By Andrew Macey

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For most inbound campaigns, success is measured by the number and quality of leads generated.  With extensive persona development and building out a buyer’s journey, marketers can start to identify high-priority leads and begin forecasting lead generation metrics for the upcoming year.  Tracking this data over time can provide significant insight into which channels convert best, how long leads stay within a sales cycle and help to identify where to allocate additional marketing resources.  To do so properly, it’s important to track key lead generation benchmarks month over month.  Here are 5 lead gen benchmarks that every marketing team should track in 2015:

Visit to Lead Conversion Rate (VTL%)

Probably one of the most important metrics for any inbound strategy is overall visit to lead conversion rate.  Well-performing websites convert visitors at around 2%, and often with good content, even higher.  This metric will clearly show how well your calls-to-action and landing pages are performing each month and whether or not you are using the right offers to attract new leads.  Because this benchmark is a percentage, it should be irrelevant of the increase or decrease in overall traffic numbers each month.  This benchmark is important to track often to identify new opportunities in low-converting channels.

Overall Contact Growth

Similar to the VTL%, tracking overall contact growth is also important.  For most marketing teams, these leads are needed to fill the sales pipelines, therefore the more leads that are generated; the more potential business is done.  Furthermore, as these leads begin to be scored and qualified further, odds are that a smaller percentage of these contacts will actually be right for sales follow-up.  Therefore, tracking overall contact growth will show you month-over-month how your lead generation campaigns are performing, which channels yield the highest conversions, and also help to show any gaps that might need addressing.

Marketing Qualified Leads

As contacts begin to be qualified, tracking Marketing Qualified Leads can provide additional insight as well.  These leads are ones that are not yet sales-ready; however do fit your target audience or persona.  Tracking these leads will help to fuel effective lead nurturing campaigns as you can see common characteristics of these contacts and address their pain points directly.  Having a clear definition of marketing qualified leads can help improve follow-ups and more effective middle-of-the-funnel campaigns.

Sales Qualified Leads

On the same topic, the number of Sales Qualified Leads is another important benchmark to track.  These are the leads that are sales-ready and should yield a higher close rate.  Tracking these leads and how this number grows over time will show how well your lead qualification is performing and how effectively your workflows are nurturing MQLs.  An increase in SQLs will result in additional closed business and if not, it might be a good time to revisit your SQL and MQL definitions

Customer Close Rate

Customer close rate is a benchmark that all marketing teams should track effectively.  This metric will directly connect your marketing efforts and inbound campaigns to business that was brought in and revenue to your business.  The easiest way to track this is by closing opportunities in HubSpot either manually or by integrating your CRM.  Tracking this benchmark will significantly improve your monthly or quarterly reports and also show clear ROI of particular inbound efforts.  When reporting back on the effectiveness of paid advertising, content campaigns or even tradeshow exhibition, having closed-loop analytics in place is critical.

As you can see in the HubSpot reporting tools, there are many benchmarks and metrics to be aware of when evaluating your inbound campaigns.  Above, we’ve identified 5 must-haves for your 2015 reports, however depending on your particular role or department, there may certain reports or functionality you address more than others.  The key is to tie your metrics back to your overall goals.  With revenue goals, we tend to look at close rates and lead qualification, whereas teams that are tasked with growing social engagement may focus on reach and interaction data.  Either way, utilize these benchmarks for clear and effective inbound reporting to help push you towards and past your 2015 goals.

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Andrew Macey

About the author

Andrew Macey is a HubSpot alumni and Senior Consultant at SmartBug Media. He has more than 5 years experience in inbound marketing and is a graduate of the University of Vermont. He is excited to share his knowledge with you! Read more articles by Andrew Macey.

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