Lead Source: Identify Locally, Source Globally

Every CMO wants to know their best sources for new leads. That way they can compare month-over-month and source-by-source to determine which marketing tactics are best at identifying potential buyers for their products or services.

Marketing’s list of lead sources should map nicely to the types of marketing tactics that they use and spend money on. The source values should not be individual marketing programs like, “2015 Product World” trade show or “The Top 10 Ways to Solve Your Process Problem” white paper outreach. Rather, they should be categories for marketing tactics, like trade shows, pay-per-click, or purchased lists.

If you are managing your lead sources correctly, you should have 12-15 lead source values or categories. You can also track the detail information about the specific use case for a source value. For example, if a lead’s source is “trade show”, its detail information, which is tracked in a separate field, might be “2015 Product World”.

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A marketing automation system like Marketo lets the marketing team track lead source, but the design of the source-tracking mechanism is up to the marketers. We recommend a global structure that identifies sources for all leads, regardless of program, rather than having each individual program source the lead. This reduces errors and makes management of the system easier for marketers.

The lead source system should also assign a source value when the source is known, not when the lead is known. For example, if a prospect clicks on a search engine ad and arrives at a landing page, the source should be “online ad” or “ppc”, even though the prospect has yet to fill out a form that tells us who they are. When they later come back and fill out a white paper download form, their source remains “online ad”, because the download is their second touch-point, not the first.

Lead Source system attributes:

  • Globally located
  • Sources should be mapped to marketing tactics
  • Source values are written once and locked to changes
  • Don’t wait to source until the lead is known
  • ses two fields, Lead Source and Lead Source Detail

When you have a proper lead source mechanism in place, it’s easy to identify which marketing tactics provide your best source of leads. In addition, the source values will let you answer other important questions like, “what is my cost per lead by tactic?”, or “which tactic produces the highest quality leads in terms of the pipeline impact?”. Get your lead sources in order today. Also, stay tuned for related blogs that discuss how acquisition credit is assigned to programs where the lead originates.

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At Digital Pi, we use technology to connect revenue to marketing efforts. We fuse marketing strategies, processes, data and applications to make marketing technology solutions work for clients' businesses.

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