Close More Deals Using A Lead Scoring Template
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What are the top reasons you aren’t using a lead scoring template?
- It feels intimidating.
- The setup looks complicated.
- You’re probably not sure it’s worth the effort.
But that’s all smoke screens and mirrors.
Not only is creating a lead scoring template a lot easier than you think, but it gets valuable business results.
In fact, 77% of B2B marketers saw a lift in lead generation ROI over companies not using a lead scoring system.
While it will take some time to collect data and plug it in, once you’re done with the initial admin, you’ll have a powerful tool for your small business.
It will help you quickly prioritize high-quality leads, increase sales efficiency, and drive more revenue.
But before we dive into creating a lead scoring template for your small B2B business, let’s dial it back to the basics.
What Is Lead Scoring?
Lead scoring grades each potential customer on how likely they will buy from you.
Think of it like a report card.
Remember how your teachers used to grade you on your homework and tests? Well, lead scoring does the same thing, but for your leads.
So, how does it work? You assign points to your leads’ different characteristics and behavioral attributes as they progress through the customer journey.
For example, if a lead has visited your website multiple times or engaged with your social media posts, you might give them 20 points. On the other hand, if a lead doesn’t match your ideal customer profile, you might deduct 10 points.
When you’re done, you clearly know which leads are most likely to convert into sales. That means less time wasted on uninterested leads and more time closing deals.
Let’s take an example.
Meet Joe, a social media manager. Joe gets 1 – 2 leads per week, which is manageable in the short term. But over time those leads begin to add up. After a couple of years he has hundreds of leads – some fresh, others stale.
Using a lead scoring template, Joe can quickly identify which leads are worth pursuing TODAY. And also decide which to ignore for now. He assigns points to leads based on their job title, company size, location, website behavior, and social interactions, and the recency of interactions.
As a result, he focuses his efforts on potential leads that are most likely to become paying customers, increasing his chances of closing more deals.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Preparing Your Lead Scoring Template
You don’t need fancy software to build a custom lead scoring process.
If you can access a spreadsheet and follow these four steps, you’ll have all the tools and information you need to plug and play.
Step 1: Identify Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
Before assigning grades to your leads, you need to figure out what makes an A+ lead.
Your ideal customer profile is where it all begins.
It’s like creating a dating profile for your perfect customer. Except instead of filling out Hinge prompts like “Green flags I look for,” you’re listing characteristics like:
- Job title
- Company size
To create your ideal customer profile, answer the following questions:
- Who are my best customers?
- What industries do they work in?
- What job title does my product or service work best for?
- What is their budget?
- Where are my best customers based?
- What is the main problem my product or service solves?
By analyzing your customers, you’re creating a fictional character or an “answer sheet” to grade your leads against.
But don’t stop there. To really nail down your ideal customer profile, look at your competitors’ customers.
What industries and job titles are they targeting? What sets your ideal customer apart from theirs? This can help refine your ideal customer profile and make it even more specific to your business.
Here’s how your ICP research might look:
Jane runs a small business as an accountant. She knows her ideal customer values personalized service and can afford her accounting services.
Looking at her existing customer base, Jane notices that most of her best customers are in the retail and hospitality industries.
Using this information, she creates an ICP that’s hyper-specific to her business and customers, helping her stand out from the competition and develop packages that speak to her target market.
Step 2: Identify Your Scoring Criteria
Now that you have a clear idea of who you’re targeting, it’s time to decide what behaviors and characteristics will give you an accurate lead score.
Think about the specific actions and traits your most profitable clients possess beyond the ones you identified in the ICP process.
- Filled out a contact us form. Add 10 points.
- Visited your services page. Add 10 points
- Engaged with your emails. Add 40 points
Remember, your lead scoring criteria is unique, like a fingerprint.
Just make sure it aligns with your ICP and supports your sales goals.
Step 3: Assign Scores to Your Criteria
Okay, you have your lead scoring criteria. Now it’s time to put start grading your leads.
The scores you assign should be proportional to the importance of each criterion. By adjusting scores for your criteria, you’re fine-tuning your sales cycle and improving lead quality (a top complaint among sales teams).
Let’s say you’re a marketing company that specializes in paid ads. Your client’s industry will have a big impact on their total ad spend. For example, a high-search niche like ecommerce could be a very lucrative client. But a prospect in a low search industry like plastics manufacturing might be less appealing.
While it may take some trial and error to lock down your scores, it’s worth the effort. The more accurately you can evaluate your criteria, the easier it will be to focus on the right leads at the right time.
Step 4: Determine Your Thresholds
The final step in creating your lead scoring system is determining your thresholds.
What is a threshold?
It’s where you decide what your cut-off points are for different lead categories like “hot,” “warm,” and “cold.”
Your score thresholds will depend on your business needs and goals, but a common approach is assigning scores based on percentiles.
For example, you assign the top 10% of leads a score of 90 or above, the next 20% a score of 80-89, and so on.
Once you’ve established your score thresholds, you can use them to prioritize your leads for sales.
“Hot” leads with scores above a certain threshold are your number one priority.
While “warm” and “cold” leads can be nurtured or placed on the back burner.
Putting everything together, here’s what your lead scoring template will help you achieve:
You’re running a small SaaS company that sells a project management tool to small and medium-sized businesses.
Your ideal customer profile includes the following:
- Company size: 11-50 employees.
- Industry: Tech, marketing, and design.
- Job Title: CEO, CMOs and head of growth.
- Budget: Above $5k per month.
