The pace of innovation in marketing technology over the past decade has been nothing short of breathtaking. In the B2B marketing space, one of the hot new technologies is predictive lead scoring. There’s no doubt that predictive lead scoring is still in its infancy, but it’s beginning to gain some traction in the market. Last fall, SiriusDecisions published a report that provides valuable perspectives on the current state of the predictive lead scoring market. According to SiriusDecisions:
- Fewer than 500 B2B companies are currently using predictive lead scoring. But. . .
- The market is growing rapidly. In 2014, there were nearly 14 times more B2B companies using predictive lead scoring than there were in early 2011.
- 78% of the companies using predictive lead scoring are in the high tech industry.
- Over half (56%) of current users have annual revenues of $50 million or less.
- Nine out of ten current users say that predictive lead scoring provides more value than traditional lead scoring.
How Does It Work?
A predictive lead scoring platform is an analytics application that takes data regarding existing customers from a company’s CRM and marketing automation systems, and combines that information with external data (from the web, social media, and other third-party data sources) to create a profile of organizations that have the greatest propensity to purchase the company’s products or services. Then the application aggregates similar data regarding the prospects in the company’s marketing database and compares those prospects to the profile of the company’s existing customers, resulting in a “propensity to buy” score for each prospect.
Benefits of Predictive Lead Scoring
Predictive lead scoring enables companies to qualify leads and prospects using much more data than is typically used in traditional lead scoring systems. Therefore, predictive lead scoring qualifies leads and prospects more accurately, and it can identify buying signals that are almost impossible to find using traditional lead scoring techniques and technologies.
Advocates also argue that predictive lead scoring enables both marketers and salespeople to focus their efforts and resources on the leads and prospects with the greatest potential to buy, and that it can improve the relationship between marketing and sales by providing a more objective, data-driven, and therefore more reliable, way to qualify leads.
Is It Right For You?
Predictive lead scoring technologies are evolving rapidly, and any assessments made today have to be considered tentative at best. Predictive lead scoring solutions appear to offer significant benefits, but marketers should keep a few things in mind.
First, these solutions rely heavily on data from a company’s CRM and marketing automation systems to construct the scoring model. So, if your company is a fairly mature user of CRM and marketing automation, and if your systems contain a significant amount of good data, predictive lead scoring could be a sound investment. On the other hand, if you don’t have enough good CRM/marketing automation data to work with, the value of predictive lead scoring will be more problematic.
Predictive lead scoring solutions are not outrageously expensive, but they may be out of reach for many small B2B companies. Pricing is always changing, of course, but it appears that the starting price for most predictive lead scoring solutions ranges from around $2,000 to about $6,000 per month.