4 Reasons Your Lead Generation Isn't Working (And How to Fix It)

Generating leads is the lifeblood of your business. Whether you've been an established company or are a startup looking to dramatically improve your customer base, devoting sufficient time and effort to lead generation should be a top priority for you and your team.

When your lead generation tools aren't working, you likely need to figure out how to use your inbound marketing to better effect. Otherwise, you'll be wasting time, energy, and money without getting the results you need to grow your business.  

lead generation through inbound marketing

What Are the Main Types of Leads?

Perhaps part of the problem you've been running into with your nurturing and lead generation processes is that you don't understand who your leads are and what stage in the buyer's journey they're in. Per Salesforce, the top categories of leads are as follows:

New Lead

As the name suggests, this is a brand new lead and represents a potential customer, which you'll be familiar with due to how this customer found you. This could result from supplying their email address in exchange for a coupon or a customer service representative taking this person's contact information to receive a catalog.

Working Lead

At this level, you're communicating with the working lead. This may be after they've responded to an offering sent by email or while having a detailed conversation with a sales rep about the features of a product or service.

Nurturing Lead

Once a lead hits the nurturing stage, it's time to step up. While interested, this individual may not be ready to buy without your side's encouragement–whether that's extra information or more time. 

You can stay in touch with leads in this category by offering them incentives to return, such as attending a webinar or reading the latest issue of your organization's newsletter. (Don't have a newsletter? It's easy to get started once you have a mailing list of customers to send it to!)

Unqualified Lead

Your team has determined that this particular lead isn't moving forward. The lead is no longer considered a potential customer because they're simply uninterested in purchasing or signing up for your services.

Qualified Lead

At long last, you have reached the goal of this enterprise. You have verified that a lead intends to buy from you. Guard this lead carefully and make sure to provide plenty of attention.

Once you understand the types of leads and what they mean for your business, you can find the motivation to do more to improve how your team generates new leads.

Here are four reasons why your lead generation marketing may not work as effectively as possible:

1. Your Audience Is Too Wide

You can't please all people all the time. So it's time to narrow your marketing campaigns.

Focus your aim on specific and ideal customers. Building a buyer persona can help. You'll have difficulty marketing to them if you don't clearly understand your audience (because it's vast and varied). Smart Insights explains that having a keen understanding of your audience is essential for any inbound marketing campaign

One way to narrow your audience's focus is to understand which of the three main reasons they might have to purchase something or not. The reasons are necessity, brand association, and cost.

Suppose someone is driven to purchase your product because it improves the safety of their children. In that case, you'll want to visualize them through a buyer persona, such as "Concerned Mom" or "Doting Dad." Or, if many of your customers are motivated mainly by cost, you will want to emphasize the value proposition of purchasing your goods or services.

Tip:  Target your marketing efforts.

Once you know your target audience, you can start targeting your marketing efforts accordingly. This means using the proper channels, messaging, and content to reach your target audience.

Example: Let's say you sell a product that helps people to improve their sleep. Your target audience could be people who are:

      • Struggling to fall asleep.
      • Waking up during the night.
      • Not getting enough sleep.

Once you know who your target audience is, you can start to create marketing campaigns that are specifically designed to reach them. For example, you could create a blog post about the benefits of sleep or a social media campaign encouraging people to share their sleep stories.

By narrowing your focus and targeting your marketing efforts, you can increase your chances of reaching your target audience and converting them into customers.

Want to learn more about how to use Inbound Marketing to grow YOUR business?

2. You Don't Have a Consistent and Reliable Online Presence

Consistency is key when it comes to maintaining your company's presence online. Not only do you want to post new updates regularly to communicate with your customers and potential customers, but you also need to monitor what they say. 

Designate at least one team member to monitor what is happening on your various social channels, paying attention to comments full of praise and those that ask questions or complain about your products or services. 

It's also important to consistently maintain a specific brand personality and voice—post on your website and social media channels


    • Create a content calendar. A content calendar is a great way to ensure you post new content regularly. It can also help you to stay on track with your brand voice and personality.

    • Use social media monitoring tools. Social media monitoring tools can help you track people's opinions about your company online. This can help you to identify potential problems and opportunities.

    • Respond to comments and questions promptly. When people take the time to comment on your social media posts or leave a review on your website, it is important to respond promptly. This shows that you value their feedback and are interested in hearing from them.

    • Use a consistent brand voice and personality. Your brand voice and personality should be consistent across all your online channels. This will help people to recognize your brand and remember what it stands for.

Example: Take the above product that helps people to improve their sleep. Your brand voice could be friendly, helpful, and informative. You could use this voice to create educational, entertaining, and engaging content. For example, you could create a blog post about the benefits of sleep or a social media video that shows people how to improve their sleep habits.

