How to Measure Lead Generation for B2B

If you’re a marketer in a B2B sales-focused organization, you know how challenging it can be to generate qualified, high intent leads for your sales team. But it can often be just as challenging to understand which lead gen efforts are working best for you.

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If you’re a marketer in a B2B sales-focused organization, you know how challenging it can be to generate qualified, high intent leads for your sales team. But it can often be just as challenging to understand which lead gen efforts are working best for you. Qualified lead volume alone is not a reliable metric on which to measure success. Ultimately, you’re trying to help your organization grow revenue.

The only way to truly optimize your lead generation efforts with revenue outcomes in mind is by tracing that revenue all the way back to the marketing activity that created the opportunity. This requires tracking the leads your marketing team generates all the way through your sales process.

This is an intimidating challenge that many marketing leaders face in B2B-focused sales organizations. But it’s an essential step in creating value from your performance marketing efforts, and building a process for consistently delivering high value opportunities to your sales team.

1. Map Your Sales Process & Customer Journey

The first step to being able to truly measure B2B lead gen performance is to have an in-depth understanding of your customer journey and the prospect lifecycle stages in your sales funnel. For sales, the mediums and messaging used to engage leads and prospects at various stages of the journey will often be different. Knowing what stage each opportunity is in will help you build more effective marketing messages. For our reporting purposes, knowing these stages will give us the framework we need to measure performance throughout your pipeline.

Start by mapping your journey. Your prospects’ lifecycle might be similar to this example from Marketo:

marketing sales process

Once you have it mapped out, make sure the sales stages are reflected in your CRM. Your sales team will be responsible for updating their prospects’ stage as they move through the sales process. It’s critical that everybody on your sales and marketing team knows what these stages are, and what activities mark the transition from one stage to the next.

Think of your sales team as scientists in a lab. You’ve given them the tools they need to run your study, but the results will only be accurate if they follow the protocol and best practices that you outline for them. Get the team involved early in the planning process so everybody buys in on the importance of your CRM’s data integrity. This will save headaches and the need to retroactively update contact records down the road.

2. Add Marketing Attribution Data to Your CRM

You don’t need the fanciest tech stack in the world to do marketing well, but having the right tools in place to measure and report on marketing performance will be an asset to you and your marketing team.

First, it’s important to set up your CRM integration a way that makes it easy to pass lead source data from your contact forms, website chats, and gated content forms into the actual contact record that it creates once submitted to your CRM. At a minimum you’ll want to capture any lead source, medium, and campaign data. Depending on the variety of media types and creative that you’re running, you may also want to consider capturing the ad groups, campaign creative, and even keywords associated with a contact’s session.

Once you’ve decided what data is important to pass along from your website forms to your contact records, you need to consider how that data will follow that contact and their associated company through your sales process. The marketing data that is passed into your contact records should be inherited by any subsequent sales activity. If you use a common CRM like HubSpot or Salesforce, this can include passing this data along into a Deal or Opportunity, respectively. All of the popular CRM tools on the market today have the ability to pass this information automatically into associated records.

Once a sales opportunity is closed, this will allow you to attribute revenue to individual marketing channels. Over time, you can measure what channels are truly generating quality leads that turn into sales opportunities and business growth.

3. Making Use of the Data

A common marketing goal is to see how much potential revenue is sitting in each stage of your customer journey and what marketing channels led to those opportunities. Once you’ve created fields for your customer lifecycle stages and original campaign source within your CRM, you can report on that.

Here’s an example: You can see that your team is consistently challenged to move prospects generated from your service specific paid search campaigns from the SQL to the demo stage of your customer lifecycle. Knowing this you can begin to ask questions about that specific channel, and WHY those leads might be less qualified than your higher performing channels. Are you targeting keywords that are being misinterpreted by your customer? Is there misleading ad copy that might be driving unqualified prospects to reach out?

Using the methods described above to identify lead quality, and optimize around the campaigns that are driving true revenue, rather than just contact form fills or demo requests, will make a world of difference in your ability to adjust your marketing strategy. If you’re interested in learning more or discussing a strategy for implementing this in your own CRM, we’re here to help.