By Andrew Macey
For most inbound campaigns, success is measured by the number and quality of leads generated. Through extensive persona development and by building out a Buyer’s Journey, marketers can start identifying 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 and how long leads stay within a sales cycle, as well as help identify where to allocate additional marketing resources.
Here are five lead generation benchmarks that every marketing team should track month over month:
1. Visit-to-Lead Conversion Rate (VTL)
One of the most important metrics for any inbound strategy is the overall visit-to-lead conversion rate. Well-performing websites convert visitors at around 2 percent, and a website filled with great content can see an even higher rate.
Your VTL clearly shows 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 will stay consistent regardless of any short-term increases or dips in traffic. This benchmark can help you identify opportunities in low-converting channels.
2. Overall Contact Growth
Similar to VTL, overall contact growth is also important. For most marketing teams, leads are needed to fill the sales pipelines, therefore the more leads that are generated, the more potential business is done. But as you begin qualifying leads, you might find that a smaller percentage of these contacts will actually be right for sales follow-up.
By tracking overall contact growth, you can see month over month how your lead generation campaigns are performing, which channels yield the highest conversions, and what channels you need to improve because they’re bringing in less qualified leads.
3. Marketing Qualified Leads
Tracking marketing qualified leads, or MQLs, can also provide additional insight. These leads are not yet sales-ready, but they fit your target audience or persona.
Tracking MQLs helps fuel effective lead nurturing campaigns because you can see common characteristics of these contacts and address their pain points accordingly. You should have a clear definition of marketing qualified leads so that you can help improve follow-ups and create more effective middle-of-the-funnel campaigns.
4. Sales Qualified Leads
The number of sales qualified leads (SQLs) that you bring in is another important benchmark. SQLs are 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 should result in additional closed business. If not, it might be time to revisit your SQL and MQL definitions.
5. Customer Close Rate
Customer close rate is a benchmark that all marketing teams should track. In HubSpot, you can easily track this by manually closing opportunities or by integrating your CRM.
Tracking close rates will give your monthly or quarterly reports more quantifiable data and can help you show ROI for particular inbound efforts and the role they may have played in assisting the sale. When reporting back on the effectiveness of paid advertising, content campaigns, or even trade shows, having closed-loop analytics in place to show your customer close rate is critical.
In HubSpot’s reporting tools, there are many benchmarks and metrics to be aware of when evaluating your inbound campaigns. Above, we identified five of the most critical lead generation metrics to track, but depending on your particular role or department, you may need to address certain reports or functionality 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 toward and beyond your goals.
This article was originally published in July 2015 and has been updated since.