The most successful marketing campaigns start with quality prospects that turn to qualified leads. According to research by Capterra, “Improving the quality of leads generated and increasing the quantity of leads generated top the list as the most important lead gen objectives for businesses.”
These days, if you want a successful brand, you need to rely on buyers to help build it. A strong following starts with gathering qualified leads. If you are like most marketing brands though, you have trouble tracking your leads. Rather than falter behind the competition, it is time to take charge of your lead generation and tracking strategy by implementing the right strategies to track your leads.
Lead Basics: What You Need to Know
You cannot track what you do not understand. Therefore, the first step in implementing a strategy that allows you to track your leads is to actually know what is a lead.
As Target Marketing helpfully points out, there is a difference between what marketing professionals identify as an “inquiry” and as a “qualified lead.” An inquiry is simply a party that is interested in your brand and has requested information about what your brand has to offer.
On the other hand, the definition of a lead is much more fluid than marketing professionals reason. Detrimentally, there is also no consensus between a marketing and sales team as to what a lead is in their line of work. Without agreement, most brands relegate their lead generation strategy and lead tracking to ultimate failure. For a successful brand, you need to understand and identify what a lead is, there must be agreement between the marketing and sales department, and continuous communication must take place.
At the most universal and agreed upon level in the industry, a lead is a potential sales contact. However, at this point, you can easily delineate this stage as more of a simple inquiry. To truly turn into a lead, the inquiry needs to go through the qualifying process – thereby resulting in a qualified lead.
What is a qualified lead?
According to the Marketing Playbook, a qualified lead is considered a premium lead. A lead becomes a qualified lead when they have a need, a budget, and buying authority to purchase what you have to offer. Another factor that qualifies a lead is timeline. The timeline is an overview of when the lead is considering making a purchase.
As your sales team goes through the process of qualifying leads, you can essentially provide them with what is known as the BANT system.
By ensuring that you and your sales team are on the same page in terms of what a lead is and what qualifies a lead, tracking leads through the numerous strategies enumerated below becomes much easier. Now, you do not need to worry about tracking leads that will not convert or leads that are disinterested. Your sales team and your marketing team should have all of the necessary information to make the right decisions regarding lead generation, qualifying leads, and next – lead tracking.
What is lead tracking?
Knowing what a lead is and what qualifies one does make your job easier, but it does not preclude more information from entering the mix. The next step to properly tracking your leads is to first understand lead tracking.
As Base points out, lead tracking is the process of tracking your lead’s progress after they have entered the sales funnel. To track your lead properly, you need to gather the right information at every stage of the process. Some brands begin lead tracking at the qualifying stage, while others wait until after a lead is qualified. Either way, both lead to the same end goal – converting the lead into a final sale.
At this point, you may be wondering what purpose is served by tracking your lead if they are already in the sales funnel. Well – there are many ways that your brand stands to benefit. Just check out some of the main advantages below:
- A Smooth Buyer Journey. While many brands claim that “bumps are part of the process,” the fact of the matter is – they do not need to be. You are in control of your buyer’s journey and as a result, you have the ability to manipulate that journey to attain the results that you are aiming for. By tracking your leads, you can determine where leads are filtering out of the sales pipelines. As you keep a close eye on such issues, take action and make the necessary changes to keep the lead funneling through the tunnel.
- Precision in Forecasting. The guessing game is one of the most detrimental steps that you can take when marketing. Rather than find yourself on the side of dangerous guessing, you should rely on quantitative sales data that you can attain through lead tracking. The sales data will dispel any preexisting biases and you will also be able to attain accurate revenue predictions.
- Marketing Campaigns that are Driven by Data. Finally, if you are not doing this already – your marketing campaigns should be driven by data. Lead tracking is one way that you can achieve data driven marketing campaigns because you will have a thorough view of where your lead is in the sales funnel and data on what it will take to get them to the conversion point. By using data, you ultimately stand to succeed and gain by a higher rate of return.
Now that we have covered the preliminary information relating to lead tracking, let’s turn to the heart of this piece – which are some of the best tips that you can use to hone in on properly tracking your leads.
While these tips work for most marketing professionals, you should still perform an analysis as to whether it will work for you. Marketing strategies are only as good as the professional and brand implementing them – as a result you need to be sure that the strategy will work for you.
The Best Lead Tracking Tips
An Effective Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System
If you do not have a CRM system on hand to track your leads, then it is time to get one. Having CRM software on hand helps you manage your leads, track when they convert to sales, and view the marketing profess as a whole. Some of the best software can give you an overview of your rate of return on your marketing investments. Therefore, you will be able to determine if you invested too much in a lead for the final return.
According to Business News Daily, there are a number of key features that you should look for when choosing a CRM system. When assessing a CRM system on its merits and to determine whether it will work well for your lead tracking objectives, you should review its capabilities in areas such as: marketing, analysis, orders, service, support, sales and strategy. By working through each factor on a specific software, you can find one that works best for you and your lead tracking objectives.
Lastly, you should know that lead tracking software varies greatly in terms of price. More expensive does not necessarily mean better – so choose wisely!
Find the Source of Your Lead
If you do not know the source of your lead, then it is time to implement a strategy that helps you figure out where your lead came from. Finding the source of your lead not only allows you to determine where in the process your lead started out, but it also gives you a sense of where your leads are going for their information about your brand.
