Podcast: How COVID-19 Changed Lead Scoring

Shahin Hoda 15  mins read Updated: January 9th, 2024

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Andrea Dixon: How COVID Made Lead Scoring More Important at DocuSign - Graphic

How COVID-19 Made Lead Scoring More Important at DocuSign - Improving the lead scoring process in B2B

In this episode, host Shahin Hoda and Andrea Dixon from DocuSign analyse how the COVID-19 pandemic has placed lead scoring under the spotlight.

Andrea goes through some examples of how her team has improved their own processes and about the new industries reaching out to DocuSign. Her unique perspective is a priceless insight to understanding the importance of lead scoring, today and in the future.

This episode’s guest:

Andrea Dixon: How COVID Made Lead Scoring More Important at DocuSign

Andrea Dixon, Head of Marketing for APAC at DocuSign

With over 15 years of experience as a marketing leader in B2B technology, Andrea Dixon is currently leading the Marketing efforts for APAC at DocuSign.

Andrea has experience in building marketing functions on global SaaS (Software as a Service) companies and in leading multi-disciplinary marketing teams. Andrea is passionate about lead scoring, and considers it the perfect combination of art and marketing science.

Connect with her on LinkedIn


Conversation segments on this episode:

  • [00:52] About DocuSign and Andrea's role
  • [01:59] How COVID-19 impacted Sales and Marketing at DocuSign
  • [03:20] Examples of industries that are reaching out to DocuSign because of COVID-19
  • [05:52] Lead scoring before and after COVID-19 at DocuSign
  • [11:54] How DocuSign deals with attribution
  • [13:35] How DocuSign is working to avoid bias in lead scores
  • [15:22] An example of how to improve the lead scoring process
  • [19:11] Tools that improve the lead scoring process
  • [21:01] How to get started with lead scoring in an organisation
  • [23:03] Andrea explains why she loves lead scoring

Resources mentioned on this episode:

Tools used by Andrea’s team:

About the Growth Colony Podcast:

On this podcast, you'll be hearing from B2B founders, CMOs, marketing & sales leaders about their successes, failures, what is working for them today in the B2B marketing world and everything in between.

Hosted by Shahin Hoda & Alexander Hipwell, from xGrowth

Get in touch!

We would love to get your questions, ideas and feedback about Growth Colony, email podcast@xgrowth.com.au

Episode Full Transcript:

[00:23] Shahin Hoda  Hello everyone and welcome to another podcast. I'm Shahin Hoda with xGrowth, and today I'm talking to Andrea Dixon, Marketing Director for APEC at DocuSign about the importance of lead scoring and why the topic got escalated multiple folds of DocuSign right when we started to feel the impact of COVID and the market. On that note, let's dive in. Andrea, thank you very much for joining us. 

[00:50] Andrea Dixon  Thanks for having me. 

[00:52] Shahin Hoda  It's absolute pleasure. Now, Andrea, for some who might not be familiar with yourself or DocuSign which is rare, but let's say there might be some people who are not familiar with DocuSign. Can you give us a quick background and intro? 

[01:08] Andrea Dixon  Absolutely. So, we are, I guess most commonly known for our electronic signature product. But we, I guess, are an agreement cloud company. So we try to make the world more agreeable by making it easy to do business with, easier to do business for and easier on the environment. 

[01:26] Shahin Hoda  Right, and tell us a little about yourself. 

[01:29] Andrea Dixon  Sure. So I've been at DocuSign, now, just over 18 months, as Head of Marketing for the APAC Region. It’s an exciting time to be at DocuSign. That's for sure. There's been incredible amount of growth. And my background is in technology marketing. I've had 15 plus years in SAS, a space company managing marketing for the APAC Region. So yeah, great time to be at DocuSign. We've seen incredible growth which I'm sure we'll go into. 

[01:59] Shahin Hoda  No, absolutely a big fan of DocuSign right here. But I'd love to dig a little bit deeper into, you know, what has been happening at DocuSign in the past few months, especially from the sales and marketing perspective. 

