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Lead Scoring Moves Upstream To Prioritize Early Stage Prospects

MarketBridge Solution Focuses On Likelihood To Convert

A growing number of marketers are deriving benefits by better qualifying their leads before turning them over to the sales team. Recently, marketing services provider MarketBridge helped take that practice further upstream in the sales pipeline by scoring leads before they are even handed over to the telemarketing teams for qualification.

Working with “one of the leading software firms,” MarketBridge developed an automated solution that prioritizes the long list of respondents to demand generation campaigns. “Our client was spending $6 to $7 a call to further qualify these leads and they had no ability to gauge which leads were most likely to become opportunities” says Bill Sheldon, Senior VP at MarketBridge.

A leading consultancy with clients including IBM, MasterCard, Merck, SAP and Siemens, MarketBridge focuses on all stages of sales and marketing from strategy to execution. For this recent lead scoring project, MarketBridge developed a lead scoring model around “likelihood to convert to an opportunity.”
The company built a custom scoring model that pulled data from multiple sources across different areas of the company, including the CRM and sales database, the contact management systems, along with household and other relevant third party data.
MarketBridge then blended that background data with behavioral data showing how engaged the prospect appeared before a lead was turned over to an ongoing nurturing program.
“We saw some fairly significant results, including 60% fewer calls,” Sheldon says, “and obviously fewer calls means fewer resources spent on go-to-market efforts. Even with a 4 decile reduction in calling, we are still able to capture 80% of the leads that the campaign would traditionally convert. With well over a million responses per year that are qualified with a $7 phone call, a reduction of 40% in calls required has resulted in significant savings.”
While research shows that the majority of marketers using lead scoring models are applying the metrics at the BANT (budget, authority, need, timing) phase, Sheldon says this program was more efficient because prospects were qualified even earlier in the funnel. “Sales resource engagement just to get BANT can be significant. By qualifying these leads further upstream, our client was able to be even smarter about managing their leads and the resources committed,” he says.

The original test of this lead scoring model was conducted across two different segments—one aimed at enterprise level and another aimed at small to midsize companies.
Based on the shear volume of leads generated by the larger SMB audience, Sheldon says test showed the opportunity could be even greater in targeting this market segment. “Often times there are existing relationships at the enterprise level and the volume is limited in terms of how many new prospects you can uncover at that level,” he says. “Due to the broad coverage needed to reach and track SMBs, there is likely even more value in the model there.”
In addition to providing cost efficiencies in telemarketing, the program also created deeper intelligence about all of the responses to the campaign. “Our biggest deliverables for the client were bringing data together for them in ways they hadn’t been able to deliver in a traditional data warehouse,” Sheldon says. “Then they were also able to apply business rules against how often prospects are contacted, as well as what their channel and content preferences may be.”
For example, through the automated process the marketer now consolidates responses and notes whether they came from a direct mail effort or an email campaign. The leads are then put in a prospect database and historical data can be applied to see if that same contact has subscribed to an e-newsletter or attended a web seminar in the past.
“This provides an overall picture of customer engagement, which is useful all the way up and down the value chain,” Sheldon says. “If we can now determine that these 6 items are all contributing to a prospects’ actions, we will be able to use that logically upstream to accelerate the opportunity. Ultimately this should helped drive time to conversion and other key performance indicators.”