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The Death of Traditional Leads and the Rise of Relationship Scoring

December 5, 2011 Leave a comment

A couple of weeks ago I started sketching out a framework for something I tagged: “Relationship Scoring.” I think traditional lead scoring is dead in the water, and over the next month I’ll be developing the nuts-and-bolts details of how – looking forward — marketing and sales will rate the value of prospects in the connected age of relationship marketing.

In light of this project, I got fired up watching Mark Benioff kick off Cloudforce in New York a couple of days ago. He delivered a bet-the-farm keynote repositioning Salesforce.com as a social media company. For two and a half hours, one of the founding fathers of SaaS  — backed up by his lieutenants, customers, and industry luminaries — caroled from the same sheet of music: “Social CRM is Coming is to Town.”

 

It wasn’t much of a surprise that Salesforce lit up the Javits Center like a container-load of fireworks with its Social CRM proclamation. Their acquisition of Radian6 (one of my “Best of Web Marketing” Picks two years ago) gave Saleforce solid-footing in the social media monitoring space. Chatter, their walled-garden social network solution for corporate and customer communications, has healthy roots. And don’t forget their 2007 acquisition of Kenlet that resulted in the launch of Salesforce Ideas, the model for community voice in product development.

If anyone can shepherd in a mass Social CRM movement, it’s Benioff and company.

But how does your sales organization feel about all this? Are they clamoring for marketing to tweet more? Do their eyes light up when you talk about nurturing relationships? Do they get fired up in pipeline meetings when they hear that some really important influencer appears to like your product?

Most sales people that I work with are still interested in one thing from marketing: Leads. Specifically, Hot Leads. Warm Leads? They’ll take ‘em (and do what with them is anybody’s guess.) But at the end of the day, they just want leads.

So here is where Relationship Scoring comes in. How will we measure sentiment, connectivity to our customers, activity, willingness to endorse, and ultimately recommend or buy Product X?

I’m at the point in this project where the initial scope is on paper. Now I’m looking around to make sure I’m not embarking on something that has already been done. I was kind of surprised when earlier today I found Eloqua — one of the major marketing automation software vendors — pitching a three and a half-year-old Aberdeen Group white paper on Lead Scoring.  Eloqua is buying a top spot on Adwords and baiting with this paper published in May 2008. 

I’m a big believer in evergreen content. But I don’t think this is evergreen material. The fact that the word “relationship” does not appear in the white paper once in the context of lead nurturing tells me that there’s work to do. 

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Does Google Determine Where You Physically Are?

There’s no shortage of fuel for the Google / privacy fire. But then again, why not toss on another log?

Does Google tell you how to get from point A to point B? Does any device provide you with directions for your driving, biking walking or public transit routes? I’m personally a Google Maps fan.

In the wake of the latest location-based privacy expose’, I started thinking beyond the fact that gadget-makers like Apple and Google are recording our current coordinates. Carrying GPS-enabled devices around as our personal Atlas / destination calculator, we expose much more interesting data than that. Here’s a situation where your mobile map provider could actually know physical scenarios that you’ll be presented with before you do.

What Magellan blazed the trail for has explosive potential as networked portable computing goes mainstream.

Think about it. With our portable device in hand, we’re usually within 3 or 4 taps of a freshly published map from our current location to virtually anywhere. Should we choose to follow the device’s path, we could potentially be “checking in” with the map continuously, confirming we are on course. What lies ahead of us are 1s and 0s.

Which begs the question, would your mapping service provider consider routing you by a commercial business or two that was willing to pay for some cool location-based marketing? Would they be willing to pay a premium if it was 6 p.m. and they sold delicious bass? It sure wouldn’t be the first time some really smart web marketing geeks got off on “driving traffic.”

Next time your route brings you some extended windshield time, ponder this: Is it an invasion of your privacy if you don’t even know it yet?

Gotta go. I’m a mile from my destination.