|By Bernier, Paula|
Generating leads has traditionally involved cold calling, hitting up trade show booths, knocking on doors, and purchasing lists and targeting those on them via telemarketing and direct mail appeals. The advent of the website, with request for information and chat functionality, then created a new channel through which leads could come to businesses. Now big data and analytics are making lead generation and scoring a much more scientific process - and one which is expected to yield greater efficiencies and earning potential for businesses.
About 79 percent of marketers have not yet even established lead scoring, according to Marketing Sherpa.
Many of those that do lead scoring do so using subjective or otherwise uneven assessments. For example, some companies simply rely on sales people to make the call.
Employing predictive models, however, can enable a company to be more consistent in scoring based on a leads true propensity to make a purchase. It does that by assigning points to people or companies based on whether they own your product, have been to your website, and/or follow you on Facebook, for example. Then, your company can decide to which groups of leads it wants to target particular e-mail campaign, for example.
"Eloqua has found that organizations that use lead scoring increase their close rates by 30 percent, increase their revenues by 18 percent, and revenue per deal increases by 17 percent," product marketing manager
Infor, a software company with
Many customers think they need lead scoring, he added, but they don't know what they need or how to get there. One powerful tool that most companies are not leveraging but might want to consider, he says, is real-time scoring. Most companies today do batch scoring, which involves the generation of scored lists on a weekly or monthly basis. With real-time scoring, however, a company can see which customers are on its website at this very moment and can watch and score those individuals immediately, he said, adding it can also identify whether a visitor wrote about the experience elsewhere on the web. That enables the company to reach out to those people it deems as high-value prospects immediately, and also - if the website visitor posted a comment on a social network - to score and reach out to the online friends of those individuals.
This kind of capability requires the use of a real-time engine, added Dunfee. Infor Epiphany Interaction Advisor is such a solution, he said, adding that this self-learning offering is in use by around 175 companies today.
"Every one of our customers gets unbelievable results from IA," Dunfee said. "
The particular Infor product
Other Infor customers of IA include
So important are these predictive lead scoring solutions to businesses that many of the companies in this space are being snapped up by larger entities - with
Everybody is frustrated with the traditional practice of lead generation by buying lists, Sidor said, so a lot of boutique lead scoring companies have popped up, and the smart BPOs are partnering with them to make lead acquisition and scoring less frustrating and more profitable for businesses. This is part of a larger move into analytics, not just for lead scoring but also to upsell customers. It also goes hand-in-hand with the new multichannel way of doing business, he added, noting that businesses can't afford to reach everyone by phone, so they need to figure who it makes sense to reach out to via phone and who to contact via other methods.
In the end, Sidor said, it's also about moving to a more rifletype approach to marketing and sales as opposed to the more traditional shotgun approach - and that means reduced costs and more top-line revenue growth.
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