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53 Key Lead Generation Statistics for B2B Marketers: 2021 Analysis of Data and Market Share

A new version of this article, featuring the latest data and statistics, is available. Check out our report on Lead Generation Software Statistics for 2022.

We see lead generation becoming more sophisticated by the day, with marketers increasingly utilizing lead management software to facilitate personalized and multi-channel customer interactions. With automation, mobile, and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies set to mature in the coming years, we can only expect more shifts and disruptions in the way we get leads.

To help you get up to speed with the latest in this industry, we have compiled some of the most essential lead generation statistics for B2B marketers this 2021/2022. From B2B lead generation report forecasts to in-depth studies on channel effectiveness, we will provide you with all the information you need, for you to be able to keep up with the changing B2B marketing landscape.

key lead generation for b2b marketers statistics

General Lead Generation Statistics

More and more B2B businesses realize the different benefits that lead generation has to offer. As you’ll see in the statistics we’ve listed below, an increasing number of companies are putting more focus on their lead generation strategies to improve the quality of prospective clients that they are attracting. In addition, B2B companies can expect to see more advanced software solutions as new tech such as big data, predictive analytics, AI, and social media pave the way for more proactive and personalized lead generation.

  • B2B companies with mature lead generation processes enjoy 133% more revenue compared to average companies. (Intellistart, 2021)
  • Nurturing leads can increase sales by 50%. (Writer’s Block Live, 2020)
  • 80% of B2B marketers said that lead generation is a critical 12-month consideration. (Writer’s Block Live, 2020)
  • The biggest factors that will drive B2B marketing growth are big data, predictive analytics, AI, and social media. (Marketing Charts)
  • 56% of organizations are exceeding their revenue goals because of effective lead generation efforts. (Marketing Charts)

Increasing Investment in Lead Generation

With the data we’ve mentioned, it comes as no surprise that the B2B lead generation market size is projected to grow consistently in the coming years. To prepare for this, B2B companies are increasing their budgets to capitalize on what these new lead generation techs have to offer. But this isn’t to say that B2B companies are going to simply invest their money on just any marketing tech.

Companies are becoming more selective on the kind of platforms they spend their top dollar on. Moreover, they take the time to ask around as well as research thoroughly before making a purchase.

  • The B2B business information segment, which comprises the financial and marketing aspects of the industry, is estimated to hit $68.5 billion by 2022. (PwC)
  • Digital lead generation advertising spending is seen to hit $201 billion by 2023.
  • 70% of companies say their demand generation budgets have increased while 34% say that they are expecting an increase in spending by 20% in the coming years. (Demand Gen Report)
  • Most marketers use more than 5 marketing tools daily. (Welcome Software, 2020)
  • To bolster their lead generation plans, 88% of marketers plan to use web analytics tools. (eMarketer, 2021)
  • 26% of the marketing budget will go to marketing technologies in 2021. (Forbes, 2020)
  • However, because of Covid-19, an average of 62% of B2B companies worldwide reduced their marketing budgets. (McKinsey, 2020)

marketing technology use

With the advent of social media and the increased use of the internet, it has become more difficult to capture and retain the attention of consumers. In fact, since the beginning of the century, attention span has decreased by 33%.

This is why you’ll see that marketers are optimizing their lead generation tactics in such a way that they will tap their target audience through their preferred channels. For one, website optimization and content creation are utilized to hold the attention of higher-quality leads. Some also utilize user reviews for lead generation as many buyers rely more on what their peers have to say about a product. There’s also a noticeable push for more quality instead of quantity. For that, learning more about the behavior of your customers through analytics and behavioral intelligence assumes a bigger role in your marketing efforts.