Using a consistent brand voice and personality, you can create a solid online presence that will help you connect with your target audience.

3. You're Impatient

Patience is a virtue. If you have a problem staying patient and maintaining a sense of calm even in a fast-paced business environment, now is the time to practice.

It's natural for entrepreneurs to want to start seeing signs of success with their marketing campaigns. As a startup, you're highly focused on seeing your plans achieve your goals as soon as possible. This helps to prove your concept is sound and that you're on the right track. 

But remember, as the old saying indicates, "Rome wasn't built in a day." You'll feel more comfortable about the pace of your marketing and outreach efforts when you get used to generating leads takes time. If you implement a new strategy, it likely won't offer immediate results. 

But with patience, you can take a step back and view the proceedings more objectively. When you take the time needed to get the right results, you should be more pleased with your lead generation results.


  • Set realistic expectations. When starting (lead generation efforts for) a business, it is important to set realistic expectations. Don't expect to see results overnight. It takes time to build a successful business.
  • Focus on the long-term. Don't get caught up in the short term. Focus on building a sustainable business that will be successful in the long run.

Example: Say you are starting a new business, launching a content marketing effort to drive inbound leads, and generating 2-3 quality blog posts per week.

      • You will not see significant results in the first 3-6 months. Your Impressions in search results will begin to pick up toward the end.

      • Between month six and potentially 18, your impressions will continue to increase, your web traffic will begin to pick up, and after a year or 1.5 years, you'll see leads coming in steadily, assuming you get your monthly website visitors above 10,000.

Organic lead generation, social media marketing, and content marketing is a long-term investments into your marketing machine that will undoubtedly, produce significant and relevant results with tangible ROI. Yet, it will likely take more than a year and considerate effort to establish this foundation. While a good explanation for being impatient, it is not a good reason. 

4. You Aren't Nurturing Your Leads

Maybe you're pulling some leads in, but they don't seem to go anywhere. Next, you should develop a lead nurturing process to turn your leads into customers. So, please identify the milestones your customers will pass through the marketing experience you've set up for them to pass through.

As pointed out by HubSpot, nurturing leads will require you to engage with these people naturally for them to respond. Do this by offering them content that is relevant to their needs. Follow up with these leads and give each interaction a personal touch whenever possible, especially when this is so easy to do via email messages.

If you lack the experienced team members to take on this project of lead nurturing professionally and consistently, you can always partner with third-party marketing experts.


    • Create a lead nurturing campaign. Your lead nurturing campaign should include a series of emails, blog posts, and other content designed to move your leads through the sales funnel.

    • Follow up regularly. Don't just send your leads a few emails and forget about them. Follow up with them regularly to keep them engaged and to remind them of your product or service.

Example: Take your product that helps people to improve their sleep. Pain points of your buyer personas are Struggling to fall asleep, Waking up during the night, and Not getting enough sleep. You can start to create content that is relevant to them. For example, you could create a blog post about the benefits of sleep or an email series that provides tips on improving sleep habits.
Add additional communication that is of interest. For example, if you know a lead interested in yoga, you could email them a link to a yoga class in their area.

Follow up with your leads regularly. You can do this by sending them a monthly newsletter or by reaching out to them individually to see how they are doing. Following up regularly will keep your leads engaged and increase your chances of nurturing them along the buyer's journey.

Getting Better Control Over Your Lead Generation Efforts

Obtaining more high-quality leads is the key to your company's ongoing success. So, this is bound to be a high-priority topic among you and your fellow stakeholders. Of course, one of the first things to tackle is ensuring that you and your team recognize the different types of leads, from new to working to nurturing to unqualified and finally to the goal of a qualified lead. 

Keeping customers and potential customers in these main categories is useful for staying focused on what effort you need to make next, nudging each individual down the sales funnel.

You may have your work cut out for marketing and generating better leads for your business, but it's well worth the effort. Depending on where you currently are in your outreach efforts, you may need to focus on narrowing the audience to a more manageable level. 

Some businesses get into trouble from simply not nurturing the leads they do have. Once you have determined which area of lead generation needs improvement, you can allocate time and resources until you get the results you need to grow your business.

Once you've identified why your lead generation isn't working, you'll be significantly more prepared to improve upon it. With a newfound motivation to generate and nurture leads, you'll have a brand new queue of customers in no time.

New call-to-action


Nicole is a copywriter turned content manager, experienced in all things writing and editing. Based in Brooklyn, NY, she is always on the hunt for the best New York-style pizza, in addition to being an avid reader, traveler, and yogi.

Article Contents

Leave a Comment