Lead generation in the B2B landscape is changing with technology, new processes and the needs of global business. Savvy companies are modifying their strategies according to statistics, not a "gut feeling." There is more analysis available today than ever before; their value lies in how you will use them!
Let's take a look at the top 50 B2B prospect engagement stats for 2019 so that you can make informed decisions about how to move forward in your marketing and operations.
The Importance of Prospect Engagement in the B2B Environment
B2B companies are placing a greater importance on the beginning of the sales funnel as they contend with levels of online competition that are consistently increasing. Here are the most important statistics to know.
1 - Irrelevant content is the #1 reason for lost engagement between brands and buyers - CMO Council 2018
2 - Despite this statistic on irrelevant content, only 42% of marketers solicit a two-way conversation with potential buyers as a substantial part of content research - Content Marketing Institute 2018.
3 - 67% of buyers in the B2B space list "relevant communication" as a top influence for choosing one solutions provider over another - Dun & Bradstreet 2018.
4 - Companies that take the time to properly engage and nurture leads improve their sales at a rate of 50% while spending 33% less - Forrester Research 2014.
5 - The top tactic for prospect engagement continues to be direct email - ITSMA 2016-2018.
Here are some other very important statistics that you should know about the importance of prospect engagement in the B2B environment.
92% of decision makers give unsolicited email attention, even email from a company with no ties - ITSMA 2018.
25% of decision makers will read an unsolicited email as long as it contains information that may be relevant to business - ITSMA 2018.
78% of executives say that an unsolicited email has led to a face to face meeting or event attendance at some point - ITSMA 2018.
The open rate for direct email is 80% - Small Biz Trends 2017.
Direct mail campaign average ROI is between 18% and 20% - Small Biz Trends 2017.
56% of buyers will reach out to a brand because of a direct mail campaign - Small Biz Trends 2017.
Prospect engagement is no longer a separate discipline from the rest of the customer journey. Only companies that show their ability to lead throughout the entire sales funnel will achieve optimal success in their prospect engagement efforts, statistics show. The ability of a company to nurture a lead speaks directly to its success in prospecting that lead. However, this does not mean that a company has to engage in esoteric or expensive techniques. One of the most effective B2B techniques continues to be the proper management of direct email.
The B2B Buyer Profile
The modern B2B buyer is younger and more digitally savvy than ever. Here are the most important statistics to know.
6 - The number of people involved in a single company buying decision has risen from 1-2 to 7-8 in a typical small business, max 500 employees - Gartner 2016.
7 - 95% of B2B buyers do business with the providers who showcase an ability to lead throughout the entire buying process from the beginning - Demand Gen Report 2018.
8 - More than half of all B2B buyers are millennials - Google 2019.
9 - 45% of B2B buyers are looking for personalized content portals - Blue Corona 2019.
The key decision maker in the B2B space is now the key decision makers (plural). In order to properly engage prospects, a company must consider the entire customer journey during the engagement stage. This buyer is also more digitally savvy than ever before, with the ability to discern many things about a company from initial contact with its website. This means a company must invest in the image it sets forth before prospects ever contact a sales associate.
Opportunities for Improvement in the B2B Space
An important part of engagement with the prospect is empowering the company to put its best foot forward. Stats show that companies have many opportunities for self-improvement that will eventually show in the customer experience. Here are the most important statistics to know.
10 - Buyers in the B2B space are an average of 57% through the process of buying before first contact with a business rep - Accenture 2018.
11 - Events are the #1 generator of leads in the B2B setting - Marketing Charts 2018.
12 - 35% of sales associates spend between 31 to 60 minutes daily on data entry and other manual tasks - Business to Community 2018.
13 - 34% of buyers say that they limit engagement with B2B providers because those providers overload them with irrelevent content - KoMarketing 2019.
14 - 46% of prospects will move away from a B2B provider website because the business does not clearly communicate what it does on the landing page - MarketingProfs 2015.
15 - 37% of prospects will move away from a B2B provider website because the site has either poor navigation or design - MarketingProfs 2015.
16 - 44% of B2B buyers say that having no visible contact information available is the #1 reason for abandoning an engagement effort - KoMarketing 2015.
17 - 86% of buyers say that they would prefer to see main products and services on the home page of a B2B vendor - KoMarketing 2015.
18 - More than 10 pieces of review content annoys 86% of potential buyers - Biz Report 2018.
19 - B2B has one of the weakest email open rates along with wholesale companies and IT companies - Campaign Monitor 2018.
20 - In spite of this, B2B marketers still report a 760% rise in revenue from email campaigns that are segmented and customized - Campaign Monitor 2018.
