How to Track Marketing Leads in HubSpot

Laura Caveney
7th May 2021

HubSpot is a great tool for marketing and sales teams. But do you know how to track a lead in HubSpot and attribute it back to your marketing? We walk you through the basics of HubSpot’s lead tracking features and how you can get more data from your leads


37% of marketers state that generating high-quality leads is one of their biggest challenges. So, it comes as no surprise that marketers are looking for an all-in-one solution to manage, track and contact their leads.


Editor’s Note: Are you looking into HubSpot alternatives? Read our complete list to find the right software to suit your needs.


What is a lead in HubSpot

HubSpot is a CRM, so it’s great for managing leads. In HubSpot, a lead is a contact that is in a set lifecycle stage. Skip to the next section to learn more about that.

Under ‘lead status’, you can filter your contact view to see ‘new’, ‘open’, ‘unqualified’ or more types of leads. You can automate lead status, manage it manually or use a mixture. For example, you might want to automate lead creation through HubSpot but rely on your sales team to update a contact if they’ve connected with them.

track marketing leads in HubSpot using their contact editing


You can also create setlists within HubSpot which allows you to import active leads or contacts needing reengagement.

By managing your contacts properly, you can then create marketing campaigns and target them specifically to set leads in your database.


How do I edit lead status in HubSpot?

There are a number of ways you can edit lead status in HubSpot. We’ll walk you through each:



Manually edit one record

You can alter lead status for individuals or groups of leads with HubSpot’s simple editing functionality.


Bulk import a list to edit a property

You can import files to create and update HubSpot records in bulk. This will save you a lot of time and a lot of clicks! Read the full guide of how to do this here. 


Use “Set a property value” action in a workflow

If you’re using a set workflow, then you can update your property values based on actions and triggers.

This could be useful when sales teams are trying to connect with leads and contacts. Read the full guide to setting these up here, but remember, this feature is for ‘Professional’ and ‘Enterprise’ accounts only.


Use a hidden form field

Hidden form fields are a great way of assigning values to contact properties without asking for that specific information from the contact themselves.

For example, if you send an email campaign and a contact submits a ‘request a demo’ form, you’ll want their lead status to change.

Read how to create these hidden fields but remember, this feature is only available in the ‘Marketing Hub Professional’ and ‘Enterprise’ accounts.


How to use HubSpot’s lifecycle stages to manage leads

Another property option on contacts you won’t want to forget about is the lifecycle stage. HubSpot uses lifecycle stages to allow you to manage your lead status on broader terms.

HubSpot offers a number of default lead status options including:

Subscriber: A contact that has opted into hearing from you via a blog or newsletter.

Lead: A contact who has converted on your website or via another interaction. This is usually via a lead form.

Marketing Qualified Lead: A contact that your marketing team has qualified for the sales team

Sales Qualified Lead: A contact that your sales team has qualified as a potential customer

Opportunity: This is a contact who is associated with a potential deal.

Customer: This is a contact with a closed deal.

Evangelist: This is a customer who has promoted your company organically

Other: A contact that doesn’t fit the above stages

Remember, there are also options for lead status within the ‘sales qualified lead’ category. HubSpot offers automations that can allow you to move contacts along their customer journey. For example, HubSpot will automatically track new website conversions via form. Similarly, when deals are closed by your sales team, HubSpot will automatically update associated contacts to customers.

You can use the lifecycle stage property to create new lists for marketing campaigns or for reports.


Editor’s Note: Want to learn more about tracking your leads that come from offline conversions like calls and form fills? Read our guide to offline conversion tracking to find out more.


How to track your leads in HubSpot

Tracking your leads, regardless of which CRM you use, is important. But as we’ve already seen, a few of their key features are locked away under pricier plans.

So what data can you get from HubSpot when it comes to lead tracking?


How to track lead source in HubSpot

Given HubSpot tracks website activity, it automatically tracks and records a lead’s original source. The lead source is a contact property in HubSpot, but you can edit it if needed.

So, if a website visitor first arrives on your site via an organic search engine, regardless of how or when they convert, their original lead source in HubSpot will be organic search.

You can segment your HubSpot contacts by lead source to understand which marketing channels are working best to drive new leads.


Where to find a contact’s original source in HubSpot

To find a contact’s original source in HubSpot, simply go to your dashboard and click Contacts in the top right. From there, select Contacts from the drop-down menu. You should see a list of all your contacts. Navigate through and find the contact you are looking for, click on them and then you should see their profile.

Scroll down on the left-hand panel and select ‘view all properties’. Then, search for ‘original source’ and you’ll be able to see where your marketing lead came from.


HubSpot tracks these original sources as default:


Limitations of Lead Tracking in HubSpot

As with everything, HubSpot has its limitations. And while it does go beyond many other CRM and marketing automation tools, it still has its drawbacks.


Original lead source isn’t enough

While most CRMs can’t accurately tell you your original lead source, HubSpot is probably one of the best software out there for getting it right.

But with HubSpot attribution, the data you’re getting just isn’t enough.

Ok, it’s great you’re seeing where your leads have originated from, but what about the rest of their customer journey?

Now that customer journeys are getting longer and more complicated, more insight is needed to better understand the roles individual channels and campaigns play when it comes to influencing a lead, and a sale.


Inaccurate attribution

Paid search as a channel is pretty broad. What if you’re running ads on Google and Bing? How do you differentiate which channel is working better?

The same goes for ‘organic social’ and ‘paid social’. If there’s no clarification on the specific channel that what use is having the source there at all?

With HubSpot, you’ll only get partial data. And when you’re trying to optimise your marketing, that’s going to quickly become a huge barrier.


Hidden fields in forms are a hassle

Remember how we said HubSpot uses hidden form fields to discover your lead source? Well, these are a hassle to set up. You’ll have to manually create GCLID fields in each form so that you can accurately capture the right data.

It means a lot of time spent on setting up landing pages for very little data in return.

P.S. Did you know Ruler will automatically scrape your forms for you without any need for hidden fields?  You can spend more time getting creative with your marketing and let Ruler do all the hard work.



HubSpot attribution is expensive

Ok, ok, HubSpot does have an attribution modelling feature available. But it’s locked away in a pricey plan meaning it’s unreachable for most small to mid-sized businesses.

While HubSpot offers some great features for free and within its basic plans, a lot of the better features (when it comes to data and reporting) are unavailable.

And while HubSpot is a great choice for a CRM, if you aren’t getting its better features, then its price point feels like a waste. Remember, check out our list of HubSpot alternatives if you’re looking for a cheaper option with similar reward.


The Solution

So, what’s the solution?

While HubSpot is a great CRM and marketing automation solution for most businesses, it has priced small to mid-sized businesses out.

But that doesn’t mean you have to market in the dark.

By using a marketing attribution tool, you can just get more out of the current apps you’re already using.

Let’s explain.

A tool like Ruler Analytics will allow you to track each and every lead, as well as every interaction. It does all the hard work of finding, storing and interpreting your marketing and sales data. And, even better, it sends all of that data to the apps you want to see it in.

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So, in your current CRM, you’ll be able to track your leads and see their original source. But, in Ruler, you’ll be able to switch attribution model type to understand how different channels play different roles. And, you’ll be able to learn more about your customer’s full journey and optimise your marketing to it.

Similarly, in your current analytics tools, you’ll be able to see closed revenue attributed back to the marketing channels, campaigns, ads and even keywords that influenced your customers.

Sound good? Learn how Ruler can attribute your revenue, or get stuck in by booking a demo with our team. You’ll learn how Ruler can bring all of your lead data together and help you get more from your marketing, for less.

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