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Account Scoring – The New Black?

As we lead up to Eloqua Experience 2013, I remembered back to last year’s event in Orlando when one of the best attended sessions was the very last one of the entire conference – a rare feat. But the speaker was from LinkedIn and the topic was account-level scoring which proved to be a deadly combination for any marketer hoping to get to the airport early, boxed-lunch in hand.

Now that a full year has passed, I’ve seen no absolutely no lull in the level of interest in account-level scoring. However, I still have yet to find a marketer that could articulate exactly what they’d do with account scores if they had them. So why the continued buzz?

On multiple occasions I’ve heard the statement: “Companies don’t buy products, people do.” (Or maybe it was the other way around). But both statements strike me as missing something crucial. In a B2B environment, people generally don’t buy products or services their company doesn’t need. In reality, it’s a combination of events and actions that spark a purchase decision.

For most considered B2B buying cycles, the process begins with some kind of trigger event within the company, followed with a reaction by a person or team to look for a solution. The company need dictates a human-led buying process. For example a new round of funding for a business might lead to an office expansion necessitating a slew of different buying cycles for anything from office furniture to networking equipment.

So What Does All This Have To Do With Lead Scoring?

Quite simply the standard practice of scoring purely at the contact-level misses the much bigger picture. Yet ignoring the behaviors of individuals within that organization also limits your perspective. Only by blending the two will you get a complete 360 degree view of your prospect’s buying signals.

When most companies start investigating account scoring, they are often building it using some limited firmographic data along with contact-level attributes. The most common approach is to aggregate or average the scores of individuals associated with the account, but this is really just cumulative contact scoring, not true account scoring.

Just like individuals, companies also exhibit digital body language. For instance firmographic data may tell you a company fits the right industry profile or size. But what most marketers miss are the account-level buying signals such as growth trends, hiring patterns, government grants, patent filings or technology usage, just to name a few. These account-level activities are often the earliest buying signals, possibly preceding contact-level activities by weeks, months or even years.

The Power Of Blended Scoring

Most marketers look at accounts and contacts separately, and at best can create an account score that is an aggregate of contact scores. At Lattice, we still rely on all the digital body language mined from Marketing Automation, but blend it with our unique Lattice Data Cloud that essentially stores the digital body language for thousands of additional attributes about accounts.

The result is a truly blended lead score that gives marketers the complete view of all the relevant buying signals across multiple data sources. By taking this blended approach, marketing can much more accurately predict which leads to pass to sales, get signals much earlier in the buying process and ultimately create much better alignment between marketing and sales.

Written by

Rob Bois
October 15, 2013