◆Concept of scoring so far
After implementing marketing automation (MA), the first thing you may begin to consider is how to use “scoring. It seems like a very attractive feature because it allows you to visualize the degree of prospecting by assigning a score to the actions of prospective customers. If points are set in advance, the more a potential customer takes action, the higher the score will be, and if the customer does not take action, the score will not be higher. As a result, those with high scores are able to sell their own products and services.
As a result, a person with a high score is considered to have a high interest in the company’s products and services and has a high probability of becoming a customer. Therefore, when the score exceeds a certain level (e.g., 100 points), sales representatives and IS are automatically notified and proactive sales approaches are made to efficiently identify highly probable potential customers from among many potential customers.
However, although expectations for scoring were high when MA was first introduced, we have rarely heard of companies that have made good use of scoring and achieved results after implementation. In fact, I believe that the number of companies that have implemented MA but have not made any move to utilize scoring has actually increased. I have the impression that even tool vendor salespeople are no longer actively selling scoring.
Why has this happened? In this issue, we would like to consider this “scoring.
◆Prerequisites for conventional scoring
As companies that have implemented MA soon realize, there are preconditions for the conventional scoring approach described above. And the fact that it is very difficult to satisfy those preconditions is a major reason why scoring is not being used successfully. The following three points are the main reasons why scoring has not been used successfully.
＜Prerequisites for using scoring
- Sufficient content and email distribution for scoring.
- The nature of the potential customer is such that the more likely they are to view your content, the more likely they are to read it.
- The company fully understands the nature of highly likely prospects and is able to create content that is viewed by highly likely prospects.
First, let us explain the first prerequisite, “the company is sending out enough contents and e-mails for scoring. As mentioned above, scoring is based on a score that determines whether a prospect is more or less likely to respond. Therefore, the score fluctuates depending on the movement of prospective customers. But what happens if a company has no content or does not send out emails? That’s right. Scores are not added up in the first place, and most potential customers end up with roughly the same score.
Most websites, especially those of small and medium-sized companies, have only a brief description. There are countless companies that have only about 10 pages. Even if such companies tried to use scoring, their scores would not go up at all because there is no content to look at in the first place. Even if there is a difference in scores, it would be about 20 points. In such a situation, it would be a dream come true to determine the accuracy of the scores. Furthermore, if you are not sending out e-mails, the scores will not add up.
Scoring is based on the premise that there is an environment where scores can be differentiated by a large number of contents. That is why consulting firms say lightly, “Let’s create content!” but they do not understand that the current number of pages is due to the inability to do so. In some industries, there are plenty of places where it is difficult to keep creating content in the first place. There are also a lot of things that can’t be said about different commercial products, which makes it difficult to keep creating content.
There are also a great many companies that have lots of content ideas, but are unable to put them into content. They are all people who didn’t get into the business to write in the first place, so one day they suddenly find themselves saying, “Write! Write a piece of writing that will get potential customers interested in our company! They cannot possibly do it.
Next, I would like to consider the second prerequisite: “The higher the probability of a potential customer’s interest, the more often he or she will look at our content. At first glance, it may seem correct to say, “The higher the score, the more likely the prospect is to view the content. But think about it carefully. It is not true at all, is it?
Perhaps some people have no reason to look at the content because they have already obtained information from other sources than the Internet. It is quite possible that some people may become familiar with the industry or product information while comparing it with competitors’ and other information, and may not view the content. There are also a good percentage of people who acquire information at random because they have no knowledge at all. These are people who browse a lot of pages because they may need it in the future, even though they don’t need to consider it.
Thus, a high probability does not necessarily mean that they look at content frequently. On the contrary, it is also common for people to view content more often because they have a low probability. This tendency is completely different depending on the characteristics of the industry. Therefore, while it would be nice if the industry were one in which the higher the probability, the more frequently people view content, the overwhelming majority of companies are probably not so. So, the high score becomes not very meaningful.
Next, I would like to consider the third prerequisite: “The company has a good understanding of the nature of highly probable customers and is able to create content that is viewed by highly probable customers. In order to make a difference in score, it is often necessary to prepare contents that high-probability customers are interested in and low-probability customers are not interested in. This creates a difference in scores, and makes it easier to identify highly probable customers. It also has the effect of increasing interest in the company by providing information that customers want.
But how many companies know their customers in depth in this way? Or perhaps none at all? If they had such a deep understanding of their customers, they wouldn’t have to worry about how to use scoring. Instead, most companies are probably thinking, “We don’t know who has a high probability of being a customer, so can’t we somehow use scoring to extract them? Most companies are probably thinking, “I don’t know who the high-confidence people are, so can’t I extract them somehow by scoring?
Scoring can be used only when many prerequisites are in place.
◆Changes in the way scoring is utilized in recent years
As mentioned above, the conventional approach to scoring has not been successful for most companies. Therefore, the concept of scoring has changed considerably in recent years. The drawback of the traditional scoring approach is that it cannot accurately express the probability of a business opportunity based on a prospective customer’s behavior unless several conditions are met.
Therefore, in recent years, there has been a growing interest in the use of scoring even without those prerequisites. One way is to reset the score for a short period of time. In conventional scoring, the idea is that the more time that passes as scores are added up, the more accurate people can be identified.
Although this approach does not completely depart from the conventional assumptions that there is sufficient content and that the more accurate people are, the more likely they are to view the content, it is a slightly more advanced usage than the conventional approach in that it separates the measurement period into short periods of time.
Companies that use this method are those that have continuous access to their websites and have a relatively short consideration period. The next use of scoring is to improve efficiency by proactively approaching only those who have responded.
The next use of scoring is to refine the score by increasing the number of locations where the accuracy information is obtained. In the past, scoring was limited to actions taken on the Web, but in recent years, an increasing number of companies are having their inside sales representatives make a call at least once. The IS representative will change the score based on the impression and sense of issues that were raised during the call. In addition, the number of times the IS contact has interacted with the customer is also scored. This is a method of not only providing content, but also providing information directly from a person and assessing the response. According to one study, an average of about eight interactions occur before a business meeting. The more times a potential customer continues to respond and the more interactions occur, the more likely it is to lead to a business meeting.
In this way, it can be said that this is a slightly more advanced use of the system by scoring real words rather than limiting it to actions on the Web. However, the cost of nurturing prospective customers, such as having to secure inside salespeople, is incomparable to what it has been in the past.
The next approach is a case in which the possibility of generating a business opportunity is no longer based on the score. The score can no longer be used to determine whether or not a business opportunity can be generated, and is instead used to prioritize IS calls. The score is now used as a numerical value to prioritize the implementation of certain measures.
Personally, I believe that this method can be applied to any company. I personally believe that this method can be applied to any company, because it frees us from a lot of prerequisites by no longer requiring a high degree of certainty in the score. By separating the score as only a prioritization tool, it may provide an opportunity for some companies to come up with a useful utilization method.
◆Scoring is still in its infancy
As mentioned above, there are many difficulties in using the scoring function, such as various prerequisites and costs, and most companies are still in the process of developing the scoring function.