If you’ve gone through the effort of defining your ideal customer profile (ICP), you know how important it is for your organization to target accounts that match your profile. When your revenue teams reach out to potential customers that closely resemble your ICP it’s a win-win for everyone. It’s a win for your prospects because they need and value your solution. And it’s a win for your sales team because these types of prospects are easier and faster to sell to, are more likely to renew or upgrade, and can serve as advocates for your company.
So how do you ensure your revenue teams are all focused on prioritizing and reaching out to the accounts that will drive the most revenue for your organization faster — even in challenging times?
The answer is account scoring.
What is Account Scoring?
Account scoring is a systematic, data-driven approach to sorting all your potential customers from the most to the least valuable. In this approach, you score accounts from highest to lowest depending on how closely their attributes match your company’s ideal customer profile (ICP) and other agreed upon criteria.
Although scores are typically based on how close an account matches your ICP, the individual attributes that make up the score might have different weights applied to them as follows:
In the Manufacturing Industry: +10
In the Automotive Sub-Industry: +5
Revenue above 100M: +5
Headquartered in the US: +3
This allows you to weigh some criteria more heavily than others and make adjustments as business goals or market conditions change, or you introduce new variables into your scoring model.
Why Account Scoring is Important
Having your ICP serve as the foundation for your account scoring system is important because it helps align your sales and marketing outreach on your best-fit accounts, and, when done right, can put you among the companies who see a 68% increase in their win rates.
With an effective account scoring system, sales teams can be much more efficient. Take for example a sales rep who has been given a new territory. It’s likely the rep will look at it and then wonder where to start. By automatically scoring the territory for your rep, and all the reps in your company for that matter, you can help your entire sales organization prioritize their efforts to maximize their outreach on the accounts that matter most to your company.
The same can go for marketing – not only can account scoring help them identify which accounts they should be marketing to, it can also help them quickly identify which inbound leads might be “hot-routed” directly to sales for immediate follow-up.
Overcoming Common Challenges to Account Scoring Adoption
There are many reasons account scoring initiatives fail to get wide adoption inside an organization or are met with suspicion. Typically, the reasons involve a lack of transparency into how the model was built, or a failure in the model to accurately predict which accounts are the best fits. This leads to people distrusting the account scoring process and relying instead on their gut feeling or intuition, which are often shaped by subjectivity and bias, to select the right accounts.
Below we’ll address some of the common pitfalls to adopting an account scoring model and what you can do to succeed in developing a system that helps your team hone in on the right prospects and gives them the confidence they need to use it consistently.
Lack of Predictability
For many companies, one of the major issues with account scoring models is that they are not predictive enough. The underlying problem is often that their ICP is very basic and does not have more advanced attributes to truly be useful and actionable. Here’s a simple example of the difference between a basic and more advanced ICP.
|Basic ICP||Advanced ICP|
|Industry: Financial||Industry: Financial|
|Size: 1000 employees||Size: 1000 employees|
|Revenue: $100MM||Revenue: $100MM|
|Key Software Installed: Oracle NetSuite ERP|
|Upgrade: Oracle NetSuite Bronto|
|Cloud Strategy: Multi-cloud|
|Spend on ERP: $5M/year|
As you can see from the comparison, the more advanced ICP provides a much more granular picture about what makes an account valuable or not, especially to an organization selling ERP software or services. Without this level of technology intelligence built into their scoring model, this type of company can end up spending a lot of valuable time and resources on accounts that simply aren’t the right fit.
Bottom line: use an advanced ICP to make your account scoring more predictable and useful to revenue teams.
Subjective Variables Receive too Much Weight
Another challenge that can limit the effectiveness of a scoring model and erode trust in its usage is when scores of individual attributes are subjectively given too much weight. For example, a persuasive sales leader might convince the operations staff to create an account scoring model that heavily weights companies that are in the manufacturing industry because the rep has had a good experience there.
However, when taking an objective, data-driven, approach a business analyst may discover that it was not actually the manufacturing industry that made a prospect a good fit, it was the fact they were using Oracle NetSuite. Without a deeper dive into the data, keeping the scoring model weighted heavily on manufacturing might mean missing out on a huge opportunity to reach a much wider universe of great-fit prospects in other industries.
