Ok, picture this. Your new Google Ads campaign is going all-guns-blazing and generating leads for your services-based business. It’s generating more leads than you’ve experienced before, but whilst you’re very busy, you have yet to notice an uptick in your revenues.

Does this sound familiar at all?

We recently worked with an established building supplier that had grown to £20m EBITA but wanted an extra boost as it struggled to accelerate growth beyond this level. In growth terms, it had hit a brick wall. (pun intended)

After working with us for 2 months, the new paid search campaign we set up and generating 100+ high-quality leads every month. They were delighted initially, but when they reviewed the campaign’s impact on their business - they were disappointed.

The additional leads represented a 50% increase in volume, but the revenues remained steady at £20m.


Paid search campaigns allow businesses to reach high-intent prospective customers right when making buying decisions relating to services and products. Out of all the channels in digital marketing, it’s the most efficient, transparent and cost-effective one for attracting new customers, irrespective of industry.

It’s usually a solid source of high-quality, quick turnaround leads.

We’re going to make a few assumptions in this article >

(i) You had an accredited professional set up a Google Ads Campaign.

(ii) You have a website or landing page that supports your campaign.

(iii) Your conversion tracking is on-point.

If all of the above points are accurate, then the problem is elsewhere, or as I would say, ’the call is coming from inside the house!’.

Details, please!

For our new client mentioned above, the problem was easily identifiable. When we examined the leads our campaign was generating, they were clearly good quality.

The form submissions contained accurate contact information and detailed enquiries.

The telephone calls (recorded using CallRail) were from real UK telephone numbers, from real people (not bots), and they contained requests for information relating to real-sounding projects.

Winner, winner, Chicken-dinner - right?

Not quite. So, we looked a little deeper when the business was still adamant that the leads weren’t converting. We looked at the sales team’s response to the enquiries - even listening to the recorded calls and reviewing the email chain from the forms.

We discovered that the sales process they had implemented for existing customers needed to be revised for new customers. The sales team had been trained to request an email describing their requirements, and for each telephone call they received, the salesperson actively told them to hang up and email them instead (!)

This process may have worked well enough for their existing or returning customers, but it simply fell flat on its face for converting prospective customers.

9 out of 10 times, the caller never submitted a form, and I can only imagine they tried calling a competitor for a better experience or faster turnaround.

But what about the form submissions?

Prospective customers who submitted a form with their requirements did a great job describing their projects and core requirements. These prospective customers, unfortunately, had to wait a considerable length of time to receive a response from the sales team > usually over 24 hours. Sometimes days would go by without a reply.

In this case, the business could start capturing more revenue from these prospective customers after a few minor changes to the sales process. For this business, the potential order value of these enquiries was around £4m.

Converting just 5% of these leads would result in an uptick of £200k of revenue for just a spend of £9 per lead.

What else could stop a business from converting prospective customers to paying customers?

From the above client, we can see there are a few changes that can result in extraordinary results.

Working with 100’s of small businesses over the years we’ve seen plenty of ways some companies can accidentally negatively impact the sales process - from making the customer do too much of the heavy lifting to ignoring the customers until they contact a competitor.

Usually, in most cases, it’s down to one or several of the issues below >

1. The introduction of obstacles

When a prospective customer contacts a business, this experience must be positive and barrier-free. It’s a crucial moment in the sales process as the prospective customer is in buying mode - seeking someone to deliver a solution to their problem. When they are in this mode, you want to solve it for them there and then - or at least promise the answer for them there and then.

Stopping this conversation in its tracks by withdrawing from the conversion or suggesting they email you their enquiry instead is a no-go. From the customer’s perspective, it makes it feel like you’re difficult to work with, or the delivery of the solution they seek will be prohibitively challenging if they want it from you.

2. Sloow response times

As mentioned above, when prospective customers contact you, they are looking at solving their problem right there, and then - it’s at the front of their mind, and they need to do something about it.

When you receive a form submission, treat it like a telephone call. Jump on it straight away - 15 minutes is too late! Within seconds you want to respond (calling them would be perfect) because every second you leave, it is a second longer they have to think about using your competitors. Given the nature of the internet, a competitor is only a click away.

If you get in there quickly enough, the chances of them seeking a competing quote will diminish to nothing.

3. Using the wrong tool for the job

Email is great, but it’s a tool, and we use tools for the right job. For responding to prospective customers, the telephone is the better tool for the job.


  • It’s faster (you can get replies quicker).
  • It’s easier to discuss and understand their requirements.
  • It builds relationships faster (builds empathy faster).
  • It allows you to address in real-time any concerns (vocal or non-vocal) they may have.


The takeaway is that a prospective customer is the only way a small business can grow. If you’re fortunate enough to have prospective customers calling or submitting sales enquiries, treat them like gold dust and hover them up as quickly as possible because who knows? Perhaps they won’t be there tomorrow or even in a few minutes.

Are your prospective customers smiling after speaking with you?