Beginner’s Guide to Tracking B2B Leads to Improve PPC Campaigns (The Simple Method)

Fri, 05/23/2014 - 11:00

When it comes to pay per click marketing, data is king. With the correct data, a pay per click marketer can optimize the campaign to greatly improve results.

For some sites, a user might land on the site and make a purchase immediately. That makes tracking results with web analytics a lot easier. But, unfortunately this isn’t the case for most B2B sales, especially big-ticket items.

In the business-to-business arena, a sales cycle can take months, or even over a year. So how can we tie that back to our paid search campaign? I’ve prepared a few tips as well as a sample report.


Three Key Principles

Get your sales team and PPC team talking!

PPC and Sales team

They need to talk because A) the sales team has the information the PPC team needs, such as the overall value of sales and B) the sales team will start to learn of the importance of the data they can provide and how the PPC process works.

Here are a few things the sales team can contribute to the PPC campaign:

  1. Insights into which types of client inquiries are NOT a good fit. The PPC team can then expand on this to adjust keywords and implement negative keywords.
  2. Insights into additional topics to consider marketing for.
  3. Details on their workload. Sometimes the sales guys are just too busy to get back quickly, so the ads can be reduce or paused. Other times they may be under-busy.

Tie cause and effect

It’s very important to tie each lead and sale back to the original keyword and ads that generated them. If your sales cycle is 3 months long and you might say “great, we made 10 big sales this month, must be doing something right.” You’d be right! But what you did right was done 3 months ago…or 4…or 2. Who knows, right? Now, if you can say, we made a sale to the person that searched for “RX982 fancy machine” on Bing on March 10, 2014, that is highly actionable information.

Collect qualitative information too

Sales people have one more extra great source of information that the PPC team would never have on their own – experience actually talking to customers. Customers will tell them exactly what they want and why they chose one company over another. And it’s not only the information that is valuable. The wording that customers use to describe what they want is a gold mine for planning campaigns, ad creative and landing page copy.


Sample Report

For reporting, I suggest two main reports:

  1. All leads, listed row-by-row.
  2. An overview report, with PPC metrics, leads and sales shown side-by-side.

All Leads Report

The report that shows all leads and sales will provide you with great, actionable data. Namely:

  1. You can track the sale back to the original source it came from. In some cases, you can collect data on the keyword or other details. One method of tracking data on individual users is to use an analytics platform like Clicky, along with goals.  (Google Analytics doesn’t provide data on individual visitors.)
  2. You can track qualitative info in the notes area, such as quotes from clients, or separate it out into another file.

Granted, this is a lot of work per lead. But in my experience with pay per click, whenever there’s the question “should I make the extra effort to collect better-quality data?”, the answer is almost always “Yes!”

Of course, there are also methods for scaling this concept, and automatically generating reports. But for smaller projects, simply manually recording the data in Excel will work.

B2B PPC lead report


Overview Report

The overview report shows us the real progress being made. The sales data can be collected from the All Leads Report. Again, the key is that the sales data is shown in context with the advertising that generated the sale, even if those advertising efforts were done months prior.

B2B PPC overview report


What do you think about this method? Have you done B2B lead tracking for pay per click marketing before? I’d be interested in hearing about your problems or solutions in this area.




With the correct data, a pay per click marketer can optimize the campaign to greatly improve results

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