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30 Lead Generation Statistics and Trends for 2021

Lead generation is easy, said no business owner ever. 

Yet, lead generation lies at the foundation of pretty much any growing business, no matter the industry. So, you can’t get away from lead generation, no matter how hard it is to execute. 

Lead generation can take many forms and drive different results depending on your approach, but the key here is that it works, and it can either make or break your business.

That’s why in this research-driven article, we will share with you 30 lead generation statistics to inform your strategy and help you make better business decisions in 2021 and beyond.

Ready? Let’s jump in!

B2B Lead Generation

1. 68% of businesses report struggling with lead generation. (CSO Insights)

This first stat confirms what we’ve mentioned earlier—it’s not an easy task to make lead generation work for your business. 

There are many reasons why more than half of businesses in CSO Insights’ report struggle with lead generation:

  • You don’t have a clear goal for lead generation. 
  • Your buyer persona is not specific enough or doesn’t fit your business profile. 
  • You focus on the number of leads instead of their quality. 
  • Your content doesn’t cater to the buyer persona’s needs. 
  • Your content is too promotional. 
  • You publish lead magnets on the wrong channels. 
  • You don’t nurture your leads. 

Check your lead generation KPIs and metrics to determine why your lead acquisition strategy is underperforming.

2. 93% of B2B buying processes start with online research. (Pinpoint Market Research and Anderson Jones PR)

Customers in the B2B niche look for potential partnerships in various ways, but web search still dominates. And, it’s a no-brainer that if your business has enough online exposure, you’re more likely to get new clients. 

So, work on optimizing your content for lead generation to fit your target buyer’s needs and increase its online visibility. 

3. 76% of B2B buyers use three or more information channels when researching a product. (Blue Nile Research)

B2B lead generation is very niche-specific, and you need to know your niche very well to determine the channels through which you can find new clients. 

Apart from web search, try social media (LinkedIn, Twitter), niche forums, search ads, and other channels for your lead magnets. If you don’t know where you can target a potential buyer, run a quick survey.

4. 87% of B2B marketers say sales lead quality is the most important metric used. (B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks by Content Marketing Institute)

The choice of lead generation metrics depends on the sales funnel stage and the goal of your lead generation strategy. Yet, Content Marketing Institute has determined that lead quality is the most critical metric used regardless of the type of lead generation campaign. Next comes the sales metric (84%) and conversion rates (82%).

5. Nearly 60% of B2B marketers rely on content marketing for lead generation (Databox)

Content remains the top source for lead generation in the B2B circles. The study by Databox reveals that most businesses bet on content marketing in terms of lead generation. Other, less popular channels include social media, email marketing, paid ads, and referrals, but all of them still use content to some extent.

Content Marketing Lead Generation

1. B2B companies running blogs generate 67% more leads per month. (IronPaper)

Blogging is one of the most reliable content marketing strategies in lead generation. It helps B2B companies build authority and increase brand awareness through SEO optimization and content promotion. Besides, blog content is versatile and can take many forms (text + infographics, text + images, and videos), fitting every stage of the buyer journey.

2. 74% of companies reported that content marketing improved lead generation, both in quality and quantity. (Curata, 2017)

One of the biggest mistakes in lead generation is focusing too much on the number of leads. Meanwhile, putting more effort into lead nurturing brings more customers ready for purchase. Content can be quite useful both in lead acquisition and nurturing, but only if it caters to the customer’s needs.

3. 72% of marketers said that content marketing had helped them increase engagement and the number of leads. (Optinmonster)

Content is diverse, and that’s what makes it great for lead generation. You can use guides, templates, case studies, cheat sheets, videos, and other content types at any stage of the sales funnel. But while content helps grow the number of leads in general, it won’t benefit you if you promote it through the wrong channels.

4. 70% of B2B marketers think video content helps convert leads. (Content Marketing Institute)

Video content marketing has proven helpful for various marketing endeavors, and lead generation is not an exception. And there’s no wonder why video content helps so many B2B companies convert leads – it educates potential customers about the company and its product. Besides, videos generate more engagement, and you can use them at any stage of the sales funnel.