  • Generating more quality leads is a priority goal for 79% of marketers worldwide. This is followed by attracting more traffic to the website (75%), improving brand reputation (57%), and enhancing customer engagement and loyalty (47%). (eMarketer, 2021)
  • 85% of B2B marketers say that lead generation is their most important content marketing goal. (Content Marketing Institute)
  • In 2018, marketers prioritized content creation (46%), online advertising (44%), public relations (44%), email marketing (35%), and traditional ads (34%). Social media (26%), website optimization (20%), marketing automation (18%), and SEO (11%) for budget allocation. (Demand Gen Report); in 2020, however, some marketers allocated more of their budget toward influencer marketing, as the section on influencer marketing shows, below.
  • Over 15% of marketers said that lead generation is used as a metric for measuring the success of their content marketing strategy. (HubSpot, 2020)
  • Marketers believe that live events (19%), online events or webinars (16%), and ebooks and guides (13%) are the best strategies for securing leads. However, we also see that influencer marketing is experiencing a surge in popularity as a major strategy in 2020 (see The Rise of Influencer Marketing) (Content Marketing Institute, 2019)
  • 75% of marketers reported that they were successful in using content marketing to generate demand or leads in the past 12 months. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
  • 60% of marketers reported that their content marketing strategies have helped them nurture leads in the past 12 months. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)

Source: eMarketer, 2021

The Role of Email in Reaching Potential Customers

Email is one of the most used communication channels today. Thus, it makes for a good way to reach your target audience. In fact, it remains the most effective strategy in lead generation. As you’ll see in the data below, you can further boost the impact of your email campaigns if you start to segment and personalize them.

  • Because consumers continue to prefer connecting with brands through email, businesses continue to rely on their email strategies and to see increases in their ROI. For every dollar they spend on email marketing, they gain $42. (HubSpot, 2020)
  • Around 80% of marketers noted an increase in their email engagements in the past 12 months. (HubSpot, 2020)
  • Segmented email campaigns can boost campaign revenue by 760%. (CampaignMonitor)
  • Despite that, less than 20% of marketers utilize subscriber segmentation in their email marketing tactics, with nearly 30% preferring to focus on personalization instead. (HubSpot, 2020)

Content Marketing for Lead Generation

In addition to email marketing, one of the best ways to attract the attention of potential clients is content marketing.

Let’s face it–consumers are getting tired of seeing ads. This is why an increasing number of businesses leverage content marketing strategies. This allows them to provide consumers with substantial landing pages or blog posts filled with useful information that they’d actually want to read. This way, you’ll have a better chance of engaging them and retaining their attention.

  • 90% of companies utilize content marketing to attract inbound leads. (Content Marketing Institute)
  • 62% of B2B businesses leverage strategic landing pages for lead generation. (Marketo)
  • Companies that have 30 or more landing pages get 7 times more leads than those that only have 10 landing pages. (TechJury, 2020)
  • 53% of content marketers leverage interactive content to generate more leads. (Content Marketing Institute)
  • Businesses with active blogs gain 67% more leads than firms that do not have blogs. (OptinMonster, 2021)

The Rise of Influencer Marketing

One of the increasingly popular lead generation strategies today is influencer marketing. Nowadays, consumers no longer trust ads and celebrity endorsements. Instead, they rely on influencers, bloggers, and YouTubers for their purchasing decisions. This is why many marketers are now focusing on building partnerships with these influencers. By doing so, they can reach a more targeted audience and generate higher-quality leads.

  • 80% of companies believe that influencer marketing is an effective channel. (MediaKix, 2020)
  • 17% of marketers expect to delegate more than half of their budget towards influencer marketing. (MediaKix, 2020)
  • 42% of marketers have an always-on influencer marketing strategy. (Linqia, 2019)
  • 42% of marketers utilize influencers to drive lead generation. (BigCommerce, 2021)
  • 89% of marketing professionals believe that the ROI of influencer marketing is better or comparable to other marketing channels. (BigCommerce, 2021)

Lead Generation Strategies You Should Consider Changing

Of course, while there may be quite a few new lead generation strategies that would make great additions to your existing marketing efforts, there are also old ones that might no longer be worth your time or money. According to marketers, there are quite a few marketing tactics that may have been effective over the past few decades that are considered overrated today.

