PPC Lead Quality Management

This week Michelle Morgan (@michellemsem) guest hosted for Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) and led it with a great question set titled “PPC Lead Quality Management.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: Do you track lead quality in your PPC efforts?

  • Yes, when we can. Some clients will allow us to be BCC’ed on the leads. And we can listen to cal-tracking as well. – Mark Kennedy (@markkennedysem)
    • I use my gmail labels to keep track of which emails are legit & which are not which is super nice for EOM reports. – Kirk Williams (@KECreate)
  • Always. How do I optimize CPA without knowing things like response rate and LTV? – Andrew Bethel (@AndrewPPC)
  • Yes! Sometimes it can be a challenge, but always try to get some insights into quality. – Michelle Morgan
  • Depending on the client, I keep track of a % of “valuable” lead vs “bad” leads based on the client’s opinion. It’s a poor method. – Nate Knox (@nateknox)
  • Some clients send us reports of good and bad leads so we can identify trends. Not as much as we’d like. – Rory Witt (@Rory_Witt)
  • Right now, no, because I don’t have the data accessible to me. I’m working on getting it though! – John Holland (@hollappc)
  • Most definitely track! Quality is so much more than quantity. – Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
  • Short answer, Yes. Long answer, it varies by client, needs, and which part of the funnel the lead is for. – Gil Hong (@ghong_ssm)
  • Definitely. Integrations between Salesforce & Adobe Analytics take work but are essential for our internal Adobe marketing team. – Chris Haleua (@chrishaleua)
  • Always talk about it with the client, tweak accordingly. – Sam Turner (@turnersam000)
  • A convo to *always* have is % closed before and after PPC starts. Clients sometimes expect easy sales/closes. – Nate Knox
  • Yes..all leads that we see in adwords are not necessary quality leads. We track & ask clients too. – Neha Gupta (@NG_NehaGupta)
  • Yes… but always room for improvement with scale-ability. – Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
  • Wish more clients would allow access to that info. Some already do. It is essential though. – Christina Hall (@Chrissie_Hall85)
  • Working on it. Hoping this chat gives me some insights and ideas for imporvemenets. – John Budzynski (@Budzynski)
  • Keep track of details that show quality. Moreso, remind clients that a lead they didn’t close isn’t necessarily bad. – Nate Knox
  • Absolutely, no question. we do. There’s always room for improvement (we have to do some SQL querying in our current setup). – Leo Sussan (@lsussan)
  • Of course, we use tools like Salesforce, Eloqua and Marketo to measure lead quality. – Harris Neifield (@HarrisNeifield)

Q2: What are your goal KPIs? Are you held to lead quality numbers? Lead volume? A combo?

