perception of risk.” Lead qualifiers that might help indicate a buyer’s perception of risk include “familiarity with the vendor,” possibly through previous transactions, or source, where a word of mouth referral, or referral from a trusted industry source indicates lower perceived risk in the sale.
So what are the eight buying criteria and what are some examples of how might these be manifested as lead characteristics for a lead scoring model?
- Prospect’s perception of his company’s need and desire (Example lead characteristic: Has the lead tried alternative solutions?)
- Prospect’s perception of his company’s urgency (Example lead characteristic: Is there a budget and timeline for this purchase?)
- Prospect’s ability to purchase (Example lead characteristic: Are we speaking to the decision maker?)
- Prospect’s perception of risk/trust and confidence in the vendor (Example lead characteristic: Have they purchased from us before?)
- Availability to prospect of a better deal (Example lead characteristic: Are there other companies competing for this deal?)
- Prospect’s perception of value (Example lead characteristic: Has the customer attempted to calculate the cost savings/cost benefit of our solution?)
- Prospect’s perception of quality (Example lead characteristic: What was the lead source/were they referred by a trusted source?)
- Prospect’s perception of service (Example lead characteristic: What was the lead source/were they referred by a trusted source?)
The questions asked of leads, either in web forms or over the phone, should try to create a list of lead characteristics that match key buying criteria, rather than simply provide demographic information.
From Criteria to Score
How marketers chose to score the criteria is less critical than what they are scoring (i.e. the qualifying criteria) but one simple application of a lead scoring model is a +1 when the trait is “positive,” -1 when it is negative and 0 when the information isn’t available. More advanced algorithms may be possible as a company determines which factors are most important to their customers but even this simple -1/0/+1 method can help sales teams prioritize their most important sales opportunities.
As a data-driven marketer who has spent many years trying to understand, improve upon and utilize lead scoring models, I found Dr. Monat’s theory incredibly relevant and a strong basis for improving lead scores. How can you turn the eight buying criteria into lead characteristics in your company?
Thanks to the work by Dr. Jamie Monat of Worchester Polytechnic Institute. Parts of this article were taken from a final paper I wrote for the Harvard Business School Business Marketing and Sales course November, 2015. Photo Credit: Matt McGee cc. This article was cross posted on LinkedIn.
As the CMO of a startup, I had many tools at my disposal to measure and analyze my digital marketing. However I was also spending money on above the line marketing and communications such as PR, events and social media. I knew in my gut that these efforts were driving growth, but I didn’t have the tools to prove it. Each time we received a mention in the press, or a key influencer tweeted about us, I would record the date and activity in an excel spreadsheet.
When it came time to prepare end of quarter reports for myself and my team, I would manually cross reference that list against our daily registration numbers, exposing correlations between my marketing efforts and our business wins.
It was pretty clear that some of these activities were having a huge, and previously untracked, impact on our company’s performance. And it stood to reason there were a number of other hidden performance drivers that also weren’t being tracked – like offline activity and what our competitors were up to.
Here are the top events that don’t get tracked through traditional analytics software that I believe are essential in understanding what drives your company’s KPIs, that all companies should be collecting:
Press Coverage – if you can’t remember the date three, six or twelve months ago when you received press, how can you understand historical growth data or optimize your PR campaigns?
Events and Tradeshows – do you compare company KPIs to the dates you attended events? Not only does this provide insight into performance but can help you decide where to spend your time in the future.
Product Releases – does an increase or decrease in sign ups follow your product releases? Unless you link your performance and the release dates, it can be hard to tell.
Changes in the Competitive Landscape – new competitor? Did the competition just raise money? Go out of business? In a previous role, one of our competitors received bad press – it was important to link the industry landscape to our own performance.
Tracking the dates of key events in your company timeline and correlating that information to KPIs can give you much deeper insights about what’s really driving company growth.
That’s why I created Spectacyl, the first analytics platform that links these events with your key metrics. Spectacyl is free to use and the easiest way to start tracking, and gaining insight, from these critical company events. Whether you use Spectacyl, a spreadsheet, a calendar or a post-it, it’s time you started tracking the events that are driving what might be a surprisingly large part of your company’s KPIs.
As an app’s user base grows, it’s likely the developer will start to consider localizing the app; that is they will consider translating the app and user experience into a new language to grow in another country or local. There are numerous articles and guides written about the process of localizing an app for another language, but I want to specifically address the process of researching competitors in a localized market.
The Apple App Store has no functionality to search apps by language. In other words, there’s no built-in way to see apps that offer specific languages (or are only available in one language). This makes it very difficult to see who else will be competing for your same users.