[02:14] Andrea Dixon  Mm hmm. Yeah, we've had an incredible few months, we've seen a huge acceleration in demand as a result of, I guess, the COVID-19 pandemic, which is, obviously horrible circumstances. And I guess we're focusing on how we can make sure that we help our customers because there's been a huge amount of demand from customers, for example, in financial services, as well as healthcare so how are we help into prioritise their needs and work with them. 

[02:44] Andrea Dixon  So lots, I guess from a sales and marketing perspective, that's going on to adapt to the these new circumstances that we're working in. As I'm sure you would imagine, we are helping businesses to try to get business done with their agreements. Now that we can't meet face-to-face and rely on pen and paper to sign agreements, so there's been a huge amount of demand as a result. So having to, I guess, prioritise those customers has been one of the biggest challenges that we've been working through recently to make sure that they get the support that they need. 

[03:20] Shahin Hoda  I can imagine. Have you experienced like you all of a sudden are dealing with customers that you never used to deal with before? Like, you know, people who are all about the paper and printing and you know, having that physical signature on a piece of paper, and then all of a sudden they're like, okay, I guess I can't do that anymore. And, and being a completely different persona than the previous people that you have to deal with. 

[03:45] Andrea Dixon  Yeah, we all think some of that. I guess, in some of these industries, like healthcare, that have relied on pen and paper processes and also, I guess, the legal system. Recently, there's been changes around the legislation or which document can get electronically signed. So we've been having to keep one step ahead of that, and work with I guess, legal teams and on how they can now digitise a lot of those traditional processes. 

[04:13] Andrea Dixon  Yeah, lots of examples that I guess popped out of the woodwork and one example I guess, is the JobKeeper form. We worked with Star Group in Sydney to send out and get those JobKeeper forms signed and completed. So understanding all these different use cases, and as much as I guess those agreements have always existed, they haven't always been digitised. So I guess we're uncovering new agreement processes all the time and how we can work with our customers to  remove pen and paper from some of those more traditional processes. 

[04:52] Shahin Hoda  It's so interesting when you get to dig deep into a certain area where it might not be kind of evident and invisible to the rest of us. But you have such amazing experience in there. I mean, you know, I had the opportunity to talk to the team at Citrix and for those who are not familiar, they are all about virtualisation and work from home. And they have a different perspective on what happened. Well, different perspective on how COVID has impacted our society. And it's so cool to to hear this insight from yourself as well in terms of managing documents and what impact COVID has had on that. Now, let's go back to marketing at DocuSign in these times. Now, one of the things that has become a little bit more important or stronger point of focus has become the lead scoring, right? 

[05:50] Shahin Hoda  Hmm. Tell us a little bit about that. 

[05:52] Andrea Dixon  Yeah, well, I guess with the acceleration of people digitising their processes, we've seen a huge volume of inbound demand which is a great thing as a marketer, right? But how we can, I guess help not inundate our business development team with just tossing all those leads across. So we've always used lead scoring, and we had a guess a lower threshold. So we've just been COVID hit and people realise the need to digitise processes we saw we saw from April in a huge spot. So we just couldn't get to the volume of late so we had to look at okay, what is what are the thresholds and how do we increase this? 

[06:29] Andrea Dixon  So we went from, to our lead scores revised from a range of zero to 100. So anything previously that scored above 31, was passed to our business development team. But since April, we've increased that threshold to 51 plus, so the beauty in that is that the quality that we're passing over is much higher. And we've seen a increased conversion rate from from MQL to SQL to sales qualified lead and improve conversion from SQL to SQO to sales qualified opportunity. So that's been great.  

[06:49] Andrea Dixon  Hmm, there's also I guess, as part of that process been, a need to really re-educate a business development team because traditionally, they would look at lead source and use a lot of bias, I guess in determining which was the best lead source that they wanted to go after. So the wonderful thing about a lead score is it takes that bias out. And it focuses them on the accounts in the context that have the highest propensity to buy so that they can spend their time more efficiently or more effectively following up those leads. But there's been a lot of work to refine that process just in the last few months because lots of changes are taking place. 

