When it comes to lead generation, mistakes can be costly. They can hinder results and slow progress for any marketing team and, in turn, limit the success of a sales-driven company if the marketing department can’t produce enough qualified leads for the sales department to close.

Here are 5 common lead gen mistakes that, when avoided, will help you turn your marketing team into a well-oiled, lead-generating machine that’s firing on all cylinders:

1. Assuming every action a prospect takes qualifies them as a lead for sales.

One simple action taken by a prospect, like clicking an email or downloading a tip sheet, doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re ready to buy your product or speak with someone in sales about it. Handing those kind of “leads” over to a sales rep won’t be very conducive to success for the sales team that is expected to convert those leads into sales. Before handing a prospect off to sales, nurture the relationship by using forms and calls-to-action to learn more about the prospect. Offer valuable content for download and ask lead-qualifying questions to get budget and purchase decision workflow information. Once you identify who they are, what their organization’s purchase process is, and what persona category they fall into, you can decide to nurture them further with targeted messaging, help them get other stakeholders in their organization interested in your product or service, or decide that they truly are ready for an interaction with the sales team as a valuable lead.

2. Putting content behind forms that are too long.

In order to nurture a prospect into a lead, you need to know who they are and what their situation is (persona, pain points, etc.) and gated content is a great way to collect that information. But people don’t fill out forms that aren’t worth the effort. Don’t miss out on conversions, and the key information you need from those conversions, because the length of your forms are too long. The length of the form should only be as long as the perceived value of the offer behind it. Forms with 2-3 fields are probably okay for a tip sheet or an infographic and a few more fields for something more valuable like a whitepaper or an in-depth case study.

3. Sending broad, untargeted messages.

Do you feel like your message isn’t resonating? Consider the audience. It might not be resonating because it isn’t relevant to the people that received it. Targeted messages that speak directly to specific personas and their pain points will have more of an impact than messages that focus solely on your products and services. So writing content with specific personas in mind will help to zero in on specific interests or pain points that resonate. Once you know who it is you want to target, you can speak to their interests and how they can solve their problems with your products and services. Without targeting your audience, your message is more likely to come across as a spam message with irrelevant info.

4. Not including a CTA on every page.

A call-to-action guides prospects through your marketing funnel by prompting them to take the next step towards a lead qualifying action. Maybe you want to highlight certain sections of your website for a first time visitor, or offer premium downloadable content to a returning visitor. Or perhaps you want them to learn more about your products or services by seeing a demo or having a conversation with a sales rep. Every page or landing page on your site should lead the reader to another section with some type of CTA. And you should have a CTA for each stage of the buyer’s journey that guides them towards taking the next step. Without a call-to-action, prospects are less likely to take ANY action or move forward at all.

5. Giving up on a strategy too quickly.

While some marketers will claim certain strategies to be the best, others will say those same strategies don’t work. The most important thing is to determine the best approach for you. You can do some research and take advice from others, but the only way to find out what really works for you is to try a strategy, then dig into it’s success or failure to understand why it worked or why it didn’t. If it wasn’t successful, perhaps it wasn’t executed properly. Consider factors like timing, audience, design, copy, etc. to A/B test and adjust before simply abandoning a strategy that may have worked with a little more effort.

Making mistakes, and learning from them, can help you determine what works best for you, your organization, and your industry. For those that can’t afford to make those common mistakes, or for those who are wanting a faster way to overcome them, there are several tools and partners that can help you boost your effectiveness and drive your organization forward. Use this list as a starting point in evaluating your lead generation efforts and need for expertise.

What are some other common lead gen mistakes to avoid? What lead gen mistakes have you made that you wish you had avoided sooner?