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15 of the Best Free Website Builders to Check Out in 2023

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15 of the Best Free Website Builders to Check Out in 2023

In today’s digital world, having a business website isn’t an option. It’s a must.

An online presence is the digital equivalent of a calling card or listing on a phone book’s yellow pages. It increases brand awareness and allows you to display products and services online.

Unfortunately, not all businesses see the benefit of having a website. A survey commissioned by Top Design Firms found that 27% of small businesses don’t have one — and the top reasons holding them back from getting one are cost and lack of technical know-how.

Learn More About HubSpot's CMS with Free Web Hosting

But here’s the good news: there are plenty of high-quality options for free website builders, many of which require little to no coding knowledge. 

If you don’t know where to look, don’t worry. We’ve compiled 14 of the best free website builders. They offer robust functionality like SEO benefits, embedded analytics systems, mobile optimization, and professional-looking templates. 

These builders are the next best thing if you’re on a tight budget. Better yet? Most of the free website builders we’ll show you have paid options if you need additional features as your business grows.

1. HubSpot Drag-and-Drop Website Builder

HubSpot’s free website builder homepage.Designing a beautifully branded website doesn’t have to be complicated. If you’re taking the DIY-route to create your own website and don’t have coding experience, consider trying HubSpot’s drag-and-drop website builder.

It comes with everything you need to build a website, including content management system (CMS) tools, themes and templates, security features, and a built-in content delivery network (CDN) to ensure pages load quickly.

It also connects easily with HubSpot CRM. That lets you integrate contact forms, live chat requests, and more, making it ideal for businesses already using HubSpot’s CRM tool.

Features:

Advantages:  

  • Personalization (thanks to HubSpot CRM)
  • Security
  • Responsive themes and templates

Disadvantages:

  • Multi-language blog functionality is still being implemented
  • No built-in e-commerce functionality
  • You’ll need to learn HuBL (HubSpot’s templating language) to build custom modules and coded templates.

Pricing: Limited free plan available. The premium CMS plans with additional features start at $23/month when billed annually.

Brands using HubSpot:

2. Wix

Wix’s free website builder homepage.

With over 200 million users, Wix is one of the most popular free website builders. The easy-to-use, fully-hosted platform offers an easy drag-and-drop editor, an extensive collection of apps, and professional-looking templates. Wix can even propose a design for your site using its Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) software, Editor X.

Features:

  • Drag-and-drop editor
  • Large collection of apps and templates
  • Analytics and reporting

Advantages:

  • Easy to use
  • Large collection of apps and templates
  • Optimized for mobile

Disadvantages:

  • The free version displays ads.
  • The premium plans are pricey when compared to others on this list.
  • Unable to switch templates when the site goes live. The only way to change templates is by creating a new site and transferring your premium plan to it. 

Pricing: Limited free plan available. Premium plans start at $16/month when billed annually.

Brands using Wix:

3. WordPress.com

WordPress’s free website builder homepage.

WordPress is the world’s most popular free website builder, with a 43% market share in the content management space. When building websites with WordPress, you have two options: WordPress.org and WordPress.com. 

WordPress.org lets you download WordPress’s open-source software so you can build and customize a website to fit your needs. However, there are a few caveats. Not only will you need a domain name and hosting before you get the website going (which comes at a cost), but you’ll also need to learn how to maintain and keep the website secure on your own.

In contrast, WordPress.com is much more beginner-friendly. It’s a fully-hosted free website building service offered by Automattic that uses the WordPress framework to provide a smooth website creation experience.

The only downside is that the free version is far less customizable than WordPress.org. For instance, you can’t customize plugins, and domain names are limited to [yourname].wordpress.com.

Still, WordPress.com’s free version empowers you to create visually stunning websites, blogs, and landing pages using the Classic Editor or the powerful new Gutenberg block-based editor. Below is an example of one of its pre-designed block-based templates:

Besides that, you can add assets like contact forms, videos, and embedded content to WordPress pages using plugins, an add-on feature compatible with WordPress but usually managed by another company. 

For example, HubSpot offers a WordPress marketing plugin that lets you capture contacts through WordPress and track them in HubSpot’s free CRM.

