8 Lead Sources Agencies Should Measure

What is a lead source
Want better leads; faster? Measuring lead sources helps agencies make intelligent decisions about scaling, advertising, and growth.

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After a great sales call with a qualified lead the big question on every sales manager’s mind is

Where did that lead come from?

If you don’t know where your best leads are coming from you’ve lost all control of your sales pipeline. This is why measuring lead sources is so important to every business. In this article, we’ll walk through the following topics.

  • What is a lead source?
  • Benefits of measuring lead sources?
  • Top leads sources to measure

After reading this post, you’ll be able to capture what lead sources make the most impact on your business.

What is a Lead Source?

A lead source is an initial point or source where a lead first engages with your business or service. For example, a billboard or newspaper ad is considered a traditional outbound lead source. Following this example, perhaps Sarah Tran was driving down I-95 and bumped into your billboard ad. As a result of the billboard ad Sarah booked an appointment with your agency. In this example, the billboard ad is the lead source.

The great thing about measuring lead sources in today’s landscape attribution is much more finite. In other words, technology allows us to capture how our prospects first discover us.

Benefits of measuring lead sources

As we mentioned earlier if you don’t know where your agency leads are coming from you’ve lost control of your pipeline. Data allows agencies the benefit of an in-depth understanding of lead sources. When it comes to fueling a sales pipeline nothing is more important than leads. Let’s talk about the granular benefits of measuring lead sources in further detail below.

Measuring Lead Sources to Scale Intelligently

When you measure your lead sources your sales team will be able to make intelligent business decisions. For example, measuring how many leads each source generates can tell you where top-of-the-funnel users are most responsive. Going deeper, you can also determine how to allocate capital based on which source is generating the most sales. Without this data, agencies are essentially making speculative decisions about driving sales.

Measuring Lead Sources to Refine Messaging

If you’re a B2B agency it’s likely you’re competing against thousands of other agencies in your niche. Measuring lead sources will help your agency identify compelling messaging or offers. Oftentimes, the most profound sales pivots are discovered via responsiveness. For example, a marketing agency might run a Facebook ad A/B test on a single offer. By measuring the success of each lead source the agency can then determine which message was most compelling and begin to refind or expand on that messaging.

Measuring Lead Sources to Capitalize on Missed Opportunities

Success is often found in friction. When lead sources are measured agencies can determine opportunities to expand their market reach. For instance, an agency might determine that 25% of its leads are derived from organic Instagram marketing while only 4% of the leads are derived from Pinterest advertising. As a result of this data, the agency can then divert its low-performing ad spend onto a network that is already yielding a higher organic return.

Now that you understand some of the benefits of measuring lead sources it’s time to jump into the types of lead sources every agency should measure.

Top Lead Sources

Admittedly, some lead sources are harder to measure than others. In fact, some are almost impossible to quantify manually. However, at minimum, every agency should be tracking the following lead sources.

  • Content and Organic Search
  • Digital Ads
  • Social Media
  • Direct Mail Marketing
  • Referral Marketing
  • Traditional Marketing
  • Cold Outreach

Let’s explore each of these lead sources in further detail below.

Content and Organic Search

Measure online lead sources like blog post

It’s no secret blogging is an excellent lead generation method. When done correctly blog posts and highly optimized landing pages can drive hoards of organic leads into your sales pipeline. If you’re using content to rank on SERP your agency should be using some form of website analytics. Keep in mind, to properly measure lead sources via content you also need to apply attribution some form of attribution to your forms or landing pages. For instance, if you have multiple landing pages and multiple contact forms on your website providing an attribution reference like a referral URL is important. Measuring traffic alone will not properly provide lead source attribution.

Digital Advertising

As an agency measuring ad lead sources is fundamental. Most platforms like Facebook and Google allow some form of attribution in terms of lead conversions. For example, when running lead form ads on Facebook brands are able to segment lead entries by the campaign. This provides granular performance details to help measure the effectiveness of each ad based on lead generation goals.

Organic Social Media

Measure online lead sources like social media

There are so many social media platforms floating around the digital world to engage your marketing campaigns with. Some of them are on a large scale like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube. Many agencies are often overwhelmed by the amount of social content required to market a business online. However, tracking lead sources can help agencies get focused on certain platforms that generate the greatest return. For example, if most of your leads are coming directly from YouTube as opposed to Pinterest your agency can then spend more time creating content specifically for YouTube.

Direct Mail Marketing

Believe it or not, there was a time before the internet when direct marketing was all the rage. In fact, many of today’s most popular brands still participate in direct marketing campaigns. Companies like Macy’s and GoDaddy are quite adept in this process. If you decide to send out mailers be sure to track the effectiveness of this source. You can do so by simply providing a special redemption code specific to the campaign or use more tech-savvy methods like QR codes to track conversions.

Referral or Word of Mouth Marketing

When possible collecting data on referral marketing is incredibly helpful especially as we enter into the age of the influencer. Some agencies employ rev share, ambassador, or affiliate programs to scale their referral process. The benefit of tracking referrals is that it provides granular data on what properties are driving the most qualified leads or sales. For instance, UTM sales tracking may reveal that Pinterest search is a high converting lead source. However, once affiliate URLs are made available you then notice that most high converting leads or sales are a result of specific ambassador’s pins or posts.

Traditional Marketing Channels

Measure offline lead sources like traditional marketing channels

Television and newspapers are often considered traditional marketing channels. Advertisers can be creative to track the effectiveness of these lead sources by integrating specific elements into ad copy. Similar to direct mail marketing integrating simple codes specific to a campaign or QR codes can help to properly measure this lead source.

Cold Outreach

Measure offline lead sources like Affiliate / Partner Program

Cold outreach includes sources like cold email lists, solo newsletter drops, bulk press releases, and even direct messaging campaigns. Generally speaking, agencies can employ tracking or attribution practices in their cold outreach campaigns. For example, if your agency is sending out 1000 cold emails a month including a simple UTM link in each email will provide a mechanism for tracking clicks and subsequent conversions.

Final thoughts on lead sources

Understanding your client base is never a waste of time. In today’s digitally powered world, we often ignore many small opportunities to capture data that can amount to huge changes, measuring lead sources is one of those small opportunities. It’s time to capture more leads and get take control of your sales pipeline. What are you waiting for? Create a Google sheet and start tracking your lead sources today.

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