4 Common Lead Nurturing Mistakes That Undermine Your Digital Marketing

by | Dec 5, 2017

According to Hubspot, 53% of marketers say that at least half of their entire budget is dedicated to lead generation, but more than 90% of the leads they generate never result in sales.

The takeaway:  marketers tend to pay far more attention to lead generation than to actually moving those leads through the sales funnel itself, which leads to classic lead nurturing mistakes that you’ll want to avoid.

Consider these statistics on why lead nurturing is so important:

  • According to Forrester, marketers who have effective lead nurturing strategies see a 20% increase in sales compared to those that don’t
  • Businesses that “excel” at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales at a 33% lower cost
  • Less than 36% of marketers actively nurture their sales leads

This just goes to show the effective power that lead nurturing can have on your business!

Why the Disconnect?

Given the clear advantages of a smart, carefully researched lead nurturing program, one can only speculate as to why so many marketing teams fail to develop one.  In some cases, it’s a lack of alignment between marketing and sales teams, with marketers assuming that once they’ve generated leads, it’s the job of sales reps to close the deal.  In other cases, it’s not understanding best practices for effective lead nurturing.

Whatever the reason, marketers need to develop effective lead nurturing strategies if they want to help sales, and help the companies for which they work grow.  That means avoiding the most common lead nurturing mistakes, including the following 4.

  1.  Responding Too Slowly

Imagine going to a car dealership and telling the dealer you’ve picked out don't respond too slow to new leads - use lead nurturingthe car you want and are ready to sign on the dotted line.  Imagine the dealer telling you he’ll get back to you within 2 business days and walking away.  As absurd as this scenario seems, it’s actually common when it comes to lead nurturing.  According to a recent lead response study, the average response time for new leads was 42 hours, and only 16% of companies responded within 24 hours.

That’s a costly mistake because the odds of a lead entering the sales process are 21 times greater if that lead is contacted within 5 minutes compared to 30 minutes.  The faster you contact your new leads, the greater the chances of those leads eventually making purchases.

  1.  Sending Generic Content

Leads have different needs, different problems, and different pain points. Leads are not monlithic. If you ignore these differences, you’re substantially reducing your odds of making sales.

For example, if you’re a realtor, you wouldn’t want to send million-dollar listings to prospects who make less than $50,000 a year.  If you sell appliances, you wouldn’t want to send content about refrigerators to leads who are only interested in dishwashers.

One of the best ways to develop targeted content is by creating unique buyer personas (fictionalized representations of key market segments based on similar demographic and psychographic characteristics).   Sending targeted (rather than generic) content to your leads will increase sales opportunities by 20% and help avoid lead nurturing mistakes.

  1.  Not Making Enough—or the Right Types of—Contacts

The number of “touches” needed to close a sale will be different for different businesses.  On average, however, leads receive 10 such contacts from the time they enter the sales funnel until they make a purchase.  Nevertheless, about 50% of marketers include less than 5 touches in their lead nurturing programs.

In addition to sending enough touches, it’s important that your contacts are structured to effectively move leads through the buyer’s journey.  For example, early contacts should provide more general information about your business, products and services.  As leads move closer to a sale, you should provide more detailed, specific content (for example, information about product details, warranties, return policy, shipping, etc.).

  1.  Not Personalizing Content

The more your touches convince leads that you know who they are, the more effective those touches will be.  For example, a recent study from Experian found that personalized emails generate on average 6 times as much revenue as those which are not personalized.

Personalization means more than simply inserting the lead’s name into an email.  The email should also address their specific concerns, needs or recent actions.  For example, if a lead downloads content on your website, you should immediately send them an email reflecting this action—and providing them guidance for next steps.  Of course, this degree of personalized responsiveness is most effective when you have reliable CRM software and marketing automation in place.


Effective lead nurturing is one of the best ways to build trust in your business and increase sales—but it’s not the only one.

To maximize results, you need a comprehensive digital strategy that effectively targets, connects and converts while avoiding lead nurturing mistakes.

To learn more about the ways CRM, marketing automation and lead generation services will help you drive more sales and grow your business, watch our recent webinar – Too Many Leads?