When you have more than hundreds or thousands of accounts in your CRM or MAP, how do you prioritize which accounts your marketing and sales teams should go after? For many companies, technographic gives key insights their teams need to accurately identify accounts that are more than 60% more likely to close. That is why marketing and sales teams who use technographic to score their accounts say tech install data as the top critical factor for their success.
Contrary to the firmographic criteria like the number of employees, company size, annual revenue, and industry, technographic data allows you to easily identify the tech stack or technology footprint of your ideal customers. What this means is that you know if your accounts are using complementary or competing for technology solutions to yours, and you know if they are using obsolete or legacy solutions, and you know if they’re an early adopter of SaaS applications.
All of this intelligence gives you the information that you can use to prioritize your outreach efforts on the accounts that are more likely to purchase from you. And it also helps you to reach out to those accounts that are more likely to buy from you in an informed manner with a message that is more relevant than if you only knew the basic firmographics data about your accounts.
What is Account Scoring?
The process of sorting all the potential customers in order from the most to the least valuable is called account scoring. The total estimated value of an account is equal to the proximity to the ideal customer profile (ICP), a customer that gets the most value out of your solution. One of the simplest ways to do account scoring is to create Excel and then manually weigh the different criteria. And a more advanced approach is to use AI and a combination of behavioral, internal and open company data.
There are certain customers that you find much easier to talk to. And during leisure both of you enjoy doing some similar things, both of you spend many hours listening to medieval-era choir music, and your dog happens to be of the same breed. Simply put, you both get along just fine.
Such great chemistry in B2B sales occasionally makes the deal. Your new friend purchases the thing you’re selling and supports your business to make you happy. No one at the customer company requires the service, and its usage is minimal during the first and only contract period you’ll share. However, the customer and you keep on high-fiving every time you come across!
A friendship between an individual at a prospect company and you is a great thing, however, it has very little to do with creating a long-term, successful business relationship between the two companies. The company needs a friend from another company.
The Basics of Account Scoring:
A service that is fit for everyone has not been created yet, by anyone. For every service or product, there’s a segment of customers that get the most value using it. Many companies depend on ICP to draw a clearer picture of a customer that is a perfect fit for them. It’s not necessarily a real-life company, but an ideal that we try to peruse towards.
Using ICP to acquire new customers, while doing sales prospecting, is a win-win for every stakeholder in the company. It is faster and much easier to sell to an ICP-fit company. It gets the best value out of the relationship with your company and will stay as a happy customer for an extended period of time. In simple words, customers that closely fit ICP have a maximum customer lifetime value (CLV). Those customers will more likely also act as an advocate for your solutions or/and company.
Some of the companies while creating an ICP target group are easily dismissible by filtering out companies from, e.g., revenue classes unfitting industries, however, the rest of the group needs sorting from the most to the least valuable so that sales teams can use their time and resources wisely.
Sorting of this group of potential prospect companies is called Account Scoring.
Let’s assume that we’re scoring accounts from 0 to 10 based on their fit criteria to be your customer. 0 gets assigned to a company that gets zero value out of your offering and 10 gets assigned to a company that fits perfectly with your ICP. Account scoring doesn’t just build itself and will need well-thought variables to function effectively. Later in this blog, we’ll dig more deeply into how to do this. Now, we’ll try to describe the value of scoring accounts.
Following are the most important things at this stage:
- Account Scoring sorts all the prospect companies from least to most profitable.
- Some accounts are more valuable to your company than others.
- ICP is a prerequisite for creating an Account Scoring scheme.
- Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) reveals the most valuable customers to your company.
Why use account scoring?
Account scoring needs an ICP to function and reveals the level of similarity prospect companies have with the ICP. Now, we’ll discuss if creating an account scoring process is relevant in the first place.
Is account scoring method is something you should try to create?
Among us, the most skeptical may think that the complexity of the market won’t make it to the market won’t make it feasible to define a single ICP and hence score accounts that approach the ideal customer. Additionally, one could easily argue that the current customers won’t necessarily include best-fit companies that should act as models of an ideal customer. Winnable, but these are justified concerns.
Solutions include the following:
- Creating the scoring model not-based-on existing customers, but the desired account, you’ve yet to convince.
- Using multiple ICP and running every prospect through every profile
However, a quality account scoring mechanism establishment isn’t necessarily a walk in the neighborhood park.
Building an accurate account scoring mechanism is potentially impossible because of the chaotic nature of the world. There are a lot of variables to take into account. Why should a company create an account scoring method as it doesn’t necessarily provide the right answers?
A fully accurate account scoring method may be sales management’s dream; however, while we are waiting for a solution, it’s quite possible to increase chances by creating and improving our company account scoring structures.
The answer to the question- is account scoring worth the effort, is based on the willingness to invest resources and time on creating one that yields better results. Constructed carefully, account scoring is worth the effort, and it will also save the time of the sales representatives as there are very few unworthy accounts to contact.
One could easily argue that the sales representative will have much higher morale when negotiating with companies that are, based on the data available, much more fitting for the service period.
