17 Lead Nurturing Statistics to Pump up Your Sales in 2019

by Anna Moss

Did you know our attention span has decreased by 33% since the beginning of the century? The social media phenomenon and the technology surrounding us made sure of that. Consumers are getting more and more impatient. With the prolonged sales cycles, which can now last up to 18 months, navigating potential buyers through the sales funnel has become quite a challenge.

Additionally, not all B2B marketers have done their homework on lead nurturing statistics, which is why they are failing to recognize that the buyer’s journey doesn’t end soon after their first interaction in the conversion funnel. Many consumers get lost on their way to the final purchase, and this is where lead nurturing comes into play.

Trendy Lead Nurturing Statistics

  • 63% of people looking for information about a company will not make a purchase
  • Only 3% of the market is actively buying
  • 65% of marketers are not nurturing leads
  • 50% of buyers choose the vendor that’s quickest to respond
  • In-person meetings, email, and content marketing are the top three lead nurturing strategies
  • 47% of marketers believe email marketing is the most effective lead nurturing tactic
  • Marketing automation in lead nurturing brings a 451% increase in qualified leads

A Look at the Basics

Before we dive into the vital statistics about lead nurturing, let’s take a look at the steps buyers should take before making a final purchase.

With a lead nurturing strategy tailored to individual prospects, businesses can turn a complete stranger into a paying customer. They can do this by catering to their needs and communicating with them effectively throughout the buying process. So, the buyer’s journey should start with raising awareness of your brand, followed by building consumers’ interest in your business.

The next stage is to analyze prospects’ behavior. Based on their readiness to become paying customers, you can then give them useful resources. These can take the form of industry reports, cost comparisons, and personalized webinars. Once your prospects enter the decision stage, you can offer free trials, product demos or consultations, among other things, to make it easier for them to reach a buying decision.

It’d be easy to think this is where the journey ends – it is not. Once your leads become your customers, you should continue to nurture them, as they become your brand’s advocates. Make sure you give them special privileges, tutorials, and personalized content.

Facts About Lead Nurturing

Attract, engage, delight—it’s as simple as that! Or is it? Let’s see what lead nurturing stats tell us about the lead nurturing culture across organizations.

1. 65% of marketers are not nurturing leads.

(Source: Marketing Sherpa)

A study from Marketing Sherpa that collected answers from approximately 1,750 B2B marketers shows that 65% of marketers don’t have a lead nurturing strategy. The same study also revealed that 74% of marketers considered generating high-quality leads a primary concern. The second most difficult challenge (49%) was generating said leads in sufficient volumes.

When it comes to lead nurturing strategies, 30% of marketers reported lack of a lead nurturing process and guidelines. 41% of all marketers involved also described lead nurturing within their company as an informal process with few guidelines. Lastly, only one-fifth of participants said their companies have a formal process with detailed instructions on how to nurture leads.

2. 470,000 website visitors equals to 1,800 leads, which translates to 300 new customers a month.

(Source: Hubspot)

Hubspot’s 2017 Demand Generation Marketing survey reveals the average conversion rate of website visitors to leads. As the study outlines, companies have around 470,000 monthly website visitors. Out of all visitors, only 0.38% of them qualify as leads, whereas, approximately 16% of those leads translate to new customers further down the sales pipeline.

These lead nurturing statistics prove that most visitors are either uninterested in becoming customers—or that companies don’t know how to convert them more effectively. Furthermore, out of the total number of visitors that can be qualified as leads, companies manage to convert less than one-sixth into actual customers. The importance of a highly effective lead nurturing program cannot be more obvious.

3. 40% of marketers say getting a response from prospects has become more challenging over the years.

(Source: State of Inbound 2018)

The question we have to ask ourselves is which obstacles stand in the way of an effective lead nurturing strategy, and in general—of closing a sale. The lead nurturing stats from last year’s  State of Inbound report show the highest percentage of marketers, i.e., 40%, believes that not only is getting a response from prospects an obstacle, but that it is becoming more difficult over time.

Other such challenges include prospecting good leads (28%), and closing sales (30%). The study has also shown that 16% of marketers are having more trouble fitting social media in the sales process. Connecting via email has become a bigger challenge for 20% of marketers.

4. 16% of B2B marketers believe lead nurturing timing is one of the leading obstacles.

(Source: Marketing Charts)

According to the responses of 235 B2B marketers, finding the perfect content and timing, as well as following up on nurtured leads are the main problem areas in lead nurturing campaigns. The highest percentage of marketers (41%) sees creating content based on buyers’ interest as the top challenge. Another 16% give the “challenge” label to the task of getting the right timing of lead nurturing campaigns. Lastly, 17% of marketers have problems with the sales team, as far as following up on nurtured leads goes. So, how do marketers go about these challenges?