  • Mostly lead numbers, CPA per lead. – Christina Hall
  • Depends on the client. Mostly held to overall lead volume and try to maximize quality in rolling efforts over time. – Michelle Morgan
  • Mainly lead volume. How do y’all track lead quality? – Nate Knox
  • Not a psecifc KPI, but it leads to a discussion about the qulaity of the campaign and its value overall and how to improve. – Mark Kennedy
  • Clients usually start w volume target & we work w that & drive toward best converting types when poss. – Julie Bacchini
  • Once we are set up, the main focus is on lead volume. Any spikes not attributable to season/efforts can be a quick red flag. – Gil Hong
  • It all depends on the client. If client is looking for leads it could be CPA. If its branding it could be Impressions or CTR. – Jeff McLean (@SEOJeffe)
  • Lead volume is the goal, assuming lead quality is there. we check lead quality to confirm that volume is relevant. – Harris Neifield
  • When I worked with lead gen clients, KPI was usually a percentage of overall leads had to be qualified, or along those lines. – Dave Rosborough (@daverosborough)
  • KPIs depends on client/vertical. Quality & lead volume benchmarks generally set by client/industry. – Nicole Mintiens
    • Definitely important to keep all goal numbers relative to the industry. – Michelle Morgan
  • Common theme. We are hired for lead volume. When the clients can’t close, the issue becomes lead quality and is ill-defined. – Nate Knox
    • It’s a commonly told story. And a frustrating one at that. – Michelle Morgan
    • Good point. The client has a responsibilty to maximize each lead by contacting, follwoing-up, etc. – Mark Kennedy
      • I once had a client complain about lead quality. His only response to leads was a copy/paste generic Thank You form. WTF. – Nate Knox
  • Get as close to the bottom line as possible. Even with lead focus, we try to translate that into profit with revenue estimates. – Chris Haleua
  • Lead volume is mostly main concern. Rest depends on client. – Neha Gupta
  • We optimize our campaigns for quality, and then focus on driving volume. – Leo Sussan
  • Lead volume in general, but quality is a personal KPI I use to determine the quality of a campaign. – Michael Henderson (@innuHendo)
  • Volume is our main goal at first. Then we can focus on weeding out less relevant leads. – John Budzynski
  • Q2.2: You guys got me curious. How much responsibility falls on your shoulders vs the client when it comes to lead quality?
    • Client definitely has lead responsibility. If not, what’s the point? – Mark Kennedy
    • Falls on us to bring in leads that are relevant. Falls on the client to work those leads through the sales process. – Michelle Morgan
    • As smart PPCers, we know our leads are quality based on what we’re doing. They client is responsible for closing the sale, not me. – Nate Knox
    • We try to mitigate this responsibility at the start, an excecption being the leads are coming from bot traffic. – Gil Hong
    • We can get them in the door, but you still have to sell it to them. – John Budzynski
    • Lead Quality, mainly ours. Lead Follow-up, mainly clients’. We are responsible to find best user base & get a good lead on the books. Then client is responsible to close lead. – Kirk Williams
    • Solid clients will make quality a priority, less solid clients won’t. We work for them so all we can do is make suggestions. – Sam Turner
    • Client is responsible for closing leads BUT we need good feedback on leads, as things can change quickly. – Julie Bacchini
    • It really depends on the resources given to us. If landing pages/forms/product downloads aren’t ideal we are very limited. – Tyler Purcell (@tylerpurcell)
    • Bring quality conversion through adwords is 100% our responsibility and to make these conversions a real is clients. – Neha Gupta
    • It’s on us; we optimize to the best of our ability, but provide suggestions to drive higher conversion rates site-side. – Leo Sussan
    • Communication counts. The client needs to educate us on their ideal prospect in order for us to deliver and do our job. – Stephanie Cockerl (@StephCockerl)
    • Lead quality most often falls on me, some clients don’t take responsibility of closing on their end. – Leslie Drechsler (@ppcbuyers)
    • Advertisers drive in the traffic, but if the quality isn’t there with the product/service nothing will stick. – WhatRunsWhere (@WhatRunsWhere)
    • You can’t weed out the poor leads without being able to identify them. – Steve Cameron (@adventcom)
    • Although I agree clients are responsible for closing deals, I try to avoid the dangerous disease of notmyjobitis with quality. – Chris Haleua

Q3: How do phone calls play into your lead quality scheme?

