In discussions about sales strategy, it’s usually lead generation and lead nurturing that takes most of the focus. But it’s important to note that the majority of the leads that you generate and nurture won’t go on to become paying customers. 

In fact, as many as 79% of sales leads won’t covert — and this is often due to a lack of effective lead tracking.

This is a concerning stat, and if leads are leaking out of your sales funnel, it’s important to work out why. 

The thing is, without reliable data on your leads’ behavior and interactions, you’re pretty much in the dark.

In this post, we’re going to cover the definition of lead tracking, why it matters, and how to track the different kinds of leads in your sales funnel. We’ve also included a list of customer relationship management (CRM) solutions that will help you to automate the process and become even more effective at closing the deal.

Let’s get started! 

What is lead tracking?

As leads come into the sales pipeline, businesses need to decide on the status and priority of each lead to ensure they are using their sales capabilities effectively. Lead tracking is where sales teams and marketers document and segment their leads according to criteria such as:

  • Where they originated from
  • Their activity (or inactivity) on your website
  • Their responsiveness to follow-ups 
  • How close they are to making a purchase

That last point is particularly important. As leads move down the sales funnel toward purchasing, their needs and interests will change drastically. 

For example, a lead in the “interest” stage is trying to establish what their needs are, while a “warm” or “hot” lead has the intention of buying a specific product. Therefore, your inbound marketing and follow-up efforts must be tailored to the demands of these groups.

Sales lead tracking enables teams to keep a close eye on where their leads are in the buying journey, and what actions they need to take to bring a lead to the next stage.

Why does lead tracking matter?

The answer to this question is simple: If you don’t know where each of your leads is situated within your sales funnel, it’s next to impossible for you to maintain an informative database of your qualified leads. 

Today, a relatively small number of leads make their way to your business through the front door (if your business even has one, that is!) Instead, it’s your website that provides the gateway to your offering — yet 96% of web visitors are not yet ready to buy from you. 

This means you need to be proactive with your outreach and data-gathering efforts to turn these onlookers into leads that are ready to purchase.

By implementing a lead tracking and lead management system, you won’t only know how and when to interact with potential customers — you’ll also be able to leverage the data from past interactions to refine your sales strategy further.

Lead tracking also helps in other areas, including:

  • Building a comprehensive follow-up plan
  • Improving operational workflows
  • Better integration between your sales and marketing team members
  • Helping measure whether your marketing efforts are bearing fruit
  • Tracking how individual salespeople are performing

Defining the different types of sales leads

As we mentioned above, not all of the sales leads are alike. New leads who’ve just become aware of your business are different from leads who’ve been prospecting your business for a few days or weeks, and so require very different lead management strategies. 

This means that as you track leads, you need to be aware of what behaviors to look out for from each of these lead types – and how to respond accordingly.

Information Qualified Leads (IQLs)

Information qualified leads are right at the beginning of the sales cycle. They’ve recognized that they have a need or problem that needs solving, and they’re actively looking for ways to address this. The most valuable interactions you can make with leads at this stage involve one thing: information. 

IQLs don’t yet know what exactly they’re looking to purchase; they need guidance in the form of resources that will help to streamline their search and provide solutions, and this makes them particularly easy to monitor.

How to track Information Qualified Leads

A tracking system for IQLs involves offering informative, relevant advice in the form of whitepapers or assessment templates that require registration (a name, work email address, and/or phone number) to access. This “gated” content strategy allows businesses to gather and track a large volume of leads with relatively little effort.

Moreover, the actions that your leads take following this registration (such as ongoing site activity and whether the resource is downloaded/viewed) this indicative of their ongoing interest in your business — and whether you consider them as having moved to the next stage.

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)

If your inbound marketing efforts have been successful, a lead will go on to become a marketing qualified lead. This is to say that they’ve responded to your CTAs by watching a webinar or reading a whitepaper. 

An MQL could also mean that the lead has met the criteria that would qualify them for a sales conversation. Maybe they’ve visited your pricing page several times or checked out a customer story. Depending on your business, these actions may “qualify” a lead, and thus should be reached out to.

Generally speaking, MQLs have progressed further along the sales funnel and now have a strong interest in how your business (and sales reps) can address their needs.

How to track Marketing Qualified Leads

Now that your MQL is engaged, you can begin moving into more active lead tracking techniques, which can be implemented through IP tracking software or your CRM.

In any case, MQL tracking requires requires a strong integration between your marketing and sales teams (and the tools they’re using) to ensure that leads are being properly assessed, such as by using a real-time lead scoring system.

