bucket with holesMarketers often focus on acquiring new leads, only to lost most of them afterwards. 80% of leads generated don’t interact with sales in any way (Lisa Cramer, Marketing Profs). The phenomenon is called lead leakage: it means gradual loss of leads on their way through the funnel. It’s so common that there are memes about it!

When you pay for acquiring a contact and the let her go, you waste time and money. But there are tools at your fingertips that will help you reduce it.


The curse of abundance

Generating too many leads might hurt sales if you can address the needs of those who already are in your funnel. As Marek Kowalczyk writes, too effective marketing might kill sales when you neglect already acquired contacts, what results in negative customer experiences and alienate potential clients. Hence, you must find a balance between getting fresh blood to fuel your funnel and serving acquired leads.


Which leads tend to leak?


Unfortunately, all of them, even a passionate fan can escape. But each one does so out of different reasons.

 Use Buyer Persona to prevent Lead Leakage. Download Free Ebook

Cold leads: might be alarmed by too pushy calls or can just forget about the brand. They won’t search for information on their own – if you don’t deliver them useful materials that might induce them to buy, they will just drop out. If you subject them to a gentle educational campaign and offer value (like invitations to business events or high-quality content), you will stay at the top of their mind. Wait for them to mature to purchase decision.

Warm leads: a user who thinks about buying, but isn’t in a hurry needs additional stimuli to move her to the next level. You probably have many followers, fan, voracious readers of your blog who postpone the purchase. It might never happen.

Hot leads: even somebody who already took out money from her wallet can change her mind. It happens out of two reasons: either because you haven’t quickly identified that lead as hot and conduct standard campaigns for her, distracting her from the buy, or your salespeople didn’t follow up at some point, what urges a lead to choose other company.


Improve sales-marketing cooperation

The flawless lead journey from the first encounter to purchase to loyalty stems from sales and marketing alignment and deep cooperation. To achieve that in your company, follow 4 rules:
1) Build a common language with a sales team. No matter if you apply sophisticated terms (MQL, SQL, Opportunity) or use your concepts, create together a coherent and precise definition of lead, as well as the picture of her journey. You can use Buyer Persona.
2) Develop a culture of dialogue. Procedures and instructions will be futile if not supported by an organizational culture based on dialogue and exchange. You can’t create it in a month, but it’s worth the effort and will pay off.
3) Simplify metrics. Maybe in your communication you use too many metrics and data and information, so it’s difficult to use it on a regular basis. It looks great in you Excel charts, but it doesn’t help you serve customers better. Keep it simple!
4) Tools matter. Marketing Automation Platform helps marketers and salespeople find common ground. It gives them one cohesive picture of users and actions undertaken towards them. It improves customer experience!

Read more about sales – marketing alliance.


Identify contacts on the website and monitor them

User tracking is the base for all actions described below. Gather knowledge on your contacts to improve your funnels and nurturing programs. Marketers tend to focus on their abstract constructs of customers journey and shopping habits. Analytics can help see how actual users behave and correct models. With it in your arsenal you will spot the point of leakage.


Find the leakage

When do you leads resign or stop? Can you spot that points in you funnel?
Didi Zheleva illustrates the process with a story from her life. She once fancied going to the beautician. She checked salon’s website, read about the treatment, but finally didn’t book an appointment. But salon’s marketers were already prepared for it – they identified making an appointment as a leakage and reacted immediately. Didi got two emails: one with details of the treatment she viewed and second with discount and list of available slots.
It also shows that such practices aren’t reserved for big enterprises with huge marketing budgets – small companies can introduce them with great effect too.

lead leakage

Create content

Content doesn’t only attract new users or engage existing customers, but also plays a huge role in helping your lead make a decision. Though it only works that way if you personalize it – tailor suggested materials to individual user’s knowledge and commitment.
When planning and creating content, be sure to prepare something for various users, so you can educate and entertain both fresh leads and loyal customers. Thanks to a vast array of content you can address needs of all of them, directing them to purchase.


Use scoring

If you can identify which stage of the decision process your lead currently is, at you almost achieved success. That way you can target all communication, so it suits that particular phase and questions, challenges or doubts she is facing at the moment. Also spotting the hottest leads help you focus your salespersons on people who are most likely to buy. They can work in a reasonable way as they know which users to talk to in the first place.

Lead leakage occurs often because after the first contact with a brand lead isn’t provided with information or stimuli she needs. For example, if someone liked your Facebook profile and subscribed to the newsletter and gets only content for advanced users, it might feel discouraging as well as frustrating. On the other hand, if a lead has done her research and then gets messages for beginners, it might be annoying.

To match communication to a particular person, use scoring. It’s a system of points your contacts obtains if they perform some pre-defined actions like subscribing or viewing given materials or buying. That way you can immediately spot the hottest leads and personalize messages.

Learn more about lead scoring.



Scoring is one of the criteria for segmentation – dividing your audience into smaller groups, according to their knowledge, engagement, interest, demographics or job. It helps reduce lead leakage, as your offers and suggested content are precisely tailored to individual users, and each one of them is served according to their unique requirements.


Untitled design-4Lead Nurturing

According to Gleanster Research, only 25% of leads are ready to buy. What about the rest of them? Do you just waste money and resources on generating them: you pay to attract them, then you just let go? However, you can keep many of them using non-aggressive educational campaigns like Lead Nurturing.
To learn more, download free ebook on the problem.


Follow up

Did somebody demand quota? Tested the trial version? Started a conversation? Always set an alert to remind you to follow up. Ask whether you can help, answer some questions, inquire about opinion.
If somebody reached that far and found the motivation to contact you, we’re talking about high motivation you should tap into. Don’t let it blow over. Show that you care.
Lack of follow up is the most common reason of lead leakage! (Sales Lead Management Association).


Use Lead Recycling

It might happen that you misinterpret user’s behavior and move her too fast. What to do next if you realize that lead passed to sales is not sales-ready? Just put her back to marketing. It’s called Lead Recycling or Renurturing. That way you stay in touch and wait for the user to decide.


Your turn: identify your leak and personalize

To reduce lead leakage, you must find points of the funnel at which users often stop or resign. What do they need there? Additional motivation? Direct contact with salespeople? Dispelling their doubts?
Remember about matching messages to the stage of the funnel and personalization.