  • We listen to the calls so we can filter out the garbage in our reports. Only report the legit leads. – Mark Kennedy
    • Nice! I’ve found calls to be great sources of lead quality info, not to mention kws, ad copy, etc. – Michelle Morgan
  • I’ve had clients that phone calls are more important and some that phone calls are secondary to online forms. Mostly depends on the company’s sales process. – Michelle Morgan
  • Phone calls are generally FAR more qualified than a form submission for my clients. Instant help. Sometimes instant sales. – Nate Knox
  • Listening to phone calls is a great way to see how well you are filtering leads before a call is made. – Sam Turner
  • More options for custumers to contact client. For some clients forms are main goal and for some calls. – Neha Gupta
  • Lots of our clients rely on phone calls. Working on better call tracking as we speak. – John Budzynski
  • Phone calls can provide insights far more greater than filled out forms. – Stephanie Cockerl
  • I regularly test phone conversions for new clients to find out what customer service is like. If it’s poor, calls are not quality. – Nate Knox
  • Call tracking is a no brainer for me – clients often don’t see it. – Steve Cameron
  • I’ve also found that phone call important varies depending on how big of a purchase the customer is looking for. – Michelle Morgan
  • It depends where on the funnel the lead is and the user’s familiarity/specialty of the service. But usually we treat as secondary. – Gil Hong
  • Some customers likes one on one talk and some business requirements are like that.. in this ph calls plays role. – Neha Gupta
  • We track phone conversions. They are often the best quality leads. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • Calls are important to clients. Marchex helps w/ call review for quality & AdWrods helps to optimize towards call volume. – Nicole Mintiens
  • Some clients ONLY get calls. – Steve Cameron
    • Same. I actually had to dumb down campaigns for one client because their small team couldn’t keep up. Best problem ever! – Nate Knox
  • Show unique code on site, train call center to collect code, pass code back to analytics for online/offline conversion tracking. – Chris Haleua
  • Depends a lot on client’s internal systems too – how well sources are tracked thru process. – Julie Bacchini
    • Good point! Having all calls go to a main number can leave ppc pros in the dark as to quality. – Michelle Morgan
    • Yes! Multiple numbers is essential to know which campaigns convert better, if budget allows. – Tyler Purcell
  • We have an attorney who listens to all his calls so he can see if the front desk is handling correctly. – Mark Kennedy
  • Phone Conversions can be great quality leads if tracked. If not, can hurt campaign giving impression of poor lead gen. – Tyler Purcell
  • Many times that first phone call can help you pick out those hot leads you need to be focusing on. – WhatRunsWhere

Q4: How many of your clients/companies are able to give you data on lead quality and what format do they provide it in?

  • Not enough. – Tyler Purcell
  • Usually in the form of anger or happiness. – Sam Turner
  • For larger clients they usually have a lead-tracking system/software that can export a report. For SMB’s we have to help them. – Mark Kennedy
  • Most clients are able to give some form of feedback. More often than not it’s a convo back & forth saying “good” or “bad." – Michelle Morgan
  • Close rate and average revenue. – Chris Haleua
  • Most clients are willing to give lead quality, which usually comes in a spreadsheet of what’s been closed. Most forget to do it. – Nate Knox
  • Savvy clients with CRMs are the best at providing lead feedback. Unfortunately, there are still companies slow to hop on CRMs. – John Lee (@John_A_Lee)
  • All – we’re lucky. Generally Excel tables by source. We usually get closure # too. – Julie Bacchini
  • We’ve only received lead data when there are large quality issues. They usually come as excel. – Gil Hong
  • “hey, we got some good leads today” or “hey, why didn’t we get any good leads today?!?” – John Budzynski
  • I’ve lost track of how many clients I’ve sold on Salesforce or other CRMs. I often can’t believe it’s a new idea to them. – Nate Knox
  • Few, certainly not enough, especially smaller clients that think the “I ask caller how they found us” strategy is sufficient. – Leslie Drechsler
  • I usually force the convo about why they think a lead is good or bad. Too often a hard sale, or long tail sale, is considered bad. – Nate Knox
  • Client lists which we mesh w/ lead data to determine if leads became customers i.e. lead to lease. Only a few of our industries can provide client lists to mesh lead data as some have privacy restrictions. – Nicole Mintiens

Q5: What tools or software, if any, do you or your clients use to monitor lead quality?

