B2B Lead Generation Statistics
If you’re evaluating your company’s B2B lead generation strategy, it’s helpful to view statistics about various lead generation channels to help you decide where to invest.
The following report contains data from 117 B2B companies across a 5 year period: 2016-2021. In it, we compare 10 of the most popular lead generation strategies, considering the average monthly cost, ROI, budget allocation, and time until breakeven.
All of the below statistics are averages. Some notes on our dataset: (1) Average company size is 226 employees; (2) Median target audience is middle market businesses; (3) Weighted more heavily towards industrial, real estate, and SaaS businesses.
Statistical Comparison of B2B Lead Generation Strategies in 2023
|Strategy||Monthly Cost||ROI||Marketing Budget Allocation||# of Months Until Break-Even|
|Thought Leadership Marketing||$10,000||748%||21%||9|
|Trade Shows||$10,000 – $250,000 (one- time fee)||85%||16%||8|
|Direct Mail||$1,500 – $10,000 (per mailing)||77%||3%||10|
Ranking of B2B Lead Generation Strategies by Popularity
Our dataset includes the lead generation strategies B2B clients used during their engagements with us. Below are all the lead generation strategies with more than one incidence, ranked by raw number of incidences.
We’ve also added arrows to indicate whether the popularity of each lead generation strategy has been increasing, staying steady or decreasing over the last five years. ( = increasing popularity; = staying steady; = decreasing popularity)
- SEM / PPC
- Trade Shows
- Enterprise Partnerships
- Cold Calling / SDRs
- Thought Leadership Marketing
- LinkedIn Marketing
- Video Marketing
- Outdoor Advertising
- Basic SEO
- Industry News Websites
- Public Speaking
- Referral Programs
- Direct Mail
While this ranking covers the lead generation strategies that are most popular overall, it can help to see the most popular strategies in each industry.
Top B2B Lead Generation Strategies by Industry
|Industry||Top 3 Lead Generation Strategies||Notes|
||B2B SaaS businesses often rely heavily on partnerships with enterprises that refer them leads. This reliance often cuts down profit margin despite being extremely valuable for the top line. Webinars are more valuable than most CMOs expect, but take 6-8 months to bear fruit.|
||Biotech companies benefit greatly from activities that enhance their reputation as an innovative industry leader, hence public speaking at industry conferences, thought leadership, and PR being top lead drivers.|
||Commercial insurance agencies do particularly well from webinars, podcasts, and other forms of thought leadership due to the need for disambiguation inside HR departments and C-suites as rules change.|
||Construction leads are generated primarily through relationships and on-site signage, though the pandemic has shown that online lead gen can work even in a multifamily and commercial context, as opposed to just in the distressed and real estate investment contexts.|
||B2B eCommerce brands still rely heavily on PPC campaigns and tradeshows but higher-end SEO in the form of thought leadership is quickly overtaking those strategies because of its higher effectiveness and ROI.|
||Financial services firms that accept the hurdle of FINRA compliance and produce thought leadership content see an extraordinarily high ROI, and the rise of podcasts reflect millennials beginning to make up a higher percentage of the capital under management.|
||Thought Leadership-based SEO has the highest ROI of all lead gen tactics in the HVAC industry by a wide margin, with customer referral programs being a strong lead driver as well.|
||Common pain points are often accepted as facts of life by industrial manufacturers, and educational content that demonstrates otherwise is excellent for lead generation.|
||Personal referrals are the most important source of new clients for the majority of law firms, but not one that can be invested in. Investing in thought leadership creates a more regular and sustainable source of leads.|
||Manufacturers continue to get business from customer referrals and relationship marketing above all other strategies, with LinkedIn being surprisingly popular in the last 24 months.|
||Medical Device and other MedTech companies drive substantial leads when they keynote conferences, with Industry News Websites also referring a high number of new customers.|
|Oil & Gas||
||Oil & Gas companies traditionally rely on personal relationships for the majority of their lead generation; the few who choose to invest in webinars and thought leadership see excellent returns.|
|PCB Design & Manufacturing||
||Thought leadership content that offers in-depth explanations around common design challenges faced by engineers produce the most leads in this industry.|
||Because of the legal restrictions on many forms of marketing and advertising, the most effective lead gen for pharma companies are reputation-building strategies such as PR and conference sponsorships.|
||PR and informal networking are both traditional methods effective at attracting investor interest, while thought leadership has grown in important as more business moves online.|
|Staffing & Recruiting||
||LinkedIn is both a key recruiting and job hunting tool, making it the best lead generation investment for staffing companies.|
||Because solar companies primarily serve local clients, lead gen strategies that target specific geographic areas are the most effective. SEO thought leadership should be primarily focused on targeting local keywords.|
Using These Statistics in Your 2023 Marketing Strategy
The statistics in this report give you a sense of which B2B lead generation strategies established companies chose to invest in. The aggregate of the decisions their CMOs and marketing leads made should give you some fodder on which to base your marketing decisions.
If you have any questions about this report, would like a .pdf version of it, or would like to speak with our agency about our Thought Leadership Marketing or SEO services, you can reach out to us here.
If you found this report useful, you may wish to read our reports on B2B customer acquisition and conversion rates:
Evan Bailyn is a bestselling author and award-winning speaker on the subjects of SEO and thought leadership. Contact Evan here.