Silverpop - Contact Scoring: Your 10-Step Quick-Start Process
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Contact Scoring: Your 10-Step Quick-Start Process

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by: Stephen Guerra (@StephenGuerra)
06 January 2012

Have you considered incorporating contact or lead scoring into your marketing program, but been daunted by the effort required to get a fully functioning system in place? If so, you’re not alone. Many marketers tell me they’re interested in contact scoring but don’t know where to start planning a model, much less implementing one.

We’ve found that marketers can be successful in advancing their programs by beginning with simple scoring models, then adding sophistication later as they learn more about the technology and techniques of marketing automation. The Silverpop Strategy Consulting team works with customers to help them come up with their initial scoring models and has developed a quick-start process to get a basic model in place with minimal investment.

This quick-start process is expanded upon in our Contact Scoring Model workshop, a six-hour intensive effort designed to quickly determine what attributes are indicative of lead or customer quality, determine a scoring system for those attributes, and do some scenario-based testing of the model to determine what is working and what needs to be tweaked. Obviously this approach will not produce an elaborate and fully vetted model, but it does give our clients something to start with—and starting often seems to be the biggest hurdle to implementing a scoring process.

If you’d like to try this quick-start approach yourself, follow these steps:

1) Assemble the Team: Bring together a group of individuals who are familiar with your leads and customers and can help you identify the quality-indicative attributes and how they should be ranked. Generally the team will include representatives from marketing and sales. Keep the group small to remain focused and efficient. I find about three to five people is ideal.

2) Identify Goals: Make sure all participants understand that your goal will be to create a simple, starting scoring model that will be modified and enhanced once it’s in place.

3) Provide Basic Education: Start your scoring model development session with some education on the basics of contact scoring, including its benefits and how it works.

4) Discuss Attributes: Have the team brainstorm the different factors that can be indicative of lead or customer quality. Don’t worry too much about specific values for the factors yet. Just get the major categories listed. For B2B one of these attributes might be company size, while for B2C you might use yearly income.

5) Prioritize Attributes: List the attributes in general order of importance. For example, a B2B company might prioritize industry type over company size.

6) Select a Score Range: Determine what your minimum and maximum scores will be. The exact range isn’t critical, but make sure to give yourself enough slack in your range to allow for a wide variety of scores. For example, if you have a scoring system that goes from 1 to 100, it may be difficult to show the diversity of lead quality within such a narrow range. A range of 1 to 500, on the other hand, will give you ample room for a variety of scores.

7) Define Possible Attribute Values: List each value that you’ll use for scoring each attribute. For example, you might want to divide company size into three ranges: less than 100 employees, 100 to 500 employees, and more than 500 employees.

8) Assign Scores to Each Attribute/Value Pair: Referencing the priority list you created in step 5, assign scores for each possible value of each attribute. You’ll want to put some thought into these scores and consider how the scores you’re assigning relate to the scores assigned for other items, but you don’t need to get these exactly correct just yet.

9) Bench Test the Model: Run some real-life examples of leads or customers through the model you’ve created to see how they score. You can do this manually or, as we do in our workshop, use a spreadsheet to model your score.  After you run a few test cases through the model, you’ll likely find there are some adjustments you’ll need to make.

10) Implement the Model: Once you’re satisfied with the model, put it in place and begin observing how it functions. You may want to keep the model under observation for awhile to see how it’s working before you use it to make process decisions on lead or customer handling, or you may want to allow the model to influence your process in a low-risk manner. For example, you could start out using your model to provide alerts to your sales team for hot leads but avoid implementing a detailed lead-routing component.

Once you have a basic model in place, you’ll become more comfortable with the technology and techniques. To continue to advance, simply observe, measure and modify.

If you’ve thought about putting a scoring model in place, consider this quick-start method to try it out. If you’d like additional help in getting a model in place, contact us at And remember, have fun and keep learning.

Related Resources:
1) Blog: “5 Prospect Behaviors You Should Be Incorporating into Your Lead Scoring Model
2) FAQ: "What criteria should you consider when creating a lead-scoring system?"
3) Tip Sheet: “9 Tactics for Updating Your Scoring Model and Nurturing More Strategically


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