  • Their gut mostly. – Steve Cameron
  • Will vary from industry and the sales funnel. Mostly just through their CRM. – Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
  • Try pushing for CRMs like Salesforce. Also, push for clients to send YOU reports on what they’re closing with sales $$$ included. – Nate Knox
  • Small guys use excel (one uses lotus notes). But larger use internal CRM or software like salesforce. – Mark Kennedy
  • I’ve only dealt with internal lead tracking systems. They’re actually pretty decent, just haven’t used any widespread tools. – Michelle Morgan
  • Some Salesforce, some “home grown” solutions, some gut checks. – Robert Brady
  • Does any of your clients NOT share this info with you? Do you know why? – Nate Knox
    • Yes, I have some clients who are very private about it (or paranoid). We can see conversions, but not leads themselves. – Mark Kennedy
    • I’ve had a hard time asking for info before. Sensitive nature of the company made it hard to share. – Michelle Morgan
    • I’ve found the ones that don’t are generally less satisfied w us/PPC. Harder to keep improving w/out it. – Julie Bacchini
  • Pardot really helps track leads to customers with one of my clients. – Nicole Mintiens
  • As far as tracking the quality of data (i.e. fake info in forms) Neustar and White Pages Pro are leaders. Not cheap though. – Luke Alley
  • For how inexpensive MailChimp is, it generates some pretty great lead scores based on behavior. – WhatRunsWhere
  • Q5.2 If your clients manage the software, are you given access or do they pull reports for you?
    • If they have a CRM or tracking platform, they pull the data for me. – Mark Kennedy
    • They send us reports. Usually good about revising if needed. – Julie Bacchini
    • We ask for access, and get it most of the time. Difficult to wait on clients for anything. – Luke Alley
    • I ask for reports from them, if only to make things a more two-way relationship. – Nate Knox
      • Always important to keep that relationship alive, well, and with open communication. – Michelle Morgan
    • Usually given access to homegrown systems, but w/ larger solutions they run reports for us. – Michelle Morgan
    • I am provided admin permissions aka Overload Access aka they trust me. – Nicole Mintiens
    • They send us reports. – Robert Brady
    • Usually clients run reports for us. And honestly, sometimes that’s easier. – Melissa Mackey

Q6: What strategies do you use to improve lead quality in your accounts? Kws, ads, placements, LPs?

  • If applicable, include price in the ad copy. – Matt Umbro
    • Agree, many clients push back on this. – Leslie Drechsler
  • All of the above! As usual in PPC – it depends. – Julie Bacchini
  • IF I get info on lead quality, just optimize towards where quality/easy sales/highest $. I treat it as PPC as normal. – Nate Knox
  • All of them! Also segmenting campaigns by high performing/volume placements as well. – Gil Hong
  • I like to combine ad copy qualifying with more clear LPs. Double whammy. – Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
  • Well structured ad groups. Necessary keywords in ads (like wholesale, bulk) Negatives and Extentions. – Tyler Purcell
  • All of the above, plus segment campaigns/LPs by buyer journey: awareness, consideration, demand gen, etc. – Melissa Mackey
  • Ad copy can qualify leads, though you have to strike a balance between qualified leads and getting the click. – Luke Alley
  • I think the ad is a key filter for good vs bad. But not enough of course. Tail KWs help a lot, too. – Mark Kennedy
    • Same. That’s where you can help filter out crap traffic *before* they click and cost you money. – Michelle Morgan
  • Lots of qualifying text whether intent through keywords, ad copy, and setting searchers up for the conv on the LP. – Michelle Morgan
  • Seller reviews have been awesome for our CTR. – Josiah Colt (@_kingjosiah_)
    • Just started implemementing the Review extension with BBB listings. – Mark Kennedy
      • Interesting combo. Good call. So you put a BBB quote about your company in the review extension? – Josiah Colt
        • Yup. and it links to their BBB listing from the ad extension. – Mark Kennedy
  • Good lead quality initiatives start with targeting high click quality. – Michelle Morgan
  • It stars with ad copy as that is what potential customer sees first. Should get more focused from there. – Julie Bacchini
  • Even down to the conversion action can help filter quality leads. If they don’t really want you, they won’t sit through a demo. – Michelle Morgan
    • If they don’t convert you are just wasting ad spend on empty clicks. – Tyler Purcell
    • Good point. Demos usually = high quality leads. – Melissa Mackey
  • Sometimes it is getting client to let go of “but they could be a customer” mentality to get better quality in. – Julie Bacchini
  • For LPs, tinkering with the form questions/layout can give higher quality leads too. This convo has lead into talking about the sales team. Sometimes won’t touch a lead with certain characteristics. That can be fixed. – Luke Alley
    • Yes! Asking the right questions in a lead form can filter out the low quality searchers. – Michelle Morgan
    • Definitely hard to communicate w/ client sales teams. They are a big part of lead gen equation. Great clients get it. – John Lee

Q7: What are your biggest challenges when managing lead quality?

