Lead Management

Best Practices for Lead Source in Your Engagement Platform


Lead source is defined as the method by which a prospect found your product or service, and is an essential part of effective lead management. Lead source ensures that your leads remain measurable across the buyer’s journey. As you track the source of your lead through the funnel, you can quickly determine what is working and what is not in your marketing strategy.

Although it’s best to start with optimized lead sources when you roll out your marketing automation platform, it’s never too late to spruce up your instance. By taking a look at which channels are driving leads, you can categorize, simplify, and provide valuable insight into your program efficiency for years to come.

In this blog, I’ll give you five best practices for developing an optimized lead source.

1. Categorize the Sources of Your Leads

Marketers have a tendency to either over-simplify or over-complicate lead source. Take a look at the various ways leads are coming to your marketing organization. It’s often best practice to align your lead source with your program channels such as tradeshow, econference, webinar, content syndication, web-organic, web-PPC, etc. Lead source should be the first channel that acquired each lead. Ultimately, this will allow you to see the composition of your marketing funnel.

2. Keep the Lead Source Constant

Lead source should be assigned as soon as a lead enters your instance and should not be changed once it is set. Should any duplicates be found within your instance, make sure to use the earliest known lead source.

3. Utilize Lead Source in Your Opportunity Reporting

As well as providing insight into where your leads come from, lead source provides valuable insight into where your most valuable won opportunities are coming from. Once you have a solid lead source structure in place, you can analyze your closed won opportunities by lead source, then by the programs that influenced them using an advanced report builder. With this historical data, you can better predict which kind of content and assets you should send to leads you acquire through each lead source, accelerating the potential for more opportunities won in the future.

4. Separate Lead Source and Campaign Naming

Many companies utilize the first program/campaign name which engages a lead as the lead source. It is more beneficial to keep the lead source as a broader, marketing channel aligned label. Campaign names can often change, and as your instance scales, it can be difficult to maintain campaign naming conventions, preventing ease of reporting in the future.

5. Keep it Simple

Lead source should be a short, concise label for the overall channel that captures your leads. Although you may have many different categories of tradeshows, conferences, or email types, it’s best to keep specifics out of lead source. Instead, consider lead source your general source of incoming leads, and consider using program tags or additional fields, such as parent lead source for more concise roll-ups, or lead source detail for more in-depth drill-downs.

Lead source best practices are best rolled out when your instance is new, but taking a routine check into your lead acquisition channels can provide an opportunity to change things up. Once you’ve defined your channels, you can choose to start anew and leave your previous lead source fields as legacies, or run batch campaigns to roll up old values into more valuable, concise fields. This will empower you to more easily find the ROI of your various marketing program types and find your most valuable lead sources.

When was the last time you evaluated your lead sourcing best practices? Do any of these resonate with you? Tell me about your best practices in the comments.