B2B Customer Scoring For The Visionary Marketer
You already know a lot about your customers, so why treat them like strangers?
Once your prospects convert to customers, do you immediately forget they exist and move onto the next lead? Hopefully not! It’s a well known fact that acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer. So why not strategize ways to keep your current customer base happy, and maybe even turn them into advocates for your business. Enter customer marketing and customer-scoring models.
Good customer marketing helps you identify “early stage” at-risk customers, while nurturing “good” customers into advocates. Focus on every customer journey touchpoint, not just when they’re about to churn.
What is customer marketing?
Customer marketing is a set of initiatives that aims to positively influence the customer experience and promote customer loyalty while identifying retention and growth opportunities.
When prospects become customers, they embark on a new journey that differs from their B2B buyer journey. Both new and current customers have challenges to tackle, objectives they wish to reach and sometimes silent frustrations that weigh them down. There is room for your business to accompany them at each customer journey touchpoint to find new or improved solutions.
From a lead scoring model to a customer scoring model
By now, marketers are familiar with lead scoring, or the process of assigning values to a prospect’s specific profile attributes and online interactions in order to qualify them through different maturity stages. Depending on the marketing automation platform (MAP) used, it can be complemented with features for lead grading and lead decay to better determine the moment of maximum intent. Lead scoring models are used to power nurture programs, segment and prioritize leads, and route qualified leads to the sales team according to specified thresholds. There is no magic formula for the perfect scoring model (if you have one though, hit us up!) as all behaviors aren’t equally meaningful across industries, personas, products or services.
More often than not, the online interactions of new and of current customers are evaluated against the same customer scoring model as prospects. By not being customer-centric, marketers prevent themselves from engaging their customer base meaningfully and ensuring that the business remains top-of-mind along their journey. Indeed, the behavior that qualified prospects through the initial sales cycle is not the same behavior that will qualify them as mature for upsell and cross-sell opportunities once they become customers. So why score leads and customers the same?
Businesses typically have two types of ideal customer profile (ICP) and grades within each:
- The revenue-generating ICP. These are customers who contribute to revenue through either fast-closing or consequent deals. In both cases, the ROI of the efforts to close the sale is interesting enough to continuously target this profile.
- The brand equity or market share ICP. Businesses target these customers to position themselves against their competition on a specific market. It’s not always a matter of profits gain but rather of reputational gain as a way for businesses to influence the perception their audiences have of their brands.
So far, our story features new and current customers from two different ICP groups who move through converging B2B customer journeys, with evolving needs and challenges. But we’re missing a major participant with its own set of evolving needs and challenges: your business! Undeniably, remaining a leader of your industry requires a lot of visionary decisions and strategic innovations. As a result, your product or service offering is bound to change, as is the content strategy that supports it.
In an effort to be more customer -centric, at PathFactory we launched three new products in less than two years to address our customers’ requests for more content intelligence: our Microsite Builder (which complements the Campaign Tools module), the Virtual Event Experience (VEX) and Website tools modules. Of course, we had to let our current customer base know and gauge its interest for these different launches. How could we do this efficiently without a B2B customer scoring model that encompasses all sides of the story.
5 steps to define your B2B customer scoring model
Client scoring is a marketing conundrum only if you lack the ability to collect granular and aggregated engagement data at the contact, account and content asset levels. Fortunately, at PathFactory, content intelligence is our bread and butter so it’s not a problem for us.
But let’s say you’re not a PathFactory customer and you have limited engagement data. Here are a few steps to help you define a balanced B2B customer scoring model using data you (hopefully) have access to:
- Journey mapping: List your B2B customer journey touchpoints between your business and its clients, from the moment they become new clients to expansion (happy ending) or attrition (sad ending). Keep in mind that:
- For a complete picture, you should include all touchpoints the marketing team does not have influence over. These will be handy to explore potential discrepancies down the line
- The end result could be a mix of hand raiser events (interactions initiated by the client), relationship milestones or company outreach
- The first few months of the journey experienced by new clients (onboarding, implementation, training, first invoice, etc.) are different from the journey current clients are on (administrative requests, inquiries about new or different products, complaints, product improvement tickets, etc.)
- Detail how each touchpoint of the journey mapping relates to the Six Pillars of customer experience excellence: integrity, resolution, expectations, time and effort, personalization and empathy. Remember that customer-centricity is the key.
- Weigh each touchpoint’s importance in the journey accordingly.
- Consider designing one customer journey for each ending so the weight you assign to a touchpoint is relative to its impact on the journey’s specific outcome
- The total weight of all touchpoints in a given journey should be 100%. Don’t get sneaky!
- Based on the data you have access to in your MAP, assign relevant fields (profile attributes) and metrics (engagement data) to each touchpoint.
- Try your absolute best to not assign the same field value to different touchpoints in the same journey
- Weigh the importance of each metric and field relative to the B2b customer journey touchpoint it’s assigned to.
- You can break up the touchpoint’s weight between its assigned fields and metrics based on how descriptive of it they are. It’s easier to optimize the journey’s scoring model afterwards since the sum of the assigned field and metric weights will be 100%
- Or, you can choose the advanced route for a more granular control (and more complex optimization) by creating a scoring model for each touchpoint then combining them into a global one for your designated journey. You’ll be working with a multi-tier scoring model; keep your calculator nearby!
B2B customer scoring models, like lead scoring models, aren’t set in stone. You can (and should!) adjust your models based on their performance in terms of conversion or attrition rates and the timeliness of customer routings to their account managers; both being indicators of the scoring model’s capacity to pinpoint peak variations of intent accurately.