Get lead scoring data right in Google Analytics with Google Tag Manager

Ruth Burr Reedy, VP of strategy at UpBuild, on the benefits of setting up lead scoring in Google Analytics and the steps to get there.

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Ruth Burr Reedy, VP Strategy at UpBuild
Ruth Burr Reedy, VP strategy at UpBuild speaking at MarTech Conference 2019 in Boston.

“These are the wrong kind of leads.”

Sound familiar? If you’re a lead generation marketer, it’s an unwritten right of passage to get that complaint from your sales team.

Perhaps you are generating more leads, but they’re coming from higher funnel campaigns, and sales isn’t seeing them convert like quickly enough. “Top of funnel marketing means you’ll get top of funnel leads,” said Ruth Burr Reedy, VP of strategy at digital marketing agency UpBuild, during a talk at our Martech Conference in Boston last month. Those higher funnel leads will, by their very nature, need more touches to convert to sales. “If the sales team is not expecting them, they’ll be unprepared to deal with them,” said Burr Reedy.

Expectation-setting is critical when marketing teams run higher funnel lead gen campaigns. To help marketers get a claear sense of how their campaigns are performing, the touches involved in converting certain leads and other insights, Burr Reedy laid out a framework for setting up lead scoring for attribution in Google Analytics. This can provide a better picture than what you get in your CRM. “Attribution in CRM can be really confusing and not snapshot of reality,” she said.

How to get started

First, talk to the sales team about how they qualify leads. “If you press them,” said Burr Reedy, “they’ll tell you they look at one or two dimensions — often title, company revenue or company size.” Then agree on the thresholds for those dimensions that qualify a lead as hot, warm or cold. Be sure you’re capturing these criteria in your forms.

Establish with sales the criteria for each lead type.

Once you know the fields you’ll be tracking, using your browser developer tools, get the field ID for each. Then, in GTM create a custom JavaScript variable for the ID with getElementById or getElementByName.

Test your custom variables in the GTM console and in preview mode to be sure they’re returning the data you want. (If you want to track fields from a dropdown list on your forms, Burr Reedy recommends Simo Ahava’s blog post for tips.) Of course, be very sure you’re not collecting personally identifiable information (PII).

Next, in GTM, create Triggers for each lead type — hot, warm, cold — and then Event Tags for each one.

Configure Triggers in Google Tag Manager for hot, warm, cold leads.

Establish and document naming conventions for capturing your lead criteria. Burr Reedy suggests putting lead type criteria right in your Event Labels in GTM for clearer reporting and continuity.

Document your naming conventions.

How to use the lead scoring data in Google Analytics

Once you have this set up, you’ll be able to get a much better picture of how these leads perform from within Google Analytics.

See customer pathing to understand how long the leads take to convert. Share this information with sales to help set expectations as well as get a better understanding of where you should focus your efforts by seeing which referral sources drive a disproportionate share of hot/warm leads that convert. You can also use this information to find on-page optimization opportunities. Look at landing page reporting in Analytics to see which pages drive hot/warm leads and which pages only drive cold leads.

Capture lead scoring data in Google Analytics to better inform your marketing efforts and communication with sales.

To make this work consistently, said Burr Reedy, “You need to have a good system for managing all of your IDs. When a form is changed, be sure there is a process for notifying and capturing those changes. Be consistent with naming conventions.” This requires tight orchestration between any internal and external teams involved in any piece of the process.

Once it’s up and running, marketing will have a much more accessible and real-time view into the lead performance to inform their campaigns, site content and communication with sales.

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