Lead tracking is the process of determining the source of leads, actively monitoring where leads are in the sales and marketing funnel, and pursuing the appropriate actions to move the lead to the next stage and close the sale.
Jules Tompkins and Carolyn Lyden contributed to this post.
Why do sales and marketing need lead tracking?
Lead tracking helps sales and marketing departments seamlessly work together to find more qualified potential leads and close more sales. Additionally, lead tracking will often help you create a better user experience for your audience.
Effective lead tracking can help marketing departments determine where their leads came from, and how those leads reached out or were contacted, which helps marketing teams discover which campaigns are bringing in the most qualified leads. From there, the marketing team can pass qualified leads to their sales department with all the information needed to close the lead and complete the conversion.
Implementing proper lead tracking means that your sales team has all the data they need to customize and individualize their approach for each prospect, making a conversion or sale that much more likely.
Where and how do you capture leads?
Above all other considerations, it’s critical to first know how you’re capturing a lead’s information, and where that information is stored. Most organizations capture lead data from a variety of inputs and activities: Trade shows and other in-person engagements, data entered in web forms, and inbound phone calls to the business, to name a few.
Consolidating information from these inputs is critical to this process. Most sales and marketing organizations use CRMs like Salesforce or HubSpot to keep information on their leads and prospects.
How to collect lead information (and what to collect)
By collecting and sorting data on your lead’s identity and needs, you’ll be able to properly track their progress through the sales funnel. You’ll also want some piece of contact information — typically, the prospect’s email address or phone number — so you can follow up with them.
In digital marketing, lead information is primarily collected through web forms. The more information you can collect about your lead, the better, as this can be used to not only further engage them but also to inform future marketing efforts.
As an example, if you can determine that a prospect found their way to your website through a particular campaign or through searching for a specific keyword, you can use this data to build future campaigns, or double-down on the ones you’re currently running.
If you’re capturing lead information in person — say, at a tradeshow or at your place of work — you may want to use a lead scanner. Or, if you’re capturing lead information over the phone, call tracking software can be extremely helpful.
How do you qualify leads and prospects?
Sales departments use different models to determine the real value of a lead or prospect. IBM developed the BANT model (Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline) in order to qualify their prospects. However, some thought leaders like Ash Alhashim now claim that the BANT model is outdated:
“The biggest problem with BANT, though, is that it assumes that the customer not only has budget, a need, and a timeline for evaluating and purchasing software in place: As a prerequisite, it assumes that the customer is aware of the fact that they should be buying a product like yours in the first place.”
The generally accepted sales and marketing lead qualification types include:
- Inquiry: A user whose interaction demonstrates potential interest in your service or product.
- Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL): A lead whose interaction with marketing materials indicates they had potential to become a closed opportunity.
- Sales Accepted Lead (SAL): This is exactly what it sounds like — an MQL that sales has accepted as a potential lead.
- Sales Qualified Lead (SQL): In theory, sales would use the BANT model (or another standard) to determine if the lead is ready for the next steps in the sales process.
- Closed/Won Opportunity: The lead purchased the product or service.
And according to Marketing Insider CEO Michael Brenner, “An inquiry is a person who has done something to express interest in understanding how to solve a problem… A lead is a qualified business opportunity. The only way to know whether an inquiry is a qualified business opportunity is to ask them.”
This funnel varies for different industries, but in general, requires that sales and marketing closely coordinate their efforts and share vital data about lead status.
So then how do these two departments work together to bring in inquiries and turn them into closed deals? Lead tracking.
How does lead tracking work?
Modern software and tools allow marketers and sales reps to track where inquiries came from, and monitor prospects as they develop into variations of qualified and accepted leads throughout the funnel. Multiple tools often integrate together to make this happen — this includes marketing automation tech, customer relationship and lead management software, and call tracking services). These tools usually track multiple touchpoints across channels, both online and offline.
Why is lead tracking important?
Lead tracking gives marketers the data they need to track how leads contacted them, improve campaigns, personalize their efforts, and increase ROI. Similarly, it gives sales the personalized pain point information per lead that they need to close the deal. In essence, lead tracking is the tool set sales reps and marketers use their jobs more effectively.
SiriusDecisions, a research and advisory company, reported in a recent study that, “B2B organizations with tightly aligned marketing and sales achieved 24 percent faster revenue growth and 27 percent faster profit growth over a three-year period.”
Lead tracking can also help fill gaps and blind spots in the marketing and sales processes. An estimated 75 percent of marketers have trouble calculating ROI because they don’t know the end results of their campaigns. Meanwhile, 42 percent of sales reps feel they don’t have enough information before making a call.
For modern digital marketers, lead tracking tools are mission-critical because of how they help bridge this gap between data and communication.
Why call tracking is crucial to lead tracking
Research published by Salesforce shows that 92 percent of all customer interactions happen over the phone. Once the sales team connects with a lead via the phone, call tracking is the obvious continuation of the lead tracking and attribution process.
Tools like CallRail’s call attribution and analytics features provide the data needed by sales and marketing teams to synchronize their efforts and optimize their performance. Call tracking software tells marketers:
- What campaigns drove the most leads to call
- Which keywords to continue to target
- What mediums are reaching the right target audience
Additionally, combining your lead tracking efforts with call analytics data gives sales reps and account executives the upper hand in:
- Knowing which callers are true SQLs through call scoring
- Setting up new sales reps to succeed and continue sales training with call recording
- Faster response times (30 to 50 percent of sales go to the vendor that responds first)
Today, lead tracking is critical to the sales and marketing process. The toolset available to marketing and sales departments means less manual data entry, better attribution models, more intuitive sales processes, and happier customers.