Leads are vital if you want your company to succeed, but many businesses are losing leads regularly--without even realizing they're doing so. The problem, however, is rarely obvious, because lead generation relies on so many moving parts.

Your marketing team, sales team, and account reps need to work together to produce the best results, and any one hole in your process could result in a steady stream of lost leads.

Identifying the Pain Points

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective), many companies lose leads in the same ways. If you notice one or more of these pain points, you should be able to make the corrections necessary to improve your lead generation process--and your sales at the same time:

1. You aren't responding fast enough.

According to a study by MIT, "The odds of calling to contact a lead decrease by over 10 times in the first hour. The odds of qualifying a lead in 5 minutes versus 30 minutes drop 21 times. And from 5 minutes to 10 minutes the dial to qualify odds decrease 4 times."

To put this in perspective, that means responding to a lead in 5 minutes, rather than 30 minutes, will increase the likelihood of that lead entering your company's sales process by a factor of 21. How would your business revenue grow if you were able to increase your qualified leads 21 times over?

2. You aren't investigating your web traffic.

What's your conversion rate? One percent? Two percent? That's not bad for most industries, but it still leaves 98 percent of your traffic (or more) as untapped potential. These are companies and individuals who are clearly interested in what your site has to offer--but for whatever reason, they didn't fill out your contact forms.

It may seem like there's nothing you can do about this, but modern visitor identification tools can help you discover information about the traffic on your site. According to Adam Jankovits, CEO of B2B lead generation software Leadberry, the tool identifies "...B2B website visitors who might be sales prospects. We boost these leads up with contact details, company information, social data and visitor metrics, hence turning cold leads into hot ones."

It's a way to extract leads from your raw web traffic info--leads which would otherwise be entirely wasted.

3. You haven't segmented your leads.

How much time or effort do you spend filtering your leads down to the most relevant candidates? In the words of James Scherer of Wishpond, "An un-segmented marketing strategy is like trying to fire an uzi one-handed while facing away from the target. Bullets are going to go everywhere, spraying indiscriminately (and dangerously) around the room. Segmentation, on the other hand, is like lying down and resting a sniper rifle on a tripod, relaxing your body and breathing in and out - eye trained down the sight and with no pressure."

Whether you explicitly or implicitly segment your leads, it's important to distinguish your incoming prospects; not only will you save time by filtering out the least relevant prospects, you'll also have more information you can use to close the deal with the ones who stick around.

4. You're asking for too much.

How long is the form you're using to capture new leads? How much time does a prospect have to spend to complete the conversion? If you ask too much of your potential prospects, they're not going to stick around.

As a general rule, the fewer fields your form has, the better. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, such as if you're requesting the information in exchange for something valuable.

5. You're dealing with too many leads.

Finally, you may be losing leads simply because you have too many leads on your plate. It's exciting to have a full pool of leads, and a constant stream of new prospects rolling in, but that's not necessarily optimized for your business.

Remember, you have a limited number of salespeople, and they need to divide their time evenly between all your incoming leads. If they can't do this efficiently, you'll end up losing otherwise strong candidates. Make sure your lead volume is balanced with your current resources.

Making the Change

Making changes to your lead generation process requires coordination and cooperation from multiple departments, and a willingness to experiment. You can't expect overnight success, even with a proper diagnosis; but over time, your tweaks should eventually help you secure a more consistent lead flow--with fewer missed opportunities.