“The leads are weak?? YOU’RE weak!”

Why blaming outside factors for your lack of sales and “bad leads” isn’t helping solve the real issue


When something goes wrong in any industry on the front-facing side, the first instinct is to throw the back of the house under the bus. Food bad in a restaurant? Criticize the cook. Football team losing? Insult the coach.  Church music too loud? Turn your head and glare at the tech guys (although I can certify that 9 times out of 10, it’s the overly enthusiastic drummer’s fault). But things aren’t always that simple. Take the football analogy: the coach is only one of many moving parts that affect the team’s winning record. Each player’s preparation and execution plays arguably the most significant role in their performance. The coach can be a brilliant strategist, but if the players don’t put in the work at practice or don’t execute on the field, they’re not going to win. The same is true in digital marketing. We’re hearing a lot of this kind of complaining going around lately: “My leads aren’t any good, and that’s why I’m not closing any sales. If my agency/marketing department would get me better leads, I’d be more successful.” We hate to break it to you, but that’s probably not true.

Here’s the real reason why you’re not making money: you’re not using a structured approach to sales.

Defensive? It’s okay. Truth hurts. We get it. Ask yourself these questions, though, before you go too far into denial, because if you’re not using a structured approach to sales (something that is doable for any business and easy to implement – not worth being defensive about) your chances of succeeding long-term decrease.

  • Is your sales force large enough to handle the amount of leads you are getting? Each lead needs focused attention. If you are inundated with leads but your sales people are not able to spend enough time with them or contact them fast enough, that’s a problem.
  • Is your sales force armed with the right information at the point of contact? Do they know the keyword that was searched for and exactly what channel the lead came from? If not, your pitch will be less effective.
  • Do you have/are you analyzing the data regarding the actual communication? Is your sales force following up with initial contact, are they dialing just enough to be high up on people’s awareness radar? What are the connection rates like? What are the average call times? Most companies shy away from seeing actual sales data from their leads out of fear that their leads aren’t that good, This is a lose-lose situation. If the leads really aren’t qualified, you need to know so that you can get better leads, and if the leads are fine, then you are missing out on valuable data that you can use to improve sales.
  • Is your sample size big enough to actually say you’ve given your leads a chance? For example, say you have a budget of $1,000 for 10 business days, and your average lead cost is $50. You’re working with 20 leads. If you have a 20% closing rate, which is good in any industry, you’ll get 4 sales in that 10 day period. But those could occur on the last 2 days, so for the majority of the 2 weeks, you may be frustrated and tempted to give up. You need a bigger sample size to work with, at least 100, before you make any judgments about your campaigns, your agency, or your leads.
  • Are you communicating with your marketing team well? Is there enough organized data in your CRM for them to be doing their job correctly?

This blame-game dynamic has to stop, for no other reason than because it’s ultimately hurting your business. The real problems have to be addressed in order for growth to occur.

Maybe you’re doing everything you can be doing and the leads still aren’t the best. That’s possible. But more likely than not, there are aspects of your sales process you can significantly improve.

So what does a structured approach to sales look like?

For the next four weeks, we’ll be presenting the 360 Sales Enablement Series- content and insight that we’ve gathered from our experience and industry knowledge that’s designed to help you optimize your sales process from start to finish. Stay tuned for the first installment by keeping up with us on social media or visiting our website!

Shea Duncan - Author

Director of Content Marketing

Shea is an expert content writer and is a classic literary nerd! She loves writing highly engaging content and has a knack for making it convert!