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  • September 9, 2013

Mining The Buyer Perspective: Steps to Lead Routing, Scoring, And Nurturing Success

Editor’s Note: Today’s blog post comes courtesy of Tony Zambito, a leading authority on buyer personas. In 2002, Tony established the first-ever buyer persona development methodology designed specifically for B2B Marketing and Sales. Over the past dozen years, Tony has conducted hundreds of buyer interviews and has helped some of today’s leading Fortune 100 companies acquire deep buyer insights.  Providing him with a pulse on rapidly changing buying behaviors in the new digital age.

Perspective.  Having it can be powerful for your organization.  Not having it can lead to complete dysfunction.  Having the right perspective is usually credited with success.  Having what is seen as the wrong perspective is usually associated with failure.

The Most Important Element
One of the most important elements for the flow of lead routing, scoring, and nurturing is perspective.  The approach, workflow, frame of reference, and how these are viewed have more to do with how well they work than points.  There is a tendency when it comes to lead management to get fixated on points.  Scoring the wrong actions, however, can lead to points, which really do not have much meaning.

Get the Right Perspective
When it comes to lead scoring and nurturing today, most approaches are viewed from an inside-out perspective.  Many definitions usually state this obviously.  Definitions usually refer to the criteria “you” set.  The perceived value of a prospect to the “organization” is a common theme.

Routing, scoring, and nurturing are being scored and given values based on what these means to the organization.  The focus being on how fast to turn a lead into a sales ready lead.  Having an inside-out perspective can result in what can be referred to as a self-referential value system.  Meaning, routing, scoring, and nurturing are set up on what is believed to be good for the organization, not much else.

The problem with a self-referential value system is it does not account for what is valuable for the buyer.  In other words, it lacks the essential buyer perspective.  When this happens, it can cause you to be out of synch with buyers.

The Effects of Misinterpretation
Being out of synch with buyers can lead to misinterpretation of buyer behaviors and actions.   Sometimes, a misinterpreted buyer behavior can trigger a very aggressive push.  For example, take the simple downloading of a white paper.  The buyer provides his or her contact information in order to download the paper.  It is followed up by the customary thank you email.  The organization meanwhile sets a value of 20 points, which means it is routed for follow-up.

This is where things can go south quickly.  The 20 points triggers a series of phone calls and emails, which could be as many as 5 touches in one week.  Yet, the buyer is only in an exploratory posture and in a “not ready to buy” posture.  A perception is formed about the organization as a result.  Too pushy, non-empathetic, and etc. comes to mind.  Perhaps, a buyer is lost forever.

How To Gain The Right Perspective
There are several ways organizations can gain the right perspective, which will get their lead scoring and nurturing in synch with buyers.  Here are 3 factors to consider:

1. Gain Perspective On Buyer Goals. Research, gain insight, and design your lead scoring and nurturing system to best fit what goals buyers are attempting to accomplish.  Buyers can sense if you have the right perspectives about what they are struggling with or hoping to accomplish.  This reflection of understanding should be in your content, offers, available actions buyers can take, and how buyers can opt-in.

2. Gain Perspective On Buying Scenarios. Oftentimes, lead scoring and nurturing systems are aligned with a universal view of buying processes and stages.  Misinterpretations can happen frequently here.  What is more important is to design scoring and nurturing to the most likely buying scenarios, which can be multiple, for buyers.  Higher points should be given to behaviors, which indicate a buyer is in the midst of a scenario.  Ranking can be done to prioritize buying scenarios, which best fit the organization’s ability to help buyers meet their goals.

For example, a customized multi-location retail inventory system most likely involves multiple stakeholders.  Gaining insight into how this type of scenario is most likely to evolve can align scoring values and nurturing strategy appropriately.  Not getting this right could mean a single stakeholder, in the mode of researching, gets bombarded with online demo requests.  This could get you on the long list versus the short list.

3. Gain Perspective On the Path-To-Purchase. Understanding a buyer’s path-to-purchase does not mean a universal view of a buying process, journey, or stages.  While these can help, what helps more is knowing what buyers must do for each buying scenario they are in the midst of experiencing.  The path taken can be quite different between each buying scenario.

As an example — and for simplicity’s sake — a new purchase scenario versus a renewal can be different.  Yet, I have seen organizations “enforce” the renewal buyer and sales representatives to go through the process of a new purchase.

The above represents a natural and logical flow.  Which, lead scoring and nurturing should have.  When you can understand your buyer’s goals, the scenarios in which these exists, and the path buyers take to making a purchase to accomplish their goals – you can have the right perspective.  This type of perspective will help you to evolve the right approach towards the design of lead routing, scoring, and nurturing.

Most important, buyers will see you have the right perspective – theirs - not only yours.

Check out more of Tony's insights in his other blog posts: "3 Behavioral Insights Marketers Should Be Mining" and "How Buyer Personas Can Make Your Marketing Automation Smarter."

Looking for more resources to help improve your targeting strategy? Check out our Targeting Sheet, with a bonus Marketing Blueprint to share with your teams!

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