[07:17] Shahin Hoda  Yeah, right. Now, tell us a little bit about the the model itself, like how does lead scoring work at, I mean, maybe we can talk about little bit of added before COVID, how it looked like the model? Of course, I'm guessing some of the stuff we might not be able to share but what we can share, how did it look like before the pandemic? 

[08:14] Andrea Dixon  So we've always, I guess, had this lead score of zero to 100. And before my time at DocuSign, we had to enter, there's lots of different lead scoring models out there. There's the matrix of A1 - D4, which I've used in previous companies. And I know DocuSign previously had that but we moved a couple of years ago to this score of one to 100 because it was just much simpler for sales to understand that the higher the number, the higher propensity to buy. The lower the number, the lower the propensity to buy. So that keeps it simple. So I'll prove our score is split into two. There's the profile score, and the behavior score. 

[08:51] Andrea Dixon  So what we've been doing in recent times is digging into what makes up that score. And there's a lot of I guess, need to constantly refine this is what we're finding. So we score based on title, on employee count, company domain, or country, like a lot of I guess attribute to that account and that contact. But then we've got the profiling or the behavioral side, which have a score of 50 for each. And the behavioral data is made up of web pages. So we score pages differently. For example, if someone looks at our pricing page on our website, there's higher intent there. So we score that page higher. If someone looks at blog posts, for example, we might still score them at much lower things like events or a download content that obviously also scores. 

[08:58] Andrea Dixon  And we map this out in a spreadsheet. It's got different tabs for all the different profile components and then all their behavioral components. And we assign a score to each of those attributes. So that, as I said, like it It needs constant refinement. And what we've seen, I guess, pre-COVID and post-COVID is that a lot of the, for example, industries that are once great prospects for us, we think of travel and hospitality, there's lots of agreements done. They're not doing as great for now so far, we've seen a huge increase in demand from the likes of you know, financial services and healthcare. 

[10:26] Andrea Dixon  So we need to adjust our score to take those things into consideration. That an account that has a higher propensity to buy now looks very different to what it did in a pre-COVID road. So we're continuing to make those adjustments and I think we will need to continue to do that and really closely monitor how we're scoring to make sure we do continue to use it what it's intended for and pass quality leads to sales that have the highest propensity to buy.

[11:54] Shahin Hoda  How do you deal with attribution at DocuSign? 

[11:59] Andrea Dixon  Attribution is interesting. So we, I guess depending on the activity, look at the first touch or last touch, and it's not perfect by any means. I guess first touch for something like our paid social or content syndication, and last touch, if we look at something like a free trial or webinar, they might, someone might have attended an event or webinar. So we look at that bit. I guess, the downside of that is we know that there's multiple touches that make up a prospect or for them to go from zero knowledge of your company to close and to become a customer. 

[12:39] Andrea Dixon  I saw there was a recent stat that Gartner shared that was there's an average of 24 interactions for any B2B brand to close a close a deal. So attribution I think, is something we need to look closely at because I think there's a common misconception that marketing is just for sale. I think particularly to look at first touch, last touch, but there's so much more that goes on in between, that we really need to look at and make sure that we've got the analytics and the data to dig in to see what really is converting at the highest rate. And yeah, we don't have that model perfected, but are continually making refinements to that. 

[13:19] Shahin Hoda  Attribution is always a pain in the neck. And hard to get sorted. 

[13:25] Andrea Dixon  Yeah, look, if and it's tricky, and I think what we're trying to do with the lead score is to remove that bias, because sales has historically looked at I guess, those different attributes so the different activities that have led to this lead being passed away and you know that they're not always the best judge of that. I think the lead score removes that bias of saying okay, someone might have done a free trial but have you looked at their profile and have you looked at a title and seniority that company they might maybe a decision maker, sorry. That's where we need to trust in the lead school more. I think over time, it's earning that trust and continuing to refine our lead scoring model builds that trust. 

