How to Track Your Sales Leads and Increase Marketing ROI

Katie Holmes
25th November 2021

Track your sales leads from awareness to acquisition and make informed decisions to improve lead quality and ROI. 

Tracking leads is hard, especially when they come from so many different sources and have a wide variety of needs and challenges.

In fact, our survey found that 84% of marketers use form submissions to generate leads, but 34% find the process of tracking their source and outcome hard.

Additionally, we discovered that 50% of marketers use phone calls to drive leads, but 62% struggle to track them.

So, what’s the solution? 

The answer lies in having a dedicated and reliable process for tracking sales leads. 

In this post, we’re taking a closer look at how sales lead tracking works, the benefits and challenges, along with some of the best practices to get started.

Here’s what you can expect to learn:

Without further ado, let’s get stuck in

💡 Pro Tip

Are you struggling to generate qualified leads for your business? Get the complete guide on lead tracking and gain a single view of your lead generation activity, from the initial awareness to the point of acquisition.

Complete guide to lead generation and tracking

What is sales lead tracking?

Sales lead tracking is essential to the growth of your business.

It allows support, sales and marketing teams to manage and track cross-channel journeys more cohesively.

In short, lead tracking lets you follow leads through the entire customer journey from awareness to close. The main goal of lead tracking is to identify the marketing sources that result in revenue and long-term value. 

More importantly, “it helps brands identify whether all their lead generation paid off or not,” says Jonathan Saeidian, CEO & Co-Founder at Brenton Way.

What are the core benefits of tracking your sales leads?

Lead tracking provides an integrated view of your leads and customer journeys, but what other benefits does it offer?

1. Gain relevant information at each stage of the customer journey 

Monitoring your customer journeys stages is key as it allows you to understand which touchpoints best enable customers to reach their goals. 

More importantly, by tracking your leads throughout the customer journey, you can “shore up your dropoff points,” says  Zack Drisko, Founder at Rainmakr

Zack added: “For example, you could find that after your demo, that’s when people fall off and go quiet. Or, if you deliver proposals, maybe you send those over and then get ghosted.”

With lead tracking, you can ensure that leads aren’t slipping through the cracks and are moving through the pipeline without any hiccups.

2. Proof of marketing’s impact on business

Reporting on clicks and conversions is important. But, what your company executives really want to know is how marketing is impacting the bottom line. 

With sales lead tracking, you can reveal which lead generation techniques have the greatest impact on ROI.

Related: How businesses use Ruler to improve ROI

Instead of saying, “we grew traffic 20%”, you could focus on marketing’s revenue-earning potential. For example, “marketing contributed £100,000 this month at a 5:1 ROI.”

3. Sharper insights to improve marketing performance

Once you successfully track leads through the entire customer journey, you’ll be able to see which channels and campaigns result in the most revenue. 

You can take this insight and double down on the initiatives that present real opportunities to grow marketing-generated revenue even more. 

Related: A guide to lead value and how to track it

Additionally, you can cut down on unnecessary costs on campaigns that are underperforming or not aligned with your goals.

What are the challenges associated with tracking your sales leads?

If you’ve ever tried to track your leads throughout the entire customer journey, you’ll know how time-consuming and challenging it can be.

But, what makes the process of tracking sales leads so difficult?

To find out, we asked sales and marketers in our survey to identify their most pressing lead tracking challenges.

According to our research, respondents ranked “minimal understanding and skills (53%)”, “lack of tools and applications (50%) and “cross channel journeys (44%)” as the top three lead tracking challenges.

Minimal knowledge and skill set

More than half of respondents consider a lack of skills and knowledge the main challenge to successful lead tracking.

Tracking leads involves a lot of planning and processes. 

To effectively track leads across the customer journey means having the ability to integrate and access data in different tools. 

This is to ensure a continuous flow of data throughout your organisation, so everyone has access to the same information. 

But data integration isn’t something you can pick up in a few hours. 

It requires a specific skill set that can take years to master, depending on the complexity of your sales cycles and business size.

Limited access to tools and applications

How well you track sales leads depends on what tools you have at your disposal. 

Most marketers will rely on traditional analytics tools to track leads. But, most analytics tools are not up to delivering the insights you need to perform the job. 

Data in most traditional analytics tools is anonymous and aggregated. In other words, you can’t track or personally identify leads in any way. 

However, in order to track leads you need a tool that can collect and collate individual data.

That’s why lead tracking tools like Ruler are a buried treasure for marketers.

Lead tracking tools allow you to follow individual users and track which channels contribute the most qualified traffic and leads.

💡 Pro Tip

You might already know, but Ruler is a marketing attribution tool. Ruler tracks the customer journey, evidencing every step a visitor makes in their journey and matches revenue back to the source.