Bottom line: use data to eliminate subjectivity from your scoring model and expand your opportunities.
Getting Buy-in from Stakeholders
If your sales or marketing teams do not understand how a scoring model works they are much less likely to trust it causing them to fall back on their own subjective opinions and personal experiences rather than data. This is why it’s critical to work across your company to define your ICP, be transparent about the process, and educate everyone on the attributes you are using for it and why. This is true whether you have one ICP or multiple versions to address different solutions.
Your ICP should include input from all revenue teams including Sales, Marketing and Customer Success. You should also include your finance team to validate who your most profitable customers are and what their lifetime value is. There should also be an operations member on your team who can interpret customer data and dig deep to identify valuable correlations.
A noteworthy example of this is Western Digital, who identified that their most profitable customers used three specific products in their tech stack. By using comprehensive tech intelligence, they were able to find and target other prospects that also had these products installed and generate 49% more revenue from these types of accounts.
If you’ve collectively done the work of defining your ICP correctly as a company up front, building an account scoring model becomes much easier as you will use all the ICP attributes you defined as a team as the foundation for your model. With the foundation set, you can then fine-tune your model over time with other criteria like intent and behavioral data.
And if you’ve defined and agreed to your account scoring model together, you also help solve one of the biggest challenges facing organizations of all sizes — aligning the efforts of your sales and marketing teams on the right accounts. This is an important issue to solve because when you align the efforts of these two groups you can help your business become 67% better at closing deals.
Bottom line: use your ICP as the foundation for your account scoring model to build trust, align sales and marketing teams, and encourage faster adoption.
Stale Scoring Criteria
Your business isn’t static and the criteria you use for your scoring model shouldn’t be either. The COVID-19 crisis has forced all of us to reprioritize our outreach on the accounts that will truly help make an impact for us. In this exercise, companies are re-evaluating the attributes they once considered important in building their ICPs and scoring models, by either weighting existing criteria more or less favorably, or introducing new criteria altogether.
Nowhere is this more evident in requests we’ve had from our customers for attributes such as:
- Cloud Maturity Profiles – these criteria allow cloud-based product vendors to see what accounts have not adopted cloud solutions and could therefore have an immediate need for their product.
- Security Profiles – these criteria show which organizations are using outdated security postures, or running end-of-life tools that are more susceptible to a breach. This allows security vendors to identify prospects with the highest potential to buy – namely, companies who have an immediate need to invest in keeping their customers’ data safe.
While black-swan events are a great forcing factor, changing your account scoring model shouldn’t just be something you do in extraordinary times. Other examples of when you might consider making an adjustment to your model include:
- Product Upgrades – if your product upgrade introduces new features that now allow you to compete better with your nearest challengers, it might be a good time to ensure you boost the score for accounts using those competitive products. You can then go after these prospects with a takeaway campaign that directly addresses their pain points.
Similarly, you might weigh accounts that use products you integrate well with higher than those that don’t, since it will be easier to show the value your solution provides.
- New Intelligence – if new intelligence reveals that prospects with a particular tech stack account for much larger deal sizes, you would want to adjust your scoring model to rank these accounts higher.
A great example of this comes from one of our customers, BetterCloud, who realized they could increase their average deal sizes 2-3x by simply identifying and reaching out to prospects with two or more cloud platforms already installed. By adding this detail into their scoring model, they prioritized their sales and marketing outreach on these accounts to grow their revenue faster.
As you can see, there are countless criteria that companies can use to score their accounts. But whether you’re looking to quickly shift priorities during a global pandemic or trying to be more data driven in your targeting, having access to the right tech intelligence is what allows you to turn insight into action.
Bottom line: tech intelligence enables you to quickly modify your account scoring so you can quickly pivot to new opportunities when business conditions change.
Scoring Your Accounts Accurately Drives Revenue Faster
Adopting an account scoring model keeps your revenue teams aligned and focused on the accounts that matter most to your organization — the ones that most closely match your ICP. This is important because these potential customers derive the most immediate benefit for your solution, are faster to renew, and can serve as long term advocates for your company.
If you’re interested in learning how HG Insights can help you score your accounts for success, visit our ABM Scoring and Prioritization page now!