Lead generation nightmares

8th November 2018
Åsa Magnusson

We all have those memories.

Past failures that sometimes crop up in our minds or dreams, making us cringe for a moment.
I have plenty of marketing failures that pop up in my thoughts to from time to time, but the most memorable one was a frustratingly silly lead generation mishap. It happened a good few years ago now. but still gives me a bit of a chill when I think of it.

The devil’s in the detail

I was working as Marketing Manager for an IT vendor, where I faced a great deal of pressure to generate leads. I had to make every penny count. As part of my strategy, I looked to syndication programmes to help amplify our efforts and get some rapid, dependable results.

I signed up for a solus email campaign (a single, branded mailshot sent through a media partner). The price tag was eye-watering, but the audience was perfect and hopes were high. I arranged all the necessary preparations in record time, but – I then proceeded to make one fatal, ridiculous mistake.

I added the wrong link to the email.

This meant, of course, that the thousands of recipients who did in fact click on the link, were NOT sent to our perfectly designed landing page but to another, unrelated, page. When I realised it, I literally wanted to cry.

How? How could I have missed this critical detail?

The publisher of course didn’t want to re-send the campaign, as they worried about triggering a tidal wave of unsubscribes. They wouldn’t want to risk coming across as repetitive.

Afterwards, I lost count of the nights I lay awake, worried about misspending the budget. In the office, I tried my hardest to dodge the Sales Director who was still clamouring for leads.

It wasn’t until several weeks later that I was able to negotiate an alternative campaign to replace the flawed one, which eventually generated some leads to feed to the sales team.

The 3 most common lead generation problems

But what about you? What are the lead generation worries that keep you awake at night? Are you seeing disappointing results on your lead acquisition programmes? If so, you are not alone.

Apart from making silly mistakes like the one in my example, most marketers struggle with lead generation because…

  • They have budget issues
  • They are using the wrong channels
  • Their lead delivery is slow or sparse

If you’re facing any of these issues, here are a few ways to address them.


When requesting or negotiating budgets, make sure you clarify not just how the money will be used, but how the resulting activity will benefit the business. Use metrics, predictions, and tangible numbers.

Tip: If possible, ask Sales to help establish your case. They may be able to help fight your corner, but if it doesn’t help they will at least have gained an understanding of your challenge.


When it comes to picking outlets or communication channels for lead generation, hardly anyone gets it right the first time. We need to allow ourselves to try different things before investing heavily in anything. And even after we have invested in one, there is no guarantee it will work forever. Prospect behaviour changes – and we should change with it.

Trying and failing is good, as it teaches you something. If anything, try to “fail fast” so you can learn quickly and move on!


Not all leads are created equal. Still, lead generation is often labelled as a numbers game. Pass enough leads to Sales, and they will eventually sell more. However, this is – in my view – a completely outdated view. They key to getting more sales is not necessarily to get more leads; it’s to get better leads. If you work to consistently improve the quality of the leads coming into the business, you will improve the conversion rates.

Encourage the business to look at quality over numbers. Rather than racing to the “bargain bucket”, spend a bit more on decent, qualified leads – and make sure they get managed properly after collection.

Discuss and learn from others

Sometimes, the expectations from the business can be overwhelming. If you are genuinely struggling with the lead generation demands, try to find your own community, a circle of strength, where you can discuss your challenges with other marketers and learn from them. If you don’t have a mentor, look to find one!

We all need someone to talk to. I certainly needed one all those years ago, when I was much too embarrassed to ask for help. I’ve learnt a few things since then, and these days I do ask questions – often, and unashamedly.

Want to discover ways to improve your lead quality?

We work with businesses to create high-converting targeted marketing assets. By putting the right content in front of your audience, you will attract the right people to make contact and feed your Sales funnel.

Sign up to our newsletter today and get all the latest content marketing advice straight to your inbox!