Why Gated Content and Lead Forms Are Killing Sales

Dave Gerhardt, Marketing Lead at Drift.com, joins the Content Pros Podcast to discuss his revolutionary approach to marketing: killing gated content, removing lead forms, and nurturing sales outside of the traditional funnel method.

In This Episode:

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Full Episode Details

Dave Gerhardt - InstagramFree Content For All

Imagine a world where all marketing content was free… nobody had to fill out long lead sheets and gates to content were a thing of the past.

Does that make your skin crawl? Give you a tight feeling in your chest? Have you already pushed back on the idea based on the fact that it’s simply just not done?

Dave is here to crash a Drift wrecking ball right through your notions of traditional marketing. Drift has truly turned the process upside down by making all of their content free and accessible to all. You can still subscribe to their blog, but even those leads are not immediately put into a sales funnel. Instead, they go into a workflow of human interaction where they receive a handful of well-thought out emails from Dave related to content that spurs them to sign up for Drift.

Then, and only then, will a no-pressure sales process start based on what has now become a Product Qualified Lead (PQL).

Still not wholly convinced that this is a workable approach to marketing? Well we’ll just say this… their announcement post about no more gated content and lead forms generated more email subscribers than any post they have ever published in the history of Drift. Sounds like it’s off to a great start already!

In This Episode

  • How gated content leads to lost sales from the modern consumer
  • Why succeeding in marketing means remembering what it’s like to be a consumer
  • How simplifying metrics leads to clearer and more obtainable marketing goals
  • Why using product qualified leads (as opposed to the standard MQLs) means more organic growth
  • How a change in email tone and appearance can lead to more appealing content on a human level


Quotes From This Episode

“Customers aren’t sold things anymore. They buy.” —@davegerhardt

Marketing has lost its way and started treating people like leads instead of people.” —@davegerhardt

“The way we buy things as consumers is we don’t like to talk to anybody. We want to do all the research, figure out all the information on our own, and then when we’re ready, raise our hand and make a decision.” —@davegerhardt

“There is a huge opportunity for brands to actually create things that people want.” —@davegerhardt

“We didn’t want to be another person blasting out emails.” —@davegerhardt

“Joining a list doesn’t trigger a sales action. It triggers a workflow. You’re not getting nurtured, you’re not getting put into some funnel that goes to a sales rep… Our goal is to get you on our list and then hopefully we do enough good things from a marketing perspective that you want to sign up for Drift.” —@davegerhardt

“It’s better to be understood than to be absolutely perfectly grammatically correct.” —@davegerhardt



What did you want to be when you grew up?

As a kid, Dave wanted nothing more than to be an NBA player when he grew up. Sadly, once he didn’t grow past 5’8″, he had to find a Plan B. Since he played sports his whole life, he always thought he would grow up to be a career athlete in some form right up until college. Then he made a hard right for marketing at a software company and hasn’t looked back.

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