Despite the belief in the critical role that social marketing plays in lead generation, corporate Web sites do much more of the work. Despite this, a study shows that many sites do not reach their full potential.

While B2B marketers become more digitally savvy, their Web sites are still not realizing their lead generating potential. Demandbase and Focus asked sales, marketing and engineering executives during May about their corporate site, social media and digital strategy. The 2011 National Marketing and Sales Study showed that the company's Web site is the best source of new sales leads after personal contacts and referrals, and outperforms social media over seven times over.

The corporate Web site generates 23 percent of online leads, according to respondents, which surpasses e-mail's fourteen percent, online ads' seven percent, and social media's three percent. Despite the importance of the corporate site, eighty percent of executives report that the site is not performing to its full lead capabilities. Fewer IT respondents are aware of site shortcomings - 52 percent compared to ninety percent of non-IT respondents, showing possible disconnect between those who build the sites and the vision necessary to make the site successful in lead generating.

A vast majority of businesses do not collect as much information from site visitors as they can - 87 percent have minimal tracking, and eighteen percent say "strong improvement is needed in this area." Nearly half do not know at what section of their Web site do their visitors leave. Lost interest is an important metric for measuring Web site effectiveness, as well as measuring the quality of leads generated. For respondents, 34  percent say quality is more important than quantity (nine percent), though larger businesses think differently. For enterprise businesses, "which are often more interested in overall branding than their small business counterparts," they emphasize volume.

By Ivory King