I’ve been working with a company that recently launched a new B2C social media consulting service. Before the launch, we had a lot of conversations about the potential of social media to help nurture relationships with prospects. This led me to reflect on the impact of social media on lead scoring, which is a mathematical system for ranking leads.
Most marketers are using social media at some level now, but combining social media with lead scoring is relatively new. How does that work?
I figured I’d take a deeper look. Here are a few of my thoughts.
Quick Review — What’s a Lead Score?
Your qualified leads have varying degrees of value. Some result in sales, and others do not. That’s why marketing automation (MA) platforms allow you to score leads, which simply means a method of ranking leads according to their sales-readiness and/or potential value. (For a definition of marketing automation, see “Looking for Social Media ROI? Try Marketing Automation.”)
Lead scores are based on pre-programed criteria that are unique to each company. These criteria add up to a total score that fluctuates dynamically as a contact’s behavior evolves. A high score identifies a prospect who’s ready to be contacted by Sales.
One of the primary benefits of a lead score is that it allows both Sales and Marketing to focus their efforts on the potential “winners” who are most likely to generate revenue.
The Traditional Criteria for Lead Scoring
- Explicit — based on observable information, often shared by the customer directly. Includes: demographic facts like company name and size, job title and industry, along with BANT (budget, authority, need and timeline).
- Implicit: based on information inferred from your prospect’s behavior or from data available to you, or from third-party sources. Includes: trackable digital behavior like opening emails, downloading information, visiting web pages.
How Social Media Activities Can Be Used for Lead Scoring
Social media has now given marketers access to new types of data that can be added to scoring criteria. The list below isn’t exhaustive, but should be enough to pique your imagination.
- Explicit – Social criteria include Twitter handles, quantity of social media connections, Klout scores, social sites a prospect has joined, plus “likes,” “shares,” tweets, subscriptions and other activities voluntarily made public.
- Implicit – Many MA platforms now integrate social media with emails and landing pages. This allows marketers to track digital body language such as social sharing of emails and referrals from social sites. Other options include visits to blogs and subscriptions to RSS feeds. (Here’s a list of MA platforms with social media integration.)
Go for the Gold — Why Social Scoring Improves Your Revenue and Budget
Marketers have known for a long time that email click-throughs, asset downloads and website visits don’t tell the whole story of a prospect’s journey from awareness to purchase. Adding social media activities to your lead-scoring criteria could help you in the following ways:
- Identify more “hot leads.” Some prospects may be showing you their level of sales-readiness through social behavior you weren’t tracking before. (Ex: reading your blog every week.) Now your scoring will find them, and route them to Sales. Now that’s a gold medal!
- Boost your content marketing budget. Social engagement requires people who can produce interesting content and monitor social sites. If you can prove that some of your “hot leads” are nurtured by social media, your budget to hire those people may increase.
What’s Working for You?
Social scoring is a new area where we’re all learning. How are you adding social media criteria to your lead scoring, and what insights are you gaining?