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Tips for Identifying Key Contacts Through Behaviors and Scoring

by: Alyssa Opella (@Silverpop)
17 September 2012

Do you find yourself wishing you had a magic 8 ball that would tell you when a customer looks ready to make a purchase or leave you? Can you identify the warning signs or “tells”? Do you really know who your most engaged, active customers are? Why not leverage scoring to build your own magic 8 ball and start taking control of your relationship?

To start the process of building a scoring model, identify the attributes of your best customers. This can include basic demographic info like age range, preferred gender, household income and geographic location. In addition, new marketing technology enables you to go another level deeper and integrate behaviors such as “opened an email in the past 30 days,” “clicked on a particular link,” “visited the site,” etc. This hybrid demographic/behavioral scoring model lets you automate a much more in-depth analysis of your customers. You can even implement a BANT model (Budget, Authority, Need and Timeline), determining the qualifiers of each parameter.

Scoring on Demographics
The first step in setting up a scoring system is knowing the common signs for conversion and the degree of impact. Say females are 50 percent more likely to buy your product, and it appeals most strongly to individuals age 30 years old to 50 years old and living in the southeast. Create a list:


Ultimately, you can give each field whatever point value you’d like. Look at how many attributes you’re including and determine first which is the most important and least. Make sure your most important is at least double the points of the least valuable. It may be good to talk to some of your salespeople to get their ratings and priorities.

Scoring on Behaviors
Now look at behavior contributions. These are perhaps the most impactful factors, as they not only tell you who is or isn’t interacting with you, but also provide insights your marketing and sales team won’t necessarily have on the individual level. (Read more on behavioral marketing.)

In addition to the qualifiers above, you can add negative values or detractors for known undesirable traits – both demographic and behavioral. For instance, if a person falls into your key demographic but hasn’t opened any emails, that could be a red flag that he or she isn’t as good of a lead.

Virtually any known information or trackable actions can be included in your score. Any list attributes can easily be used. Through Silverpop Web tracking, for example, you can include Web form completions, site visits, email activity, entering a program, downloading a file, etc. This can be a powerful tool for getting a more holistic view of your prospects or customers. (Discover five behaviors you should be incorporating into your scoring model.)

Developing a Category System
Next, you’ll likely want to develop a category system. For example, you might create “Hot,” “Cold” and “Lukewarm” tiers (or whatever descriptions work for you). You can play with the values to determine what scores make the most sense. And you can (and should) edit them at a later time based on your learnings.

Slowly you’ll see your subscribers fall into different groups, from “highly interested” and “likely to convert” to “highly likely to unsubscribe.” From these groups, you can launch programs to try to facilitate conversions, re-engage stragglers or turn loyal customers into even stronger brand advocates.

These scores can also be used for dynamic content to cater your communication. For instance, you can apply a more aggressive call to action for hot leads (“Buy now!”) versus a more passive, informative CTA for cold leads (“Learn more!”). You can even go multichannel and use programs to route hot leads to your call center or sales team and deliver cold leads to your direct mail print house.

Don’t be afraid to start building a scoring model. Even if you don’t know all the criteria yet, you can edit it on an ongoing basis. By implementing a scoring system and exploring your data, you’ll gain valuable information on your customers that you can use to enhance future marketing initiatives and more strongly engage customers.

Related Resources:
1) Tip Sheet: “9 Tactics for Updating Your Scoring Model and Nurturing More Strategically
2) Marketing Automation eBook: “Best Practices for Marketing Excellence and Operational Efficiency
3) Blog: “Contact Scoring: Your 10-Step Quick-Start Process

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