More sales leads stem from websites, not social media (survey)

More sales leads stem from websites, not social media (survey)

Summary: Social media may not be the marketing gold mine it has been cracked up to be as a new survey reveals a more traditional, and reliable, source.

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Although many marketing agencies, retailers and more business players are looking at social media as the last frontier for reaching out to consumers, a new study suggests that they might be wasting their time -- at least for now.

A company’s corporate website was found to be the top source of new sales leads online -- second only to personal referrals, according to a study conducted in partnership between marketing technology company Demandbase and online business network Focus. In fact, corporate websites are seven times more effective than social media right now.

Here's a look at some of the other more telling stats:

  • The website was cited by executives as the top online source of sales leads (23 percent), followed by e-mail (14 percent), online advertising (7 percent), and social media (3 percent).
  • IT respondents said they are "far less aware of website’s shortcomings," with roughly one-half (52
  • percent) reporting that it was not living up to its potential, vs. non-IT respondents, who recognized its limitations (90 percent).
  • Enterprises emphasized the importance of measuring volume (44 percent total), while small businesses emphasized quality of leads (40 percent total).

Chris Golec, CEO of Demandbase, explained in a statement that the website is really the heart of the sale more than anything else:

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. Regardless of its origin -- social media or e-mail, 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.

Of course, that doesn't mean that the corporate website is the best source no matter what. The survey found that website still "vastly under-performs in terms of lead generation," and that most companies don't know the behavior of customers while on the site and what drives home the sale.

Approximately 87 percent of respondent said that corporate websites need to improve tracking and reporting of unregistered site users. Additionally, almost half of executives that responded said that they don't know where (i.e. web page or section) their users are most likely to abandon the website.

This isn't to say at all that businesses should abandon social media. It's really only the beginning for this realm of marketing, and other studies and analysts have shown that this medium really resonates with younger generations. Thus, these results could be vastly different within a few years.

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Topics: Social Enterprise, Banking, Browser, Software Development

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12 comments
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  • Study for Study

    For every study I read about Social Media ineffectiveness, there are 10 that deem it VERY effective. I wonder, sometimes, if blogs/articles like this are simply part of a misinformation campaign by dated, traditional marketing companies that are about to be put out of work.
    AndyViral
  • RE: More sales leads stem from websites, not social media (survey)

    I totally disagree with this article. With 5 billion web sites in the world and a third of all internet traffic being on Facebook and YouTube how could you think creating a web site means people will find it and use it?
    kellydavis
    • No, it's right and based on research

      @kellydavis .. as opposed to your meaningless, baseless twaddle. So, are we expected to take your anecdotal experience and opinion over properly vetted statistical data?? <br><br>Get real and put that crack pipe down .. it's diminishing your already, incredibly low IQ
      thx-1138_
  • B2B Websites and Social Media

    The reality starts to set in about what people are doing on social media. It's not primarily to interact with businesses, especially in the b2b context. What is required is the integration of social tools with your website. Social networks are a way to establish brand presence and extend reach to generate leads that are captured and fulfilled on a well structured corporate site. It all has to work together in an integrated fashion based on overall objectives.

    There are no silver bullets, never have been and never will be.
    jebworks
  • RE: More sales leads stem from websites, not social media (survey)

    There are 2 distinctive markets - those companies who sell to people, and b2b. At Graphic Visions of Northville MI., we know business to business clients can reinforce their branding/personality & enhance their online position with social media BUT websites are the electronic brochures that qualify products, services and expertise ~ and can create solid lead generation. b2b buyers are looking for vendors & partners; unusual for a corporate purchaser to qualify a company on FB. Most writers of social media articles focus on the direct to consumer market where "the buzz" is evolving everyday.
    suedillon@...
  • RE: More sales leads stem from websites, not social media (survey)

    My concern is what those in the study considered ???social media??? and what they considered a ???web site???. Even the so called social media experts differ in their definitions.

    If for example the participants searched Google, and found a "web site" because it was one of the top 3 searches ( because of social media and content) ...was it the web site or social media that helped this person find a product or service to solve their problem?

    Mark Allen Roberts
    Mark Allen Roberts
  • RE: More sales leads stem from websites, not social media (survey)

    This article is lacking. It's like saying the great signage that's in front of your business doesn't help generate sales for you. Instead it's all about your great sales staff inside the 4 walls of the business! MALARKEY! :) 140 characters are meant to motivate the B2B prospect or lead to the next step in the process - which is to get more information so they can make an informed decision, i.e. buy now or continue researching the site. Social media helps to awaken the lead's interest. Yes, your website, landing-pages, offer details will help to convert that lead. But you can't expect 140 characters or the Facebook page to be the magic bullet - it's a facilitator - and important ones once used correctly integrated smartly into the sales/marketing/lead gen process. It's all about your funnel and (depending on the nature of your service/product) social media has to be a part of that funnel!
    AdaptOrElse
  • RE: More sales leads stem from websites, not social media (survey)

    It's a multi-channel strategy, all of which work in concert to culminate in a sale. The very questions that are being asked and answered in this 'survey' are misleading at best and irrelevant at worst.
    matt.ridings@...
  • Leads from Social is not the goal

    The goal for social is ROE, not ROI as in Return on engagement. It's the conversation starter, that turns into the traffic driver. Personally, I have come across hundreds of websites I've never heard of before I saw their Tweets or Posts. An effective website then converts my curiosity that started on social, into a lead. K.I.S.S. Keep it Social Stupid!
    digdigitalgroup
  • Squirrels

    Agree with suedillion and jebworks - online marketing in b2b is a different thing. I'd say not a sale gets made for us that doesn't at some point touch the site, and we are always trying to make it better. Can't say the same for social media. Heard the other day (can't take credit) - why go hunting squirrels when you've got prime beef on your doorstep?
    PaulP914
  • RE: More sales leads stem from websites, not social media (survey)

    I think that a majority of people miss the point of social media and think that it's wrapped up kinda like how SEM is/was. Social media won't attribute to "direct" sales by any means because that's not what it's made for. Companies need to look at social media as an extension for their web site and not a direct lead. I think that companies need to embrace it and use it effectively based on what their company does and how it can help market, not sell. It's something that should not be ignored.
    I also find it amusing that there would be an article about this, but at the same time there is a floating bar next to it that has the social media tools embedded into it. What does that tell you?
    ultraloveninja
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