Based on your scoring criteria, you assign your scores as follows:
- Job title: CEO/CMO (10 points), Project Manager (5 points), other titles (1 point)
- Company size: 1-3 employees (1 point), 4 – 10 employees (5 points), 11-50 employees (10 points)
- Budget: <$5k (1 point), $5k-$10k (5 points), $10k+ (10 points)
- Content interactions: Downloaded white paper (5 points), attended webinar (10 points), other engagements (1 point)
Using these scores, you create your score thresholds:
- Hot leads: 80 points or above
- Warm leads: 50-79 points
- Cold leads: below 50 points
You have all the information you need to create a lead scoring template and focus on sales-ready leads who are most likely to convert.
Create Your Lead Scoring Template
Open Excel or Google Sheets and create the following lead scoring template with your criteria, scores, and thresholds.
|ICP Category||Total Category Weight (%)||Values to Score Against||% Score Of Category||Numeric Score|
|Activity Category||Total Weighting (%)||Max Frequency of Activity||Recency of Activity||% Score of Category||Numeric Score|
|Form Submission||50%||1||3 Days
|Sales Page Visit||25%||1||3 Days
7 Days30 Days
|Email Click-Through||25%||1||3 Days
Using Excel and Google Sheets formulas, you can plug in your scores and create drop-down lists for each category. Then it will automatically calculate your total score for each lead you input.
|Lead Name||Total Category Score (%)||Total Activity Score (%)||Average Score (%)|
Depending on the thresholds you set, you can organize your leads according to “hot,” “warm,” or “cold.”
Best Practices for Lead Scoring Template Creation
Creating a lead scoring template is just the first step. Follow these tips to make sure that your system is effective and avoid common problems when scoring leads:
Do Review and Update Your Lead Scoring Template
Keeping your lead scoring system up-to-date is the key to success.
Think of it like a houseplant.
You need to regularly water it, prune its leaves, and add fertilizer to keep it happy and healthy.
The same goes for your lead scoring system.
If you want to see results from your lead scoring template, you need to fill and update it with fresh and accurate data.
The more fresh and accurate, the more effective your lead scoring template
Here are a few reasons why:
Business Goals: Your business goals can change faster than you can say “sales funnel.” If you’re not keeping tabs, your template won’t align with your goals, and you’ll add weight to the wrong leads. For example, if your business aims to increase revenue from enterprise customers, you must adjust your scoring criteria and thresholds accordingly.
Buyer Behavior: You’re selling to people. While we are creatures of habit, sometimes your target audience’s behavior is as unpredictable as the stock market. Suppose a new social media platform takes over, or you launch a new email campaign for a new service. You would need to adjust your scoring criteria and weights to reflect this change.
New Lead Sources: If you start using LinkedIn Ads to attract leads, update your lead scoring template. Without it, your criteria won’t reflect how effective this new channel is, making it much harder to know if it’s worth your time and effort.
Don’t Avoid Negative Scores
Let’s face it.
Not all leads are created equal.
Some leads may be a great fit for your small B2B business, while others are not worth your time.
To avoid chasing down junk leads, you need to use negative criteria scoring.
Negative scoring means assigning point values to criteria that indicate a lead is NOT a good fit for your business.
- An industry type you don’t serve
- A company size that falls outside of your target range.
- The lead is located outside of your target region.
- The lead has a poor engagement score with your marketing campaigns and materials.
But negative scoring isn’t only about weeding out bad leads.
It also helps you prioritize your efforts.
Using negative scoring helps you focus on the most qualified leads in your pipeline, saving you time and effort in the long run.
Do Keep Your Lead Scoring Model Simple
The complexity of setting up a lead scoring system is the top reason most marketers shy away – despite the majority of sales saying lead scoring is a top revenue contributor.
The key to an effective lead scoring template?
One of the biggest pitfalls of overcomplicating your lead scoring module is the risk of analysis paralysis.
If you’re trying to consider every possible variable, you’ll end up with a complex system that nobody knows how to use. This could lead to inaction and missed opportunities.
Keep your scoring criteria simple and easy to understand so you and your team can quickly identify the hottest leads.
Another risk of overcomplicating your lead scoring module is that you may end up with an imbalanced system.
Assigning too much weight to certain criteria or factors could lead to skewed results, resulting in false positives or negatives.
Focus on your most relevant criteria to achieve accurate and actionable results.
Don’t Be Too Generous With Your Points
Sure, getting a bunch of high-scoring leads can feel like a win, but are those scores accurate or vanity metrics?
Make sure you’re awarding points for real buying signals.
- Requesting a consultation or quote for your services.
- Consistently engaging with your content or website.
- Expressing interest in your pricing or package options.
Remember, lead scoring is not about quantity. It’s about quality.
It’s okay to be stingy with your points.
Lead Scoring Template FAQs
What is a lead scoring template? A lead scoring template is a framework that assigns points to leads based on predetermined criteria, helping businesses prioritize leads effectively.
How can a lead scoring template improve my marketing and sales processes? A lead scoring template can increase efficiency, improve conversion rates, and align marketing and sales by systematically prioritizing leads against real buying signals and your ideal customer profile.
What are the key components of a lead scoring template? The components of a lead scoring template include key attributes like demographic, firmographic, behavioral, customer engagement, lead source, lead status, lead scoring criteria, and scoring thresholds.
How often should I review and update my lead scoring template? It’s a good idea to review your lead scoring template at least once a quarter to ensure it’s up-to-date with the nature of your business.
Wrapping It Up
Creating a lead scoring template for your small business doesn’t have to be complicated. All it takes is a bit of customer research, a spreadsheet, and a solid understanding of your sales goals.
When you have one in place, you can overcome two of the biggest marketing attribution hurdles:
- Generating high-quality leads from your marketing strategy.
- Proving your marketing activities’ ROI.