Top Tips for Attributing Leads Between Sales and Marketing

Top Tips for Attributing Leads Between Sales and Marketing

While many companies are successful at tracking leads by marketing program, the process often breaks down when companies try to track leads by department. Here’s some tips to make the process easier:

1. First, think about what you’re trying to learn. Usually, the reason to attribute leads by department is to ensure that your sales team cold sources a percentage of their own leads. And that marketing is meeting their lead objectives as well. And in both cases, to track those leads down the waterfall to determine ROI. If those aren’t the reasons, decide why you’re tracking attribution.

2. Then, set objectives. And be realistic. Is the number of leads you’re asking sales to source attainable? Have you thought about the time it will take and how it fits into other priorities? And for marketing – is the number of leads realistic with your current budget – particularly if you want quality leads with some level of engagement?

3. Next, communicate the objectives to both departments and discuss how sales and marketing can work together. The truth is that if sales doesn’t get enough leads from marketing or the quality isn’t there, they can’t make their numbers and the company goes out of business. And If sales doesn’t thoroughly follow up on leads provided by marketing, marketing ends up spending too much budget because of lead waste. And the company goes out of business. Focus the conversation on ROI and company success and it helps with perspective.

4. Once you get everyone on the same page, review incentives to make sure you’re not inadvertently encouraging bad behavior. When sales is incented on a lead volume goal, it’s tempting to change the lead source on marketing provided leads to make them look cold sourced. And if marketing is incented on volume, it can be tempting to dump list buys in to the funnel to make numbers. Personally, I recommend incenting on engagement, closed business or opps, not lead volume.

5. Do a bit of research on your audience size. Unless you have the world’s target audience every lead can’t be a brand-new. And it’s a multi-channel world. Prospects control how and when they engage with your company and it’s rarely just one lead, one source. Be prepared to track influence, first touch, final touch, multi touch and develop an influence score. Re-engaging an existing lead should count as much as a new lead.

6. Use your marketing automation and CRM wisely. Lock down sources. Once a lead is in the database, don’t let anyone change the lead source or duplicate the same lead with a different lead source. (Hint – lock it down by email address!) If your company has determined that new leads need to be nurtured before they go to sales, don’t allow sales to access the nurture database and start working those leads. Let the process work.

7. If you’re tracking multi-touch efforts, clearly define exactly what a “touch” is. For marketing, sending an unopened email shouldn’t count as success. And for sales, if there hasn’t been a mouse click in CRM on a particular lead for 60 days, it’s not actively being worked.

8. Get your reporting set and review it regularly. Check out my blog on reporting if you need help – Once it’s ready to go, get sales and marketing to meet monthly to see where each department can do better and support each other. It doesn’t hurt to also pull out the 10 best leads and 10 that didn’t convert and review the process to see if there are learnings there.

Lead attribution and analytics can be tricky. Let’s talk!

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