Considerations for Choosing the Best 3rd Party Lead Management System
Posted by drew on Feb. 17, 2015, 5 p.m.
Many websites use third party lead management software to help track their users and gather lead information. This can be done out of convenience, perhaps because the company doesn’t have the development resources to manage the databases in-house, or sometimes because there is some sort of industry standard. Your company may need to outsource your conversions--be they sales, applications, donations, or leads--in order to incorporate that data into some sort of database used by your partners, or other parts of your company.
A lot of these solutions involve sending users to a separate domain for at least part of their conversion. Sometimes, your site will have a subdomain on a 3rd party domain. Other times, your company may have some sort of numerical ID that helps organize leads from different sites.
In any case, having users leave your domain for their conversion poses some problems for tracking these conversions. Google Analytics, probably the most popular web analytics program, does not support the ability to track user activity after they have left the domain.
Sometimes, this kind of sacrifice is necessary for the other benefits this lead capturing tools provides your business, but there are ways to ensure you make the best of the situation if you are forced to send users off site for conversions.
The Best Solution
If you have to choose a lead management system that directs users off of your domain, make sure that the system itself will provide you with detailed analytics. You want not only the information for the leads you get, but also information on abandonment, session duration, and other user behavior metrics.
If possible, it would be ideal to work with a system that will allow you to place tracking information on the pages your users will be going to. You can set up a separate view in Google Analytics to look at data from that domain, on the pages where you’ve placed your other tracking code. This will help you determine if your SEO and marketing efforts are effective. This tracking will allow for data-driven landing page optimization, content changes, CRO, etc.
The Next Best Solution
If it’s not possible, in your situation, to use a lead capturing system that allows tracking or provides you with metrics, the best you could do would be to implement event tracking in Google Analytics.
Event tracking allows you to track the number of times users accomplish a specific task (such as clicking on a CTA button). If you can identify the exit points where users would continue the conversion process on another domain, then you can track the clicks on that exit link or button. The ability to edit HTML of your pages is necessary to implement this, so it is a good idea to check your CMS capabilities (or your access to a web developer who is familiar with the site) to make sure this is a feasible option.
With this solution, you may not be able to have detailed data about user activity within the conversion funnel, but you will at least know how many users entered the funnel (by looking at the number of time the event was triggered), and the number of people who completed the conversion funnel (by how many leads, sales, donations, applications, etc. you get). If there is a large disparity between those two numbers, it indicates that the conversion funnel itself isn’t very effective, and it encourages users to abandon the process.
I won’t go into detail on the technique of event tracking in Google Analytics, but events consist of categories and actions. As an example, you might assign an event to have the category “Conversion Funnel,” the action “CTA Click.” These will help you identify and differentiate events in Google Analytics. This would tell you that someone clicks the application button and exited the site in order to enter the conversion funnel. You can also assign optional labels and values to events.
Sending users offsite for their conversion process if probably never an ideal solution, but sometimes it is necessary, so marketers should do they best they can. If you can, find a third party lead capturing system that provides you with solid behavior metrics or allows you to implement tracking on their pages. Or you can use event tracking to at least gather some information on how many users enter the funnel.