Website Lead Generation:
The Importance of Tracking Leads through to the Sale
By Kevin Hourigan, President & CEO of Bayshore Solutions
As many companies today are continuing to look to the web as source of marketing their business, I see a common flawed practice taking place. Companies spend so much time and energy trying to generate leads and perfect the lead capturing capabilities that they lose sight of making sure the leads are actually qualified leads and that the leads will actually convert to sales.
While the concept of tracking leads through the sale is nothing new, marketers new to interactive marketing are finding that the website analytics that they are being supplied with are often so detailed that they find themselves compelled at improving the metrics of these lead generation reports. This most likely comes from the ease of making campaign changes and how quickly one can see measureable results. It can be the “curse” of these changes that distracts efforts too much on the metrics of lead generation and lose focus on which leads are converting to sales.
For example, I recently had a client who we had been supporting for a year with campaigns for Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click Advertising, Landing Pages, and eMail Marketing. As the year unfolded, the client saw significant positive website results in the number of unique visitors to their website, web page views and ultimately the number of actions taken by visitors which included white paper sign ups, PDF downloads, and eMail Newsletter Sign ups, all of which they believed, in that order, were the most influential actions that prospects could take on the website.
While the numbers of visitors, actions clicked, and overall activity was growing very well, my customer became entrenched with tracking and improving the Bounce Rate of the pages (Bounce Rate is defined by Wikipedia as - when a web site visitor leaves a page or a site without visiting any other pages before a specified session-timeout occurs). For three months, all efforts were directed at lowering the bounce rate and nothing else. The net result, they lost the momentum they had been building by focusing so much on JUST the Bounce Rate. Three months later, the customers was now seeing a decline in actual sales and through back tracking, it was easy to see that too much effort was applied to one part of the interactive marketing metrics and not enough to all the other variables that help marketers make the right decisions.
How do you not get trapped into just watching your web analytics?
The answer is integrating a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. The industry is flooded with great tools from Microsoft CRM and Salesforce.Com to an open source software program called SugarCRM. Regardless of the CRM tool that you select, integrating your marketing campaigns into the CRM will not only let you track the sources of where your leads are coming from and the cost of those leads, but also the sources and percentage of the leads that convert to a sale.
When you can now track what lead sources convert to sales, you can also measure the percent that convert, the average dollar sold and the duration of time to close each lead source’s sale. From there, you will make campaign changes not because it generates leads, but the changes will generate qualified leads that convert into customers. It takes longer to get this established, but truly allows you to make sure your marketing investment is yielding new business.
This example illustrates one way that watching one metric too closely - and losing sight on some of the other metrics and how they interconnect - may have negative results. The capturing of lead data is a critical phase in measuring results. And - the lead integration into a CRM, then tracking the lead sources, sales cycle, closing percentage and average dollar of deal size can ultimately turn great lead generation results in really great revenue growth.