June 14

Why Most B2B Sites Fail to Convert Sales Leads

MarTech

5  comments

Most people coming to your website aren’t coming to your website to buy. They are coming to your site for information. Do you have your web site’s good content under lock and key? 

Research shows shows that if you require registration on your website to download content such as articles, white papers, studies or other "free" resources, you could be losing 75%-85% of your potential leads! 

I saw a press release for a study last week completed by the Nielsen Norman Group, which also supports this finding. According to their study, the practice of making users register before providing them with deeper information will send sales prospects running.

You’ll do better by thinking of lead generation as a process of micro-conversions that build an opportunity profile over time, such as requesting an email address, then asking for first and last name, later requesting a phone number, and so on. 

There should be a balance between collecting information and providing value; i.e., be careful about requiring registration to receive anything worthwhile. Your thought-leading content can be a lead generation tool, but only if it is easily accessed.

Almost every company has at least some decent content for leads who are in the later stages of their buying process, including:  brochures, case studies, success stories, sell sheets, etc. 

The key is to reach people as early in their buying process as possible. That’s where you have the biggest influence. It’s not effective to wait until they are narrowing their short list.

What most companies lack is thought-leading content that addresses needs of people who are in the early stages of their buying process.  KnowledgeStorm made this same point in their recent report on evaluating and scoring web leads. And interestingly, those who do have good, relevant content lock it up behind registration pages.

Ardath Albee over at the Marketing Interactions Blog has some great thoughts on this too. Marketing Interactions: B2B Websites Not Effective

About the author 

Brian Carroll

Brian Carroll is the CEO and founder of markempa, helping companies to convert more customers with empathy-based marketing. He is the author of the bestseller, Lead Generation for the Complex Sale and founded B2B Lead Roundtable LinkedIn Group with 20,301+ members.

  1. You bring up a good point about capturing data for lead nurturing.

    Ironically, I was just updating my blog post with this tidbit:

    You’ll do better by thinking of lead generation as process of micro-conversions that build an opportunity profile over time such as; requesting an email address, then asking for first and last name, later requesting a phone number and so on.

    Again, there should be a balance between collecting information and providing value; i.e., be careful about requiring registration to receive anything worthwhile. Your thought-leading content can be a lead generation tool, but only if it is easily accessed.

    On last tip if you do what I mention above… be sure to insert your company contact information so people know how to contact you and/or include an offer for another related high value and relevant content. I know this may seem obvious but often companies forget to do this.

  2. While I certainly see both sides of this argument, I have to lean more of the side of registration for the REALLY valuable content. (white papers being the strongest example).

    eMagine is the leading web design firm for High Tech firms in New England. So, we work with dozens of high tech companies, all of which place lead-gen as a high priority for their web site. We’ve seen such great success from Resource Center registration and White Paper registration. Although I don’t have any hard data to provide you with off the top of my head, I can provide real numbers at a later date. Our philosophy has always been that, while you might lose a lot of prospects by ASKING for their data, you’re losing MORE opportunity to establish the beginning of a lead nurturing process if you DON’T ask for the data.

    I’ve never been a fan of passively hoping a prospect will contact me just because they like our information. I see it as crucial to entice the prospect to identify him/herself so that the incubation can begin.

  3. By the way, congratulations on your successful positioning as a thought leader. I have been obsessed with B-to-B lead gen. for 10 years now and it’s great to see someone stepping out there with REAL insights into this subject. I have had your book for 2 weeks now, I subscribe to your Podcast and I check your blog almost daily. Great job!

  4. I completely agree with this article. The more you lock up behind registrations, the more you are handing quality sales leads to your competitors who don’t. I say this, because based on the number of leads and the business conducted by a previous client of mine, I captured for them half of the entire worldwide market for their product. This was achieved almost wholly through reaching the prospect through search (them searching, not us!). This would not have been possible if all of their content could not be picked up and indexed by the search crawlers. And once the prospect was on the site, we engaged in precisely the process of microconversions that Brian outlines.

    1. A first return visit (second visit overall)
    2. Ask-for/collect email address.
    3. Try to engage them in an interactive discussion.
    4. The more formal sales-person process, involving quotes, etc.

    It’s worth pointing out that this method of microconversions is most appropriate for markets that require solution selling techniques — selling into difficult markets that have long cycles.

  5. I want to to thank you for this wonderful read!! I absolutely loved every little bit of it.
    I have got you book-marked to check out new stuff you post…

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