Features:

  • Large collection of themes and plugins
  • Mobile-friendly and optimized for SEO
  • Managed website hosting and security

Advantages:

  • Customizable
  • Flexible
  • Mobile and desktop apps available

Disadvantages:

  • The free version displays ads.
  • More limitations compared to WordPress.org
  • Although intuitive, it’s more difficult to learn than other drag-and-drop builders.

Pricing: Limited free plan available. Premium plans start at $16/month when billed annually.

Brands using WordPress.com:

4. Elementor Website Builder

Elementor’s free website builder homepage.

While WordPress makes site building beginner-friendly, WordPress page builders make refining your website and achieving your dream design easier.

Trusted by over 5,000,000 users, Elementor is a no-code drag-and-drop page builder that’s a great option for getting a customized WordPress site off the ground quickly. Choose from hundreds of mobile-optimized page templates without worrying about the underlying code.

Features:

  • Drag-and-drop builder
  • Live editing
  • Large library of mobile-responsive templates
  • Multiple partners building templates and add-ons for Elementor (e.g., Astra)

Advantages: 

  • Beginner-friendly
  • Live editing
  • Third-party integrations

Disadvantages:

Pricing: Limited free plan available. Premium plans start at $49/year (without hosting).

Brands using Elementor:

5. Webnode

Webnode’s free website builder homepage.

With over 40 million users, Webnode is one of the more popular website builder tools for a good reason. It’s affordable, easy to use, and supports multilingual websites — up to 20 different languages.

Webnode is perfect for personal, professional, and small business websites, as it supports e-commerce stores.

Features:

  • Pre-designed templates
  • Ecommerce support
  • Mobile-ready

Advantages: 

  • Multilingual support
  • Mobile-responsive pages
  • Backup and restore features

Disadvantages:

  • Webnode doesn’t come with a built-in app store, making it more complicated to add extra functionality to the website
  • Limited customization options
  • Limited blog and e-commerce functionality

Pricing:Limited free plan available. Premium plans start at $3.90/month when billed annually.

Brands using Webnode:

6. Jimdo

Jimdo’s free website builder homepage.Founded in 2007, Jimdo is a German-based company that provides AI-powered website builder tools for independent small businesses. The builder, Dolphin, asks users questions and suggests designs based on their answers. If you’re curious about what these AI-powered designs look like, Jimdo showcases a few examples on its page.

With 500 MB of space, you’ll likely have more than enough space to build your site, and it even provides HTTPS/SSL encryption, meaning your visitor’s information will be kept safe. Plus, you can integrate your site seamlessly with social media accounts. 

Jimdo is also an excellent option for international companies because it lets you create mobile-optimized websites in over nine languages. 

Features:

  • AI-powered website builder
  • SSL encryption
  • GDPR-compliant
  • Mobile app available

Advantages:

  • Easy to use
  • Mobile-responsive
  • Fast load speeds

Disadvantages:

  • Limited range of available features
  • Few design options

Pricing: Limited free plan available. Premium plans start at $9/month when billed annually.

Brands using Jimdo:

7. Mozello

Mozello’s free website builder homepage.

Mozello has all the basic features you need to build a website: a drag-and-drop editor, template library, and even supports ecommerce functionality. One of the biggest selling points for Mozello is that the builder allows you to create a multilingual site for free.

You can check samples of websites built on Mozello on its portfolio page.

Features:

  • Drag-and-drop website builder
  • Template library

Advantages: 

  • Easy to use
  • Support for multilingual websites
  • Ecommerce functionality

Disadvantages:

  • The drag-and-drop builder isn’t as intuitive as some others on this list.
  • Limited design customization
  • The free version displays ads

Pricing: Limited free plan available. Premium plans start at $8/month when billed annually.

Brands using Mozello:

8. Yola

Yola’s free website builder homepage.

Founded in 2007, Yola is a free website builder built to eliminate the hassle of creating a website. 

It comes with a drag-and-drop builder, hundreds of customizable and mobile-optimized templates, and pre-designed blocks that allow you to create all kinds of websites — even online shops. 

Features:

  • Drag-and-drop website builder
  • Free customizable templates
  • Support for multilingual websites

Advantages: 

  • Ecommerce features available
  • Social selling features
  • Mobile-optimized

Disadvantages:

  • No blogging feature
  • The free version displays ads
  • Navigation and design limitations

Pricing: Limited free plan available. Premium plans start at $4/month when billed annually.

