Study: Why B2B Brands Are Missing 70,000 Sales Leads Every Year

In the newly published B2B Social Media Report, an in-depth study of 200 of the top B2B companies in the US and the UK, it’s been revealed that these B2B brands are potentially missing out on over 70,000 sales opportunities per year.

Yes, you read that right. Of the 200 top B2B brands we analyzed, 72,756 mentions relating to them were what we call ‘intent to purchase’ mentions. And according to our extensive research, how many of these 72,756 mentions were engaged with by the companies? Less than 1%.

99% were left unanswered. A potential $36bn in missed revenue.

What is an intent to purchase mention?

We often refer to ‘intent to purchase‘ mentions. More indicative of an actual sale than a simply positive mention, these are online mentions expressing a desire to actually go out and buy a product or service.

For example, a Tweet discussing a keen interest in implementing a new SaaS platform, or a forum thread of construction experts considering whether or not to purchase some new heavy industry machinery.


When researching the B2B landscape, we looked for intent to purchase language such as ‘I’m thinking of buying’, ‘I’m looking to buy’, ‘I want to get’, ‘We want to purchase’ – language that clearly expresses an intent to trial or buy a brand’s offerings. These mentions are invaluable to brands.

Sales teams can connect with these conversations and translate intent to purchase into revenue – so tapping into these insights is a no-brainer, right?

Our data found that on average, each brand receives 363 of these potential sales opportunities a year. One for almost every single day of the year. And they’re not just junk – 23% of these came from execs, classing them as accepted sales targets.

So what’s going wrong? Why are these sales opps being missed?

A disparity between B2B brands and their consumers?

Obviously the B2B market is intentionally less public-facing than B2C. That being said, our data shows that B2B brands are increasingly becoming wise to the fact that they need to be active on social media.

76% of B2B brands now manage at least one social media account on Twitter or Facebook – and they’re not being ignored. On average, the leading accounts have over 47,000 Twitter followers, and over 210,000 Facebook likes.

However, being active on just Twitter and Facebook is simply not enough.B2B brands rely almost exclusively on these two social networks, when their customers are active in a variety of other places.

We found that on average, every day leading B2B brands are mentioned 5,055 times on news sites, 2,935 times on forums, 2,623 on blogs and even 375 times on video and image sites. That’s a whole lot of conversation taking place out there, every single day.

Conversations that are perhaps being missed, because the brands are not monitoring and engaging in these areas.

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Talking the talk

Although B2B brands are perhaps not leveraging the opportunities available by being active in the same places as their potential consumers, they are doing a good job of aligning with their audiences.

For B2B marketers, it is incredibly important to understand how their target audience communicates. Mastering the tone of voice for a B2B content marketer is far more tricky than B2C – the development needs to be taken seriously. It doesn’t just happen.

Being clear, using simple language without resorting to jargon, expressing confidence and being authoritative, and being compelling when the subject matter can be somewhat dry (sorry industrial tech brands, but you get my point I’m sure) can be a tough job.

Then there’s the ‘social language’ – how tags are used, how many @replies are used, the inclusion of links, images and videos. The way brands communicate on social media is increasingly important in building the brand voice that resonates with their audience.

We found that the 200 B2B brands we analyzed communicate in a very similar way to their audience – using the exact amount of hashtags and videos in their posts, and differing only slightly in the amount of images, replies and links shared.

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This is heartening data. It shows that when the interactions are happening, the brands are aligning with those they want to communicate with.

We’ve got far more granular in the full report, breaking down the owned v earned interactions by industry to show exactly who is getting it right, and who’s missing the mark.

Capitalizing on conversations

We’ve learned that although B2B brands are doing a decent job of communicating with their target markets on social, there is a huge discrepancy in the places in which these conversations are happening.

By being better educated in the areas they need to be active on and uncovering these conversations before they die out, or worse, end up in the hands of a competitor who is doing a better job of monitoring than them, B2B brands have a wealth of potential sales opportunities at hand. One a day, in fact.

How can they make this happen? By ensuring that they are equipped to monitor these conversations. Investing in social listening technology could help B2B brands claw back those 99% missed opportunities.

Seems pretty obvious now, doesn’t it?