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Topics: Inbound Marketing

head in sand

Although there is truth in the old sales adage: “No doesn’t mean no, it just means not right now” there comes a time when even the most resilient and tenacious of us must pull our heads out of the sand, face reality and focus on high-potential leads.
The success of your inbound marketing strategy depends on it.


So, what’s a dead lead?

Zero response. No emails opened. Don’t visit your website. Basically, ignoring you on every level for the past year or more. Yes, these are dead leads and should be binned pronto.

Spot the signs—they are unmistakeable....


Zero budget

Many leads may seem keen but they simply do not have the money to buy your product or service. This happens a lot. It really is best not to waste your time and expertise on them. However, it is a good idea to keep them on the back-burner for when and if they prosper and can afford you, which is when you renew your push.

Sitting on the fence

Prospects who cannot make up their mind to buy are among the most frustrating. Set a timeframe and stick to it. If they can’t decide to buy within this timeframe, cut your losses or you may find that they will give you the run-around indefinitely—all that time and effort that could have been better spent on more likely prospects.

Not your demographic

Define your target market first. Whatever it is you’re offering, from lift products to software as a service, you need to identify who will need your offering before you even soft-pitch them.  They must want and/or need it. If they don’t, then cut the cord.

Gatekeeper alert!

Always talk to the decision maker—the person who has the authority to purchase. It can be difficult to get past gatekeepers as their job is to answer cold calls and emails, with the intention of deflecting them. This is where your people skills come in as gatekeepers can be sweet-talked into putting you through to a decision maker. Just don’t waste too much time here.

Dead in the water

Flogging a dead horse is another term for when a prospect just isn’t—and isn’t ever going to be—that invested in you to buy from you. A major part of sales is about building customer relationships and some people just aren’t going to gel with you. Drop the lead and move on.

Contacting the dead

When it comes to business, communication is paramount and if the impetus is always one way, i.e. you’re doing all the legwork and no one ever comes back to you, then you more than likely have a dead lead. This can be because they are too busy or, as already mentioned, they just aren’t interested/invested. And avoiding you is often a polite way of saying "No," so get the hint and move on.


At the other end of the scale from avoidance is a firm, fair NO. This can be seen as a challenge, especially for the more stubborn salesperson, but straight talkers often say no and mean it. Take them at face value and drop them.


Likewise, if you are asked to go away—to not contact a lead anymore—then go away. These non-leads are more than likely to have clicked on ‘Unsubscribe’ anyway.

The Holy Grail

There are always dead leads that are accounts you covet—they’re a good fit for your offering and you just know you could deliver. If you must hang on, then plan your communications very carefully…
—What stopped them? If you’ve kept detailed records you will have an inkling why and be able to hone your approach accordingly. Find out exactly why and you will have more to go on.
—Who are they using instead of you? What’s their budget timetable?
—What’s their situation? Can you help? Why should they talk to you? What’s in it for them? Immerse yourself in their world and find out as much as you can about them—what challenges they have, from socio-economic to governmental. Using this knowledge, customise your communications to within an inch. Be careful—you want to nurture them gently into more negotiable terrain, so don’t overdo it!

Last but not least…

Monitor your lead list

Keep a firm eye on your leads and prune dead wood ruthlessly. This will leave you with a list of live leads, full of potential and worth investing your time, energy and expertise in, which all makes for optimal marketing automation.

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Do your digital marketing activities need the input of Breckenridge—a HubSpot Gold Agency and Google Partner? We’ll help you maximise your brand awareness, search engine optimisation (SEO), return on investment (ROI) and business growth.
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We’re inbound marketing, lead generation, sales enablement and growth strategy experts.