Brands using Yola:

9. Weebly

Weebly’s free website builder homepage.

Weebly is an open-source software-as-a-service (SaaS) that offers web hosting, domain registration, web design, and e-commerce functions, making it suitable for businesses and startups. For a free website builder, Weebly’s particularly flexible — it’s compatible with every device and platform and easy to use.

Like Wix, Weebly has drag-and-drop functionality, an integrated CMS solution, and hand-coded HTML files. The in-house editor comes with SEO tools and Google Analytics. 

Features:

  • Drag-and-drop editor
  • Integrated CMS solution
  • Free SSL certificate
  • SEO tools
  • Analytics and reporting

Advantages: 

  • Helpful SEO resource tools
  • Good selection of paid and free apps in the app center
  • The free plan has e-commerce functionality

Disadvantages:

Pricing: Limited free plan available. Premium plans start at $6/month when billed annually.

Brands using Weebly:

10. Webflow

Webflow’s free website builder homepage.

While most of the other builders in this list are for people without a ton of coding knowledge, Webflow specifically targets advanced users, designers, and agencies that require a solution that gives them more design freedom than traditional website builder tools.

Although it’s a complex tool, Webflow tries to make it as easy as possible to get your business online. Webflow has a robust set of resources to help you — blog posts, forums, FAQ sections, and a library of websites built on Webflow that you can check for reference.

Features:

  • Drag-and-drop website builder
  • Widgets to add features like maps and media
  • Third-party integrations

Advantages:

  • Offers complete control over your site’s design
  • Drag-and-drop what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) builder
  • Responsive interface

Disadvantages:

  • Purely a website builder. After building a website on Webflow, you need to transfer it to a content management system.
  • Requires some knowledge of HTML and CSS to access full features
  • It has a complex free and paid plan structure. You need to sign up for both a Site and Workspace plan.

Pricing: Limited free plan available. Premium plans start at $12/month when billed annually.

Brands using Webflow:

11. Ucraft

Ucraft’s free website builder homepage.

Ucraft is one of the more advanced and generous website builders on the list. Like the others, it’s got a drag-and-drop editor, a good selection of templates, and supports e-commerce functionality. 

However, Ucraft stands out because it lets you connect an existing custom domain name with its free plan. It also comes with an SSL certificate and unlimited storage. Ucraft’s portfolio page shows sample websites built by its clients.

Features:

  • Drag-and-drop editor
  • Free hosting
  • Ecommerce functionality

Advantages: 

  • Allows you to connect an existing domain name for free
  • Decent selection of free templates
  • Includes SSL and unlimited storage on free plans

Disadvantages:

  • Sporadic loading issues and bugs. 
  • It has a steeper learning curve than most website builders on this list. 

Pricing: Limited free plan available. Premium plans start at $10/month when billed annually.

Brands using Ucraft:

12. SITE123

SITE123’s free website builder homepage.

True to its name, SITE123 lets you build a website in as easy as one, two, and three steps. After setting it up with a one-click installation wizard, you can customize your SITE123 website with a free library of images, graphics, and templates.

Moreover, SITE123 offers web hosting, domain registration, and 250 MB of storage space, so you won’t feel pressured to switch to a paid plan.

Features:

  • Free hosting and domain
  • Mobile-responsive design
  • Free image and icons library

Advantages: 

  • Easy to use
  • Multilingual support
  • 24/7 tech support

Disadvantages:

  • No drag-and-drop function
  • Limited storage on the free plan
  • Lacks advanced customization features

Pricing: Limited free plan available. Premium plans start at $5.80/month when billed annually.

Brands using SITE123:

13. Strikingly

Strikingly’s website builder tool homepage.

Launched in 2012, Strikingly is one of the newer website builder tools on the list. It helps users build websites with no programming skills required and sets itself apart from competitors by specializing in single-page websites such as portfolios, event pages, or landing pages.

The free plan includes unlimited free sites, a modest 5 GB monthly bandwidth, 500MB storage, and a branded domain.

