Company websites are the leading demand generation engine for new business-to-business (B2B) sales, second only to personal connections and referrals and more than seven times more effective than social media, a new study shows. But study participants reported that their websites still vastly underperform their potential in terms of lead generation.
The problem is not caused by a lack of knowledge about prospects , according to the 100 B2B marketing and IT professionals in the study conducted by Demandbase, a marketing technology company, and Focus, an online business network. More than 60 percent of the respondents reported knowing or understanding their prospects well.
The problem, they said, is that the websites are not servicing customers once they arrive. This leads to subpar lead generation performance, according to 80 percent of study respondents.
Marketing professionals were far more likely than their IT peers to recognize shortcomings in website lead generation performance, the study showed. Non-IT respondents were keenly aware of website lead limitations (90 percent) while only one-half (52 percent) of the IT colleagues reported that the website wasn't living up to its potential.
When it comes to areas of improvement, 87 percent of respondents said that the website needs to do a better job of tracking and reporting of unregistered site users. They also need to better understand what their customers and prospects do once they arrive at the website. Nearly one-half of the executives surveyed did not know where (Web page or section) their users are most likely to abandon their website.
"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, Demandbase CEO. "Regardless of its origin — social media or email, 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."
- Automated Marketing Platform Tracks the Life of a Lead
- CIO vs. CFO: Making the Case for Tech Spending
- Social Media Set to Surpass Search Engines as No. 1 Marketing Tool