When Leads Fall Through the Cracks

April 20, 2017 Mark Emmons

Here’s a statistic that should grab the attention of data-driven marketers. But fair warning. This particular piece of data likely will drive them absolutely crazy.

In a new LeanData survey, The State of Lead Management, more than 500 B2B sales and marketing professionals said that 25.5 percent of marketing-generated leads, on average, are assigned to the wrong account owner in their organizations.

One. Out. Of. Four.

A quarter of the leads that marketing spends so much time and money accumulating are routed to an incorrect rep. Maybe those leads eventually get reassigned to the right person for follow-up. But more likely, they never end up where they’re supposed to go. They slip through the cracks. They get lost in the shuffle.They vanish.


This is known as wasted investment.

“Everyone thinks that their funnel is not leaking,” said Ash Kakhandiki, the vice president of marketing at LeanData. “But the truth is that leads are just disappearing. You don’t know where they’re going. You don’t know what leads are leaking out. But it’s happening. You just don’t realize it.”

LeanData conducted the survey to gauge how businesses are managing their leads. Here’s the quick take-home message: a majority of organizations are struggling. More than 57 percent of respondents expressed doubts that their lead workflow allows them to create an ideal customer experience. In other words, they’re finding it a challenge to make sure the right person at their company is responding to a customer with the best information.

The results were even more alarming from a Demand Generation perspective. Less than 34 percent of survey-takers said sales always follows up on marketing-generated leads. (We will pause here for a moment so marketers can regain control over their rising blood pressure.)

Another revelation was how sales and marketing teams have vastly different opinions about the effectiveness of lead follow-up at their organizations. For instance, 61 percent of sales leaders said their teams always work marketing-generated leads. But only 30 percent of marketing leaders said they believe sales will always follow up their leads.

No lead should ever be left behind. But it happens — way too often. The survey clearly identified that ensuring leads reach the right people is an industry-wide problem.

“That answer is definitely telling us something directionally,” Kakhandiki said. “It really shows the lack of alignment. Marketers think of creative campaigns to generate leads and then drop them over the fence to sales. But it’s not a chain-link fence. Marketers can’t see over there because most don’t understand Salesforce or how sales does its job. So they’re not sure what’s happening to those leads.”

There is a bright side to the survey results, he added. They indicate that simply solving the lead routing challenge could boost Demand Generation efforts without any additional spending on campaigns. In other words, taking that mystery out of the lead routing process and ensuring leads reach the proper rep would be like getting a 25-percent lift in leads.

“As a Demand Gen guy, tell me what else I can do to capture 25 percent of lost productivity?” Kakhandiki asked. “What would any marketer do to get 25 percent more leads? I know I would do a lot.”

And that’s a statistic that data-driven marketers would like to see.

Learn more about The State of Lead Management by viewing the full survey results.


About the Author

Mark Emmons

Mark Emmons is the staff writer at LeanData. He previously was a reporter at the San Jose Mercury News, Orange County Register and Detroit Free Press. He can be reached at mark@leandatainc.com.

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