Here are some other very important statistics to keep in mind when you are looking for opportunities for improvement within your company.
B2B companies that blog more than 10 times per month had 3X more traffic on their websites than companies with no blog or just one blog per month - Hubspot 2019.
However, 53% of B2B companies have no more than one person serving their entire organization as content creator - Content Marketing Institute 2018.
More than 50% of B2B prospects will view at least eight content pieces during the buying process, with 82% of those buyers taking in at least five pieces of content before deciding to speak to a sales associate - Forrester 2019.
80% of B2B buyers prefer to receive brand information through a series of articles rather than through a direct ad - Content Marketing Institute 2019.
43% of B2B marketers consider blogging the #1 type of content - Social Marketing Industry Report 2017.
44% of B2B buyers would prefer to have access to an ROI calculator on a vendor's website to use for buying decisions - Blue Corona 2019.
96% of buyers are looking for whitepapers or other content with greater input from known industry thought leaders - Demand Gen Reports 2016.
73% of B2B buyers say that they want the customer experience to resemble that of a B2C company - Accenture 2017.
With the above statistic in mind, only 49% of B2B buyers believe that their companies are actually delivering on a more personalized B2C experience - Blue Corona 2019.
By 2020, 80% of the B2B buying process will take place with zero human contact - Forrester & Gartner 2018.
Having a personalized experience ready for the prospect from day one is important, because prospects will not attempt to make contact until relatively late in their own sales funnel. (To put it another way, when a prospect contacts you, they are in the middle of their sales funnel even though you may consider the company at the beginning.) Although it may seem counterintuitive, B2B buyers are expecting a continuously improved personal customer experience while dealing with less humans as time goes on. Your prospect engagement strategy must include optimal website management and automated customer service options in the near future.
Strategies for B2B Prospecting
More and more B2B marketers are finding merit in an ABM strategy when looking to engage new prospects. The B2B market is also paying much more attention to the customer experience (CX) than ever before. A huge part of that experience is the effort and strategy that the company puts into its pre-contact experience (high blogging rate, low review content rate). Here are some of the most important statistics to consider.
21 - 68% of B2B companies use strategic landing pages as a lead generation and prospect engagement strategy - Marketo 2018.
22 - B2B tech marketers consider the successful development of an ABM strategy the second biggest priority in the marketing mix (video marketing is number one) - Spiceworks 2018.
23 - 92% of the business to business market reports ABM as an essential component of their overall marketing mix - SiriusDecisions 2015.
24 - 20% of B2B marketing professionals describe the "buy in" from executive decision makers as the number one challenge to implementing an ABM strategy - Engagio 2018.
25 - Personalized content is the number one driver of engagement under the account based marketing strategy - Ascend 2018.
26 - Segmented email is the second most effective engagement driver in the B2B space in the account based marketing strategy - Ascend 2018.
27 - Social media comes right behind segmented email as the number three driver of engagement in the B2B space for companies using account based marketing - Ascend 2018.
28 - B2B companies consider CX the number one opportunity for prospect engagement in 2019, winning over mobile marketing and content marketing - Econsultancy 2018.
29 - B2B companies that earn US $1 billion and invest substantially in CX can expect an average of an additional US $700 milion within the next three years - Temkin Group 2018.
30 - By 2020, CX will be the number one key brand differentiator, beating out both product and price - Walker Info 2018.
Below are some very important statistics that you should consider as well.
Mobile search is expected to generate 27.8 billion more searches than searches on desktop in 2019 - Mobile Marketer 2018.
22% of the fastest growing B2B providers are currently using a live chat app on the website - Drift 2019.
Sales go up by 19% when a website is characterized as having a personal experience - MarTech Advisor 2018.
ABM is becoming more important to B2B marketers because of its ability to align the sales and marketing team behind a single banner with two-way communications. Savvy companies are considering ABM as a viable lead generation strategy because of the proven improvements in ROI, deal size and sales cycle length when compared to traditional lead generation activities.
CX is essential to prospect engagement because companies will not engage with a solutions provider that cannot lead through the entire customer journey. Engaging prospects through mobile search continues to grow in importance. When considered holistically, the major engagement opportunity for B2B companies means meeting prospects where they are (on the move) and bringing them what they want (relevant, timely content and a promise of leadership through the entire sales funnel).
The B2B Toolset
B2B marketers are beginning to utilize many of the tools of the B2C market with an eye to the "content experience" over content marketing. However, next generation AI tools have not yet become mainstream.
31 - B2B tech companies are expected to adopt video marketing at a 19% greater rate year over year in 2019 - Spiceworks 2018.
