Avatar photo Alex Thompson
Apr 18, 2024

In marketing, lead tracking is the capturing of data that tells you who your leads are, where they came from, and what they’re interested in. Agencies use lead tracking software to prove the effectiveness of their marketing and optimize their campaigns. 

This article covers the basics of this foundational marketing principle:

  • Why lead tracking is important
  • What the lead tracking process looks like
  • How lead tracking works
  • What to look for in lead tracking software

Why Is It Important to Track Leads?

The Ultimate Guide to Call Tracking Software
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    Imagine you’re playing a game of Battleship. But instead of getting the typical “hit” or “miss” when you call out a number, your opponent just says “maybe”.

    You’d be flying blind—picking numbers at random and hoping they hit the mark.

    That’s what it’s like not having lead tracking data. It’s impossible to know which marketing is working because you just don’t know where your leads are coming from.

    With lead tracking, marketers can see which keywords, ads, landing pages, and more are bringing in leads.

    And with that data, they can:

    • Understand which marketing is performing the best
    • Double down on high-performers and drop low-performers
    • Test the effectiveness of new marketing channels
    • Prove to clients their investment is generating results

    In the end, it’s important to track leads because it lets marketers and their clients make better business decisions.

    Better Data = Better Insights

    It’s worth noting that not all lead tracking software offers the same granularity of data.

    For instance, Google Ads and Analytics provide plenty of metrics marketers use to see if their campaigns are working.

    However, they provide this data as an aggregate—a tally of total lead data. You can't see who leads are or understand lead quality because you can't drill down into individual lead data.

    Other more specialized tools let you see both aggregate and individual lead data.

    With WhatConverts, you can see aggregate data in the Main Data Display:

    Or you can see individual lead data by clicking “View Lead”:

    And that extra layer of data lets you answer more questions and make more informed decisions.

    For example, say your Google Ads campaign brought in 250 leads last month. With the Ads reporting platform, you can’t answer questions like:

    • How many of those were spam?
    • How many leads were actually returning customers?
    • How much revenue did they generate?

    With more specialized lead tracking tools, you can get all that information and more.

    In WhatConverts, you can easily filter leads by:

    1. Spam vs. not spam
    2. Repeat vs. unique leads
    3. Sales Value

    … Or any other data point you want.

    And with that extra level of data granularity, you can get even more specific with your targeting and decision-making.

    Try WhatConverts free for 14 days

    What Is the Lead Tracking Process?

    The process of lead tracking begins when a stranger interacts with your marketing and ends when they become a customer.

    Lead tracking follows a prospect through all five stages of this journey, picking up data like which pages they’ve visited, different interactions they’ve had with your business, sales data like purchase value, and more.

    The most important data for marketing teams occurs in the first three stages.

    This is where marketers can see:

    1. Where leads came from (i.e., which marketing is working)
    2. Who leads are (i.e., if they’re legitimate leads)
    3. What they’re interested in (i.e., how qualified they are)

    In order to collect this information, marketers need specialized lead tracking software (built for marketers) rather than CRMs (built for sales teams).

    While lead tracking tools can and often do work together with CRMs, CRMs alone cannot answer critical marketing questions.

    How Lead Tracking Works

    Lead tracking software works by tying marketing attribution data (stored in cookies) to a conversion action.

    Let’s say a prospect sees an ad for your client on Google and clicks over to their website. Then they make a call for a free quote.

    A lead tracking tool would:

    • Capture that lead’s attribution data (which keyword, ad, campaign, etc. brought them in)
    • Identify who that lead is (contact info like name, number, email address etc.)
    • Record conversion data like when they called, who they talked to, and what they said

    You could then see all of the unified data for that lead in a lead management system. There you could look at that data, decide if the lead is qualified, and then send it to the sales team or the client.

    Marketers also use lead tracking tools to report on the effectiveness of their marketing and optimize campaigns based on that data.

    For instance, in WhatConverts you can see how much revenue came from leads from a certain source (Google, Bing), medium (CPC, organic), or other attribution data (keyword, ad, campaign).

    So if you wanted to see total sales revenue for the past 6 months broken down by source, medium, and keyword, you could…

    1. Open up the Leads by Keyword report
    2. Set your time range and select “Measure by Sales Value”
    3. Check out your report showing sales value by Source, Medium, and Keyword

    Now you have the aggregate data you need to calculate ROI, optimize your budget, and make better marketing decisions.

    What Is the Best Way to Track Leads?

    The best way to track leads is by having software that:

    1. Captures the lead data necessary to make better decisions
    2. Goes above and beyond lead tracking to help marketers and agencies grow their ROI

    There are lots of lead tracking software options that do #1, including WhatConverts.

    Far fewer do #2 well.

    The best lead tracking tools should also offer capabilities that let you do the following.

    Manage Lead Data

    Lead tracking tools should also have an intuitive, flexible lead management system. This is where all that lead data that was captured lives. It’s what gives structure to your data and lets you filter, sort, and arrange all your leads.

    In WhatConverts, it’s called the Lead Manager. This system makes it a snap to manage all your leads and get powerful insights from your lead data.

    Filtering and sorting is as easy as typing a value into the search bar inside a column (see below).

    Enrich Lead Data

    The best lead tracking tools will also let you add additional data to your leads.

    For example, marketers need to be able to mark leads as qualified, give them a quality score, and add sales value if they want to get the most from their data. This not only helps sales (knowing which leads are qualified) but also lets marketers see which channels bring in the most value, not just the most leads.

    WhatConverts users can get specifics on individual leads and enrich their data manually…

    Or they can use Lead Intelligence or a CRM integration to do it automatically.

    Communicate Results & Value

    Not all insights live at the individual level. Instead, lead tracking software also needs quality reporting features that let them zoom out from their data and get high-level insights.

    Marketers also need customizable, interactive reporting features so they can prove their value to clients and answer client questions as they arise.

    Optimize Campaigns

    Knowing which campaigns are performing at the keyword level is the first step in optimization. With these insights, marketers can allocate more budget to what’s working and weed out low-performers.

    But there are other ways to optimize too.

    For example, you can use WhatConverts’ ad integrations to send only select leads to platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and Bing Ads.

    This effectively lets you train the algorithm to optimize for better and better leads automatically.

    Grow Revenue, ROI, & Ad Spend

    Last but not least, your lead tracking tool should give you everything you need to grow both your client and your agency.

    To do that, you need a platform that lets you build a solid business case for increasing your client's ad spend.

    That means:

    • Having a clear, data-backed reporting of your ROI
    • A track record of better budget optimization (getting more for the budget you've got)
    • Being able to point to lead data to answer client questions

    If your lead tracking software includes the previous five capabilities (capture data, manage data, enrich data, communicate, optimize), then you're 95% of the way there.

    All that's left is having the conversation to increase your client's budget.

    Wrapping Up

    Lead tracking is essential for any marketer who wants to make data-based decisions. Without it, you can’t measure the effectiveness of your marketing, optimize strategically, or prove the value of your efforts.

    The trick is finding the right lead tracking tool (like WhatConverts) that lets you get the most out of your lead tracking data.

    Ready to open up the door to better lead tracking? Start your free 14-day WhatConverts trial now!

    Read WhatConverts reviews on G2

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    Alex Thompson

    Alex Thompson is a professional copywriter and content writer with a passion for turning complex ideas into digestible, educational content that keeps readers engaged. He specializes in content marketing, SEO, and B2B marketing.

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