As Business Know How points out, there are numerous potential sources for your lead. The largest source is customer referrals, which currently stands around 54 percent – on average. Other viable sources for your lead includes email marketing, events, internet, leads from vendors, and third party generation organizations. Another reason to track where your lead came from is that doing so enables you notice what works for your brand and what does not in the realm of lead generation. Again, gathering everything that you can regarding your lead is the surest way to develop a successful marketing strategy.
Document the Sales Process as Much as Possible
Your marketing and sales team should also implement strategies that enable both groups to document the sales process as much as possible. According to Kick Start All, documenting the sales process is the best way that your brand can map the flow of leads in during every stage of the sales cycle.
This step not only helps you track your leads at every stage of the process, but it also enables you to notice what parts of your process is succeeding and what part is causing your brand to lose leads. In addition, tracking every stage also enables the team to nurture and cool down when needed.
Google Analytics Conversion Tracking
Google Analytics is an excellent resource to use for many marketing purposes, including tracking your leads. As Web Marketing Today points out, Google Analytics offers you the opportunity to access data that gives you insight into the lead generation and tracking.
In addition to tracking general information about your lead, you can use Google Analytics to track page leads. A few of the main forms that you can track your leads with include contact forms, call back requests, appointment booking, subscriptions, downloads, user registration, views on specific pages, and live chats. While the process to set up lead tracking with Google Analytics may be a bit time consuming, it is wholly worthwhile. You will get better insight into your leads, what is generating leads, and whether the methods you are using are leading to the conversion rate you are aiming for.
Social Media for Tracking
Social media is an invaluable resource for many reasons when it comes to marketing. One capability that most marketing professionals are unaware of is that social media can be used to track leads. According to Tourism Marketing Blog, you can track your social media return on investment and leads at the same time. To do so, you will need to be strategic. As the resource explains, you need to place as much content on your website as possible and link it to your social media platform.
As the content is featured on your social media platform, qualified leads will click on the content and subsequently will be redirected to your website. The final result is an overview of your qualified leads and the ability to track them through your social media marketing campaigns.
In addition to simply relying on social media tools, you can also incorporate Google Analytics into this strategy. Google Analytics will give you insight into the movement of your webpage and social media visitors and whether they are taking the next step by purchasing your product or service.
Complete Access to the CRM Tool
As mentioned earlier, a CRM tool to manage and track your leads is imperative. If you settle on a CRM tool that works for your marketing team, then you should also share the software or access to the software with your sales team.
According to Future Simple, giving your representatives access to the CRM software enables them to update accounts in real time, rather than waiting until they have access to the system. The speedy updates allows you to track changes better and follow the significant changes that your leads make in the sales cycle. Another advantage of giving your sales team access is that it improves the accuracy of your leads database, thereby leading to better results overall.
Define “Follow-Up” Actions for Both the Sales Team and Marketing Team
No matter what, your sales and marketing team must be on the same page for effective results. According to Chief Marketer, the best way to define follow up actions for both teams is to determine what steps the teams should take when dealing with a “hot” “cold” and “mild” lead. Not only will this strategy lead to uniform results, but everyone will also be on the same page in terms of what works best in the realm of lead tracking.
Also, do not forget to pinpoint the characteristics that designate a “hot” “cold” or “mild” lead for your brand. Every brand’s leads are different, along with your team member’s conception. Therefore, clarity should be your upmost priority.
Marketing Automation Software
When it comes to marketing automation software to track leads and for other purposes, marketing professionals either love it – or they do not. On the upside, marketing automation software makes the lead tracking much easier, more detailed, and even quantitative. On the other hand, the software can detract from the manual process and it can also lead to inaccurate results if you handle the software erroneously.
If you are considering using marketing automation software for your lead tracking, then at least you can feel confident that it works. According to Marketing Tech Blog, “73 percent of B2B marketers say measurable results are the biggest benefit of marketing automation software.” As you can tell, marketing automation software does give you a major advantage, which is that it enables you to view quantitative results that you can interpret and that are reflective of your marketing performance. This type of data is essential to a successful marketing and lead tracking strategy.
Distribute Your Leads
Lead distribution is the process of responding to your leads as quick as possible. As Campaigner CRM mentions, data shows that brands that respond within 24 hours have higher close rates than brands that do not.
When you contact your lead after an inquiry, the best strategy is to personalize your message and to do so with a phone call. Emails are mostly frowned upon, but if you must use an email system, then you should personalize that too. Under no circumstance should you use automated emails. Your lead will be able to tell the difference between a quality message and one that was written hurriedly. At the end of the day, the lead will appreciate that you took the time to fully address their inquiry.
Be Efficient When Using CRM Software
Finally, when using CRM software, efficiency should be one of your goals. You can improve efficiency by finding ways to reduce your data entry time, developing a consistent sales process, and qualify leads the very onset of the process.
Now that you understand what a lead is, what qualifies a lead, and how to best track your leads, you stand poised for success. You can set yourself apart from your competitors by taking a strong initiative in your overall marketing strategy. In addition, the better you are at tracking and nurturing, the more sales you stand to make. At the end of the day, staying on top of the process, creating a uniform system, and working with your sales team is what will lead to the best outcome – also do not forget to follow the great tips above!