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Small Business Marketing

Exploring Ways Small Businesses are Wasting Leads

By May 25, 2023June 5th, 2023No Comments

Are you wasting leads?

In today’s highly competitive business landscape, lead generation is a vital aspect of your small business’ success. However, many small businesses struggle with converting leads into loyal customers due to various inefficiencies and wasteful practices. In this article, we will look at the ways you may be wasting leads and what you can do about it.

1. Not capturing them in the first place

If you make it difficult for prospects to get in touch with your business, you cannot be surprised if they go elsewhere.

If your website doesn’t have a contact form, an email address and a phone number, you may be losing leads to your competitors. Some people want to talk now, whilst others are happy to wait and little while.

If you are using contact forms, how are they getting to you? Have you checked they’re not being grabbed by your spam filters, or going into Junk folders?

Have you connected your CRM to your contact forms, assuming you use a CRM. If you are struggling to find a simple to use CRM, click here to find out more about the one we use.

2. Not responding quickly

When a new lead gets in touch, they want to hear from you. But they have probably contacted some of your competitors too! If you leave that lead unattended, you’re giving your competitors the opportunity to make a great first impression and take the lead.

Statistics show responding within 10 minutes gives you a 92% chance of getting hold of them and doubles your chance of closing the deal. 35-50% of sales are closed by the first person to respond.

The longer you take to get in touch to respond, the less likely you are to close the sale.

Your options include:

  • Get a colleague to call instead of you, if you really are too busy.
  • Outsource initial calls to a Virtual Assistant or calling service. They can collect information you need and provide basic information to the prospect.
  • At the absolute least, have an automated email go out to people.

Whilst there may be a cost implication to these, it will easily be paid for with increased conversion rates.

3. Lack of Lead Qualification

As a small business owner, you and your sales team only have so much time available. Qualifying your leads, to remove the ones you are unlikely to close (or don’t want), frees up time to concentrate on the others.

You should develop a lead qualification process that helps identify high-value leads. Think about geography, industry sector, company size. Look at who is making the enquiry – are they likely to be at least an influencer, and ideally the decision maker?

4. Pushing too hard

New leads are great. They’re exciting, they’re potential growth for your business. You want the lead to become a client quickly. But that may be too fast for the lead. Their timetable is unlikely to match your’s, and pushing them to match yours is usually a mistake. There may be great reasons why they should buy sooner rather than later (offers expiring, HMRC deadlines, etc.) but if you push too hard, they are likely to push you away too.

If they do seem to be slowing down, talk to them. Find out if there are reasons for the delay. Being understanding of their situation develops a better relationship and will ultimately help in the long run.

5. Ineffective Lead Nurturing

Moving your leads through your sales pipeline is important. Just because they have shown some interest (downloaded a white paper, for example) doesn’t mean they are ready to buy from you. Some people will move quickly and become a sales lead soon. Others will take their time as they learn to trust you and see the value you deliver. Moving them too quickly, or forgetting to move them at all, is another way to waste leads. When you try to move them quickly, they are likely to push you away (see above). When you aren’t nurturing, they are really likely to forget about you.

Marketing, particularly nurturing, is about consistency. Make sure you are regularly communicating with them. At the top of the funnel, this is most likely to be email campaigns and social media. Further down, it may be sharing case studies or other white papers.

Failure to nurture leads properly is another significant contributor to lead wastage. Many small businesses overlook the importance of cultivating relationships with leads over time. Instead, they resort to immediate sales pitches or neglect leads that are not yet ready to make a purchase.

6. Lack of Follow-Up and Persistence

Most salespeople (92%) only follow up 4 times. 44% only follow up once! After that, the followups drop off dramatically. According to Hubspot 80% of prospects say no 4 times before saying yes. Most of these Nos are not “leave me alone”. They are “not yets”. People are busy and what they are considering buying from you may not be at the top of the Priority List right now.

Make use of the Tasks or Reminders function within your CRM to ensure you keep following up. If you don’t have a CRM, use your Outlook calendar or even a paper diary to ensure you keep in touch.

7. Taking No for an answer

At that moment in time when a prospect decides, there are only three things they can do:

  1. Buy from you
  2. Buy from someone else
  3. Not buy at all

Let’s skip point 1 for now (article on lifetime value coming soon) as that isn’t a wasted lead. Just because they have said no, doesn’t mean that it is no forever.

There is more detail on a previous article on what to do here, but the short version is keep talking to them. Your prospects may come back in the future, but they won’t if you take no for an answer and stop talking to them.


As a small business owner/director, you should look at all of the above and see how many of these relate to leads you’ve had over the last few years. By following a few basic rules, you can stop wasting leads and grow your business faster than ever before.

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