32 - One out of every three marketers is already making use of online video marketing to drive prospect engagement - Spiceworks 2018.
33 - Purchase intent targeting in the B2B space is expected to rise from 15% year over year in 2019, from 29% of companies in 2018 to 44% in 2019 - Spiceworks 2018.
34 - Influencer marketing in the B2B space is expected to rise from 17% year over year in 2019, from 31% of companies in 2018 to 48% in 2019 - Spiceworks 2018.
35 - 55% of B2B companies are expected to use on demand content strategy for prospect engagement in 2019 - Spiceworks 2018.
36 - 44% of B2B companies are expected to use advertising on emerging social channels (Instagram Stories, Snapshot, TikTok, et al.) for prospect engagement in 2019 - Spiceworks 2018.
37 - 42% of B2B companies are expected to use programmatic ad buying for prospect engagement in 2019 - Spiceworks 2018.
38 - 41% of B2B companies are expected to use mobile marketing for prospect engagement in 2019 - Spiceworks 2018.
39 - 36% of B2B companies are expected to use AI powered data analytics for prospect engagement in 2019 - Spiceworks 2018.
40 - 30% of B2B companies are expected to use generational campaigns for prospect engagement in 2019 - Spiceworks 2018.
Here are a few statistics that you may want to consider as well:
30% of B2B companies are expected to use chatbot powered marketing for prospect engagement in 2019 - Spiceworks 2018.
14% of B2B companies are expected to use VR or AR based customer experience processes for prospect engagement in 2019 - Spiceworks 2018.
2019 is not the year that AI driven analytics and futuristic VR/AR will go mainstream for the B2B space. However, the numbers are consistently rising for these niche prospect engagement techniques. Companies on the cutting edge will keep an eye on them while utilizing social networks, programmatic ad buying and "traditional" online techniques like video marketing, purchase intent targeting, and influencer marketing and on demand content strategy.
Video Marketing in the B2B Space
If text content is the "past" and AI driven content is the "future," video content is right now. Once considered primarily the landscape of B2C companies, video is now transitioning its way into the B2B market as a mainstream tool.
41 - 87% of companies use video marketing as a significant part of the marketing mix, a 6% increase year over year and up 24% since 2017 - Wyzowl 2018.
42 - Of the companies currently using video as a marketing strategy, 91% consider it essential, a 6% increase year over year and an increase of 9% since 2017 - Wyzowl 2019.
43 - Although 90% of marketers believe competition is increasing with relation to video, 99% of them will keep using it, and 88% of them will spend more money on it than in years past - Wyzowl 2019.
44 - 52% of marketers rated video marketing as the type of marketing with the highest ROI - Wordstream 2017.
45 - 73% of B2B marketers, buyers and researchers say that video marketing has a positive effect on the company's ROI - Blue Corona 2019.
46 - Websites that use video have an average CVR of 4.8%, while those without video have 2.9% average CVR - Wordstream 2017.
47 - 70% of B2B buyers will watch at least one sales video during the engagement process - Business 2 Community 2018.
Video content recently overtook text content as the number one form of content on the Internet in total. Buyers in the B2B space are looking for a B2C experience. This means transitioning into more video content if you haven't already. Text bogging can still be an essential part of your strategy, but keep in mind that video will become more and more important as time goes on. It will also become less expensive. Currently, producing and distributing professional video is within the wheelhouse of even the smallest startup.
Overcoming Myths in the B2B Space
There are many misconceptions that misdirect the efforts of many B2B marketers. Below are a few of the most important statistics that you may not have known.
48 - 17% of salespeople describe themselves as "pushy," although 50% of prospects describe those same salespeople as "pushy" - Business to Community 2018.
49 - Prospects open 53% of emails written at a Key Stage 2 reading level as opposed to only 39% of emails written at a collegiate reading level - Business to Community 2018.
50 - A large number of prospects actually open emails before office hours, in many cases as early as 5 am in the morning - Mashable 2019.
B2B salesmen do not have to be nearly as pushy as they think, because they are coming off too aggressive anyway. Consider that the average online buyer responds much more positively to indirect marketing. Additionally, there is no need to try to impress buyers with industry specific language. The modern buyer is much more likely to let results speak for themselves. Objective, third party reviews of your company will be much more important than anything you say about yourself, so be approachable and accessible in all correspondence. Finally, the B2B market space is a 24/7 affair, and the companies that are winning are taking advantage of it.
2019 brings new opportunities for B2B companies that look to the data for their next moves. The statistics above will give you a powerful snapshot of the current market. Keep your ear to the street for the changes that are sure to come, but take note of the overarching themes through these stats that will always affect market forces and prospect engagement.