5. Marketers who use video get 66% more qualified leads per year. (Aberdeen Group)

A qualified lead is someone who shows a genuine interest in your product. Therefore, qualified leads are more likely to become your regular customers. The report by Aberdeen Group shows that videos, out of all content types, help attract qualified leads, especially in ongoing lead generation campaigns.

Email Marketing Lead Generation

1. 42% of companies consider email to be one of their most crucial lead generation channels. (Strategic)

Even though blogging, social media, and video content get the spotlight, email marketing still stands strong as one of the lead generation channels. The report by Strategic confirms that almost half of the companies rely on email marketing for lead generation. Email also remains one of the top marketing tools to nurture leads.

2. 79% of B2B marketers think email is most effective for demand generation. (Content Marketing Institute)

Demand generation is a strategy that uses targeted marketing to boost brand and product awareness. It is linked to lead generation and often uses the same approaches. 

Email marketing also works both for lead and demand generation. With discount and sales emails, you can easily increase product demand and create a profitable purchase opportunity for potential customers.

3. 89% of marketers use email as the primary channel for generating leads. (Snov.io)

Email is a great way to target prospects directly. Potential customers are more likely to see your email than a LinkedIn post or an ad that can get lost in the feed. 

But much like with any other lead generation channel, your emails should use the right content that appeals to the customer’s needs and offers something of value.

4. Email marketing brings higher ROI than other lead generation channels. (Campaign Monitor)

According to the report by Campaign Monitor, email marketing has an ROI of $44 for every dollar spent. But again, it’s just an estimate, and your ROI will depend on the goals of your lead generation campaign and your niche.

5. 86% of businesses plan to increase their email marketing budgets in the upcoming years (Email on Acid)

There is no doubt that the role of email marketing will only keep growing, as it’s proven to be effective in generating and nurturing leads. But don’t rely on email marketing too much—lead generation brings more positive results if it uses various content types.

Social Media Lead Generation

1. 66% of companies generate leads through social media, spending only six hours on social media per week. (Social Media Examiner)

This finding proves that you don’t have to spend too much time trying to get the attention of potential customers. Social media will generate the buzz for you, but it’s only possible if your strategy is strong enough to get the attention you expect.

2. 64% of B2B marketers generate leads via LinkedIn, 49% via Facebook, and 36% via Twitter. (PinPoint Market Research)

Social media plays an essential role in lead generation, both in organic posts and as a channel for paid ads. PinPoint Market Research has revealed that LinkedIn is the most effective social channel for B2B companies, followed by Facebook and Twitter.

3. Only 47% of marketers are actively using LinkedIn for lead generation. (Quicksprout)

Even though LinkedIn can help successfully generate leads, it’s still underused – less than half of the respondents in Quicksprout’s report say they have a solid LinkedIn lead generation strategy in place. Thus, it creates an excellent opportunity for you to tap more into this social channel.

4. When considering a purchase, 75% of B2B buyers use social media for their decision-making process. (International Data Corporation)

You can’t ignore the role of social media in the B2B buying process. It’s a proper channel to put information about your business and product on the web and attract the attention of potential prospects. Social media also helps leads connect with your brand directly.

5. 49% of B2B marketers say social media lead generation is the hardest strategy to execute. (eMarketer)

There might be a reason why so few B2B marketers have tried LinkedIn for lead generation. According to eMarketer, though very popular among buyers, social media platforms are still quite challenging for lead generation.

Lead Nurturing Statistics

1. 96% of new website visitors aren’t ready to buy. (Marketo)

No matter how awesome your product is to you, prospects need time to see its potential. That’s why lead nurturing is so important: it helps you convince your future customers that your product helps solve their problems.

2. Nurtured leads spend 47% more than non-nurtured leads. (Annuits)

It’s common for businesses to focus on generating more leads to drive revenue. But it’s lead nurturing that can bring you more sales because it helps you follow a meaningful relationship with a potential customer.

3. Nurturing leads can improve sales by 50% while reducing costs by 33%. (Forrester)

Focusing on lead nurturing also costs you less compared to generating new leads. Lead nurturing strategy is also easy to set up—you can use content and channels you already have. Just make sure you take your lead’s needs into account.

