In a recent survey conducted by 6sense, respondents reported that, on average, only 3.5% of their web visitors filled out forms. This alarming data suggests B2B marketers should instead create compelling content targeted to the right personas, then use all buying signals — both anonymous and known — to prioritize opportunities for their teams and adopt a more modern approach to B2B revenue generation.
“In B2B, only about 3% of website visitors fill out forms,” said Kerry Cunningham, Research and Thought Leadership Analyst at 6sense, exclusively to Demand Gen Report. “This number is consistent across industries and market segments (e.g., SMB, commercial, enterprise) and yet it is unlikely that B2B companies are attracting random, irrelevant visitors. Instead, most visitors opt not to self-identify because they are afraid of what will happen if they do fill out the form. The implication of this is that of all the money B2B organizations spend to attract visitors, the result is anonymous traffic 97% of the time. Failing to capitalize on what is in that 97% leads to massive guesswork and waste in B2B.”
This research strongly suggests how much marketers are missing out on by not utilizing the other 97%.
For almost 20 years, B2B companies mainly focused on attracting customers through engaging website content. Generally, B2B sites receive more unique visitors per month compared to B2C sites. Recent data from HubSpot revealed that “while 22.5% of B2C sites get between 40,001-100K unique monthly visitors, only 16.7% of B2B websites get that amount. However, 16.7% of B2B sites get over 100K unique monthly visitors and only 14.7% of B2C sites do.” Attracting visitors isn’t the problem — gaining a loyal customer who is going to download an E-book or white paper is the challenge.
B2B Buyers Are Growing Tired Of Forms
Findings from other research prove the point that B2B buyers don’t like filling out forms. Unbounce found that “the median conversion to form-fill rates among their customers was 3%” and even going as far back as 2014, “search engine news website searchengineland.com reported similar rates and was still finding a 3% to 5% form-fill rate as of 2022.” WordStream, a digital marketing technology provider, “found a unique visitor to form-fill rate of 2.4%” after studying Google Ads customers. The company noted that even though other businesses experience higher conversion rates, 3% was the median conversion rate.
The countless visitors who never fill out website forms could potentially play a very important role in how B2B companies recognize and prioritize future selling opportunities:
- Nearly all B2B purchases are influenced by multiple individuals acting as a buying team;
- Buying teams comprise an average of approximately 10 individuals, according to 6sense’s research; and
- Small deals involve an average of seven buying team members, medium deals include about 10 members and larger deals 19 members, according to software provider Clari.
To Gate Or Not To Gate?
B2B organizations should focus on the thousands of potential consumers who aren’t filling out forms instead of relying on the 3%. “Ungate and focus on enabling your buyers,” added Cunningham. “When you see multiple individuals from the same organization shopping the same solutions, that is their way of telling you they are ready to buy.”
During the earlier stages of digital marketing, businesses relied heavily on forms. More recently, businesses have eliminated gated content on their websites since buyers were frustrated with the number of onsite forms. 6sense recommends this strategy, which is detailed in Latane Conant’s, 6senses CMO, book titled, “No Forms, No Spam, No Cold Calls.” By decreasing the volume of forms, 6sense’s conversion rate is less than 1%, while revenue has doubled year after year for the past three years.
Using the signals provided by anonymous visitors is the key to successfully applying this strategy.
Marketing & Sales Alignment Fuels B2B Revenue Generation
Implementing a modern approach to B2B revenue generation aims to form one powerful, coherent signal of which accounts are really in-market. Businesses must combine third-party intent signals with de-anonymized web traffic and MQLs.
“The modern approach involves aligning with sales on a set of targets, then activating, detecting and capturing all the signals that reveal which of those targets are in-market at any given time,” said Cunningham. “Marketing builds the machine to capture in-market buyers (buying groups, not individuals) and delivers those qualified buyers to sales.”
Overall, organizations must re-evaluate their current digital efforts if they want to increase revenue. According to Cuningham, there is an opportunity to double revenue if the right steps are taken and aligning both marketing and sales teams is key.
“It is critical for businesses to align their sales and marketing teams,” revealed Cunningham. “But it is largely marketing’s job to cause it. When marketing is focused nearly exclusively on leads, alignment is unlikely, if not impossible. By identifying in-market buying groups through using all available signals, marketing aligns their efforts to what sales needs to producerevenue.”
Here are some major takeaways from the report:
- B2B sites receive hundreds of thousands to many millions of unique visitors every month — but only 3% fill out an on-site form;
- There are more than 10 people on the typical B2B buying team, but only 1.5 to 2.5 of those individuals are expected to fill out a form;
- To minimize buyers' frustration over filling out forms — and in turn increase vendors' influence on visitors — organizations like 6sense eliminate gated content and instead rely on de-anonymization and third-party intent signals;
- Using de-anonymized web traffic together with leads creates the most robust picture of which accounts are in-market; and
- Abandon efforts to increase form-fill rates and harness the power of the 97% instead.
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