Lead scoring can also come in handy here. Lead scoring takes into account all of the actions taken by your leads to determine how close they are to purchasing, ranking them by priority according to this information.

For example, if a lead performs an action that indicates a growing interest in purchasing (such as clicking on a link in an email or visiting a certain product page) their “score”’ within your lead tracking system will increase, while an unsubscribe from an email list would cause their score to drop.

Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)

If you’ve managed to retain a lead to the point that they’re moved onto the decision stage, they’re officially at the bottom of the sales funnel and can be classified as a sales qualified lead. 

By this point, it’s very likely that one of your salespeople will have had a conversation with the lead, and have identified the key needs and wants that drive their willingness to purchase.

How to track Sales Qualified Leads

SQLs have with the highest closing rates of any lead, so now is the time to assign your lead to the sales team. However, lead tracking still has a key role to play in closing the deal.

As a business, you don’t want to keep throwing out nurturing content to leads who are showing major buying signals; at this point, meaningful communications are the key to conversion.

As your one-on-one interactions with SQLs increase, it’s vital that you have good communications records of what has been said or offered to avoid any confusion. Lead tracking also enables you to view past successful conversions and use those metrics to inform your strategy, such as the best time to offer a demo of your product/service, or when to schedule a call to discuss pricing.

6 Lead tracking tools to make lead management easier

While it’s doable to use Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to manage your CRM and lead tracking at the beginning, this can quickly grow overwhelming as you add more and more leads to your database.

Automation is a smart move if your business wants to spend less time manually recording lead information. Investing in a form of lead tracking software allows you to track leads with much more clarity, thereby making your sales process much more efficient. Among other functionalities, they allow you to set data-driven lead nurturing workflows, reminders to follow-up with leads, and ongoing tasks for your sales team to keep everyone on track.

Lead trackers will vary in terms of their interface and overall focus. That’s why it’s important to research the different options and find one which will work best for you.

To help with your search, we’ve rounded five of the top lead management software solutions:

1. LeadLander

With website visitors making up a huge proportion of active leads, it’s vital that your business is able to track these with ease and clarity. 

LeadLander utilizes the IP address of site visitors to pull important contact information such as names, workplace emails, and LinkedIn profiles in addition to location, allowing you to quickly organize your leads for further nurturing efforts.

Best of all, LeadLander integrates directly with a multitude of email marketing and social media tools to aid your inbound marketing efforts, making it easy to bring marketing campaigns and sales efforts in sync.

2. Pipedrive

Pipedrive is a sales lead tracking solution whose key strength is tracking calls and email history between leads and sales staff. It’s an excellent fit for businesses who utilize cold calling as a lead generation strategy, as well as those who want the ability to automate their early lead nurturing strategies. Pipeline also comes in the form of a handy mobile app so that you’re always within reach of the latest data. 

3. Salesforce

Salesforce has long been a titan in the world of CRM software. In the context of lead tracking, its cloud-based nature makes it a great option for businesses that are based in multiple offices or countries. Its four available packages mean that Salesforce can cater to businesses of a variety of sizes and points of growth. The upfront cost is higher than a lot of other tracking apps, but it also offers fantastic on-site resources for businesses who are looking to gain maximum value from their subscription.

4. Zendesk Sell

While Zendesk is mostly known for its customer service solutions, the platform also has excellent features for sales teams. Zendesk Sell offers tools like email tracking and notifications so you never miss the opportunity to follow up and engage with leads. Zendesk also lets your sales and customer support teams work better together. For instance, if a support ticket contains inquiries about new products or features, that lead can be passed on to sales seamlessly.

5. Monday.com

Sales teams often have to deal with multiple moving parts. From prospecting and outreach to juggling leads who are in various stages of the buying journey, there are a lot of things to keep track of. Monday.com can help your team members stay on top of all things sales by keeping tasks and assets in one place. Plus, your team can all communicate on the Monday.com platform to ensure that everyone stays on the same page.

6. Phonexa

If phone sales are a big part of your marketing and sales strategy, then Phonexa is a good tool to have. Phonexa’s powerful call tracking platform sheds light on data and insights into caller behavior and demographics, which can inform your campaigns. The solution gathers info on your inbound marketing calls, enabling you to optimize your ads and improve the lead experience. 

Final words

No matter whether you’re a startup, a small business, or a larger outfit, lead tracking is critical to boosting the effectiveness of your sales activities and improving your conversion rate. 

With a strong lead tracking system such as LeadLander in place, you can better hold on to leads at risk of falling from the funnel and spend less time caught up in endless sales admin. In short, it’s a win-win for your customers – and your business.

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