Don’t waste time, score your accounts

Most B2B marketers have heard of lead scoring, and a lot of marketing automation tools have it inside their platforms. Account- based marketing and sales companies are also trending towards lead scoring. It is only natural, then, to start scoring your customers not just based on leads, but based on entire companies. It will save you time and will make your sales team more efficient. But before we get to how that’s done, first let’s define account-based marketing:

Account-based marketing (ABM) is typically used in the enterprise level, where they bundle all communications into one.

Without ABM, an inside sales rep can be qualifying John, a marketer can be emailing Jennifer and an outside sales rep can be showing demos to Kevin, all without knowing that they all belong to the same company. This creates confusion not only for the prospective company that may find itself in different sales cycle, but also for the marketing company as it is wasting resources and could potentially delay or lose the sales opportunity.

With ABM, all leads and contacts are bundled into one account that is typically handled by one sales rep. The rep can then easily be aware of all contacts within the prospective company.

Another way account-based marketing can make sales more efficient is by requiring the company to have a list of accounts that are strategic for the business, which is then measured and monitored. So how do companies decide on this list of accounts?

Today, most companies spend hours on this task. Both marketing and sales management teams spend a great deal of time coming up with segments to explore based on revenue, industry, number of employees and other factors. They then segment this initial list into a smaller list. This task is done either by sales operations or sales reps that choose which companies they want to target. This process is often very time consuming, requires management’s input and takes away time from the sales team. This is where account based scoring comes in handy.

Benefits of account based scoring:

  • Saves time for sales and marketing;
  • Takes the guess-work and research out of establishing the lists;
  • Is more accurate than selecting lists manually;
  • Is repeatable.

So how does one go about scoring their accounts? If you are an enterprise level company, you probably have analysts and statisticians on payroll who can help build a statistical model which will identify the segment of profitable accounts for you which you can apply to your current prospects. However, if you are a start-up or a small to mid-size business with limited resource, you can build the scoring system yourself by taking the following steps:

Step 1: Pull a list of all companies that are your current customers. Run a basic analysis to see what they have in common. It could be an industries, number of employees, revenues or other attributes, but identifying these commonalities may be key in establishing your segments.

Step 2: You can than use the above list to come up with the ideal segments for your company. Depending on your sales team and your data, you may get many different segments or you may uncover a pattern for only a couple of segments. For example, you may define a segment as 100-500 employees in the manufacturing business, or you might define a segment as any company with 500+ employees.

Step 3: If it is difficult to find a trend due to lack of data and/or a very diverse group of customers, you can use your lost/unqualified customers to narrow down the list. You may also look at accounts currently in your CRM that match the different segments you’ve come up with. You can then calculate the percentage of companies that are customers versus unqualified/lost customers. This will help narrow it down should you need to do so.

Step 4: Apply either a rank (like you would for your lead scoring) if you have established different priorities or are using statistical model to come up with your score. Alternately, you can simply put a flag on accounts that are desirable.

Step 5: The final step, and probably the most time consuming, is to match any leads that are currently in your CRM to the accounts that you have just scored. You will then use your new list of accounts and share it among your sales team.

Now that you have established your key accounts, have either flagged them or scored them and have added all prospects/leads to your account, the selling can begin. Marketing, inside sales and outside sales teams will become concurrently become more efficient. They will be able to streamline their activities per company so as not to waste time figuring out who to talk to next or who plays what role in the organization. And best of all, they will be able to sell better! Your marketing teams will also be able to focus on acquiring new companies to add to the list with all the time they save from account-based scoring!