[14:06] Shahin Hoda  Right? Have you like changed in a way? Have you changed the way you communicate with the sales people so that you remove that bias? Maybe you would, you know, give them like less information? Or have you changed anything over, you know, over the past 18 months in terms of what you tell them about a lead when you pass it to them? 

[14:28] Andrea Dixon  Yeah, we've done a lot of enablement recently. And we did a session just the other week on lead scoring and just what makes up a lead score. We're actually trying to give them more information about these are the different lead sources that have the highest volume of leads are coming from these sources, but trying to educate them on it rather than remove that information. 

[14:50] Andrea Dixon  And also we did an enablement session on where to go use Outlook or for example, so we're to look in profiler at the behavior data and what what has made up lead score and why this contact has a high propensity to buy or why they've scored higher, so that the sales team can then have a more sophisticated conversation specific to that buyer as needed. So let's do more education to be done. But I think enabling them and helping them understand that model and where to find that data is helpful for everyone. 

[15:22] Shahin Hoda  Interesting. Now, I have a question around finding kind of golden nuggets in lead scoring models, right? Have you in the process of and you mentioned, it's a process that keeps getting improved and improve your lead scoring model. Has there been instances where you and the team have all of a sudden came across an item or a kind of like an event that fires that you hadn't previously taken into consideration, but by looking at it, notice that has a massive impact in terms of the decision of or showing the intent of the person who is interacting with your assets online or offline? Has there been something that you have some wasn't as straightforward at the beginning, but later on when you dug, when you started digging through details, you notice that that was a very important component and incorporated in your lead scoring model. 

[16:24] Andrea Dixon  I guess a recent example that came out of the enablement session that we did was feedback from our business development team that some they had to share some examples because it's very hard to just look at a lead and understand why might have scored incorrectly. So we've been asking them to share different examples of leads that have come to them that they don't feel is they're the right fit. And what we've realised is that there were some campaigns that were sent to our customers directing them to support pages, and they were already existing customers, so not necessarily a lead and yet those pages are scoring. 

[17:02] Andrea Dixon  So a visit, we do these campaigns, we have a whole bunch of our customers click on the support pages on our website. And they were adding to their behavior score. And they're coming to our business development team as leads. So we've since made some adjustments in negatively score those pages, because we don't want them to be coming through as MQLs. And there's been a few examples of different pages on our website that we were giving a score to, that we probably shouldn't have been. So I think that an evolving process. It's not, you can't set and forget a lead score. You need to constantly look at the pages and also think working in partnership with sales to get the feedback of where they feel that an MQL might not necessarily be or shouldn't deserve as higher score as it's received. 

[17:51] Shahin Hoda  Yeah, because that's always the issue between sales and marketing, right? The leads are not qualified enough, and the sales doesn't follow up on time. Those are the two weapons of the sales and the marketing team that they throw at each other. So that's very interesting that that collaboration is there. Is there like a constant loop of feedback that you've built in order to capture that information? Or is it you know, is more like ad hoc? Hey, we just want some feedback. Can you tell us what you finding? 

[18:24] Andrea Dixon  We've really just started that process recently, I guess, because we are starting to trust in our lead score a lot more. So we have a dedicated Slack channel where any of our business development team can give us like send us this Salesforce link to the lead that they don't feel is quoted correctly so that we can look into that. We then just track it in a Google Sheet so that we can keep a log and look into those individual examples and I think as a way to go and it's just having them bought into that process that we are continually looking to make those refinements, helps to build trust, and helps to improve the lead scoring, and the outcome for everybody. Yeah, we definitely want to employ it in contributing to that. 

[19:11] Shahin Hoda  Right. I want to talk about tools, Andrea. Give us a little bit of an understanding of what is the kind of tool stack that you and the team are using in order to further mature the lead scoring process? You know, are there enrichment tools, you know, marketing automation, what does that tech stack look like? 

