Measuring the success of any advertising campaign means keeping track of lead generation sources. For many companies this is a haphazard process whereby the first company representative to make contact with a prospect asks, “How did you hear about us?” That’s a great place to start, but what happens to that information after the prospect is handed off to a salesperson? Customer Relationship Management (CRM) programs are an excellent way to maintain that information, which will eventually be used to plan future ad campaigns.
Some popular CRM programs are SalesForce, Zoho CRM, ACT or InfusionSoft. You can find a more lengthy list of these apps here. More advanced management software, such as SAP or Oracle, also includes modules for lead tracking as part of their business management system.
Regardless of which program you use, be sure that someone in your company is analyzing this data on a regular basis. By that I mean at least monthly, and even weekly if you are processing over 100 leads a week. Your evaluation of this data should include not only the ad campaign to which they responded, but also:
- How they responded (phone call, email, form?)
- How their inquiry was handled (did a salesperson follow up, how quickly?)
- Where is this lead in the sales process now (sent quote? purchased product?)
- Is their email address in your system (if not, why not)?
Judging the success of an online marketing campaign should not end with a tally of the number of hits your site received, how long prospects stayed on the site, or how they were referred to the site (Google AdWord, emailed newsletter link, tweet or other). You also need to know the quality of the leads you are receiving from each medium. If the leads aren’t being converted into sales then that may be a sales problem or even a pricing problem.
The most common frustration with online advertising is that your site may receive the hits, but the prospect never actually engages with the company. If the campaign harvested the email addresses of prospects at least you can continue to send sales notices or other helpful information to encourage a response. However, all too often prospects avoid giving their email address unless they are very interested in the product or service you provide. To open a two-way dialog with the prospect you will need to provide them with a compelling reason to hand over their email address.
Every business has a unique position in the marketplace. If not, they won’t be in business long. Your prospects are also unique. Each one has a reason to seek out information about your company. Analyze the leads you receive from each campaign with this in mind. If possible contact the sales person responsible for each lead and ask them about the prospect. Even better, if the lead turned into a sale then contact the customer.
The more you know about the leads you are receiving the better you can direct future campaigns. I will cover the kinds of questions to ask salespeople and customers in a future blog, but for now remember each lead represents a real person. Begin the relationship with that person by caring enough to find out what happened to their inquiry.