3 Parts to Tracking a Lead Throughout Its Life Cycle

By Eric FlottmannMay 16, 2016

Marketers are always looking for new ways to shorten the time from lead inquiry to opportunity. The steps in between, however, are central to conversion success. Here’s how to optimize your lead generation strategy and measure every step of a prospect’s journey.

Part One: Benchmark Conversion Metrics
Every industry and business is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all conversion rate. For instance, website conversion rates in the 5-10 percent range are generally strong, but even 2 percent can be considered successful.

A better way to determine success? Creating starting points in your campaigns with benchmarks. Businesses that benchmark are able to make smarter decisions throughout a lead’s life cycle and toward the end of a campaign.

Benchmarks help highlight the length of sales cycles, which marketing channels work best for a business and more. For instance, real-time marketing, including social media and other digital activities, have proven to increase conversion rates by 26 percent. More than 70 percent saw an increase and similar results. While these are clearly remarkable results, it’d be helpful to dive even deeper and identify which platforms, in particular, work best to properly allocate marketing dollars moving forward.

Part Two: Track Benchmarks Monthly
There are a few ways to create a measurable funnel and better lead flows. On a monthly basis, businesses should track the following stages in a buyer’s journey.

  • Visit-to-Lead Conversion Rate
    This reveals the percentage of website visitors who are actually filling out forms on a given website. Whether it’s “contact us” or a demo form, it’s important to segment and track to see which is most effective. This information can reveal whether a website is getting quality traffic and if there are opportunities to revise CTAs and landing pages in order to increase performance.

  • Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
    This first stage is typically marked by a lead filling out a web form and initiating the process. For most contact centers, processing time for MQLs and the ability to move to further stages is about one business day. However, studies have shown that the first hour after a lead submits a form is critical. Within that first hour, marketers have a 10 times better chance of contacting a lead and 6 times better chance of qualifying a lead.

  • Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
    A lead becomes a SQL when sales actually calls and qualifies the prospect. The idea is that the more SQLs in a sales funnel, the more leads will be closed.

    • How many hours elapsed before the initial call?
    • How quickly does the competition contact leads?
    • How many SQLs were provided with a proposal or quote?
    • Close Rates

This is a good indicator of ROI. How much business was brought in and how did it impact actual revenue? The easiest way to track this is with a sophisticated CRM or all-in-one tool

  • Always compare against data from the year prior

Part Three: Get Real-time Analytics and Reporting
Closing the loop with real-time data is key. It’s important to be able to take swift action should there be lead quality issues. In addition, reports should automated and clearly determine cost per lead in order to realize true productivity.

The biggest issue with lead tracking occurs when marketers utilize a number of different platforms and results are fragmented. Businesses are unable to see the full picture and can miss important milestones when trying to piece together a buyer’s journey. Such information is invaluable to contact centers and other lead generation operations, and streamlining with an all-in-one tool can offer significant benefits.

Another often missed step? Sharing data and reporting with partners and clients in each of the lead life cycle stages. When all concerned parties are working toward common short- and long-term goals, it further ensures that funnels are fully optimized and flowing in the right direction.

Lead data is readily available in today’s marketplace; it’s just a matter of knowing what kinds of benchmarks are important to meet unique business goals and having the right tools in place to streamline the entire process from inquiry to opportunity. Marketers should know they’re on the right track when campaign metrics and reports reflect overarching business goals.  

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