Among the biggest frustrations of being in business–and there are plenty–is spending time, money, and resources on sales lead generation without getting conversions. If you don’t convert leads into the pipeline, or turn them into customers, your revenue will suffer.

You can’t just give up on lead generation–that would be financial suicide. The better solution is to carefully examine your lead generation techniques and compare them to reasons why sales leads don’t convert. Here are some common reasons why leads do not enter the sales pipeline or convert to customers.

  • You’ve aimed at the wrong audience: A marketer who says his potential audience of customers is “everybody” is doomed to failure. Carefully assess the features and benefits of your offerings and determine who is the ideal potential customer. For example, a group of potential sales leads consisting of “business owners who need inside sales assistance” identifies a real audience, with a real need, that is small enough to serve effectively.
  • Too many leads and not enough quality: It may seem like madness to say you can have too many leads. However, if you have a thousand leads and only 10 of them are actually interested in your products and services, you’ll waste your time and money on trying to convert the uninterested majority into the pipeline or into customers. Pre-qualify leads as thoroughly as possible to ensure they have a genuine interest in, or need for, what you have to offer.
  • Marketing and sales are at odds with each other: There are lots of stories about the disconnect between marketing and sales, but the truth is that conflict between these two vital departments can hurt your lead conversion. Marketing may hand off leads to the sales department before the lead is ready. The sales team may have unrealistic expectations of the marketing department. Get these two segments of your company working in harmony and your conversion rates will dramatically increase.
  • Follow-up was slow or ineffective: Lead nurturing through follow-up contacts and other techniques is vital to moving leads into and through the sales funnel. If someone contacts you, they are interested in what you have to offer. Failure to follow up quickly can cause that lead to believe you’re not interested in their purchase. Get back to people within 24 hours at the least, and sooner if possible.
  • Your website is a mess: A hard-to-navigate website will cause visitors to give up in frustration long before they have the chance to be converted. You no doubt have a lot of information you want to convey, but a clean, streamlined site will ultimately convert better than one that’s cluttered with too much text or too many pictures. Make sure visitors can easily find the information they’re likely to want and include a search function to make moving through your site even easier.
  • There is no clear call to action: Always include a call to action that makes it clear what your sales leads need to do next. If site visitors don’t know how to get in touch, or are confused about how to express interest in your offerings or make a purchase, they’ll give up and go to a competitor who makes it clear. Make calls to action explicit and provide easy ways to contact you.

Converting leads to prospects, and prospects to customers, is the lifeblood of any business.