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Lead Scoring Has Grown Up

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by: Will Schnabel (@wschnabel)
14 March 2008

Lead scoring sure has come a long way. As highlighted at the DMA B-to-B Marketing Conference earlier this month (you can read my thoughts here), the majority of discussions, sessions, or proposed x-step plans for optimizing lead generation included lead score as a critical component. It is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have for leading organizations.

One expert in the field, Russell Kern from the Kern Organization, discussed optimizing the demand generation activities for their client organizations. Russell highlighted a lead scoring model that added, with yet another acronym, a solid approach for multi-dimensional lead scoring.  The model is titled APNRP (Attributes, Position, Need, Readiness and Preference) and was first coined by Bill Herr, managing director of sales lead programs for CMP Media. The idea is that the traditional BANT approach developed by IBM years ago has many limitations, the biggest of which is the adage that “buyers are liars.” BANT has been used successfully when the prospect is in the later stages of the buying cycle (although there is still much room for manipulating the results, even then). However, when we as marketers use this approach by itself in the early awareness and consideration stages of the buying cycle, self-reported BANT results are even less meaningful. Therefore, adding other dimensions and/or questions to the scoring model have proven for the Kern Organization to be a better, more balanced, approach.

The basis of the APNRP approach is to ask qualifying questions, both on self-reported forms, as well as through phone discussions by telesales organizations (i.e. inside sales) to ensure the reported information is a accurate as possible. Examples information for each could include:

  • Attributes. What is the size of their company? What industry?
  • Position. What is the position of prospect within the company, or their main role in buying process?
  • Needs. How good or bad a fit are your services to their needs?
  • Readiness. How ready are they to move ahead with your products and services, or are they just in the assessment phase? Do they have budget allotted for the effort?
  • Preference. Do they want to be called, or just receive emails at this time?

This underscores a key concept that I wrote about earlier this year that the right scoring approach must incorporate three levels of information, weighted appropriately, to offset biases. This includes incorporating the various demographic and firmagraphic information and BANT-related items, as well as implicit, behavioral information in order to make the lead scoring model all that more meaningful and less prone to self-reported inflations or deflations.

With a multi-dimensional lead scoring model in place, you will have taken a huge first step in building a leading demand generation process for your organization.




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