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The Dumb Marketer & The Golden Goose

Maybe you recollect the fable of the golden goose… Every day, the goose lays a golden egg. Its greedy owner demands that the goose start laying two eggs a day. When the goose tells him she cannot, the owner kills the goose. The dimwitted owner’s desire for improved results literally kills off a reliable source of long-term gain.

I was reminded of that fable when I heard about some recent developments at a company that had its own golden goose of sorts…in lead cultivation. The story is all too real to be a fable, but there’s still a good moral lesson at the end.

This company had what seemed to be a solid web-based lead generation and nurturing system in place. It did a great job at filtering out unqualified leads by ensuring that the contacts that signed up were a real fit for what the company was selling. Naturally, it wasn’t perfect and there was room for improvement, but it worked very well.

Their system was focused on quality—not quantity. This business had a very long sales cycle and a huge pool of potential prospects. Unfortunately, many of them were either not a fit or simply tire kickers that would never turn into viable customers. It was imperative that the company not waste their time and energy on leads that weren’t going to pan out.

Then a dumb marketer came into the picture…

This guy was a new hire and the current lead cultivation system had been put into place long before he arrived. He seemed to have a need to put his mark on things and show some quick success. His grand idea? Increase the number of new leads.

He didn’t seem to understand the tradeoff of quantity versus quality—despite the warnings of others. He just wanted more people to signup and he was sure he could get more leads if he didn’t put website visitors through all of these “hurdles”. He asked the golden goose for more…and the golden goose delivered. Just days after rolling out his new “process” the company saw a 40% increase in new leads.

But how did he do it? All of the educational material that was on the website? Gone. The fact that visitors had to go a few pages deep to know what they were signing up for? Gone. The helpful signup form that actually got leads to classify their level of intent to aid the sales team? Gone.

The lead cultivation process that was working well before had been replaced with this dumb marketer’s vision—a new website with one big signup button on the homepage (no joke). To his credit, he certainly has more leads now. But what were “golden” leads before are anything but that now…

The moral of the story? You just might be able to get a lead cultivation golden goose to start producing more for you. But you probably won’t like what starts coming out of her backside.

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