5 Signs You’re Throwing Leads in the Trash

What I’ve learned the last 10 years of working with entrepreneurial small businesses is that this savvy group of marketers cares about three things: getting more customers, increasing sales and saving time.

Small businesses tend to focus most, if not all, of their marketing and sales resources on closing hot leads — which means the not-ready-to-buy-yet leads end up getting thrown out with yesterday’s garbage.

This “get more customers now” mentality, combined with a lack of time and resources, hurts small businesses and often causes some serious inefficiency in the marketing and sales funnel.

Are you suffering from this problem in your small business? There are five signs your marketing and sales funnel is leaking leads and losing customers.

business trash

1.       You don’t use a lead magnet or Web form. You spend money and time driving traffic to your website, but then you bury your opt-in form. Or worse, you don’t offer a compelling lead magnet (e-book, webinar, demo, etc.) that people can opt in for at all. If you don’t have their contact information, you can’t follow up, and your conversions will be lower.

2.       You don’t segment your prospect and customer list. I suggest you segment your contact list three ways: by lead source, by demographics and behaviors (links they clicked on in an email, webinars they attended, etc.) and by selected interests (what information they’ve opted to receive).

3.       You don’t have a lead nurturing system in place. Without a system in place for nurturing and qualifying cold leads, your sales team waste hours on the phone educating prospects about the benefits your product or service provides. It helps to have an automated follow-up system in place so no lead gets lost in the cracks.

4.       You batch and blast. Your lack of time forces you to send the same message at the same time to your entire contact list. While your prospects and customers may share similarities, this one-size-fits-all approach will train them to ignore you or opt out of your messages all together. Track what actions they’ve taken, what information they’ve opted in to receive and their buying history. Then send only relevant, highly targeted messages that you know they will want to receive. This strategy will result in better open rates, higher click-through rates and more lead-to-sale conversions.

5.       Any nurturing ends after the sale. Once you get the customer, you get too busy to keep them happy, to upsell additional products or to ask for referrals. Automated follow-up can help satisfied customers remember to send their friends your way. Also be strategic about the products you upsell. If you have a system in place for tracking customer behavior, you can easily market your upsells to their needs. I know one small business that sends a pre-recorded voicemail automatically to new customers, thanking them for their recent purchase. That same business sends cookies when customers spend a certain amount of money (this is done automatically when the sale is processed). It’s about wowing your new customers so they don’t leave you for the competition.

Don’t fret if you find your marketing and sales funnel has some serious leaks. Just about every small business will experience and overcome these growing pains. In today’s world of technology, there are many marketing and sales tools available to help small businesses attract, nurture and convert leads.


Clate Mask Clate Mask is Co-Founder and CEO of Infusionsoft, a fast-growth software company that helps small businesses convert more leads, save time and manage more with less with its web-based software. He also is co-author of the New York Times best-seller Conquer the Chaos: How to Grow a Successful Small Business Without Going Crazy.

8 Reactions
  1. Clate, I can understand where you are coming from.Until very recently I never even bothered to generate my leads. Brian Clark – The Copyblogger advised me, that I would be losing out on a lot of potential. Now,I’ve started building lists and generating leads.

  2. Hey Clate, I have to say your title really slapped me awake. Who wants to be known as wasteful in that way — throwing leads in the trash. Whoa. As someone who has used Infusionsoft, I get it. I see the power in finding a system and leveraging it. So, I should stop my bad habit of emailing one person, one email at a time, huh?

  3. Many time the issue is based on technology. They just don’t have the know-how to put in a lead magnet. They don’t have a system for segmenting and messaging their lists. It can be a bit daunting for the technologically challenged.

  4. Nice article…the biggest lesson I have learned in working to grow my law practice is to have a sytem for following up on every single lead…and following up with each lead multiple times. I have seen a real increase in business since employing a follow-up system.

  5. Great article! I have really been slacking in this department…