Desperately Seeking B2B Benchmarks

Here’s a question that crops up more and more frequently.  Forrester B2B marketing clients want to know “What are the average conversion rates for leads to opportunities and opportunities to sales in......?”  You can fill in the blank with:

Industry:   high tech, financial services, healthcare etc.
Tactic:   email marketing, paid search placement, direct mail postcards, etc.
Size:   small businesses, enterprises, firms over $250M in revenue, etc.
Product type:  durable, consumer, high technology, software, etc.
Channel:   direct sales, telesales, distributors, resellers, etc.

And create a tremendous array of opportunities to research.  Opportunities so vast it boggles my mind, and makes me wonder how Forrester might provide this kind of information on a reliable, relevant basis at minimum cost to ourselves and our clients.

In the spirit of exploring this dilemma further, I’d like to hear from our blog readers – B2B in particular – on these two questions:

1) What specific sources of information have you found for these types of benchmarks?  (Go ahead and mention competitors, you won’t hurt my feelings…) And how detailed, or reliable, do these sources need to be?

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New Research On Engagement

We've just published a new report titled Marketing's New Key Metric: Engagement.

The link is here. [UPDATE 8/13, 2pm (Eastern): This link redirects to a page on the Forrester Web site which includes the executive summary. The full report is accessible to Forrester clients.]

The premise behind the report is that the center of the marketing funnel (consideration and preference) is more complex than many like to believe. This complexity is largely influenced by people's changing behaviors online, fueled by social computing.

As a result, marketers need to focus on engagement. In the report, we define engagement as:

Engagement is the level of involvement, interaction, intimacy, and influence an individual has with a brand over time.

The four components of engagement are:

Involvement—Includes web analytics like site traffic, page views, time spent, etc. This essentially is the component that measures if a person is present.

Interaction—This component addresses the more robust actions people take, such as buying a product, requesting a catalog, signing up for an email, posting a comment on a blog, uploading a photo or video, etc. These metrics come from e-commerce or social media platforms.

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