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June 3, 2008

Closing the Loop: Are You Tracking Every Lead?

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Chris Sherman, Executive Editor, Search Engine Land, is moderating. Our speakers are Adam Goldberg, Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer, ClearSaleing; Alissa Ruehl, Manager of Paid Search Services, Apogee Search; John Tawadros, Chief Operating Officer, iProspect; and Lauren Vaccarello, Director of SEM and Analytics, FXCM.

John Tawadros starts off. What if you could tell what your leads are doing throughout the day? He’s talking about tracking leads and how much you should track.

What can be done with the information? Search converts 21 percent better if a user is exposed to a banner ad first. 37 percent of the time users look in at least two engines at any given time. There is no impact to conversion beyond 6 touch points. Print ads improve CTR by 33 percent. He’s giving us a lot of stats.

Does it make sense? Is data size statistically significant? Expectations – What if you learn nothing monumental? Cal you live with the imperfections? Can you drive every channel through one tracking system? Can you support the investment?

Chris asks if there is a rule of thumb: Is there too much you can track. He says it depends on how much you want to spend, but for him, there’s never too much because you just don’t know what you don’t know.

Alissa Ruehl is talking about tracking past the lead and into the sales funnel. What does your company really want out of your marketing efforts? Is it sales? Top line revenue? Bottom line revenue? ROI? What metrics are you currently using to measure your success?

All leads are not created equal, so how can you separate the good ones from the bad? Integrate your paid search system with CRM. Pull paid search info into your CRM system. Report on sales instead of just leads.

She’s got three case studies.

  1. Client 1: ROAS by keyword
    • They found that keywords could generate leads, but not sales or revenue, and it went the other way around, too. Hidden treasures and shallow successes were outed.
  2. Client 2: ROAS by engine
    • Yahoo was not generating leads as well as Google. Looking at the CRM system, they found that the cost per sale in Google was over $750, while for Yahoo was under $350. This changed the client’s first intention to cut back on Yahoo spend.
  3. Client 3: ROAS by Web site
    • The new design had a slightly higher click to lead conversion rate. However, the new design actually had nearly double the cost per sale.

Research of data was needed to uncover what superficially looked like a success but was really a loss, and vice versa.

How is this done?

  1. Create custom fields in your CRM system for the info you want to capture, for example, keyword, engine, campaign, referring URL.
  2. Update tracking URLs. If you’re already capturing this info in your analytics system, you can use the same variables.
  3. Set cookies to capture these variables. Put it on all pages, not just landing pages.
  4. Add hidden fields for each of these variables to all of your forms. These should pull values from the cookie rather than user input.
  5. Test and report. Make sure the process is working. You should see leads coming through with paid search tracking info, as well as basic contact info from the form. Set up reports in your CRM system to list sales or opportunities.
  6. Compare this data to your paid search spend, just as you do with your lead data.

Caveats to remember:

  • Pay attention to statistical significance.
  • Take your sales cycle length into account.
  • Look at junk leads as well as sales.
  • Consider an intermediate step of looking at cost per opportunity.

Adam Goldberg agrees that all leads are not created equal. In fact, that’s what he’ll be talking about. He says that if the cost per lead is too high, it’s considered bad. If it’s too low, then it may be because of high leads per sale. But this thinking can be very misleading because the high costing lead could be the highest profit generator.

Next he’s using a basketball metaphor. This will be interesting. Points = sales and shooting percentage = conversion rate. If you take out the player with less points, you may be taking out the person who’s providing valuable assists.

Stages of the customer buying cycle:

  1. Problem recognition: banner recognition and emails
  2. Information search: your paid search ad
  3. Evaluation of alternatives: they look at your competitors or other options
  4. Purchase decisions: they go back to the search engine with the specific brand
  5. Purchase: cha-ching

You could think of allocating your profit equally among all the steps OR you could put more money into the steps that put the product into the customer’s mind, not step 4 where they already know what they’re going to get.

He has a slide of an advertising ecosystem. At the top is Advertising Sources, pointing down to Capture Advertising Analytics. This points down to four options: No Sale, Call, Submit Lead Form, and Purchase. Both Call and Submit Lead Form point to CRM Software.

Lauren Vaccarello is up to the podium next. She says that people working in e-commerce don’t really need to listen because they get the data from shopping carts, whereas lead gen people should listen.

The benefits of integration:

  • Bridging the gap between sales and marketing
  • Remedy the size fits all conversion tracking
  • True conversion tracking

You have several options for integration:

  • Omniture
  • HBX (Visual Sciences via Omniture)
  • Clicktracks via Hotbanana
  • WebTrends
  • Google Adwords
  • Custom programming with your solution or Google Analytics

One potential obstacle is sales objections. The solution is bribery. Give the better lead lists to those who are on board.

Another potential issue is poor planning. The solution is do your research first, set your goals before you start, and define and add fields before integration.

Strategies to increase ROI:

  • Go after the low hanging fruit. Build campaigns with highest conversion rate reports.
  • Build Time to Sale reports.
  • Create marketing campaigns geared toward long sales cycle leads.
  • Get your highest ROI by campaign report.
  • Stop wasting money.

Takeaways:

  • CRM integration is not for everyone.
  • With integration you can garner true conversion tracking.
  • You have a variety of integrating options.
  • Do your homework first.
  • Prioritize your leads.
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