- Marketing lead management benchmarks provide marketers a comparison point to identify under-performing areas that offer the biggest performance uplift opportunities.
- Best-in-Class lead management benchmarks harvested from research can often be reverse engineered and replicated. That offers the least cost and most direct route to an objectively defined destination.
- Projection is not prediction. Models and simulations that apply performance benchmarks advance from hypothetical scenarios to results based on what's worked for others and can actually be achieved. The best way to achieve forecasted results is to replicate what others have already done.
Lead management benchmarks bring a relative comparison to your internal operational performance measurements. They show averages among peer groups. They show what good likes like, or many times what Best-in-Class performance looks like.
In this post, I've curated several internal and external marketing lead management benchmarks.
They are organized into categories so they can be more easily aligned with your lead management process.
Lead Management Process Benchmarks
- An Aberdeen Research Brief, titled Sales and Marketing Alignment, shared data that showed integrated lead management processes achieved a “3.3% average year-over-year sales cycle duration decrease for Best-In-Class (top 20%) compared to 0.4% decrease for Industry Average (middle 50%) and a 3.8% increase among Laggards (bottom 30%).
- Also in the Aberdeen Research Brief, the company showed how best-in-class marketers outperformed all others in 6 areas.
- The most recent Johnny Grow lead management survey analyzed lead management processes (lead enrichment, lead scoring, lead qualification, lead nurture programs, lead routing, lead governance (i.e., SLA) and lead analytics) to measure utilization and ROI. The research found that while only 14 percent of respondents performed seven or more integrated lead management processes, those marketers earned an impressive 211 percent lead management ROI. That financial return was twice the median and three times greater than marketers that operated 6 or fewer processes.
- The lead management research also found three lead processes that stood out for their disproportionately higher ROI results. The respondents that performed regular lead scoring earned 4.5 times more ROI than those who didn't. Similarly, the respondents that performed regular lead data enrichment and nurture marketing programs earned 3.7 and 4.7 times more ROI, respectively, than those who didn't.
- The previously referenced research also found that the average lead nurture conversion rate, that is the rate of all database leads converted to sales-ready, was 4 percent per month. However, that figure doubled to 8.5 percent for the Best-in-Class marketers (i.e., the top 15 percent).
- According to a CEB study, 49 percent of salespeople ignore more than half of marketing leads. Ouch! When asked why salespeople ignore leads from marketing, the reps replied:
- 30% said they do not trust marketing leads
- 29% said they do not have enough time to follow up on every lead
- 22% said they need more contextual information to have a productive conversation
- Contributing to the prior benchmark, the Marketing Sherpa B2B Marketing Benchmark Survey, found that 61% of marketers send all their leads to sales even though only 27% of them are qualified.
- Other nurture marketing research found that only 26 percent of new leads are sales-ready when acquired. The majority of acquired leads are not yet ready to buy. The research also found that when the not-yet sales-ready leads were nurtured, 72 percent of them became sales ready in 6 to 11 months, on average.
- The same research found that the average frequency between nurture distributions was 11 days. Getting this interval period right is important because failing to engage frequently enough will lose top of mind awareness while engaging too frequently will contribute to brand fatigue and email opt-outs.
- The lead-to-revenue (L2R) conversion might be the single most important lead management benchmark. Forrester reported in its US and Europe B2B Marketing Tactics and Benchmarks Online Survey that top marketers convert 1.54 percent of all marketing qualified leads into revenue while average marketers turn less than 0.75 percent of leads into customers.
Sales and Marketing Alignment Benchmarks
- In a Marketing Sherpa report, titled B2B Marketing Benchmark Survey, the company reported that 48 percent of respondents advise that "sales and marketing alignment is a common challenge."
- In a SeriusDecisions webinar I attended, the marketing consultants advised that when Sales and Marketing are aligned, they achieve 19% faster revenue growth and 15% higher profitability.
- Forrester Research reports that aligned sales and marketing organizations achieved an average of 32 percent annual revenue growth while less aligned companies reported an average 7 percent decline in revenue.
- MarketingProfs says organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing had 36 percent higher customer retention rates and achieved 38 percent higher sales win rates than their competitors.
- Analyst firm IDC flipped the sales and alignment payback and reported that "B2B companies inability to align sales and marketing costs 10% or more of annual revenues."
- Marketing Profs reports in its B2B Lead Generation: Marketing ROI & Performance report, that companies in which marketers report alignment with sales are three times more likely to outgrow their competitors. Alignment activities include allowing marketers to jointly review win-loss drivers, measure ROI on lead generation campaigns, and provide closed-loop tracking of lead performance,
- An Aberdeen Group report, titled What's in It for Sales in Achieving Strong Alignment with Marketing, drilled into several specific lead management conversions to show how tightly aligned sales and marketing teams outperform their less aligned counterparts.
Marketing Technology Benchmarks
- According to CRM software leader Salesforce, in its fourth annual State of Marketing report, 67 percent of Marketing Leaders currently use a Marketing Automation Platform for their lead management process.
- However, while marketing automation software has become pervasive, our lead management technology research finds that it is significantly underused. Most survey respondents use only one lead scoring rule and only one nurture campaign. Approximately half of all respondents limit their marketing software use to creating landing pages and performing email distributions, which accounts for about 10 percent of the technology's capability.
- Getresponse asked marketers to identify the biggest benefit of marketing automation software and tabulated the below responses.
Marketing Revenue Results
- An Aberdeen research report, titled Sales and Marketing Alignment, found that the top marketers using marketing automation software and an integrated lead management process "contributed 40 percent of the sales forecasted pipeline, compared with 22 percent among Industry average and 13 percent for laggards."
The Point is This
No decision to use the company's limited resources should go unmodeled. Benchmarks provide credible data to demonstrate how investments produce results that correlate with payback.
In fact, without actual performance data, goals may be guesswork followed by trial and error. Without benchmark data, you don't know what results should be, don't know where the finish line is and may find yourself on an aimless journey. You may also find yourself without knowing when to stop spending money because the investment is greater than the payback.