what is lead tracking

What is Lead Tracking? A Complete Guide

08 August 2022

Relying on inbound marketing to drive leads for your business?

Before you start pumping leads into your CRM through marketing initiatives, you need to make sure all the necessary steps are set up.

Lead tracking is an essential component of effective lead generation. 

Without it, you won’t ever fully understand the true impact your marketing has on your bottom line. 

Keep reading to learn exactly how lead tracking can take you from zero to hero in your business and bring your more frequent, better-quality leads. 

Why do sales and marketing need lead tracking? 

Tracking leads in the marketing and sales process is essential if you want to link closed revenue back to your marketing touchpoints. 

Effective lead tracking through the entire customer journey can help teams identify where their leads are coming from, and which channels are generating the most high-value leads. 

For a marketing team, this knowledge is gold dust. By understanding where to concentrate your efforts, you can improve the effectiveness of your marketing and drive more revenue with less budget. 

And for sales, the effects are clear. Greater transparency on lead quality for marketing teams means that sales will be fed better quality data which will result in more impact on the bottom line. 

It also gives sales reps greater detail into their prospect for a more tailored approach, making a conversion or sale much more likely. 

Why lead tracking is important

Lead tracking is essential to any business for 3 clear reasons. 

Let’s go through each one by one. 

Track your inbound leads 

Many marketers struggle to know what to track when it comes to proving marketing effectiveness. 

Tracking leads is a good starting point. 

It’s a solid number to track each month so you can start to identify any ebbs and flows in lead generation

By understanding the volume of leads you’re generating, you can begin to get an understanding of how marketing impacts sales.

But that’s just the first step in greater marketing reporting. 

Relate inbound leads back to marketing campaigns 

We all know that users don’t land on your website for the first time and convert. 

More often than not, long customer journeys are involved. 

Users research you and your competitors looking for the best solution to their problems. 

When it comes to lead tracking, many simple methods only allow you to track the source of the session they converted on. 

But in many cases, there will have been a number of marketing touchpoints prior to that conversion. 

With traditional lead tracking methods, you will miss this data. 

And that means you can’t relate your inbound leads to your marketing channels and campaigns. 

With proper lead tracking in place, you can get a full view of your customer journeys and see how different channels influence certain actions. 

Understand which marketing initiatives drive the best conversion rates 

While tracking inbound leads is important, a lead doesn’t guarantee revenue. 

You could generate 100 qualified leads in month 1, and 50 in month 2. 

1. January - 100 leads

2. February - 50 leads

From this view, you would believe that month 1 was more successful. 

But what if you converted just 10 of the leads from month 1, and 15 of the leads from month 2. And even more importantly, what if you had oversight of revenue? 

With this data, it’s clear that month 2 was actually more successful. 

1. January - 100 leads - 10 sales - $3,000 revenue

2. February - 50 leads - 15 sales - $7,500 revenue

By understanding your lead quality, you can get a greater idea of what works for your company.

How do you capture leads? 

Before we look into how to effectively track your leads, let’s first look at all the ways you can capture leads. 

Generally speaking, you capture leads the following way: 

  • Via a form submission 

  • Via a phone call

  • Through your live chat tool

  • At an event or instore 

Let’s break down how each of these works. 

Form submissions 

You can host any number of forms on your website to collect inbound leads and their data. 

They could be demo forms, contact us forms, quote forms and more. 

84% of marketers use form submissions to collect inbound leads on their websites. 

Phone calls 

Phone calls are a typically traditional way to collect leads. Whether that’s a phone number on your website, via a directory or via a Google service like paid ads or Google My Business, you need to ensure you’re tracking your inbound calls. 

50% of marketers use phone calls as a form of inbound lead generation, so it’s clear it’s still a popular way to drive meaningful leads to your sales team via

Live chat 

Live chat tools originally began as a form of customer service for businesses. But, in recent years, they’re increasingly being used as a way to drive leads through a website. 

In fact, it’s reported that 33% of marketers use live chat as a conversion tool. 


Last but not least, there are events that have always been a traditional way to drive new leads for a business. 

An estimated 17% of marketers still use events to drive new leads. And it’s no surprise. They can be a very fruitful way to drive interest from new audiences. 

How to collect leads and what information to collect 

Adding lead capture points like form submissions, phone calls etc. is essential to ensuring all the hard work you’re doing in marketing results in real outcomes for your business.

When setting up lead capture you need to: 

  • Consider your sector and niche and how competitors capture their leads 

  • Speak to your current customers and ask them how they prefer to convert 

  • Look at what data you need from leads and consider which method aligns best 

If a user only needs to share basic contact information, then a form submission would perhaps be the most efficient way to capture leads. 

If you need a lot of detail or you need to ask bespoke questions, then encouraging leads to call your business could be the best method for you. 

When capturing lead data, you need the following:

  • Their name and contact details 

  • Details on what service they’re interested in to guide where they’re sent 

  • Any key information about them or their problem that can help you guide your salesperson 

How lead tracking works 

There are a number of ways to track your leads. 

You can set up lead tracking by lead capture type or you can use an overall lead tracking tool or lead tracking software to capture all types of inbound leads coming into your sales pipeline. 

How to track leads using your CRM 

If you’re using CRM software, then chances are you can easily capture your inbound leads with marketing automation.

When your CRM is properly connected to your website, your inbound leads should start to come in automatically. 

You can learn exactly how to track inbound leads in your CRM here. Remember, although you can track inbound leads in your CRM, it will only tell you the source of the session the lead converted on. 

And in some cases, your CRM will group lead sources under one umbrella source of ‘Online’ or ‘Web’.

You won’t be able to see your first-click data or any other customer journey information. 

This can be useful to have when considering the steps users move along to conversion.

How to track leads using Google tools

You can track form submissions in Google Analytics with little difficulty. But this poses the same challenge as lead tracking through your CRM.

While you’ll be able to see the volume of web forms and the marketing channel that caused the conversion, you won’t be able to see any of the sessions that lead had prior to converting.

This can be quite limiting when it comes to pinpointing the effectiveness of your marketing process.

Whether you’re using Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager, you’ll be able to connect inbound leads from your site to their last-click data.

While it’s not a full view, it’s better than just tracking lead count. 

How to track your leads using attribution

Marketing attribution is a valuable tool when it comes to sales lead tracking. Attribution tools allow you to track every conversion that takes place on your website. 

But that’s not all. 

Attribution tools actually track every single session on site and merge session data based on first-party cookie data. 

It allows you to connect anonymous website visitor data to a lead in your CRM. 

This gives you a direct view of a full customer journey meaning you can see every interaction every single lead has on your website. 

With this data, you can easily optimise your marketing efforts to drive more leads through channels you know convert. 

Getting started with lead tracking

Lead tracking is an essential component of lead generation. So, no matter how you’re converting users on your website, make sure you’re effectively tracking their full customer journey. 

Doing it effectively will lead to a definitive marketing ROI, increased marketing effectiveness and a reduction in wasted marketing spend.

Laura Caveney
By Laura Caveney

Laura is Head of Marketing at Ruler Analytics, a marketing attribution tool that supports marketers to better track, evidence and optimise their marketing. 

Laura has over 6 years of experience in delivering end-to-end marketing campaigns and discusses the trials and tribulations marketers face day to day on her LinkedIn channel.

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