Lead Management

Lead Tracking: 5 Best Practices for Marketing Operations

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It’s important to follow through on leads. Upon receiving a new lead, it should be categorized, accessible, and tracked for the most relevant ongoing marketing campaigns. We know that lead management is defined as the process by which marketing acquires, evaluates, nurtures, and hands off leads to the sales team. Seems like a simple definition, right?

Unfortunately, many organizations forget about this basic definition and don’t have any standards in place for properly tracking those leads; in fact, 25% of leads in a given sales pipeline are legitimate prospects, according to Gleanster Research.

How can your marketing teams bring lead tracking back into focus?

Let’s examine a few challenges faced and the top five best practices for tracking leads.

Challenges Faced

Marketing operations is often tasked with the responsibility of tracking leads, but it’s not without obstacles. Marketing operations must deal with challenges including time management, expectation management, system limitations, training, and enablement. For example, expectation management often falls on the operations practitioner who must balance feedback and understanding, while communicating across the organizations.

Marketing operations also deals with not being seen as a strategic partner when they are in fact a vital and strategic player. The practitioner may find half-baked strategies and execution, which brings its own set of challenges when tracking lead conversion and pipeline.

 Let’s examine the top five best practices for lead tracking: 

1) Determine What’s a Good Lead

Sales and marketing need to work together to define what a good lead is. While it seems obvious, lead qualification sometimes gets overlooked.

Best practices include:

  • Track basic lead information such as first name, email address, title, company name, company size, etc.
  • Aim for higher lead data accuracy
  • Implement faster response time to leads, which can lead to faster conversions
  • Consider a lead scoring model to prioritize which leads get sent to sales and when

2) Define Fields in Your CRM Systems

The best place to start is with a data directory. What data points are you interested in for running your campaigns and sending leads to sales? It will differ from company to company, but you generally want to have synced fields that define demographics, engagement, revenue cycle position, firmographic (if possible), and marketing touches.

Other best practices include:

  • Make sure the lead generating campaign is synced to your CRM
  • Set folders of the reports, standardizing & automating reporting
  • Remembering to set your cookies
  • Implement automated programs and UTM parameters
  • Keep the number of fields to a minimum
  • Think broadly when designing

3) Organize

While in a rush to get these campaigns out and start tracking, it’s essential you organize your lead tracking. This helps keep your leads accessible, categorized, and orderly.

Organization best practices include:

  • Set your expectations and KPIs previous to tracking leads so that you can effectively track the right numbers and the right data points
  • Develop a revenue cycle that a lead fits into will help map to your buyer’s journey
  • Keep your database clean
  • Keep it simple enough that the person who comes after you can take the reigns without a struggle

4) Promote Efficiency

It’s important to be clear on lead scoring vs. lead tracking. Lead scoring is a major pillar of tracking activities and sales readiness. Lead tracking is a generalized 30,000-foot view of where your database is engaged and in the buying process. Lead scoring is sometimes used as a determiner for who to target and measures sales readiness. Furthermore, targeting leads for a campaign should also involve lifecycle and current consumption habits.

Efficiency best practices:

  • Automate lead scoring via the CRM and engagement where possible
  • Ensure that only operations can make changes to the model
  • Bring on a data scientist to help you determine cutoff scores for MQL and SQL
  • Create documentation that other members of the marketing team need to study
  • Ensure that all the definitions and goals are clearly defined, so everyone is on the same page

5) Customize Sales Pitches

It’s imperative to know your audience and have all the relevant information ready for sales to tap into when needed.

Best practices include:

  • Create strong ties to sales enablement for campaign managers to communicate to
  • Meet with the sales team to understand what works for them and what doesn’t in terms of leads
  • Provide an automated way to communicate sales pitches and marketing initiatives
  • Create customizable email templates

Communication and Collaboration Is Key

It’s time to break down the silos.

When marketing and sales work in accord with each other and truly communicate, the whole organization can benefit from this collaboration whether in training or enablement. As covered, the main issue is expectation management, so there has to be a balance of feedback and understanding; for example, when a change is requested by sales, it can’t be made immediately and must be communicated and logically worked out before launching. Bridging the gap in communication will ensure that you become a trusted member of the team who is transparent and willing to step in/up when needed. 

How Marketing Automation Helps with Lead Tracking

Marketing automation can allow organizations to streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows. Consider marketing automation delivering strategic and tactical approaches to elevate the lead tracking best practices covered.

As an example, marketing automation can help score customer and prospect activity via automation to determine sales readiness. Then, once a score passes a predetermined threshold, they are deemed ready for a conversation with sales.

Other marketing automation benefits include developing customer advocacy, cookies and tracking based on IP, capturing anonymous behavior and links to a known lead upon conversion, and establishing a set of rules and criteria, so the handoff to sales is smooth and at the appropriate time. New marketing attribution tools are emerging to help you understand where your money is going and how it is being put to work. Consider scoring your content not just by channel, but also look for opportunities to reuse content across different channels.

Overall, marketing automation, combined with smart organization, communication, and collaboration, can bring all your lead tracking efforts in alignment.

Are there any lead tracking best practices that I missed? Tell me about them in the comments.