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How to Lose a Sales Lead in 10 Days

October 15, 2013 | Justin Gray | 2 Comments |

Day 1: Send the same offer to your whole database.

No lead is the same. Although much of your database may seem like it should be marketed to in a one-size-fits-all way, likely there are nuances that aren’t taken into account by you as a marketer or a salesman.

Day 2: Forget to add content gated by a data-collecting form on your website.

When the phase “content is king” became trendy, your company leaped onto the content development train. You now have more golden whitepapers than The Dancing Baby had fans in the late 90s. So what. Do you gate that content? In other words, are you asking your leads to share information with you in order to get their hands on that content you spent so much money developing?

Day 3: Avoid using proper tracking – your leads will remain anonymous.

I don’t know if you know, but the Internet is pretty cool. There are lots of things you can do with it. If I spit out terms like “munchkin code,” “URL parameters,” “dual-posting form,” or “social sign-in,” trust me on the following piece of advice. Even if you don’t know what these are yet, find someone who does and utilize them.

Day 4: Let a lead fall through the cracks because you don’t have a solid process in place.

Do you have a leaky funnel? That’s only going to cost you major money in the end. Having a leaky funnel is like having a car with a leaky gas tank. You keep filling it up but that car isn’t getting far unless you fix it.

Day 5: Don’t take the time to build a relationship between marketing and sales.

Thou shall work with thy former enemy. We all know sales and marketing have a long time rivalry. If this statement surprises you, go ahead and keep dancing with the unicorns and singing Disney songs about rainbows and butterflies. The more sales and marketing communicate, the more efficient your company’s marketing and sales efforts become.

Day 6: Be inconsistent.

You know how you tune in to your favorite TV show every Sunday night? (Maybe you don’t anymore, because “Breaking Bad” is over, so there’s nothing left to watch. But let’s go with this analogy, ok?) Humans like habit and rely on routine. If you’re marketing without a consistent schedule (i.e. you send out emails or post a blog whenever the heck you feel like it), you’re doing a disservice to yourself and your customers. 

Day 7: Don’t allow leads to educate themselves.

When you only focus on the buyer who is ready to purchase NOW, you are more likely to forget to allow your leads to educate themselves. Sometimes those who buy more slowly and care more about educating themselves about your product end up spending the most and building a long-term relationship with the company with which they engage.

Day 8: Use unclear calls to action.

This isn’t just problematic for PPC or emails. Your website can be a major source of confusion and frustration for the end user. If you have products and pricing on every page of your website, why would you bother to have any other content at all? The user can’t focus on one clear purpose of that page and is likely to fall off your site and look elsewhere for the information they are seeking. Not to mention, having a clear, defined and singular CTA on each page is important for SEO, too.

Day 9: Ignore buyer personas.

Everyone buys differently. That statement might seem obvious, but “Methodical Martha” and “Competitive Collin” are two very different people who buy in very different ways. Have you considered this in your marketing efforts? 

Day 10: Forget “conversational marketing”.

The marketing material delivered to your leads should be part of a story. What story are you trying to tell? That story is the message your company is giving to leads, so have intention in every communication you send and at every touch-point. Don’t let your leads think that your company is unfocused and inattentive to their needs throughout the funnel.


  1. Matt Heinz on October 18, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    This is a veritable checklist for modern marketers, even those who started out explicitly avoiding these “worst practices” likely slip into one to three every once in awhile.

    Funny how sometimes it’s faster to learn from what NOT to do…

  2. Jeff Weinberger on October 21, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    From time to time we all need to be reminded of the pitfalls, especially the ones we might overlook so easily!

    Two of your points are, I think, the most obvious and the most likely to be missed:

    – We are often so focused on getting every piece of the process perfect that we forget to make sure that there are no holes or gaps, leaving prospects to fall through the cracks far too easily

    – And it’s hard to remember in a self-focused process that respect for our prospects and their interests must be built in, allowing them to find what they need when and how they want it.

    Thanks for this post!

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