  • Accurate, detailed, and timely client feedback. – Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
    • Agreed. Hard to optimize moving forward if you’re decisions are based off data from so long ago. – Michelle Morgan
  • CPL is greatly impacted by any lead vs good lead. So that has to be factored when reporting basic lead metrics. – Mark Kennedy
  • Selling leads depending on how they fill out the form”¦ Leadconduit has been great for us. – Josiah Colt
  • Diff between sales promises & implementation reality of integrating CRM w/ Analytics & Advertising Tools. Not easy but worth it. – Chris Haleua
  • Having lead quality info in such a format that I can attribute it to areas of an account. Hard to get granular in some systems. – Michelle Morgan
  • Long funnels. – Robert Brady
    • Indeed. Especially if there’s a free trial period in the middle of click and paid account. – Michelle Morgan
  • Figuring out max available quality of a web lead for that client. Sometimes, just not great via web channel. – Julie Bacchini
  • Realizing that you are probably giving your client more work to do and hoping they see the value of it. – Sam Turner

Q8:  Ideally, how do you believe specialists and clients should work together to ensure quality leads are coming through PPC?

  • Lots of communication. – Luke Alley
  • They should give me whatever data I ask for when I ask for it. More seriously, I find most clients do better w/schedules. “Every Friday” or something. Not, “we’ll stay in touch.” – Theresa Zook
  • It’s like marriage, you gotta talk. A lot. – Josiah Colt
  • It always starts with establishing and maintaining a dialogue. – Stephanie Cockerl
  • Often and open exchange of stats and ideas. – Michelle Morgan
  • Agree w everyone else + teaching & learning from each other about what to look for to spot changes early. – Julie Bacchini
  • External AND internal alignment. Often our main contacts are in marketing & need better coordination w/ their own salespeople. – Chris Haleua
  • If they’re game, keep a copy of the leads table and scrub it for the client. Full transparency. – Mori Yagi (@mori_kun)


More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.


Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Michelle Morgan (@michellemsem)
• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Andrew Bethel (@AndrewPPC)
• Chris Haleua (@chrishaleua)
• Christina Hall (@Chrissie_Hall85)
• Dave Rosborough (@daverosborough)
• Gil Hong (@ghong_ssm)
• Harris Neifield (@HarrisNeifield)
• Jeff McLean (@SEOJeffe)
• John Budzynski (@Budzynski)
• John Holland (@hollappc)
• John Lee (@John_A_Lee)
• Josiah Colt (@_kingjosiah_)
• Kirk Williams (@KECreate)
• Leo Sussan (@lsussan)
• Leslie Drechsler (@ppcbuyers)
• Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
• Mark Kennedy (@markkennedysem)
• Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
• Michael Henderson (@innuHendo)
• Mori Yagi (@mori_kun)
• Nate Knox (@nateknox)
• Neha Gupta (@NG_NehaGupta)
• Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
• Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
• Rory Witt (@Rory_Witt)
• Sam Turner (@turnersam000)
• Stephanie Cockerl (@StephCockerl)
• Steve Cameron (@adventcom)
• Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
• Tyler Purcell (@tylerpurcell)
• WhatRunsWhere (@WhatRunsWhere)

PPCChat Streamcap Quality Manager

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; WebRanking SEM Manager in Minneapolis, Minnesota, #PPCChat Streamcap Grabber, SEO Blog Author. Connect with me @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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