© 2009 Bloor ResearchA Bloor White Paper
How real-time online sales lead scoring drives a competitive edge
Sales Lead Scoring is a well-established discipline in modern sales and marketing teams.Essentially, Sales Lead Scoring determines the attractiveness, quality, and propensity to purchase ofa sales lead prospect. However, to date Sales Lead Scoring has been an inexact science requiringmanual intervention and subjectivity to complete a sales lead proﬁle and to score a sales prospect.This has been a common phenomenon across most industries and application areas, that hasresulted in a plethora of internal home-made Excel spreadsheet approaches containing manyinaccuracies and errors. Unfortunately this has led to many management decisions being ﬂawed; notthrough ﬂawed managers, but through decisions based on incorrect or incomplete data.The solution to the Excel dilemma has been the manufacture of many purpose-built applications.Indeed, this is the case in the Sales Lead Scoring area where many packaged, mostly B2B, solutionsexist. Such applications are now being made obsolete by a new breed of real-time, internet-basedservices as the consumer marketing world is inexorably drawn to real-time and right-time applications.For example, pricing optimization in the travel and electronics industries is now real-time. Theoptimized price of an airline seat or an iPod is the value of what the customer is prepared to pay righthere, right now. Customers now have access to relatively ‘perfect’ information using price comparisonsites and using internet-based research. A supplier either offers the best value for money, or losesthe deal. The best value for money comprises of a combination of supply and demand, competitionand customer needs, brand value and perceived product differentiation and many other variablesincluding price, at the instant of customer consideration and resulting product purchase.This complexity needs the help of technology to simplify the issues and report in an accurate andtimely manner. Many leading retailers have achieved this goal using real-time operational reportingand business intelligence to assess today’s sales and margins and inventory levels to drive decision-making. Real-time systems are also well established in the investment banking industry, whichrequires real-time share dealing and nano-second response times. Now stock trading systems arestarting to include market sentiment analysis—capturing and scoring customer comments from theInternet and in blog sites to assess their positive or negative effects on brands and reputation—thusaltering companies’ stock and share price values.The sales lead scoring industry is following this pattern. The value of having complete and accuratereal-time proﬁles of potential customers and an assessment of their potential needs are essential toa solutions sales approach. It is key to a new customer acquisition strategy that provides superiorcustomer experience and service at its core. The ability to have real-time scoring improves internalmanagement of sales and marketing resource. It enables the right sales lead to go to the right agentwith the right message and value proposition, and the optimal customer engagement approach.The future for the lead scoring industry is real-time online sales lead scoring. In the view of BloorResearch those vendors that are unable or unwilling to offer this service will have increasingdifﬁculty competing with real-time sales lead scoring vendors. This paper outlines the case and thebeneﬁts of real-time online sales lead scoring.