In the mid-1980s, Ireland’s Industrial Development Authority famously used print and billboard advertising to proclaim “Missing the Industrial Revolution Was the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Ireland.”
The intent of the campaign was to attract investment by positioning Ireland as a place not mired in the grimy past of industrial Northern Europe, but instead poised – with its well-educated, under-employed populace – to leapfrog its industrial neighbors into the information age. Indeed, the ploy worked, as global businesses in need of bright, educated information workers began investing in the development of Irish operations.
So, what’s that got to do with lead scoring?
Well, missing the initial “lead scoring revolution” might be the best thing to happen to organizations that have yet to adopt traditional (i.e., non-predictive) lead scoring based on a marketing automation platform (MAP).
Traditional lead scoring is based on assumptions about the meaning and value of prospect behaviors and attributes, and is limited to data collected in marketing and sales force automation systems. Predictive lead scoring uses statistical procedures to determine the value of attributes and behaviors and, in most cases, augments data in MAPs and sales force automation systems with data collected from third-party providers and Web crawling/scraping (big data).
Consider this: At Sirius, we regularly talk with marketers about how to improve lead conversion through the demand waterfall. If these marketers are in tech companies, they probably have marketing automation in place (about 70 percent of these organizations do, according to our research). But the adoption of marketing automation drops rapidly outside of tech.
And only about half of the companies that have adopted a MAP also do some sort of MAP-based lead scoring today. Taken together, that means that most marketers are not yet scoring leads, predictively or otherwise.
That is unfortunate. Furthermore, when I describe the benefits of using statistical methods for scoring leads, I am frequently met with the objection that because the organization has not yet done MAP-based lead scoring, they are not in the position to take on the (seemingly) more complicated job of predictive lead scoring.
Don’t believe it! Missing traditional lead scoring may be the best thing that ever happened to your organization. That isn’t to say that some organizations don’t do traditional lead scoring very effectively – some do. But it is not a prerequisite for doing predictive lead scoring.
In fact, because most organizations stumble and fall numerous times with MAP-based lead scoring before hitting on something sales likes (our research suggests that most salespeople – approximately 60 percent – do not think MAP-based lead scoring is valuable), starting from scratch with predictive lead scoring may make your path to lead scoring success less fraught with sales skepticism than if you do MAP-based scoring first.
The things you need to do to be successful with predictive are the same as you would do with MAP-based lead scoring:
So, if you know lead conversion could be better and you’re thinking of lead scoring as a solution, excellent. Consider all options, including predictive lead scoring, and keep in mind the importance of alignment, service level-agreements and iteration.
Kerry Cunningham is a Senior Research Director of Demand Creation Strategies at SiriusDecisions. Kerry has more than 20 years of experience in b-to-b demand creation and management, spanning a broad array of industries and markets. Follow Kerry on Twitter @KerrySirius.