Features:

  • Library of mobile-optimized templates
  • Ecommerce tools
  • Analytics

Advantages: 

  • An affordable option for those who want to create multiple sites
  • Best for creating single-page websites
  • Responsive support team

Disadvantages:

  • No drag-and-drop function
  • Limited SEO functionality

Pricing: Limited free plan available. Premium plans start at $8/month when billed annually. 

Brands using Strikingly:

14. GoDaddy

GoDaddy’s free website builder homepage.

While GoDaddy is a brand synonymous with affordable web hosting and domains, it’s expanded its offerings to include an all-in-one website builder tool for beginners and small business owners that have purchased hosting and domains. 

The website builder is basic, but it has everything you need to build a functional website, including a drag-and-drop editor, simple and clean templates, an SSL certificate, and social media tools.

Features:

  • Drag-and-drop website builder
  • Marketing and analytics dashboard
  • 24/7 customer support

Advantages: 

  • All-in-one solution
  • Easy to use
  • Mobile-optimized
  • Fast page load speeds

Disadvantages: 

  • Limited SEO features
  • Limited app store features
  • Having your own web hosting and domain carries an initial cost

Pricing: Limited free plan — upgrade features at your own pace. Premium plans start at $9.99/month when billed annually.

Brands using GoDaddy:

15. Appy Pie Website

appy pie website builder

Appy Pie’s website builder has a drag-and-drop interface that allows you to create well-designed, highly functional, and professional websites without any coding skills or programming knowledge. With Appy Pie’s Website Builder, you can create many websites for any purpose, including social media, salons, or real estate. 

All the websites created using Appy Pie website builder are lightweight, fast, and secure to ensure a better user experience and complete customer satisfaction. And since they consume low data, all Appy Pie websites can deliver content without any internet connectivity. 

Appy Pie has a ton of ready-to-use templates, design themes, and a visual library to make it easy for users to develop websites at competitive prices. In addition, the Appy Pie Website Builder also provides a rich library of frequently asked questions and video tutorials so that you can easily tackle most of the issues without them having to call customer support.

Features:

  • No code website development tool
  • Thousands of pre-built templates and designs
  • Cross-platform accessibility

Advantages: 

  • Scalability
  • Reusability
  • Integrability

Disadvantages: 

  • No advanced settings for pro users
  • Dependence on external services
  • Closed development code

Pricing: Limited free plan. Premium plans start at $18/month

Brands using Appy Pie Website:

Website Builder Features You Need

Choosing a website builder tool is easier when you know what you’re looking for. Here are 14 features to look out for:

1. Themes and Templates

Having an assortment of fully customizable website themes and templates on the website builder’s theme marketplaces makes it easier for users to change their site’s look.

In that sense, website builders should have theme options that cater to specific niches so users don’t waste time creating new templates from scratch. For example, the website builders on our list have options for blogs, portfolio websites, e-commerce websites, and more. 

Templates should be pre-structured and pre-populated with images, text, and other elements commonly found on pages like the Homepage, About page, or Contact page. All you need to do is pick one and replace the sample content with your own.

Themes and templates should be easy to customize — with multiple options for backgrounds, layouts, fonts, and colors.

2. Media (Video, Photo, Audio, Graphics)

Solely having text on your website can be monotonous, so including different forms of media helps break up text and can help information stick because not everyone learns the same way. A website with no visual content is like walking into a vacant restaurant. Fill out your website with highly engaging multimedia content and graphics to support vital information, engage users and drive traffic. 

You can easily bring your website to life using visual aids and mediums like stock photos, vector images, background images, stock video footage, sound effects, and video editing templates. There are tons of websites that provide media resources that are free to use for content. Freepik is a well-known website that provides illustrations and images. Many sites also incorporate icons into their sites like within the call-to-actions and resources sections. Flaticon is a great source of icons. Using these resources will transform your website into something memorable and visually appealing while also providing a user-friendly experience.

Some website builders offer more robust media capabilities, with multiple gallery layouts, customization options, and editing features.

3. WYSIWYG Editor

Besides an assortment of themes and templates, the best website builder tools make it easy for users to customize their websites with drag-and-drop tools and what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) editors.

There’s no need to learn how to code when you can update your site in a few clicks. Simply drag-and-drop elements to the page and see the changes implemented to your website immediately.

