Sorry Mr./Ms. Software Salesperson. “Rank & Score” Is Not a Solution You Offer


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You scored 100 three times in a row!

So, what exactly does that tell us about you? Well, if the three scores represented golf, bowling, and an IQ test it would mean you are potentially one of the following:

  1. Of almost average intelligence and not very physically talented
  2. Of almost average intelligence, a 7 handicap golfer who played a US Open course from the back tees on a windy day, and a first time bowler
  3. A poor IQ tester and a beginner at golf and bowling
  4. A relatively gifted 5-year old or 100-year old

The point being, a score, even when put in context of an “event” or combination of “events” does not provide the insight and actionable information required to make decisions or predict future behavior and outcomes. In the above scenario the individual who scored 100 three times could range in age from 5-100, could be a pro athlete or uncoordinated couch potato, and may have any number of careers that range along the intellectual spectrum.

So, How do we effectively leverage Rank & Score in Marketing?

The first step is to avoid (3) major pitfalls when attempting to migrate through the marketing rank and score lifecycle. That is, moving from rank & score program infancy to a program delivering invaluable information and insight:

  1. Rushing into Rank & Score because “the new system supports it”: What are the goals within the scope of our Rank and Score program? What rank and score criteria is to be used? What are the activity, demographic, and firmographic “values”? How will we capture, measure, compare, and report the information? How do we ensure consistency of process, measurement, and execution across all customer and prospect engagement points (inside, across, and outside our automated systems)?
  2. Incomplete Rank & Score measurements: At a minimum the approach needs to include demographic and firmographic attributes along with behavior/interactions. In the opening scenario think of the refinement offered if we had insight to the age and profession of the individual as an example. An incomplete rank and score measurement approach quickly becomes a never ending fountain of unusable information dressed in a pretty wrapper!
  3. Lack of consistency and measurement standards: Think again to our example above. Even without the firmographic and demographic information on the individual a history of scores based on consistent measurement (same golf course, Test type) would provide a wealth of information on which to predict future behavior and outcomes. However, if you take away the consistency related to the measurement and scoring methodology all you are left with is a lot of uncorrelated historical data and no actionable information.

So what is someone to do? To simplify the getting started process there are several keys or “triggers” I would suggest we focus on. While this is by no means and exhaustive list it will help to ensure some of the biggest pitfalls are avoided.

  • Rank and Score definitions are clear: Ensure the marketing & sales teams are educated
  • Scoring methodologies are locked: Weighting can be modified (with a disciplined process)
  • The big (3): Demographic, firmographic, and activity based scoring
  • Patience: Time & Trend drive ever improving insight, don’t jump to conclusions
  • Study: patterns and resulting performance for the greatest return
  • Compare: Internal patterns & performance to industry benchmarks

Rank and Score is not something you “turn on”

The intent of this post is not to scare anyone away from traveling down the path of a lead lifecycle management rank and score implementation. On the contrary, I hope it drives one or two people to become evangelists and also protectors of the rank and score process within their organization. However, this post is most definitely a warning to anyone out their who wants to “turn on” the rank and score capabilities of their lead management software solution. Rank & Score is a core lead management process, not a switch to flicked!

Brian Steel
Brian Steel is responsible for driving Performark's overall sales of lead life-cycle management solutions encompassing database services, inquiry management, lead generation,and lead nurturing. He was a pioneer in the area core business process outsourcing sales and marketing, working for industry leaders Kodak and Xerox. You can visit his blog at B2B Lead Lifecycle Management .


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