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From Lead Scoring to Account Scoring

November 02, 2012 | By Jay Famico

While some b-to-b organizations continue to struggle with the complexity of qualifying, managing and tracking individual leads, other, more-advanced organizations are moving toward account scoring – the ranking of accounts against a scale that represents perceived value to the organization.

While some b-to-b organizations continue to struggle with the complexity of qualifying, managing and tracking individual leads, other, more-advanced organizations are moving toward account scoring – the ranking of accounts against a scale that represents perceived value to the organization. A scoring schematic is applied to each account’s details (e.g. industry, revenue), its contacts and its contact’s activities (e.g. asset download, event participation).

Account scoring is different from traditional lead scoring in how it addresses the notion of a buying center. In complex b-to-b buying processes, it’s rare for a single individual to make a purchase decision. There are often various roles involved, all with different needs and perspectives. Account-based scoring takes this into account, providing additional account intelligence and identifying opportunities that traditional lead scoring approaches neglect.

The illustration below depicts an organization in the beginning phases of the buyer’s journey. Each of the three individual leads goes through lead scoring, but all three fail to achieve sales attention. Two of the leads are from departments the organization doesn’t sell into, and the third has a low score due to limited activity. However, by looking at these leads from the account level, one can see that this account demonstrates significant buying interest.

Advanced Lead Scoring

 

In order to move forward in creating an account-scoring model, several building blocks are required, including:

  • Value. Just because account-level scoring is a novel approach doesn’t mean all organizations will find it equally valuable. If your offering isn’t purchased through a buying center (with multiple stakeholders involved), account-level scoring will provide limited value.
  • Buying-process understanding. There is no account qualification without a deep understanding of a prospective customer’s buying process. Be clear about what roles are involved in the buying decision, and what types of activities each role takes on during each stage of the buyer’s journey. Leading organizations use this knowledge as the central design point for demand creation strategies and planning.
  • Data. In account-based scoring, data quality and standardization are the top priority. All duplicate contacts and multiple disconnected variations of a single company must be eliminated to avoid erroneous scoring results.
  • Account definition. Organize and score accounts in the same way they are defined in the SFA in order to align with how reps sell. For example, don’t score accounts at the corporate level if sales representatives only sell into individual sites.
  • Association. For account-level scoring to work, contacts must be associated to a specific account. Without this step, it is difficult to identify the number and types of contacts known at an account (let alone to aggregate all their activities).