Sometimes it seems that our lives are just one big scoreboard. Sometimes we hit a home run; other times we get shut out.

That’s also how it can be with your data: sometimes the data you collect through your marketing efforts is complete and ready to go, but other times it’s a swing-and-a-miss. And that’s not just with your contact data. What about the profiles you create on your customers?

It all comes down to scoring. Whether you’re scoring the quality of your data or your leads, you need to make sure that you have a plan in place to go after quality, not quantity. Information services companies, like Neustar, can help you put that plan into action.

But let’s get back to my baseball analogy—especially since I just won the last game of my men’s league (totally shameless self-promotion).

Picture this:

Yankee Stadium holds fifty thousand fans, and the coffee brand Wanna Java wants to reach the caffeine-cravers among them with a special offer. So they run an ad on the scoreboard inviting people to sign up for coffee deals via text or web. Now, in the mobile era, you can log onto the website right from your seat. The problem is you may have had too many beers and hot dogs, or just be too into the game, to input your data correctly or completely. Some of it’s wrong; some of it’s missing.

Your Starting Lineup: Data Scoring

This is where data scoring comes into play. Data scoring is all about the quality of the data. The data score is the value assigned to your data as it’s collected and is usually based on the extent to which it’s complete or in the correct format. In the data scoring process, you define the rules. Is a person able to be contacted based on the information s/he provided?

When Wanna Java looks at my profile data, it should be able to surmise that it’s incomplete. But with the right system, they could score my data and immediately quantify which information is missing. For example, if I missed a digit in my phone number, or my email address was incomplete, or I only gave my first name. Depending on how much or how little data I provided, the system can either spit me out (keeping their database clean and free of unusable contacts) or identify me based on the fragmented data I provided (through a data augmentation provider, or over time themselves.) Once they’ve filled in the blanks by appending additional information or fixed the errors, my data is complete and Wanna Java could begin sending me coupons and other communications so I can get my java fix.

Lead Scoring: Your Pinch Hitter

But what happens after you know your data is good to go? That’s when lead scoring comes into play (no pun intended.) Lead scoring is about assigning a value to your lead, and the various activities they do, in order to automatically track their stage in the buyer’s journey and deliver offers that accelerate that journey. The lead scoring process allows you and your sales reps to focus on the best leads, or those with the highest potential to convert by simply looking at a leads cumulative score.

In our Wanna Java coffee scenario, once you’ve collected all the right information about me, the question then becomes: Am I the right lead for you? Am I a potential customer who’s likely to come in to Wanna Java daily to get my fresh cup of coffee? Am I going to buy packaged beans from you to bring home? What am I really interested in as a customer? What entices me? What motivates me?

Creating a lead scoring model is a key step to success. Your ideal model will ultimately tie into your product, industry, and consumer. What should you consider as you build your lead scoring model?

  • Your customer data—This helps you deploy a scoring system that is completely customized to your business needs.
  • Your buyer personas—This is a detailed description of your buyers which highlights their behaviors, goals, skills, and attitudes.
  • Your sales teams’ perspective—Talk to your sales team. Understand your customers’ habits—and know the difference between interest and intent.

I also know that not all lead scoring strategies are created equal. It’s important to ensure that you’re sending high quality leads to your sales reps or building out your marketing lists to ensure the focus is on quality, not quantity. That focus translates into higher conversions and increased revenue, which is how you ensure that you’ve created a scoring model that will hit it out of the park and round all the bases—especially for sales and marketing—to ultimately drive revenue home.

It’s About the Long Game, Not the Short

When Wanna Java captured my information while I was back at Yankee Stadium, they should have already begun to process my contact information. That way, they could effectively market to me and potentially turn me into one of their best customers. Once they’ve turned me into a Wanna Java-be, they’ll begin to learn my buying habits. With proper modeling and automation tools in place, they might begin to notice that I order the same drink in the same store at the same time every day. They might determine that because of this, I’m a loyal customer who’d be very interested in trying out new offers or new products. Or that I’m the type of person who brings my friends coffee drinks since I often buy more than one on each visit.

So what’s the upshot? Consumers are complex and they chart their own course. We know what we like, but we’re also creatures of habit. Chances are, if I buy the same drink every day, I’m not too adventurous. But if one day I buy tea, and the next day I buy coffee, and another day I buy a soda or the drink of the week, then I might be offer-driven. I might be open to new things. By listening and understanding my habits, as well as the habits of other customers, businesses can build me into a category that will enable them to market to me most effectively, more personally, and know whether I’ll convert. And, it all starts with an effective data and lead scoring strategy.

How have you used data and lead scoring to make your marketing more effective? Please share your story in the comments below!