Marketing ROI: The Lead Source Downfall

Demand Creation ‌• December 15, 2010

There is an old, if irritating joke in marketing: I know 50% of my spend is going to the wrong things, I just don’t know which 50%! In a world of ‘marketing automation’, ‘CRM integration’ and technology vendors stumping these products, how can this still be so?

How the systems are configured to capture and report information is the process and execution question many executives neglect. If your systems and workflows aren’t designed to contemplate many marketing touches and give credit where credit is due, the insight identifying the “right 50%” of spend is wasted. The root cause of this problem is marketers and salespeople thinking in terms of “lead source”. When an opportunity gets put into, NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics or others many companies default to adding a ‘lead source’ which is then the ‘reporting’ go to field to see ‘how this opportunity was created.’ It’d be like buying a house and only asking how the interior painting was done – this was the last critical step, but what about all of the effort that came before?

Enter the notion of campaigns. Campaigns can be associated at the lead, contact and account levels and allow for multiples – not just one ‘source’. Companies who are rigorously implementing campaign tags into their CRM systems have a more complete view of ALL of the touches and tactics that contributed to creating the opportunity. Did they first come to a trade show, then a webinar and finally a tele-nurturing resource reached them to qualify? It would be short sided to say, “tele-sales, you did it!” Actually, marketing AND sales did it through this portfolio of action.

What’s more, with campaigns you can track back to how many opportunities participated in a particular tactic, and decide if you should do that again (of course, feeling confident that the right sales and nurturing process was interacting with the prospect after the initial touch).

One OppSource customer’s marketing department that is doing this well is able to justify spend, cease non-performing tactics and justify their very existence as a delivery group – after all, in business isn’t that a point of value we’re all trying to show?

Sam McCue
Inbound Marketing guru, avid fisherman, and all-around backcountry enthusiast.

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Albert Maruggi
this is so true. It is rarely one sliver bullet action that leads to a lead flipping a switch which triggers interest. it is usually many things, some of which the prospect probably can’t remember. As you state, if designed as a campaign with several elements over time, then you have a great chance of determining with accuracy the components which created the positive perception for the prospect about a company. From there it may be possible to identify a tactic or two which was the “Tipping Point” and, let me suggest, align that with other factors inside the prospect… Read more »
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