4. Malware Scanning

Security is a top consideration when choosing a website builder.

Security features vary depending on the website builder tool you select, but consider it a keeper if it offers malware scanning. Automated malware scanning allows you to address threats before it progresses into something catastrophic proactively.

5. Web Application Firewall (WAF)

A web application firewall (WAF) is another must-have security feature.

It often sits between your web server and the internet to protect your website from common attacks like SQL injections and cross-site scripting (XSS) by filtering, monitoring, and blocking malicious traffic from entering the network. 

WAFs can come in the form of software-as-a-service (SaaS), and you can customize them to meet your website’s unique needs. 

6. Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Besides site security, you should also consider optimizing for page speed. After all, it affects everything from customer experience to conversions and revenue.

According to Portent, a site that loads in one second has a conversion rate 5x higher than a site that loads in 10 seconds.

There are many ways to improve page speed, and a content delivery network (CDN) is one way to do it. CDNs store heavy and static content on distributed servers located worldwide and load the cached content from a location nearest to the user to speed up its delivery.

7. Web Hosting

What good are website builders when they can’t get your website online?

Some solutions only offer website builder tools to build your site — you have to pay separately for web hosting services to get your site online.

The best website builders make it convenient to start websites by offering web hosting. Free website builders offer limited bandwidth and storage — just for personal use. You can upgrade to shared, dedicated, or managed hosting for an additional fee.

8. Storage

Web hosting works by providing two services: bandwidth and disk space (or storage).

Most free website builders offer ample (limited) storage for a beginner site but require you to purchase additional storage should you need it.

9. Blogs

People often confuse websites and blogs with each other — they’re similar but not the same. 

A blog is a type of website that contains information about different topics. They’re often updated with new articles or posts, while websites only receive updates when needed. In a nutshell, all blogs are websites, but not all websites are or have blogs.

Organizations build websites for different reasons: to sell, showcase a portfolio, or inform — and for those reasons, a blog can be helpful.

Blogs can help your website by:

  • Increasing visibility through SEO
  • Generating new leads
  • Building trust and loyalty
  • Creating brand awareness

Most free website builders come with basic blogging tools and post creation and comment management features.

10. SEO Capabilities

According to BrightEdge, 53% of traffic comes from organic search.

If you want to bring in more traffic and views, your website needs to be search engine-optimized.

Most website builders help with technical SEO by offering free SSL certificates and supporting schema markup and XML sitemaps. They also support on-page SEO by allowing you to enter and modify URLs, meta tags, and image alt attributes. 

11. Customer Support

While using website builder tools, you’ll likely run into a problem you can’t troubleshoot. That is where customer support comes in.

Customer support assists you with anything you need help with — technical, sales, billing, payments, or experiences. Depending on the website builder, assistance can come in any (or a mix) of the following channels:

The best website builders keep a mix of channels and answer inquiries promptly.

12. E-commerce Capabilities

Are you planning on selling physical or digital products in the future? Consider choosing a website builder tool with e-commerce capabilities.

There are dedicated e-commerce website builders, but these are often paid solutions with robust functionality such as apps for payment and shipping. 

Free website builders often integrate with a third-party e-commerce application or support a simple built-in store.

13. Third-party Integrations

There’s nothing worse than realizing your existing tech stack doesn’t work with the website builder you chose. Thus, it’s crucial to consider whether a website builder allows third-party integrations.

Your website builder should integrate with external tools, such as email marketing, e-commerce, and social software.

14. Analytics and Reporting

Your website builder should also have an analytics and reporting function to measure important metrics like the site’s popular pages, bounce rate, average duration per visit, and more.

Alternatively, you can track your website metrics in an analytics and reporting tool. When you bring your web analytics together with other key funnel metrics like trials or activation rate onto a dashboard, you give everyone on your team the ability to explore your data and uncover insights.

Picking Your Website Builder

There you have it! Since most of these website builders are free, try out a couple if you’re unsure of the best fit. In particular, take note of what you really want to get out of your site to ensure your needs will be met by one of these builders.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2018 but was updated in October 2019 for comprehensiveness.

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

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To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

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Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

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So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

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  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

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So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

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The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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