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Sales Leads Come from Website, Not Social Media; but Site Still Underperforms
added: 2011-10-01

According to a 2011 Demandbase National Marketing and Sales Study released by marketing technology company Demandbase and online business network Focus, a company’s corporate website is the top source of new sales leads—second only to personal connections and referrals, and more than seven times more effective than social media. However, study participants report that the website still vastly underperforms in terms of lead generation. And, while businesses feel that they understand their sales prospects (more than 60 percent report knowing or understanding their prospects well), they do not understand their prospects’ behavior on the very site that’s driving those sales leads.

The 2011 Demandbase National Marketing and Sales Study was conducted among the Focus Expert Network, a nationwide cross section of sales, marketing and engineering executives from small, midsize and enterprise companies. The survey was conducted online between May 18 and May 25, 2011.

“Social media may be heralded as the silver bullet to bring B2B marketing up to snuff but, despite its increasing influence, it’s important to keep in mind that no business sale is made without the buyer going to the corporate website first,” said Chris Golec, CEO, Demandbase. “Regardless of its origin - social media or e-mail, banners or search — traffic driven from online marketing initiatives always intersects at the website. And, while businesses are investing heavily in their sites, the study shows that they are then ignoring the very audience they worked so hard to attract.”

Findings Include (Note: Detailed findings around a broad range of questions asked in the survey can be found in the Demandbase and 2011 National Website Demand Generation Study):

The Corporate Website: Hub vs. Spokes

- While online marketing activities act as ‘spokes’ into the sales funnel, the corporate website clearly remains the primary hub to harness customer interest driven by these marketing activities.

- Executives cite the website as the top online source of sales leads (23 percent), well exceeding e-mail (14 percent), online advertising (7 percent), and social media (3 percent).

Corporate Hub Leaves B2B Visitors Underserviced

- While the corporate website may be a leading source of new leads for businesses, 80 percent of respondents report that their company website is not performing to its maximum lead generation potential.

- IT respondents are far less aware of website’s shortcomings, with roughly one-half (52 percent) reporting that it was not living up to its potential, vs. non-IT respondents, who are keenly aware of its limitations (90 percent).

Unidentified, Untracked Web Browsers

- When it comes to areas of improvement, 87 percent of respondents report that the website needs to improve on the tracking and reporting of unregistered site users, with 18 percent citing that strong improvement is needed in this area.

- Nearly one-half of executives surveyed do not know where (web page or section) their users are most likely to abandon their website.

Quality vs. Quantity

- The single most important factor for measuring website effectiveness is the quality of leads generated, with 34 percent of all respondents indicating that quality is more important than quantity of sales leads (9 percent).

- Enterprise businesses, which are often more interested in overall branding than their small business counterparts, emphasize the importance of measuring volume (44 percent total), whereas small businesses emphasize quality of leads (40 percent total).

“B2B marketers are getting more skilled at Sales 2.0 tactics—using marketing to learn more about their prospects. But they are underperforming when it comes to Buyer 2.0—helping their prospects learn more about them,” said Adam Greco, senior partner, Web Analytics Demystified, Inc. “Marketers clearly understand that their web strategies are underperforming, and they now need to focus on building personalized experiences that engage their customers every step of the way.”

Source: Business Wire

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