Email Lead Nurturing Doesn't Cut It

According to a new survey by Bizo, in conjunction with Oracle Eloqua, many organizations are still struggling to develop comprehensive, multi-channel lead nurturing programs. 79% of marketers say their email open rates don’t exceed 20% on average, and 45% say only 1-4% of known contacts actually convert into marketing-qualified leads.

Some of the key findings in the report include the following:

  • More than a third of marketers claim that less than 25% of budget goes toward prospecting new leads versus nurturing existing ones
  • Email marketing is widely used, but does not reach a significant proportion of known contacts
  • Less than 5% of anonymous website visitors fill out contact forms on business websites
  • Nearly three-quarters of marketers are currently using marketing automation solutions, and 82% plan to maintain or increase their investment in marketing automation over the second half of 2014

With the growth of digital media, today’s prospective buyers are taking advantage of the wealth of information available online from both industry and social media sources to research and evaluate purchase solutions in great depth, without engaging with the vendor’s sales team until they have ostensibly made their decisions. Forrester found that in many cases, the B2B buyer’s journey is 90% complete by the time a vendor’s sales department is contacted. This has led B2B marketers to evolve strategies to more effectively reach, engage, and convert their target audiences, says the report.

It is now the responsibility of the marketer to connect as early as possible in the buying cycle and drive revenue for the company. The marketer’s role is crucial to a B2B company’s bottom line: nearly 60% of marketers reporting they are delivering at least 20% of B2B company revenues, and almost 25% contributing more than 40%.

Percent Of Company’s Overall Marketing-Sourced Revenue Goal


Marketing Sourced

% of Companies

Less than 20%


20-40 percent


40-60 percent


More than 60%


Not sure


Source: BIZO, June 2014


Currently, 94% of marketers say they have some form of lead nurturing program in place and 36% of marketers claim that less than a quarter of their budget goes toward prospecting new leads, a strong indicator that lead nurturing has also secured a place for itself in the modern marketer’s budget, says the report.

Importance Of Lead Nurturing To Marketing Efforts.

  • Very important, we couldn’t live without it   (35%)
  • Somewhat important, we have a few nurturing campaigns running   (58%)
  • Not very important, we focus primarily on new lead generation   (6%)

46% of mid-size companies (100-500 employees) feel they are on the leading edge when it comes to lead nurturing strategies. However, 57% of large enterprises (500+ employees) and 81% of SMBs (less than 100 employees) believe they have built a good foundation for their nurturing efforts, but still have a lot of optimization ahead of them.

Most B2B marketers use email marketing as a key strategy for nurturing existing leads through the sales pipeline. They frequently use email to send targeted content and promotional offers to specific segments of contacts in their databases, with the goals of nurturing these existing leads, encouraging conversions, and ultimately generating sales. It is easy for marketers to track email open and click-through rates, providing measurable metrics. Because marketers can keep track of email ROI, they often lean on this marketing strategy heavily.

But Email marketing is subject to numerous limitations, including:

Email marketing only reaches known prospects

  • Because email marketing relies on having access to prospects’ email addresses, it’s only possible to reach a small fraction of your potential audience. This marketing tactic provides no opportunity to engage with the much larger audience of anonymous prospects who may have visited your website.

Email marketing database may not be accurate

  • Just 5% of B2B buyers said that they are willing to provide detailed information in a gated content offer form. As a consequence, the email marketing database likely has significant omissions and errors regarding contact information.

Only a fraction of subscribers are reading emails

  • 79% of marketers surveyed say their email open rates don’t exceed 20% on average. Email nurturing efforts are failing to reach 80% of known prospects, along with all anonymous prospects.

Only a small Percentage of email subscribers ultimately convert

  • The survey found that 45% of marketers believe only 1-4% of known contacts in their databases ultimately convert into marketing qualified leads

Known Contacts In Database Ultimately Converted Into Marketing Qualified Leads

% Converted

% of Respondents

Less than 1%


1-4 percent


5-9 percent


10% or more


Not sure


Source: BIZO, June 2014

44% of marketers believe that, in addition to other channels, display advertising plays an important role in nurturing leads through the sales funnel, says the report. What’s more, marketers are ready to move beyond their reliance on email marketing and make multi-channel nurturing a reality for their organizations: 89% of marketers would be interested in technologies that support the ability to nurture anonymous and known prospects without using email.

Interest In Technology That Allowed Nurturing Anonymous And Known Prospects Without Using Email

  • Very interested   (44%)
  • Somewhat interested   (45%)
  • Not interested   (11%)

The report concludes by saying that embracing a multi-channel lead nurturing strategy, marketers can now take advantage of opportunities for reaching and connecting with all target prospects wherever they are on the web.

For additional information, please visit Bizo here


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