One of the age old questions companies ask people is "how did you hear about us?"
That is one of the most important pieces of information you can gather. Unfortunately, many companies I talk to don't have a clear process for how to collect or leverage that data to drive important business decisions.
By effectively tracking lead source, you can fully evaluate where you get your best customers and how that impacts your business growth. Here's an example of how it can work:
When the data is laid out in this fashion, it's very easy to see where you should be investing your resources. For example, you may decide to skip Example Trade Show and This and That Trade Show next year, and invest more into Sample Trade Show. Or, you might decide to put some extra man hours on LinkedIn strategies, or developing a deeper relationship with Carl.
If you don't know this information, you could easily push resources toward marketing activities that aren't bringing you the best return on investment, and you definitely don't want to do that!
So how do you track this information?
It's not too hard, but there is a common mistake many people make. Let's say you have a field in your contact database called lead source. That's great, but that field alone can end up getting really cluttered. Here's how it could end up looking if you're not careful:
- Example Trade Show, 2014
- Sample Trade Show, 2013
- Sample Trade Show, 2014
- This and That Trade Show, 2012
- This and That Trade Show, 2013
- This and That Trade Show, 2014
- etc, etc, etc.
Now, imagine trying to create a list of all the business you got from your network (people who refer business to you like Carl, Jenny, and Peter) in a certain amount of time. That's a lot of complicated and needless filtering!
I recommend having 2 separate fields. Something like lead source and lead source details. That way, you can have your main categories, like "trade shows", "network", "conferences", etc., then drill down to the specifics using the details field.
And don't forget to make them drop down lists as much as possible! Otherwise, you could easily end up with inconsistent data (like network, netwrk, netwrok, networking - oops!).