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What’s your lead-generation system up to?

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Recently, I got an email from a customer relationship management (CRM) provider about a free e-book on the social sales revolution. It piqued my curiosity. Before I knew it, I was registering to download it. At the time, I was interested only in learning; I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I didn’t want to be someone’s “lead.” (Sound familiar?)

But, based on the email I received just a few short minutes later, you’d think I was one hot prospect.


I noticed that you have recently been on our website taking a look at some information. Many customers who have taken this initial step have found it extremely valuable to set up a brief 10-minute call with me to answer any questions they have and learn how our different products and services could bring value to their specific situations.

This typically helps shorten your evaluation process and gives you exactly the information you need to help make any comparisons or decisions. What is the best way to get 10 minutes on your calendar in the near future?

Wait a minute. We had a major disconnect here. I simply signed up for an interesting e-book and suddenly they’ve got me in the midst of a CRM decision?

Exactly 34 minutes after the initial message, the next message arrived. Apparently, since I hadn’t immediately responded to the first email, they decided to try again.

Hi Jill,

Thank you for your interest in I am unable to reach you at: 123-456-7890. Is there a better number to reach you at? Please let me know if it makes sense to connect. I would be happy to lend you a hand to further evaluate

Alternatively, if you don’t see a need for us to connect, please let me know that as well.

Then, just two minutes later, I heard from the company again. At this point, they were really starting to get serious with me. They wanted to know about my current CRM systems, issues, challenges and decision timelines.

Can you believe this email?

Hi Jill,

If you feel more comfortable communicating via email, please take a moment to answer the questions listed below. To provide you with the best overall customer experience, it is important for us to understand your specific business needs and objectives.

  • Thanks again for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
  • What is your current CRM system?
  • What challenges are you facing with your current system?
  • How do you envision using (Sales, marketing, customer service, support?)
  • Ideally, what are you looking for the CRM to do for your company?
  • How many users do you envision using the application?
  • What other CRM solutions are you looking at?
  • What is your timeline for implementation?
  • What is your HQ address?
  • How many full time employees do you have?

Thanks, Jill!

And to think all this started because I downloaded an e-book on the social sales revolution! I expressed no interest in CRM systems, yet they were pursuing me as if I were in the midst of a major decision.

Unfortunately, many companies are deciding to set up their automated lead-generation systems in this way. They’re misconstruing people’s intentions and ticking them off. I can’t imagine that that was their ultimate goal, yet that’s exactly what happened.

The key to a strong lead-generation campaign is to have an in-depth understanding of your prospect’s world and what info she needs in order to make a good business decision. There are certain things you can to do to increase her interest and commitment to change. However, if you do something at the wrong time—such as ask for a meeting before she is ready—you will destroy any hope that she will ever become your client.

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Jill Konrath is the author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies. If you’re struggling to set up meetings, click here to get a free Prospecting Tool Kit.