5. 70% of marketers say their demand gen budgets will increase.

(Source: Demand Gen Report 2018)

70% of marketers eager to enhance their lead nurturing programs said that their demand generation budget would increase in 2018. The highest percentage of marketers (36%) expected to see their budgets grow by anywhere between 1% and 10%, while the percentage of those expecting a higher budget increase of 20% and 30% stood at 22% and 12% respectively.

Furthermore, 25% of marketers said their demand generation budget is to stay the same, with only 5% of marketers seeing a decrease in their budgets. However, securing enough budget is the leading marketing challenge for 27% of marketers, according to Hubspot’s State of Inbound report.

When it comes to the present state in lead generation budgets, a Holger B2B Lead Gen Report points out that 53% of organizations assign more than half of their budgets to lead generation, while for 34% of them, lead generation accounts for less than 50% of their total spending. The remaining 13% of organizations said they have no information on how their lead gen budgets are allocated.

6. 59% of marketers expect their sales team to increase over the next year.

(Source: State of Inbound 2018)

The State of Inbound report reveals that 59% of marketers expect to have a bigger sales team next year. How much bigger, however, varies wildly from anywhere between 1% and 50%. On the other hand, shrinking the sales team is likely for only 2% of marketers. Lead nurturing statistics from the State of Inbound report show that 31% of marketers don’t expect any changes in the size of their sales team over the next 12 months.

7. 58% of marketers believe they have a very successful strategy for generating demand.

(Source: Ascend2)

A 2018 survey from Ascend2 illustrates the existing state of demand generation. According to the study, 58% of marketers describe their demand creation tactics as highly successful. A somewhat smaller percentage of marketers (35%) describe their tactic as moderately successful, with only 7% of marketers not seeing success in their strategy for generating demand.

Additionally, a study from Demand Metric gives us valuable insights into how satisfied companies are with the level of effectiveness of their lead generation efforts. Taking into account both lead quality and quantity, 49% of companies describe their lead generation strategies as moderately or highly successful.

Another 18% apparently can’t define their strategy as either successful or unsuccessful. Finally, 15% of companies think of their lead gen tactics as ineffective, and another 17% consider theirs only slightly ineffective.

8. For 55% of marketers increasing sales opportunities is the top lead nurturing priority.

(Source: Ascend2)

Marketing influencers have spoken. According to last year’s study from Ascend2, 55% of marketers are aiming to get more sales opportunities from their lead nurturing strategy. Increasing customer conversion is the second most important goal of lead nurturing with 53% of survey respondents recognizing it as important. Raising brand awareness is another desirable outcome of a lead nurturing program (35%), as well as decreasing the duration of a sales cycle (30%).

What Users Actually Do

Even if a user is looking up your company on the web, it doesn’t mean that she will become your client.

9. Only 3% of the market is actively buying.

(Source: Business2Community)

One of the lead nurturing stats from Marketing Sherpa revealed that on average 79% of leads never convert to sales. The number is so high because of the widespread absence of a lead nurturing strategy. When we add that only 3% of the market is actively buying it’s easier to comprehend why companies are unable to take full advantage of their leads.

So, what happens with the rest of the market? According to Vorsight research, 56.6% of the market is not ready to buy, while the remaining 40.4% of the market is open to the idea.

10. 63% of people currently looking for information about a company will not make a purchase in the next three months.

(Source: Marketing Donut)

We took a closer look at lead nurturing statistics that explain buyers’ readiness to buy. The data from Marketing Donut revealed that just because a consumer is looking up information about your company, it doesn’t mean they are ready to buy.

As the source points out, 63% of people who did research on your company today will not make a purchasing decision in three months’ time. Your leads may reach out to you, but a buying decision will come only after you establish a connection with them and build trust.

11. 48% of sales are complex, long cycle sales with numerous influencers.

(Source: Ascend2)

Nurturing leads takes time, and a 2017 State of Email Marketing Survey agrees. It found the most organizations (48%) deal primarily with long cycle sales. For those companies it’s particularly important to understand how to nurture online leads. The number of short cycle sales makes up a little over one-third of all sales. The percentage of organizations that deal with both short cycle and long cycle sales equally stands at 17%.

A study from Chief Marketer delivered more detailed information about the typical duration of a sales process. According to the source, only a small percentage of businesses manages to close a sale in less than a month (16%), while most sales (33%) take between 1 to 3 months to close. Organizations that deal with year-long sales are lowest in number at 7%.