The most important things at this stage are the following:
- The well-built account scoring method increases the odds…
- … But isn’t bullet-proof
- Perfect account scoring doesn’t exist due to the chaotic nature of the world
- Using account scoring will increase the morale of sales representative as prospects are – based on the data – interested in the service offered
What is the difference between lead scoring and account scoring?
To make it simple, while lead scoring prioritizes contacts in order depending on their chances to become a customer, account scoring focuses on the company’s chances to become a customer.
Using account scoring, especially in B2B, makes more sense as an individual person very unlikely makes a purchase decision individually. The existing company situation has to be taken into consideration as well as technologies already in use, stakeholder opinion, financial situation, and future events. Hence, focusing more on account rather than a lead score alone in B2B is a smart move and also enables marketing and sales to spend resources more efficiently.
To make things even simpler, here’s an example with two sales directors from different companies:
- The first sales director knows about your solution but has subscribed only to your company newsletter. However, his organization is continuously investing in web technologies, hiring new employees, and has also emitted buying signals announcing new product launches, new markets, and new head of sales. The first sales director isn’t thrilled, but for their company, investing in the solution makes a lot of sense.
- Attends several webinars, goes through all of your content, downloads eBooks and requests for a demo, the second sales director is very enthusiastic about your product. According to lead scoring, it’s a perfect match. However, his company is currently laying-off some employees, pulling out from international markets and doesn’t even have any budget to spare. So, despite the thrilled sales director, there’s a very small chance of a deal anytime soon.
The variables used in account scoring can affect lead scoring, and vice-versa, the variables used in lead scoring can also affect account scoring. For example, the last visit form a contact linked to an organization, or the total number of individual contacts from an account, can be variables in account scoring when they are actions of an individual. Similarly, the total number of employees, CRM used, location and revenue can be attributes in lead scoring even though they are related to a company.
Tip: Some may call a positive company event that affects account score – a lead. Such an event is generally referred to as a buying signal at many companies.
In the next section, we’ll explain how to create an organizational account scoring template.
The most critical things at this stage are the following:
- Lead Scoring may affect Account Scoring or/and vice versa.
- Lead Scoring refers to ranking an act of an individual all things considered
- Account Scoring refers to ranking a whole company all things considered
- Following only Lead Score may lead to a situation where the prospect company is not ready to purchase despite an excited individual.
The Five-Step Guide to Building an Account Scoring Template:
A search engine (like Google search engine or Bing search engine) is a very powerful tool for finding relevant information, however, it cannot predict what a user wants to find without an input (search query). And the same goes for any account scoring method. Follow the below steps to learn how to create your own account scoring method.
1. Define Ideal Customer Profile to Know What’s a Ten:
As already discussed earlier in this blog, account scoring begins with defining an ICP. It’s the ICP’s definition that’ll accurately determine the success of the account scoring method. And if setting the ICP fails, the scoring of the accounts will move in the wrong direction. It’s quite similar to trying to find photos of lions on a search engine by typing “llama” in the search bar.
Now, if scoring is from zero to ten and perfect ten would be = ICP.
2. Find the Essential Components of the ICP:
Now, the ICP is defined, however, there’s no guarantee which components affect the value of the prospect. And identifying and finding the components is potentially the least fun part in this, however, it is very important for the account scoring method.
The components could be things like headcount, revenue growth or a specific buying signal.
3. Weigh the Components:
All components of the account scoring method aren’t created equal. Maybe, a specific component has a much more significant impact on the value of the prospect than another component. A buying signal indicating a new office location may be a component that has the most value for sales at your company. And for another company, the shear growth speed of the total headcount may have the highest significant impact.
You need to estimate the relative impact they have on the value of the prospect once you have found the components that matter the most.
4. Build an Account Scoring Template on Excel:
Creating an account scoring template on Excel is quite easy; however, it may need a moment or two to accomplish.
5. Use, Evaluate and Repeat:
Whenever you prospect a handful of new companies, every time, run them through the account scoring template. For example, your team can decide to call only the prospects that get more than five out of ten to save time.
The components, the weighing or the ICP are not fixed. Preferably under continuous development, they’re always best guesses. Account scoring needs evaluation and modifying to hit perfection.
Top Account Scoring Use Cases:
In your CRM ort MAP, Technographic account scoring automates account prioritization to ensure your marketing and sales teams follow up with the accounts that fit closely with your ICP first.
The most winning account scoring use cases are the following;
- Complementary Campaigns: score target accounts that use a technology product you enhance and then reach out to them with your value proposition.
- Competitive Displacement: improve scoring for accounts using competitor hardware or software products and then target them with a message that clearly shows how you solve their pain points.
- Up-sell/Cross-sell: know the entire technology environment of your accounts and then divert accounts that are using a legacy product to your marketing and sales teams for outreach.
As already mentioned, a perfect account scoring method is as possible as a 100% accurate weather forecast. While weather forecast decreases the possibility of getting hit by the rain, the weatherperson can’t actually promise you anything.