In addition, there are also strategies that are still considered effective today but require a bit more care during implementation. This is because they can have negative effects on your campaign when not planned thoroughly.

  • Despite the rise of influencer marketing, 50% of U.S. B2B marketers believe that email still provides the highest ROI in lead generation. (Chief Marketer, 2020)
  • Marketers need to contact prospects at least 18 times to get a response. However, the call-back rates are below 1%. (TOPO, 2020)
  • The overall customer engagement rate that social media can generate is 0.58%. (OptinMonster, 2020)
  • As of March 2020, 53.95% of email traffic lands in spam folders. (Securelist, 2020)
  • 1 in 7 consumers believes that half their emails are relevant to them. As a result, 59% end up unsubscribing from email lists of brands because of the frequency of their emails. (DMA, 2019)
  • 21% of consumers mark unwanted messages from brands as spam instead of unsubscribing, causing negative effects on email marketing campaigns. (DMA, 2019)
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Most Effective Lead Generation Strategies in Producing ROI

According to B2B Marketers in the U.S.

Most Effective Lead Generation Strategies in Producing ROI
Email: 50%

Email

50%
Most Effective Lead Generation Strategies in Producing ROI
Search optimization & marketing: 43%

Search optimization & marketing

43%
Most Effective Lead Generation Strategies in Producing ROI
Content marketing: 34%

Content marketing

34%
Most Effective Lead Generation Strategies in Producing ROI
Live events: 32%

Live events

32%
Most Effective Lead Generation Strategies in Producing ROI
Social media: 23%

Social media

23%
Most Effective Lead Generation Strategies in Producing ROI
PPC/display ads: 16%

PPC/display ads

16%
Most Effective Lead Generation Strategies in Producing ROI
Telemarketing: 13%

Telemarketing

13%
Most Effective Lead Generation Strategies in Producing ROI
Retargeting: 11%

Retargeting

11%
Most Effective Lead Generation Strategies in Producing ROI
Influencer marketing: 10%

Influencer marketing

10%
Most Effective Lead Generation Strategies in Producing ROI
Print: 9%

Print

9%
Most Effective Lead Generation Strategies in Producing ROI
Other: 19%

Other

19%

Source: Chief Marketer, 2020

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Lead Generation and Technology Statistics

Technology is reshaping how businesses operate, and their marketing processes are no exception. As we move forward into the future, we’ll see lead generation rely more on automation and AI. What’s more, we can expect marketing efforts to be monitored and evaluated more closely using data analytics.

With that said, now might be the time to invest in marketing automation software so as not to lag behind your competition. But of course, as you integrate more modern software solutions into your workflows, it is also best that you put focus on retraining your marketers so that they may maximize the use of your new investments.

  • 63.5% of in-house communication professionals say that Covid-19 has no notable impact on their adoption of marketing technologies. This is despite another study showing that many B2B firms globally that decided to cut their marketing budgets (see Increasing Investment in Lead Generation) (Cision, 2020)
  • Among the tech that marketing leaders use for their operations are CRM software (68%), mobile campaign management (68%), marketing automation software (67%), social listening (67%), Internet of Things (66%), and AI (51%).
  • HubSpot has the highest share in the marketing automation market worldwide at 28.71%. (Datanyze, 2020)
  • Lead management automation can boost revenue by 10% within 6 to 9 months. (Strategic ABM)
  • 79% of top-performing companies utilize marketing automation. (Venture Harbor, 2020)
  • Only 24% of ecommerce companies are planning to implement AI chatbots and 39% said they have no plans. (SearchNode, 2020)
  • 69% of B2B technology buyers expressed that chatbots are not likely to be effective. (Statista, 2020)

marketing technologies used by marketing leaders

Top 5 Lead Management Software

  1. HubSpot Sales. HubSpot Sales is an efficient pipeline management platform that helps streamline communication with leads. Find out more about this software through our HubSpot Sales review.
  2. Freshsales. Freshsales can help you score, verify, and nurture leads through multiple channels of communication. Check out our Freshsales review to learn more about these features.
  3. Pipedrive. Pipedrive uses a sales pipeline methodology to help you organize your leads and contacts. Our Pipedrive review can tell you more about the platform.
  4. Copper. Copper can give you an overview of how each lead moves down the sales funnel. Learn more about the software in our Copper review.
  5. Pipeliner. Pipeline offers built-in features for qualifying and nurturing leads to encourage conversion. Read our Pipeliner review to learn more about the platform’s capabilities.