We won’t go into too much detail here, as we have plenty of content on this already. In fact, our eBook on how Ruler works can provide you with everything you need to know and more.

Modern customer journey spanning across various channels 

Lead tracking has never been easy. 

And, the increase in digital communication channels has only made things more complicated.

Leads are switching between channels, both online and offline, as they move from awareness to purchase. 

In fact, today’s consumers use an average of almost six touchpoints, with nearly 50% regularly using more than four.

That’s a big difference from 15 years ago when the average consumer used two touchpoints when buying an item, and only 7% regularly used more than four. 

Unfortunately, things are only going to get more complicated as new channels continue to surface and users become more confident making their online purchase decisions.

How do you keep track of marketing and sales leads?

Tracking sales leads can get overwhelming, but it’s not impossible.

With the right tools and processes in place, it’ll become easier to track your sales leads. You can gain a better understanding of what touchpoints are most important in transforming your opportunities into revenue.

To help you get started, we asked experts in the sales and marketing field to weigh in and share top tips on tracking sales leads. 

Here’s what they had to say. 

  1. Invest in lead tracking and attribution tools
  2. Call tracking for offline lead source
  3. Create UTM parameters to track links
  4. Use customisable forms
  5. Build dedicated promo codes
  6. Ask leads directly how they found you

1. Invest in lead tracking tools

If you want to understand how users find your site and convert into customers, then lead tracking tools are the best way to go.

Related: Best lead tracking and management tools for 2022

“Lead tracking tools can directly tell you where a lead is generated. Whether it was from the website, paid social ads, organic search, paid search ads, etc. This information helps you identify what methods have been successfully generating leads for you, what has been underperforming, and what you can change to increase the number of leads,” says Janet Patterson, VP of Marketing at Highway Title Loans.

Most marketers will use Google Analytics to track sales leads, and rightly so. 

It offers huge amounts of data related to how users find and interact with your website and marketing campaigns. 

Google Analytics is the king in its industry. In fact, our survey found that 90% of marketers consider Google Analytics their go-to marketing analytics tool. 

While Google Analytics can tell you a conversion happened, it doesn’t provide much into the identity or quality of your leads.

At its core, Google Analytics isn’t a lead tracking tool. 

With a great lead tracking tool, your leads become individuals and not just another anonymous goal in Google Analytics.

Also, lead tracking tools “help marketing teams show the executives what strategies are working to justify increasing or maintaining their digital budgets,” says Charlotte Spence, Head of Sleep Health Research at Mattress Nerd.

They break down the barrier between sales and marketing by allowing marketers to follow leads across their full customer journey, from start to finish.  

Take Ruler Analytics for example. 

Ruler works by tracking each and every visitor over multiple sessions, traffic sources, keywords and more. 

Related: How to view full customer journeys with Ruler

When a visitor converts into a lead, their information is sent to the Ruler database and matched with their marketing touchpoints to create a customer journey. 

The marketing source data and conversion details are then sent to your CRM, or wherever you store your leads for your sales team to process.

Naturally, your leads navigate through your sales pipeline to become customers. Using a pre-built integration, the pipeline data is sent back to Ruler. Here, you can see how many leads are in each stage of your pipeline.

Eventually, the lead converts into a customer. When that happens, the customer’s information, such as revenue and marketing source data, is sent back to Ruler. 

Related: How Ruler attributes revenue to your marketing

This data is attributed to the customer’s touchpoints, allowing you to track which marketing channels had the greatest influence on the entire journey.

2. Call tracking for offline lead sources

Sometimes leads choose to address their matters, questions, or issues over the phone instead of filling out a form or using a live chat option. 

Chana Charach, CFO at, agrees: “When considering options, searching for detailed information, or seeking assistance, many leads prefer to pick up the phone and speak with someone.”

Call tracking is one of the most efficient ways to capture inbound phone enquiries and attribute them to the correct traffic sources over multiple sessions, keywords, ads and more.

Most call tracking tools work by overriding the phone number on your website and replacing it with a unique number for each individual visitor. 

Each time a new visitor lands on the website the phone number is changed using dynamic number insertion.

Related: How does dynamic number insertion work

When a number is dialled the caller is sent to your original number. 

The user’s number, conversion details and marketing touchpoints are matched, allowing you to determine which traffic sources are making the phone ring. 

In addition to the point above, “many call tracking technologies record the call so you can reach further insight into your leads,” says Daniel Foley, CMO at Scooter Guide.

So, if you promote your business online and generate a lot of leads over the phone, you should definitely look into the possibilities of call tracking. 

