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As a SaaS product that tracks lead source, we gain a lot of knowledge about what's effective and what's not. We studied all the marketing touches for nearly 500,000 leads (see the published results here) and found that search engine marketing is an incrediby effective channel for B2B marketers and I'll explain why below.


1. It’s a treasure trove of leads

Of all the channels, search was the first marketing touch for the majority of leads. The next highest channel that can be directly controlled was social at just 5%. In fact, social, email, and display combined accounted for just 8% of leads.


2. Win rates are nearly 3.5x display

Since all the companies in the research use Salesforce, closed leads can either become lost or won. When looking at which first touch marketing channels at the highest win rates, we found at direct was, not surprisingly, the highest at 57% and search was second at 41%. This speaks to the quality of leads being generated.


3. Marketing cycle is second only to social

In looking at the marketing cycle, that is the time from the very first marketing touch to when the lead was converted into an opportunity (typically when the marketing cycle ends and the sales cycle begins), search was only at 22 days compared with 18 days for social, which was the best, and 54 days for email, which was the worst.


4. It generates better revenue per deal than display or social

Revenue per deal is about the only piece in our findings where search wasn’t the star and rather came in the middle of the pack. The first marketing touch of referral generated revenue 1.4x average while search was 0.9 and social the lowest at 0.73. I think the important takeaway here is that, even though search scales incredibly well, you don't have to make big sacrifices with revenue.


In summary, search delivers superior volume and quality leads that convert into opportunities faster and it just cannot be ignored by companies who have sales teams. If you're using Salesforce, check out our AdWords Salesforce integration that enables you to make optimizations based on revenue instead of leads.