4. Only 29% of surveyed businesses put resources into nurturing their existing customer base. (Demand Gen)

Even though lead nurturing is an inalienable part of lead generation, not many businesses follow through. It means that if you put as much effort into lead nurturing as you do in lead generation, you can potentially outrun your competitors in terms of sales.

5. 22% of B2B businesses nurture leads weekly. (Marketing Sherpa)

The key to an effective learn nurturing strategy is consistency. And yet, only 22% of B2B companies do lead nurturing on an ongoing basis. That’s a shame, considering that, with marketing automation, you can make many lead generation tasks effortless.

Lead Conversion Statistics

1. 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of nurture is the leading cause for this. (Marketing Sherpa)

The report by Marketing Sherpa confirms everything we talked about before—lead generation doesn’t bring any results if you don’t nurture your leads. That’s because lead nurturing involves lead qualification—a process that helps you figure out whether the lead is ready to buy.

2. Verifying business leads before passing them to the sales team is conducted by only 56% of B2B companies. (Hubspot)

Lead generation and nurturing require both marketing and sales teams to work together to determine whether a marketing lead can potentially become a sales lead. The lead verification (qualification) process helps both teams make sure they get high-quality leads.

3. 25% of marketers don’t have any idea of their conversion rates. (B2B Technology Marketing Community)

Conversion rates are among the top metrics you need to track to evaluate the success of your lead generation strategy. If the conversion rate is low, you might need to revisit the content used for lead generation or choose a different channel to target leads.

4. Outbound leads cost 39% more than inbound leads. (Hubspot)

Many businesses choose outbound lead generations to get new leads faster. But while it’s a faster way to attract potential buyers and offers better targeting, it is also quite costly.

5. Targeting users with content relevant to their position along the buying process yields 73% higher conversion rates. (Aberdeen Essentials)

When creating a buyer persona, B2B companies often take the job position and industry into consideration. And It’s a smart move to make – if you target B2B leads with the content that matches their occupation and needs, you’ll get more conversions.

Lead Generation Trends 2021

Lastly, let’s look at the lead generation trends that we might notice in 2021 and beyond.

Chatbots

Conversational marketing using bots isn’t new, but we still haven’t seen this trend peaking. Chatbots are getting smarter, and more and more businesses decide to automate their customer service, lead generation, and sales using this technology.

Thanks to the highly developed customization features, bots serve as a powerful lead generation tool, often replacing traditional lead generation solutions such as pop-ups, surveys, or questionnaires.

More websites will take advantage of chatbots in 2021, no doubt about that. In addition, AI bots will evolve to accurately qualify leads and even act as a salesperson by making conversation more human-like.

SMS marketing

SMS marketing continues to be on the rise. We see more marketers exploring SMS as an alternative to emails, and this channel has the potential for high ROI. With the increased usages of mobile devices, SMS marketing has become one of the easiest ways to reach potential leads and communicate with customers.

Looking at data, texts have a much higher open and response rate than emails. The downside comes down to getting people to opt-in on your website for receiving marketing messages via text. However, instead of making people give you their phone number first, you can simply ask them to text you to a given number if they feel like it. 

This move from push to pull marketing, including lead generation, will probably be adopted by more businesses in 2021 and beyond.

Referral marketing

People don’t trust marketers, but they surely do trust their friends and families. That’s why referral marketing for lead generation is here to stay. Combining referral marketing with social media contests and incentives will continue to bring high ROIs to generate new leads and sales.

Don’t have a referral program yet? You might be missing out on the opportunity to get more people interested in your brand. Word of mouth and referrals are the channels to explore and invest in this year.

Wrapping Up

Have our statistics convinced you of the importance of lead generation? It’s a crucial part of business growth, but the key is consistency. You can’t focus just on generating new leads–lead nurturing has proven to bring more sales and improve customer-brand relationships. 

If you plan to expand your reach and get more leads this year, try using chatbots, SMS marketing, and referral marketing as lead generation channels. These channels have a good ROI and help you target more sales-qualified leads.

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