[19:35] Andrea Dixon  Hmm, great question. Umm, Eloqua. I used to work at Oracle, for marketing Eloqua. And now we're using it and I think it's a great tool for lead scoring. That is, guess what we use that integrates with Salesforce, our CRM system. We also use a tool LeanData for our lead routing, which again, we can continually looking at how we can refine our lead routing rules to make sure that the leads are directed to the most appropriate person. What else? We use Google docs a lot. And Slack just for communicating. 

[20:14] Andrea Dixon  But Google Docs is for tracking. As I said, a lead scoring model is actually pulled out in Google Sheets. So we've got a tab for each of the criteria for our profile, and behavioral scores, where we assign points to each of those for starting out looking at lead scoring that would be my advice is to look at is to build it out in a spreadsheet to look at, you know, what are the different criteria that you would want to track and measure and score. And again, what are the activities that you want to score more highly? So is it an event? Is it content download for us, it's, we score a free trial the highest because there's great intent out of it. But yeah, Google Sheets. 

[21:01] Shahin Hoda  It sounds like a potential martech idea over there to build a product around it, but nah, that's cool. That is such a real strong reliance on good old Excel files and, but Eloqua obviously does a great job as well. Now you touched on this a little bit Andrea, but is there anything else that any other advice that you would give to a marketer who wants to start with lead scoring at their company? 

[21:36] Andrea Dixon  Hmm yeah, well as I said, I think looking at starting who is your ideal customer? So what are their attributes? What are their titles, industries that they belong to? Whether you've done any, I guess, persona work before. I think looking at who is your ideal buying persona that will help you to identify what that ideal profile lead score looks like. And then also looking at you know, you can look at historical data of which campaigns have performed the best to know which one, you should wait your criteria for the behavioral piece of the lead score. So I think it's yes, the martech is, you know, can get you there. But I think I would advise to sort of not start there, but start with the basics and build it out in the Google Sheet, or an Excel sheet of just what those different criteria are and then assign a score and socialise that with sales, they need to be bought into this. So it's important that they have an input into that. 

[22:35] Shahin Hoda  Very Sure. Otherwise, I mean, they would just not bother with the leads, right? And we'll go back in square one, the classic issue of sales and marketing at each other's throats. Yeah, before we wrap up, we kind of have asked a lot of questions but before we wrap up, is there anything around lead scoring, attribution and everything that we talked about that you think I didn't ask, that I should have ordered that you want to bring up? 

[23:03] Andrea Dixon  No, I think we covered it all, I guess the thing I'd add is just that, I guess what I love about lead scoring is that it really is that science of the role of marketing. What I love about marketing is it really combines the art and the science. And I think lead scoring is a great way to get really granular on just what you want those profiles to look like it, it does genuinely help move the needle on your demand strategy and help you to then know who your ideal customer is, to attract more look alike leads. So yeah, I'm a huge fan. 

[23:37] Shahin Hoda  That's a good point. Actually, on that point, Andrea, do you think there are business models that in the B2B space that lead scoring might not be a good solution for? 

[23:48] Andrea Dixon  Honestly, no, I think that in any shape or form that they're actually think you know, even if it's just looking at it my sort of basic level, I really think at any B2B business can benefit from this. 

[24:03] Shahin Hoda  That sounds good. Sounds good. Well, thank you very much for that. Now, if anyone wants to know more about DocuSign, about or have more questions, what will be the best way for them to find out more? 

[24:15] Andrea Dixon  Check out our website Docusign.com.au and get in touch if there's any questions. 

[24:23] Shahin Hoda  Sounds good. Well, Andrea, thank you so much. I genuinely enjoyed this conversation. Very enlightening. Always lead scoring is an interesting and a hot topic, especially these days. So thank you very much for coming on the show. 

[24:38] Andrea Dixon  Thanks for having me.

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