Make It Loud Blog

Advice and Knowledge from EXPERTS

Do You Have A Lead Management System?

Everyone wants more- more phone calls, more contact forms, more customers, and more money.

What most people don’t realize is that there is a pathway that customers follow from the very first inkling that they need you all the way down to them paying you for your services.

There are many different points where things can go horribly wrong. Some of these things, we all talk about, but there’s one part where most “marketeers” dare to go.

This post is about the tail end of that process. It’s about how your marketing engine is working. You’re getting contact forms and phone calls, but still, something on your end is going horribly wrong.

Sabotage On The Front End

There are dozens of ways your marketing can fail on the front end.

By the front end, we mean what you actually do to draw in more customers. About the time we feel like we’ve seen it all, someone else walks into our shop and shows us some sort of new horror story.

Your website is your digital front door. It’s where your potential customer gets an initial look and feel about your business. As one of the oldest web design firms in Gwinnett, we’ve seen some websites that are just plain terrible.

There are sites that are old and outdated, but then, there are the sites that are just plain ugly. We don’t take any pleasure in telling a business owner that their site’s ugly, but we’ll do it. It’s about their livelihood after all. That’s we emphasize good web design.

But, once you have a nice-looking, conversion-friendly website, what are you doing to drive traffic to it? There are things that can go wrong there as well. Just because you have a website doesn’t mean anyone is seeing it.

Some of the main digital marketing tactics that businesses use to drive traffic to their site include:

  • Google Business Profile
  • SEO
  • Google Adwords
  • Facebook Advertising
  • Social Media Posting
  • Email Marketing
  • Content Marketing

There are tons of things that can go wrong with each of these.

Some examples of things that can go wrong on the front side include:

  • Not completely filling out your Google Business Profile
  • Not responding to reviews on this platform
  • SEO nerds promising the moon for cheap then not doing the work
  • SEO that doesn’t include at least some content writing
  • Google ads point to the homepage rather than a dedicated landing page specifically built for that ad.
  • Not having a targeted landing page for their Facebook Ads
  • Posting on social media channels too infrequently and randomly
  • Not utilizing the social media channels that have their target market. (Basically, spending time in their favorite social media channels but not the ones their customers use)
  • Not taking the time to build your email list which means you’re sending emails out to thin air.
  • Not blogging when you should.
  • Not using your blogs as content for your email marketing.

We could go on and on.

But, what if you have everything in place. What if you’ve built a marketing engine that’s humming along great. You’re getting calls and contact forms, but the sales aren’t happening.

You have what’s called a conversion problem.

What’s A Conversion Problem?

In the digital marketing world, a conversion is defined by a potential customer coming to your website and completing the task you want- calling you, filling out your contact form, buying something, donating, etc. That’s what marketing nerds call a “win.”

Business owners count that as well, but what they really call conversion is when that person writes a check, hands over their credit card or cash. That’s a real-world conversion. This is a distinct difference

The truth is that much can go wrong between the time the prospect signals a desire to buy and the actual buying process.

Think of the classic e-commerce example where you decide you want to buy something and the checkout process is so cumbersome that you abandon the cart and go to the competitor.

For businesses that aren’t dealing with e-commerce, there’s still a lot that can go wrong.

Examples of Self-Sabotage In Business

Years ago, we built a site for a plumber who wanted to specialize in water heater repair. He asked us to do SEO on his site and things were going swimmingly.

His site was climbing up the search results like a fireman rescuing a baby. His site went from total obscurity to ranking in most of the local cities where he wanted to work.

After a few months, he said he wasn’t getting calls. It didn’t make any sense. We knew the search volume numbers for his most relevant keywords. People were searching for what he provided. So, why wasn’t he getting calls?

We stepped back and look at his site critically to see if we were missing something from a conversion standpoint. We even did some surveying to get other opinions. The site had testimonials, social proof, credibility, etc.

Then, one of our guys woke up one day to find his hot water heater had sprung a big leak. He quickly got it under control and called our client for help. He got a voicemail, so he left a message.

We’re still waiting for that call to be returned.

Then, it dawned on us, our client rarely returned phone calls. We tested our theory and called him at several points during the day. He was nearly impossible to reach- and we were trusted vendors! Imagine what customers thought and did.

Here’s a professional tip: if you own a business, answer the phone!

We see it in our own industry. Every 3 months or so, a client hires us and tells us that he did so because A) He liked what we told him and B) We returned his phone call.


We had an HVAC company that hired us to do Google Adwords to bring in more customers for him. We used the word “reliable” in some of the ads (which turned out to be some of the highest converting).

After several months of consistent 90 degrees plus weather here in Atlanta, the client called us and yelled at us because he was getting calls from people who thought they were calling a larger HVAC company.

I explained to him that while this wasn’t entirely ideal, it did present an opportunity for him. The conversation went something like this:

“So, they’re calling you thinking that they’re getting this larger HVAC company, right?”


“What do these people want?”

“The other company!”

“Ok, but what do these people need?”

“Um, well, I guess they want their air conditioners fixed.”

“Well, do you know anybody who can do that?”

Ok, I didn’t really say that last part, but we did have a very frank conversation about the fact that while it wasn’t perfect that these people were calling the wrong HVAC company, there was a huge opportunity to sell them.

The point here is that most people don’t have a personal relationship with their HVAC guy, and when it’s 98 degrees outside and 104 degrees inside, my hypothesis is that most people don’t care nearly as much about which HVAC company they’re talking to as they do their air gets fixed.

We educated him about this and encouraged him to move beyond the question of which company they had called and begin asking them what their issue was. From there, he could help them understand that he could afford to do the job much cheaper than the other company and when would they like him to come by?

The professional tip here is: always try to sell someone who calls you. Chances are, they’re calling you for the very thing you provide.

“It’s About The Leads!”

It’s been our experience (and surprise) over the years that there are many business owners out there who don’t pay enough attention to their leads.

The point here is that if you’re investing in various marketing vehicles to bring customers in, pay particular attention to how those leads are handled from the minute they are received to the minute they hand you money.

There are times when receptionists leave people on hold too long, drop calls or leave post it notes where they can be ignored. Have a system in place for your business where those inbound leads are treated exactly how they should be- like found money.

Lead mismanagement is a real thing in business and it can completely and totally sabotage your entire marketing.

Of course, guess who gets blamed for that?

Just as nobody wants to blame themselves when things go wrong, it’s rare that a business owner stops to consider their own lead management process. It’s so much easier to blame the marketing company instead.

Plus, it takes a certain amount of intestinal fortitude on behalf of the marketing company to ask, “Can you walk me through how your leads are being handled currently when they come in?”

But, that’s a really important question. It’s not about blame or shifting fault. It’s about closing the gaps on a very important leak in the system. Like most leaks, it’s costing big money.

Most reputable digital marketing agencies out there want the absolute best for their clients. Paying attention to lead management is an often-overlooked aspect of the marketing efforts that can lead to significant losses. It’s not that it’s a poor reflection on the marketing. It’s simply bad for the business.

author avatar
Cliff Tillery COO
Cliff Tillery, MBA is the Chief Operating Officer and SEO Director at Make It Loud which is a digital marketing firm located outside of Atlanta Georgia. More than 15 years ago, he started search engine optimization at this award-winning agency and has taught digital marketing skills to interns and new employees, business owners at the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, the Gwinnett Entrepreneur Center, and other groups.
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