B2B Marketing Blog

Written by Lisa Shepherd
on October 22, 2019

Good lead generation means that your pipeline gets filled with leads that your sales team can pursue. But, there's a dark side to lead generation. There are prospects you DON'T want to market to or spend any time generating leads from, because they won't buy from you. They can be competitors or students doing research, or other people who benefit from your content - but they aren't going to be customers. As you build your email list through lead generation campaigns and content marketing, you'll start to accumulate these contacts in your database. Stop wasting money on these lead generation time sucks-1

That’s OK!  These people think your content is valuable.  (Also, these contacts are good for your search engine optimization because they drive traffic to your website.) But, understand that these 'leads' aren't real leads. They will not purchase from you and while they boost the traffic to your website, they are also artificially boosting your engagement results (or click through rate) and affecting the ROI from your lead generation campaigns. 

If you want a more accurate measurement of your lead generation efforts, understand who your non-ideal customers are. How do you know who these non-ideal customers are?  Here are some ways to detect these contacts in your email list after each campaign:


Know who wastes your time

Your sales team has a good understanding of which leads do not lead to a sale.  Ask them for details such as the title, industry or type of company that they can sell to and who wastes their time.  Watch out for leads that match the time wasters and don’t spend any time on lead generation campaigns that target them.


Watch for generic email addresses

Look for or similar generic emails with a corporate domain. This usually indicates someone who wants to remain anonymous. If the company is not in your target market you can continue to email them, but be aware they are inflating your lead generation campaign results. 

Next, research the owners of email addresses such as or to see if you can attribute the email address to an actual person who hopefully meets your criteria as an ideal customer. 


Watch how often they click on your email

Some of your contacts will click on every piece of content you produce but not engage with you in any other way. Additionally, engagement or clicks may suddenly drop off.  But the email doesn’t bounce so what's going on? Likely, interest moved on to something else. If these contacts don’t engage with you over a period of time, consider removing them from your list. This is a big job on a manual basis and marketing automation and the use of lead scoring helps this effort considerably. A manual effort means running simultaneous spreadsheets to track this.

Cleaning up your lists

As we’ve said, don’t delete the contacts who engage with you, as they do help your SEO.  But, now that you've gone through this exercise and removed the 'non-leads' from your  email database, it's time to build a plan to identify new leads that come in from your lead generation campaigns as positive, unknown or negative. How to do this?

  1. Add fields to your contact forms.

If you use marketing automation, it's easy to add progressive forms so that you can build the details of returning contacts as they repeatedly engage with you over time.  Progressive forms are not possible without marketing automation, so you will need to select one additional field very carefully.  Remember that each field added to a contact form increases the abandon rate so choose the field(s) that is most relevant to knowing your contact (title, company, industry, etc.)


  1. Develop a communication plan for these contacts.

Now that you know who your 'non-leads' are, put them into a separate list that you can communicate with (or NOT), as you choose. You may choose to continue to email them about your regular updates or new content releases but not include them in any more advanced marketing or special lead generation offers. 


  1. Ensure the sales team is informed that you have started to do this.

They can assist in your efforts by updating the database or informing you to do so. 


Once you have a thorough understanding of who might be lurking in your email database, it becomes easier to attribute the real results of your lead generation campaigns and make sense of what is really happening with conversions in your campaigns. 

For 8 lead generation best practices, download our whitepaper and take your company from lead generator to revenue generator.  Here are the key takeaways: 

  • Why generating leads, not buying them, is essential
  • Why more is not necessarily better
  • How to free up time for your sales reps 
  • How to drive revenue


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