Related: How does Ruler’s phone call tracking work?

Otherwise, you’ll miss out on leads you didn’t even know existed and the revenue that comes with them.

3. Create UTM parameters to track links

For lead tracking tools or Google Analytics to work efficiently, you’ll need to ensure that the traffic coming to your website is tagged correctly with UTM parameters.

Essentially, UTM parameters are what connect your web analytics and marketing campaigns.

For those who aren’t already aware, UTM parameters are unique codes that you add to the end of your URLs and help track each link or marketing campaign in more detail.

Related: How to track links with Google Analytics

“One technique I use to track lead source is tagging all campaigns with UTM parameters. Adding campaign-specific UTM parameters to track blog posts and ads make it easy to tell where traffic is coming from,” says Kasey Monohan, Marketing at Volvo Cars Cool Springs

While your lead tracking and analytics tools offer some insight into which sources drive traffic and conversions, UTM parameters allow you to go that one step further.

UTM parameters collect more detail on your lead sources by tracking the specific ads, keywords and campaigns that are responsible for driving clicks and conversions.

You can easily create UTM parameters and track the success of your marketing tactics by getting started with Google’s URL builder.

4. Customise your forms with hidden fields

Another useful way to track sales leads is to customise your forms and add in a hidden field for lead source. 

Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO at Lawn Love, agrees: “One of the best ways to track leads is to customise your forms. You can include information that’s hidden to the user that tracks what form they’re using, where they came from, and what actions they took.”

So, what are hidden fields? 

Essentially, hidden fields are the same as regular form fields, but with one difference. 

They’re not displayed within the form or viewed by your users. 

You can build a hidden field into your form to capture lead source variables. When a user clicks a link with a UTM parameter and fills out a form, the hidden field will capture the data from the UTM parameter. 

This allows marketers to match the user with the correct traffic source.

While hidden fields allow you to collect data about the source of your leads, how much value you get from them depends on your level of expertise.

First, hidden fields are complicated. 

There’s a lot of work involved and often requires a web developer to build and deploy. If you have a lot of forms, then it can get expensive quickly. 

Additionally, hidden fields can only be used for forms. 

So, if you generate a lot of phone calls and live chat enquiries, hidden fields probably aren’t the most reliable way to track your sales leads.

5. Build dedicated promo codes

“Dedicated promo codes, vanity URLs, and calls to action can be used to link lead source data to sales,” says Hamza Ghayas, Marketing Manager at GSDLovers.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you should already know about promo codes. Generally, promo codes are used to give people various benefits, including discounts and credits. 

But, they have other advantages too.

Promo codes are useful for tracking the source of your leads and sales. 

For example, let’s say you promote an advert on Facebook that includes a promo code for 20% off. 

A user comes to your website after seeing your Facebook ad. 

They enter the promo code at the checkout and complete their purchase.

As the user used the promo code from Facebook, you can successfully attribute them back to the initial source. 

Promo codes are handy, but they’re not sustainable. 

Most promo codes involve you giving away money by reducing the price of your products and services. So, while promo codes can help track leads, they can also harm your ROI. 

Remember, the whole point of tracking your leads is to identify which marketing tactics drive the most value and optimise for more revenue.

6. Ask leads directly how they found you

Asking customers how they discovered your products and services can help you track and assess which marketing sources are most effective for your business.

Co-Founder at SoStocked, Chelsea Cohen, believes that: “A lot of people are willing to answer this, and it can help you track where your leads are coming from.” 

Chelsea added: “Once you’ve tracked down the major routes, you can focus your efforts on the most successful marketing sources.”

While asking customers to reveal where they found you can help fine-tune your marketing strategies, it can only take you so far. 

Purchasing decisions are getting longer, and users will often forget specific interactions throughout the customer journey. 

A user might say they found your ad on Google. But, how can you know for sure that they didn’t have any other interactions with your business?

You can’t.

Secondly, when you ask a user how they found your business, they’ll sometimes reply with “online” or “Google”. But, how much does this tell you about the performance of your marketing? 

Very little. 

It’s for these reasons why lead tracking and marketing attribution tools are so important. They can keep a record of your interactions and ensure the proper allocation of credit and revenue.

Are you feeling more confident to track your sales leads?

There you have it. 

These easy-to-follow tips will help you track your sales lead and gain a complete picture of your marketing performance. 

And remember, Ruler makes the process of tracking your leads easy by measuring and attributing each user across multiple sessions, alongside marketing variables such as source, channel, campaign and keywords. 

Note: Want to learn more about how Ruler can help with your lead tracking? Book a demo and see it in action for yourself.

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This article was originally published in 2020 and last updated on the 27th April 2022 for freshness.