Lead Generation Challenges Statistics

Lead generation may have become faster and more efficient thanks to the availability of various marketing platforms. However, there are still plenty of internal and external factors that marketers should be wary of. Modern marketing strategies rely heavily on data and the utilization of new tech—all things that require budget and support from executives. What’s more, new approaches to lead generation need a more hands-on effort that might potentially spread your workforce too thin.

  • Lead generation, in general, is considered very challenging by 19% of marketers. (LeadG2, 2020)
  • Only 10% of marketers can consistently be effective and efficient in generating leads for their companies. (Invisible Technologies, 2019)
  • Reaching prospects is a huge challenge for marketers, as it takes an average of 18 calls to connect with them. (HubSpot, 2021)
  • 44% of marketing professionals relayed that the General Data Protection Regulation had a negative impact on their lead generation strategies. (Forbes, 2020)

Top 5 Lead Generation Challenges

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Source: LeadG2, 2020

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The Increasing Cost of Acquiring Customers

You will likely notice that the cost of acquiring prospective clients is becoming higher. So, choosing which leads to focus on and where you source your leads is more crucial than ever.

  • The industry of travel and tourism is anticipated to have an average cost per lead at $106 in 2021. (Linchpin SEO, 2021)
  • The average cost of online retargeting campaigns is anticipated to reach $31 with a high of $39 and a low of $22. (Linchpin SEO, 2021)
  • Events and tradeshows are projected to reach an average of $811 per lead. (Linchpin SEO, 2021)

Source: Digital Marketing Community 2019

Tech and Multi-Channel, Key to Lead Generation

B2B products and services won’t go out of style. However, your marketing strategies may if you fail to adapt to the changing B2B landscape.

As you have read from the B2B lead generation statistics we’ve compiled, it’s becoming trickier to attract customers and hold their attention. If you truly want to grow your business with lead generation, you will have to start relying on technology and rolling out a more multi-channel approach to marketing. Through automation, AI, and analytics, you can make workflows faster and understand your target audience better.

However, before you start purchasing different software solutions, be sure to do your due diligence in researching what tools you will need for your specific workflows. Moreover, you need to allocate quite a lot of time and effort to learn them and implement them properly. After all, if you haphazardly invest in new lead generation tools, you might end up wasting your hard-earned money than improve your marketing efforts.

Hopefully, with our list of lead generation statistics, you were able to get a better grasp of the state of the industry as well as how marketers are adapting to the changes. This way, you can start gauging which tactics will work well with your business model, plan out your strategies, and remain on top of your game no matter the shifts in the B2B marketing landscape.

You can further hone your knowledge on lead generation to help you optimize your current marketing efforts; we highly recommend you check out our compilation of lead generation best practices as well.

 

References:

  1. Cortez, J. (2021, January 27). Lead generation for law firms and businesses in 2021. Intellistart.
  2. Darko. (2021, March 27). 37 massive lead generation statistics for 2020. Writer’s Block Live.
  3. PwC. (2020). Global entertainment & media outlook 2020–2024. PwC.
  4. Marketing Charts. (2018, June 28). B2B marketing information revenues forecast to slowly grow. Marketing Charts.
  5. Enberg, J. (2019, March 28). US digital ad spending 2019. eMarketer.
  6. Demand Gen Report. (2018). 2018 ABM benchmark survey report. Demand Gen Report.
  7. Welcome. (2021, February 15). Top martech trends for 2021. Welcome Software.
  8. eMarketer Editors. (2021, January 14). More than three-quarters of marketers plan to improve lead generation in 2021. eMarketer.
  9. Georgiou, M. (2021, January 5). Marketing tech trends: What does 2021 hold for CMOs? Forbes.
  10. McKinsey & Company. (2020, September 2). Survey: Global B2B decision-maker response to COVID-19 crisis. McKinsey.
  11. McSpadden, K. (2015, May 14). You now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. Time.
  12. Content Marketing Institute, & MarketingProfs. (2020, September 2). B2B content marketing: 2017 benchmarks, budgets, and trends—North America. Content Marketing Institute.
  13. HubSpot. (2020). Not another state of marketing report. HubSpot.
  14. Stahl, S. (2020, September 30). 2021 B2B content marketing: What now? [New research]. Content Marketing Institute.
  15. Campaign Monitor. (2019). New rules of email marketing. Campaign Monitor.
  16. Content Marketing Institute, & MarketingProfs. (2019). B2B content marketing: 2016 benchmarks, budgets, and trends—North America. Content Marketing Institute.
  17. Marketo Marketing Blog. (2021, March 5). Marketo marketing blog. Marketo.
  18. Dobrilova, T. (2021, March 18). 31 landing page statistics every marketer needs in 2021. TechJury.
  19. Ouellette, C. (2021, January 6). Ultimate list of blogging statistics and facts (Updated for 2021). OptinMonster.
  20. Mediakix. (2019, May 27). Influencer marketing survey results: 2019 industry benchmarks. Mediakix.
  21. Linqia. (2019). The state of influencer marketing 2019. Linqia.
  22. Bailis, R. (2020, January 24). The state of influencer marketing: 10 influencer marketing statistics to inform where you invest. BigCommerce.
  23. Chief Marketer. (2020). Five insights from the 2020 Chief Marketer B2B marketing outlook survey. Chief Marketer.
  24. Santora, J. (2020, August 14). Is email marketing dead? Statistics say: Not a chance. OptinMonster.
  25. Shcherbakova, T. (2020, May 26). Spam and phishing in Q1 2020. Securelist.
  26. Cision. (2020). 2020 comms report. Cision.
  27. DMA, & Dotdigital. (2019). Consumer email tracker. DMA.
  28. Salesforce Research. (2018). Fourth annual state of marketing. Salesforce.
  29. TOPO. (2020). Sales development technology: The stack emerges. TOPO.
  30. Datanyze. (2020). Marketing automation market share. Datanyze.
  31. Strategic ABM. (n.d.). What is account based marketing. Strategic Internet Consulting.
  32. Brooks, A. (2020, August 12). 20 lead nurturing statistics & charts for 2021. Venture Harbour.
  33. SearchNode. (2020, September). Ecommerce trends 2020 survey report. SearchNode.
  34. Liu, S. (2020, December 21). Effectiveness of chatbots in B2B tech sales 2020. Statista.
  35. LeadG2. (2020). The top challenges of lead generation. LeadG2.
  36. Whiting, G. (2019, August 23). Lead generation: Understanding challenges and how to overcome them. Invisible Technologies.
  37. Frost, A. (2021, January 8). 60 key sales statistics That’ll help you sell smarter in 2021. HubSpot.
  38. Whitler, K. A. (2020, January 4). New study suggests lead generation is a key growth challenge for most companies. Forbes.
  39. Team Linchpin. (2019, December 11). Projected 2021 average cost per lead by industry and channel. Linchpin SEO.
James Anthony

By James Anthony

A senior FinancesOnline writer on SaaS and B2B topics, James Anthony passion is keeping abreast of the industry’s cutting-edge practices (other than writing personal blog posts on why Firefly needs to be renewed). He has written extensively on these two subjects, being a firm believer in SaaS to PaaS migration and how this inevitable transition would impact economies of scale. With reviews and analyses spanning a breadth of topics from software to learning models, James is one of FinancesOnline’s most creative resources on and off the office.

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