Behavioral Scoring in Account-Based Advertising
Account-based marketing (ABM) has been around for over a decade, first introduced by ITSMA in 2004. It was created “to help marketers stop generic sales pitches and zero in on the essential needs of their most important clients.” Now, 15 years later, we are finally in a place where companies incorporate ABM into their marketing strategies and budgets. Yet, as with every relatively new technique, many marketers are still struggling with measuring the effectiveness of their ABM campaigns, especially scoring accounts before handing them over to the sales team.
This summer we have experienced the importance of scoring in account-based advertising first-hand. We have processed and analyzed over two years’ worth of user data and it helped us to build a model that helps to translate intent signals from advertising into a behavioral score.
We call this behavioral scoring in advertising and it helped to reveal 167 missed sales opportunities in our pipeline.
How did we manage to miss these opportunities? At Influ2, we’ve put ABM at the core of our sales and marketing strategy with a primary focus on person-based advertising. Our playbook was very straightforward: once a person clicks on our advertisement, they get a chain of automated emails regarding the content they clicked on. And when this person replies to an email, they are handed off to the sales development representative as a sales opportunity.
While this logic worked, it was flawed.
In the last two years, our client base grew tremendously, which meant more advertising campaigns, which meant more data to analyze. Being as nerdy as we are, we decided to crack the numbers and we found that we generated more sales opportunities than we thought! The reason we missed so many of them (167!) is that we considered someone a sales opportunity only if the person replied to our automated emails triggered by a click. We didn’t factor in ad clicks, ad impressions, page visits, direct website visits, or time spent on a page. We should have. All of these signals are great indicators of a person’s interest towards your offer. How do we know this?
We applied behavioral scoring to each of the prospects within the accounts we’ve targeted: 289 of them had a score of 10 or above. However, without scoring we’ve marked only 122 of them as sales opportunities. How do we know that they really were good sales opportunities? 40% of those 122 became turned into sales calls and one-third of those calls turned into clients. If we were to apply behavioral scoring right away, we wouldn’t have missed the remaining 167 sales opportunities, which could have turned into over 20 new clients!
It turns out a person doesn’t have to reply to your email or fill out your lead form to become a sales opportunity.
We decided to share this scoring system that would interpret signals from advertising and convert them into a behavioral score for each account and each person. This way no marketer would ever miss out on a sales opportunity.
How Is the Behavioral Score Calculated?
Of course, it can vary from company to company, but we find that it is most useful to calculate the behavioral score not just for an account, but for every person within that account. After all, it is people who make the decisions, not accounts.
To prioritize opportunities, we use account-based behavioral scores and person-based scores. As you can tell from the name, account score summarizes all the signals from all the people within one account (company), while a person-based score is based on the behavioral data for each particular person.
We find that the most telling factors are ad clicks, visits, active time spent on a landing page, direct visits, additional visits, fast clicks, and ad impressions. We account for all of these factors in our behavioral score and it gives us the most accurate intel for identifying sales-ready people and accounts.
Why Behavioral Scoring in Advertising Matters
- Holistic approach. While all of us got used to behavioral signals coming from lead forms, email tracking, and returning site visits, advertising remains largely in the dark—despite it taking up a major share of our budget. By factoring in behavioral signals from advertising, we shift to a more holistic approach, where all of the signals are taken into consideration. So, if the person clicked on the ad, you sent an email to this person, they opened it, and then visited your website—all of these signals are accounted for in your score.
- You got more leads than you think. 80% of interested people never fill out the lead form. You need to have a really decent piece of content to get those conversions. Advertising generates 5x more sales opportunities than you see from completed lead forms. Applying ad scoring lets you identify all of these sales opportunities.
- Actionable ABM results. Scoring people and not just accounts lets you know who exactly you should talk to from the buying committee, who is more likely to become your advocate.
All in all, we found behavioral scoring to be an extremely helpful tool that helps us to be more efficient when practicing ABM. I hope it helps you in your fight for ABM efficiency as well.