12. In-person meetings, email, and content marketing are the top three lead nurturing strategies.

(Source: Chief Marketer)

A 2016 study pointed to live events as the most effective tactic for increasing engagement in the lead generation area. It also indicated email was among the top channels for acquiring new leads. To see what has changed in the last couple of years, we took a glance at the most recent lead nurturing statistics. 2019 findings from Chief Marketer provided us with useful information, and here’s what we’ve found.

The top three strategies in 2019 are email marketing (62%), content marketing (60%), and in-person marketing (57%). These stats are not surprising, taking into account that 83% of B2B marketers consider content marketing the primary lead generation tool. Lead nurturing emails also turned out to have a higher click-through rate (8%) than generic emails (3%), as well as a higher response rate. So, how do marketers feel about the top three lead nurturing strategies?

13. 47% of marketers believe email marketing is the most effective lead nurturing tactic.

(Source: Ascend2)

The study from Ascend2 confirmed what the vast majority of marketers already know – email marketing is an effective lead generation channel, and an even better lead nurturing channel. Based on Ascend2’s lead nurturing statistics, email marketing is the top tool for lead nurturing, whereas content marketing and social media marketing rank second and third respectively.

The same study gives us an insight into how effective the same channel is for different goals. So, for example, social media marketing is the most effective lead generation tactic, while its contribution to lead nurturing is a bit lower.

14. 90% of organizations use content in their marketing strategies.

(Source: Demand Metric)

One of the most inspiring lead nurturing quotes is that you have to tell a story before you can sell a product or service. What better way to do that than with content marketing? As Demand Metric points out, 90% of organizations are using content as a marketing strategy, while spending about one-quarter of their budgets on this type of marketing.

If you had any doubts content marketing was an excellent lead generation strategy – turns out it generates three times more leads than traditional marketing. On top of that, it costs 62% less on average than traditional marketing.

A study from Aberdeen shows that the companies who tailor content according to buying stages of their customers have 73% higher conversion rates than the companies that don’t have such practices.

Lastly, when it comes to different lead nurture post types, Content Marketing Institute found white papers dominate the middle stage of the buyer’s journey. Webinars, case studies, interactive content, and video all rank just slightly behind.

15. 51% of marketers include 5 or more interactions in their lead nurturing campaigns.

(Source: Demand Gen Report 2015)

Consumers typically receive ten marketing interactions by the time they become paying customers. However, according to a Demand Gen report, nearly half of marketers (49%) only include between 2 to 4 interactions. These lead nurturing stats indicate that marketers need to create deeper relationships with their potential customers before they decide to buy.

16. 50% of buyers choose the vendor that’s quickest to respond.

(Source: Inside Sales)

A timely follow up is vital to achieving higher conversion rates. As Inside Sales pointed out, half of buyers will choose a vendor that responds first. So, businesses should be able to get in touch with leads as quickly as possible.

Hubspot found that following up on a lead within five minutes results in greater odds, 21 times greater odds to be more precise, of that lead entering the sales process compared to contacting leads within half an hour.

Yet, lead nurturing statistics from Harvard Business Review revealed that the average response time is 42 hours. This leads us to the question: is marketing automation the answer?

17. Marketing automation in lead nurturing brings a 451% increase in qualified leads.

(Source: Business2Community)

Business2Community revealed that companies that use marketing automation in their lead nurturing efforts had seen a 451% increase in qualified leads. The same source also pointed out that nurtured leads make larger purchases.

The most recent forecasts for the marketing automation market indicate that companies are quickly adopting it as an efficient business tool. Forrester predicts this market should reach $15.6 billion this year and $25.1 billion by 2023.

After going through all of these exciting and sometimes surprising lead nurturing statistics, we’ve saved the best for last. 49% of marketers say their sales teams are not in sync with their marketing team. This can cause hiccups in your lead nurturing program, and decrease your business’s overall performance. Aligning your sales and marketing teams is sure to be well worth your while.

References: 

  1. Marketing Sherpa
  2. Hubspot
  3. State of Inbound 2018
  4. Marketing Charts
  5. Demand Gen Report 2018
  6. State of Inbound 2018
  7. Ascend2
  8. Ascend2
  9. Business2Community
  10. Marketing Donut
  11. Ascend2
  12. Chief Marketer
  13. Ascend2
  14. Demand Metric
  15. Demand Gen Report 2015
  16. Inside Sales
  17. Business2Community

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