However, I’ve found a trick that allowed me to search for apps in a certain language, which can be a great help in finding local competitors. For the example below, I’ll illustrate how to search for social media apps that are localized for the Spanish language.
First, you’ll need to navigate on the web to the App Store in the language and category you want to research. The easiest way to do this is view your own app, or a direct competitor’s app first in your native language. I’ve used the example of Facebook below:
Notice the URL of the app in my case contains /gb/, which denotes the country (and language) of the app store I am viewing. However I can change this. To see this same app in the Spanish App Store, all I need to do is change this to /es/.
Notice below that once I change the URL, the meta data of the page changes as well (as does the app description if the app already has a localized version). This is important for the next step of the research process – in particular the localized version of the category and the meta data that denotes language.
Now we have three key bits of information: the URL format for the local app store, the localized meta data for language and the localized meta data for category. Using the Google site search function, we can put this all into a Google search. As you can see below, I am searching for all pages indexed in Google that are within the Spanish App Store site, and contain exactly the phrase that corresponds with the meta data that indicates the app is in the social category and available in the Spanish language.
As you can see, the search results returned will link me to pages within the Spanish App Store with Spanish language social apps. Job done!
This is a huge volume of search results so I can continue to refine the results to just my potential competitors by adding additional keywords (in the local language of course – Google Translate can help you out here) to my Google search.
Understanding local competitors can be key in successfully localizing your app. This is one way to find out who the players are in your new space. Any other techniques you know for finding competitive apps when localizing?
Reposted from an answer added to a Quora topic I found quite interesting asking “What tools can I use to evaluate brand awareness.“
I have a pretty regular routine for checking brand awareness and reach, using a combination of manual and automated tools.
First thing each day, I search for our brand on Google, filtering the results to the last 24 hours. This shows me new press coverage and blog mentions, as well as some social content.
I then check Netvibes (Social Media Monitoring, Analytics and Alerts Dashboard) where I have a series of boards set up to check internet forums, blog searches, Instagram posts, Google Plus, Facebook and other channels. I find that volume of organic mentions on Facebook tends to correlate well to overall brand awareness so that’s a very important metric for me.
Next I check on Tweetdeck for saved searches of variations on our brand name (i.e. 23 Snaps instead of 23snaps) for anything I might have missed on the other searches.
This all takes me about 5 minutes, if that. I also respond to any relevant mentions, either thanking the author for their comment, reposting positive remarks or answering questions.
Finally, I have saved Google Alerts (Monitor the Web for interesting new content) that will ping me an email if anything about our brand gets indexed. I also have saved alerts for our competitors and a few major trends in our industry.
Do you have any additional tools or services you use to monitor brand awareness?
I was recently quoted in an article rounding up predictions for mobile in 2014 (20 Mobile Industry Expert Predictions for 2014). There were a lot of comments about mobile commerce, mobile marketing budgets increasing and tracking, but no one else seemed to share my prediction:
Building 23snaps has been an amazing learning experience in so many ways, but none more-so than the wake up call that the vast majority of consumers, across any market, are not tech-savvy millennials who will forgive UI inconveniences for the sake of using the latest technology. At 23snaps, many of our users are using a technology other than email for enjoying family photos for the very first time. That can be hard enough for them on the computer, but add a new smartphone into the mix and suddenly there are a lot of our customers who need, if not hand-holding, some excellent sign-posting to help them figure out what to do next.
I would like to think that I’m not the only one who noticed this trend. As I mentioned in my prediction, iOS 7 was a jarring experience for many users. In fact the AARP, a membership community and non-profit for US over-50s, actively discouraged its members from upgrading to iOS 7 as late as 30 October, 2013 (iOS 7 was released in June). They said:
“The font is very light and may be hard to read for some. The icons appear flat and move quickly across the screen, causing some people to report dizziness.”
If Apple thinks this recommendation from AARP is no big deal, they should check the membership roster. AARP has over 40 million members.
But the bias towards user interface design that favors the tech-savvy is pervasive through the entire industry – and at times this is dramatic enough to confuse even the millennials. Look, for example, at the Facebook ‘Other’ inbox, for most people a hidden repository of lost birthday wishes, invitations and requests.
An enormous audience has access now to technology that should make their lives easier in every way. But instead the applications and services available leave many of them confused and frustrated. In the last few years, the audience of non-digital natives using the latest technology has become the majority but products and services aren’t catering to them, missing out on profit and growth opportunities.
2014 needs to be the year that designers and developers begin considering the experience for someone who doesn’t understand that three horizontal lines means ‘Menu’ or that an eight-pointed star means ‘News Feed,’ or even what a ‘News Feed’ is. There is a balance to be struct between spoonfeeding digital natives, but creating a beautiful, usable product, that signposts the most important elements for those who are discovering them for the first time.