Close the Loop on Lead Gen
Published: November 21, 2012
Author: Joe Stanton
Today’s post is by Account Manager Kevin Neifach, an unabashed Cubs fan and University of Iowa grad who has worked in online marketing since 2009.
Lead Generation is like panning for gold: you have to sift through a lot of dirt to find the treasure. Unfortunately, as online marketers, we are often left in the dark as to which leads are dirt and which leads are 14-karat quality until the sales team makes the final push to a conversion.
But don’t throw up your hands and leave optimization at the steps of AdWords or Google Analytics. With help from your web development and sales teams, tracking should be continued through the sales funnel and, ideally, as close to a revenue event as possible.
Using dynamic URLs and importing parameters into your CRM tools, you can get granular with your tracking and add a layer to your optimization efforts and make sure that you pass more precious metal than silt to your sales team.
Here are a few parameters to consider when tracking through the entire sales process:
Tracking keywords through the sales process will validate all your data. Bid management at the keyword level is crucial to hitting your performance goals, but if you can group together themes, you can segment out the true winners – and losers. Leads that might seem like winners and below your cost per lead (CPL) goals might be just fool’s gold.
Theming campaigns is nothing new, but if you can understand the tokens that are truly winners, you can back into more precise new goals – remember that a new CPL goal equals the following (where Cost Per Sale is a converted lead):
(Cost per sale) x (Sales/Leads) = new CPL Goal
CPL goals mean nothing if they don’t convert into revenue. Understanding the true conversion rate of a campaign can help dial up campaigns that are working and dial back campaigns that aren’t producing. Back out to a cost per sale and understand where the real opportunity lies.
Display is an entire different beast all together. Do those placements really turn into leads? Yes, but do they turn into quality leads? Probably not. As the user’s intent drops, so does lead quality. Tracking lead quality with your placements isn’t a measure of what is converting into revenue, but dig into the data and understand display as a channel. Understand why and where your leads are stalling out and how (and at which point) to better nudge them through the sales cycle.
Just tracking the destination URLs can tell you a lot about how different offerings help engage your traffic. Free demo vs. trial? Whitepaper vs. sales team outreach? Landing page testing, of course, will help the overall health of your AdWords account, but understanding what drives revenue will help you invest in the right channels.
The classic funnel spits out one conversion, and with lead generation, you might think all conversions (leads) are created equal. Don’t settle for that. Close the loop you’re tracking and understand which leads are creating revenue. You might have to filter out plenty of dirt, sand, pebbles, and rocks before you strike gold. But when you do strike it rich, make sure you can figure out what channel it came from and stake your bidding claims there.
– Kevin Neifach, Account Manager