FlipMyFunnel Post

The Future of Lead Scoring

This post is based off a podcast with Bryan Brown of Terminus. If you’d like to read the summary, you’re on the right page. If you’d like to listen to the full episode, you can check it out here and below!

Lead scoring may have reached its expiration date.

Bryan Brown, Chief Product Officer at Terminus, started off the podcast with a bang in declaring that, “Lead scoring (today) plays such a smaller role.” This is bound to shock the many that know him as the man who helped create the strategy.

As complexity becomes more intimately intertwined with the markets thanks to the internet, lead scoring is increasingly becoming obsolete.

According to Bryan, it might be time to place this tool in the back of the shed with the other archaic marketing tactics, such as “talking instead of listening,” the “foot-in-the-door” technique, and brochures.

This issue arises when you consider that marketers across the world are on a quest to get more people, more engaged on their companies’ websites. But if there isn’t a future for lead scoring, what are marketers, like yourself, supposed to turn to instead?

Let me take a step back a moment and clarify a crucial point.

Lead scoring isn’t necessarily going to disappear. Rather, according to Bryan, it’s evolving into the more potent, Account-Based Scoring tool.

The Growth and Decay of Lead Scoring

To understand why lead scoring has become obsolete right now for B2B marketers, you must first understand what led to its conception.

As previously alluded to, marketers need a toolbox. That’s the bottom line.

The same as every other innovation, lead scoring came about in response to an old problem.

The Growth of Lead Scoring

Marketers relied on leads by casting huge nets into their desired target markets. Unlike the faithful Peter of the Bible’s bountiful catch of fish, this strategy did not reap those similar, miraculous results.

Instead of pulling in ample potential leads with the strategy, marketers consistently pulled in an ample amount of weeds; in other words, dead ends. They would then give these dead ends to sales who wouldn’t know what to do with them.

Then lead scoring came along, and the nets were cast aside. A tool was created to help filter out the weeds.

Through this method, marketers could rank potential clients against predetermined metrics, determining the lead’s potential value. Whatever the person’s score came out to be would determine where they were in the marketing funnel and which division of the marketing team to send them to, accordingly.

The Decay of Lead Scoring

One of the most popular avenues to pull leads was through the classic web form. The form was, in theory, supposed to be the gateway to good conversations. By delivering forms to potential leads with clean, simple styling and questions, without too many fields and with a strong call to action, companies could more accurately engage customers and hopefully lead them to the final sale. In order for that to be true, you have to filter out a lot of junk that comes through a form which is why lead scoring exists.

In reality, the demise of lead scoring was ironically in part due to the forms.

In the wise words of Bryan, “the problem with leads, is (the future customers) had to fill out a form to become known.” Otherwise, they would remain anonymous and scoreless.

Back in the day, marketers were ignoring buyer behavior. No one was asking, “what are our prospects doing on our website? How much content are they consuming?”

In this day and age, marketing teams are responsible for capturing leads on their respective company’s website, creating systems that automatically send emails to prospective and current clients, and producing consistent, relevant content in which to engage them.

In other words, an abundance of ‘weeds’ and dead ends were captured once again, even with lead scoring.

Marketing Solution: Account-Based Scoring

According to Bryan, the future is when you shift from needing to generate and drive demand with a massive net to driving engagement with the accounts you already know about and want to do business with.

Instead of merely focusing on individual leads, entire accounts are at the forefront. More specifically, through the solution that is Account-Based Scoring, your company ranks accounts against a scale that represents perceived value to the organization.

What’s the key to this approach? An essential ingredient to Account-Based Scoring is knowing your accounts, without actually needing your accounts to make themselves known..

By anonymously looking at the various people engaging with deep product content, a broad picture of your accounts begins to illuminate. Specific content will have swarms of activity happening around them.

Once you pinpoint the account engagement on your website, your efforts can become laser-focused. So instead of scoring individuals based upon a scale, opt to understand who your audience is in a behavioral manner.

The best part is that there are many other ways than just a form to understand your accounts and get to this end. Now there is much less pressure on the form fill once you’re able to see the level of engagement among your accounts. The way Bryan Brown and Terminus do this is through Visitor ID.

Account-Based Scoring is as Easy as 1, 2, 3

Through Account-Based Scoring, a single rep can keep track of all of the contacts bundled together in a particular prospective company within an account. In doing so, quality accounts ready to take it to the next level can travel more easily through your funnel.

Here are five steps that Bryan suggested to can help you get your company and marketing strategy where it needs to be.

  1. Establish your client segments. By comparing all of the current companies who are clients of yours, you can analyze what commonalities link them together. Similarities between companies could be various factors such as revenue, number of employees, projected growth, etc.
  2. Create your segment list. At this point, you’ll begin to see what direction in which you should head. Create a segment list in which the whole sales team can refer to and determine the accounts that will be most beneficial to your company.
  3. Narrow the list down even more. You can run diagnostics on customers you’ve either lost or those who were unqualified at the time and determine the accounts worth pursuing, overall.
  4. Apply a ranking system. Similarly to the lead scoring model, establish a ranking system based on priorities to focus on the accounts within each segment that are the most beneficial to your company.
  5. Match the individuals with scored accounts. At this point, you’ll have some individual leads lagging behind in your Customer Relationship Management database. The final recommendation is to match each of them with the accounts you previously scored.

Just as easy as 1, 2, 3… and 4, 5… your company’s marketing team will be ready to go!