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Jul 27, 2010

New Chart: The Length of B2B Sales Cycles from Lead Generation to Sales Conversion

SUMMARY: What is the average length of your B2B sales cycle from lead generation to sales conversion, and how does it compare to the lengths of your peer’s sales cycles in the B2B marketing community?

Check out this week’s chart to view the length of B2B sales cycles, according to more than 1,000 B2B marketers.
by Jen Doyle, Senior Analyst

A Long Road from Lead Generation to Sales Conversion

View Chart Online
Click here to see a larger, printable version of this chart

One of the most challenging obstacles to marketing is the time span from lead generation to sales conversion. These long sales cycles put pressure on marketers to streamline the lead nurturing process.

When prospects first enter the pipeline, they may be months away from defining specifications, a budget or a purchase timeline. It is marketing’s responsibility to identify and fulfill the information needs of prospects at each stage and to advance prospects through the pipeline to a sales-ready stage as rapidly as possible.

We also wanted to know what percentage of leads at each stage of the pipeline were likely to advance to the next stage. We found that on average, nearly four in 10 leads move from initial inquiry to being sales-ready and the same ratio advance from sales-ready to qualified prospect. As might be expected, the trend deteriorates moving to the next stage where only three in 10 qualified prospects convert to a sale.

For additional research data and insights about B2B marketing, download and read the free Executive Summary from MarketingSherpa’s 2009-2010 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report.
See Also:

Comments about this Chart

Jul 27, 2010 - Nick Van Weerdenburg of Test-Driven Marketing says:
To be give useful guidance this chart needs to be segmented by product price, customer size and market maturity.

Jul 27, 2010 - Rob Kaminoff of says:
Of course, these vary by industry and, most importantly, the cost for the company's products and services. Regardless, this underscores the importance of lead nurturing throughout the sales cycle.

Jul 27, 2010 - Jackie Cooper of says:
This is a great article and the chart says it all. This lends credence to what I always try to make clear to my clients when implementing either a traditional marketing or social media marketing strategy:- that the B2B sales cycle requires patience and persistence in order to keep leads active and moving closer towards conversion. I will direct them to this article on my blog.

Jul 27, 2010 - Jen Doyle of MarketingSherpa says:
Thank you for all of your comments. There are additional breakouts of this data available in our 2009-2010 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report. For more information, you can access a free copy of the Executive Summary via the following link:

Jul 30, 2010 - Margo Volterra of Lead Generation Sleuth says:
I wonder how many of these respondents utilize a person-to-person approach via the phone, which promotes lead qualification and nurturing. Web responses are only as good as the info provided. Emails are fine if sent to the decision-maker and we all know about printed direct mail and the circular file!

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