This article explains the problem with measuring online lead generation, why Google Goals are not enough, how to close the loop to get your lead and sales revenue and how to get the revenue back into Google Ads & Analytics, Facebook and Bing automatically.
What is the closed loop framework?
The closed loop framework is an approach to marketing measurement that instead of relying on existing metrics available in reporting tools such as Goals and Conversions, focuses on what matters to the business: revenue. Closing the loop refers to connecting marketing with sales so that sales revenue can be definitively and automatically matched to marketing activity to measure and optimise ROI/ROAS.
Do any of the following sound familiar?
- You’re driving plenty of leads but want to turn more into business?
- Your boss, client or board ask you how many real sales marketing have generated – not how many goals or conversions?
- The number of leads you get doesn’t match with what Google Ads or Analytics says?
- Your leads are high value and expensive to get, but you don’t know which campaigns or keywords are driving them?
- You are struggling to measure the ROI of your campaigns so you have to estimate?
There is a fundamental problem with marketing for lead generation
Leads, by their nature, are not sales. At least not yet. Your leads could be high value, or worthless.
They could close into a sale tomorrow, next year or not even close at all.
Your analytics might not even be giving you a true picture of where your leads are originating from as people will visit your site on multiple occasions from different channels.
The industry standard for tracking online marketing methods is Google Analytics which does a good job of tracking E-Commerce but can only count the number of form fills as goals.
Whilst most people track form fills, other leads can also come through mediums such as phone calls and live chat and go unattributed.
Goal completions are not enough
Goal completions are not enough – different traffic sources, keywords and ads produce a different revenue per lead and different lifetime values.
Without this insight it’s impossible to accurately calculate ROI from different marketing sources and optimise your campaigns accordingly.
If you’re running a marketing campaign and measuring success based on leads only, you have a gap in the insight that is stopping you improving results.
Whilst tyre kicker, top of the funnel and research keywords may appear to be creating cost-effective leads and making your campaign look great if there isn’t any revenue coming out at the other end you’re going to run into a problem.
Sales & Marketing are Disconnected
Take for example a client that relies on lead generation via their website and in turn allocates a significant amount of capital to online marketing to generate such leads.
A look into their Advertising and Analytics accounts leads you to believe that performance was excellent.
They were acquiring leads and they were making (some) money.
But that middle bit is what makes the difference.
Like many others, their sales and marketing were disconnected, they were failing to link their marketing activities directly to revenue, knowingly leaving a blind spot in their insight.
As an exercise to prove the value of this process we took a sample of 20 phone calls from various campaigns to track what the outcome of the calls was.
12 of the calls came from Google Ads where they make a significant investment.
Of the 12 calls, 9 were poor quality, not qualified or a salesperson.
However, 3 of the calls turned into sales. 2 of the sales were relatively low value but acceptable and the final call was worth over 10 times the amount of others.
This process allowed them to see the real value of their campaigns and keyword allocation and to optimise and report more accurately.
The solution: Optimise for revenue, not leads
Evaluating your campaigns the same way you evaluate business: by the amount of profit it generates.
To find out if leads are turning into real sales and creating revenue, you need a process to track them and then match them with the marketing campaign, specific ad or keyword that created them.
This added insight will inform correct allocation of spend and drive efficiencies in your campaign taking it to the next level.
There are a few steps to get this right but once they are in place they will produce the actionable data you need.
The process – tagging, tracking, matching & integration
NOTE: Manual revenue tracking can be complicated and time-consuming. You can use Ruler Analytics to speed up and automate this process and more.
Step 1 – Tagging – Identifying the Traffic Source
The first step is making sure the traffic coming to your website is tagged correctly so that you can see the exact source and any other variables associated such as campaign, keyword or advert reference. This commonly done using UTM tags which allow you to add specific labels to the landing pages (more info in our guide here.) It is also recommended that you capture fields specific to the products you are using such as GCLID for Google AdWords.
Step 2 – Tracking – Capture the Lead
The next stage is to ensure that the data captured is at visitor level so you are able to match with the marketing source and to a closed sale later. Most leads come in the form of an enquiry form, live chat or phone call so you may need some additional marketing analytics or call tracking software at this stage but you can also pass UTM tag values in your forms.
Step 3 – Matching – Match the Lead with the Source in CRM
Once you have captured the lead with the applicable marketing source there needs to be a feedback loop to see which leads closed into business and just as importantly which leads didn’t.
This can be done manually in a spreadsheet, to begin with, to get used to the workflow and prove the business case. However, this could be cumbersome at higher volumes so ideally they should be automatically matched where you handle leads, for instance in CRM. There are many workarounds available for bespoke systems also.
Step 4 – Integration – Passing the data to other products
Finally, now that you have the leads and marketing source matched, once the sale is completed you are able to pass this back to the marketing products you are using such as Google AdWords, Analytics, Facebook and Bing to close the loop
Once you have this process in place it allows you to see where the real conversions and revenue come from, measure ROI definitively and optimise your campaign accordingly.
Ready to get started with the Closed Loop Revenue Attribution Framework? Start by requesting a free assessment of your team’s current marketing attribution efforts, or book a demo to see how Ruler Analytics can help you prove—and improve—marketing’s impact on business growth.