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Disqualifying Leads Without Alienating Them as Future Customers Part 1: The True Value of Non-Leads

Lead qualification is one of the most challenging top-to-mid funnel efforts in modern marketing. Naturally, you don't want to expend any real resources or valuable sales agent time on leads who are unable or unwilling to convert, but you also don’t want to alienate and forget about them either. That is where the art and strategy of disqualifying leads comes into play!

The Trend of Alienating Non-Leads

As an internet user yourself, no doubt you've seen this trend in action. You were maybe even a little bothered by it. The most common example is the gated content pop-up. The pop-up offers you some valuable insights for your email address with two possible buttons. One says "Yes! Teach me how to make my customers happy" and the other says "I don't care about the happiness of my customers"


What the heck? The brand may think it's being funny, but really they are alienating anyone who isn't ready to convert right at this very moment. In reality, this is not just a case of poor humor, it's also incredibly shortsighted. Today, we're here to share a few important insights on disqualifying leads without alienating them as future customers or people of alternate value to your company. 


Non-Leads are More Valuable Than They're Being Given Credit For

The thing that strikes us most when we see these shortsighted and often rude "joke" qualifications is that they seriously underestimate the value of a non-lead. So someone doesn't have the will, funds, or motivation to buy today. Does that mean that this person is useless to you from now until forever? So much so that you would disregard them with an insult? Of course not!


In today’s modern business environment, someone who isn't a lead isn't necessarily "valueless" to the company. In fact, you could be alienating someone who might have brought you accounts, become a customer in the future, or much more. Disqualified leads are being vastly underestimated.

Non-Leads Today Could Be Customers Tomorrow

Let's say that your automated lead qualification has identified that a current targeted lead does not have the budget or intent to buy. What about tomorrow, or next year? Many people go online to research purchases they plan to save up for, or decisions they will make in the middle-distant future. You hardly want to blow off someone who was carefully considering becoming a customer, but at a slower pace than you'd prefer.


People who are not leads today may come back after enjoying your site/blog,  building up funds, starting their business, or reallocating their budget. It's important to treat each non-lead as a valued customer, even if they do not become a customer right away.

Non-Leads Have Lead Friends and Colleagues

Non-leads are also human beings with friends and colleagues and bosses and family members who might become your customers on their recommendation. What if the lead was a parent researching what to allow their teen to purchase? Or someone who will not personally buy, but would recommend your brand to their coworkers or boss if they approve of what they find?


In this case, of course you want to treat non-leads with respect in hopes that they will tell others about a product or service that looks amazing, even if they are not personally ready to buy or may never buy for themselves.

Non-Leads Work for Decision-Maker Leads

Many B2B companies fixate on the idea that if they're not talking to a decision-maker with a budget, then a lead is trash or not worth the time of their automated marketing strategy or their sales team. This is one of the most short-sighted approaches to B2B marketing possible. Why? Because decision-makers are often too busy to spend the afternoon browsing your site and exploring your service options.


So they assign an assistant or a team member to do that research for them and report back. But if that non-decision-maker feels insulted at the end of their research run, they are not likely to recommend your product or service to the true decision-maker in the background. B2B non-leads are some of the most powerful non-buyers a company can encounter.

Non-Leads Could be Journalists, Talent Scouts, and Potential Business Partners

Last but certainly not least, is the fact that non-leads could have an entire community behind their opinion. Take it from experienced marketers. When a journalist or blog writer peruses your website and explores your services in-depth, they're not looking to buy, but their readers are. If your automated lead qualifying is insulting, alienating, or too gated to explore without joining a mailing list, then you're going to miss out on being featured. Or worse, you'll be negatively covered in their content instead.


Non-leads are so much more valuable than the latest automated marketing trends are treating them. When you think about it, the idea of disregarding disqualified leads, even in jest, is doing a disservice to an organization. Why would a modern brand with a social media following and a company's reputation to uphold want to alienate anyone? Why cut a slow decision-maker out of the funnel or insult a non-decision-maker when they might be reporting to their boss?


The simple answer is, with thought, you wouldn't. Join us next time for the second half of this two-part article where we'll cover the expert ways that automated marketing can be used to nurture non-leads instead of alienating them. Contact us today for more automated marketing insights or to consult on improving your brand's marketing approach for leads and non-leads alike.

More articles you might enjoy:

Disqualifying Leads Without Alienating Them as Future Customers - Part 2: Cultivating Non-Leads with Automated Marketing

5 Best Ways to Qualify Leads and Push them Down your Funnel

Qualify Leads to Close More Deals



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