SpecialChem lead conversion benchmarks and ROI

Published January 13, 2022 | Written by Nicolas Dupond

Most of the time, our digital marketing programs are designed to engage chemical and material buyers to generate leads from our material selection platforms.

From this perspective, here are the two most frequent questions that we receive:

  • Our clients: “Is my lead conversion good?” or what they are really asking “Do you have benchmarks to compare my lead conversion?

  • Our prospective clients: “What is my ROI with SpecialChem?”, which you can easily translate into “How many SpecialChem leads can we convert into customers?

Well, let’s crush both of these questions with one stone. If you are having the same questions, welcome aboard. This post will take you straight to the answer.


Definition reminder: Let’s speak the same marketing language

Before diving into the benchmarks, I need to make sure that we are on the same page. So here are some important definitions that I will use in this post. And I recommend — do not skip this section.


The funnel stages

  • Visitor: anyone visiting our client’s content within any of our platforms.

  • Lead: A visitor who interacted with our client’s content (for example, a product page, data sheet, downloadable document, etc), or filled out a request form (sample, quote, support).

  • MQL: Marketing Qualified Lead. A Lead matching the buyer personas of our client.

  • SQL: Sales Qualified Lead: An MQL with whom you have a documented call report assessing the business potential and verifying their profile.

  • Opportunity: An SQL with a serious business potential and whose profile fits with your buyer personas.

  • Customer: An opportunity which has purchased from you.


The lead conversion processes

  • Lead Generation: The actions to convert Visitors into Leads, and dispatch the leads (name, contact details, score, etc.) to our clients.

  • Lead Scoring: The process to automatically score a lead based on their navigation history and profile. This “quality” score helps to identify MQLs among your leads.

  • Lead Screening: The process to manually screen your Leads to identify MQLs.

  • Lead Qualification: The process to contact MQLs and convert them into SQLs, to identify the opportunities among them.

  • Sales Follow-up: The process to convert Opportunities into Customers.


Are you still with me? Great!

So now, let’s dive into the benchmarks. Ready? GO!


SpecialChem lead conversion benchmarks

In 2020, we measured the conversion rates of 6,000 leads from 6 clients’ lead generation programs. Those programs included a mix of inbound and outbound marketing actions.

If your Lead Screening or Lead Qualification processes are not optimal or even broken — which is the #1 struggle within our clients’ organizations, the resulting benchmarks are not reliable.

This is why for this case study analysis, we only tracked programs where we managed both the Lead Screening and Lead Qualification for our clients. This way, we are sure that the benchmarks we share reflect the ROI that you could potentially achieve if you apply our Lead Qualification best practices.


If you want to compare those benchmarks to yours, beware that the difference may come from several of the following reasons:

  • Your marketing tactics and actions that you used. Inbound leads convert more for example.
  • Your products and their value propositions
  • Your lead conversion processes
  • Your reactivity to follow-up
  • Your target markets
  • Your geography
  • And many more!

How to estimate or calculate your ROI

Based on benchmarks from this case study analysis, we measured that 4.2% of SpecialChem leads converted into opportunities.

And to help you convert this number into an ROI, we applied some generic opportunities to customers rates. I know that my following examples are basic and certainly inaccurate vs. your real performances, but at least they will give you a range.


ROI examples of SpecialChem's Leads



Once again, those cases are pretty simple and basic and may not reflect your own ROI as it strongly depends on:

  • YOUR lead to opportunity conversion: Here we used our 4.2% benchmark which is a high conversion.
  • YOUR opportunity to customer conversion
  • YOUR average contract amount and customer retention
  • YOUR conversion costs and margin


If you want to estimate your own ROI, try our ROI calculator. It only takes 5 minutes to get your estimation with your own inputs. Have fun!




How to use SpecialChem lead scoring to maximize your lead conversion

All our leads are automatically scored with our AI-based lead scoring. You can see how our lead scoring is working here. But in a nutshell, each lead is scored on two dimensions:

  • An in-target score: does the lead match your ideal customer target?
  • A current interest score: does the lead show a strong interest in your technology category right now?

Screenshot-leads-list-specialchem-1Example of your lead list on SpecialChem


And each dimension is scored from 0 to 3 stars, like this:


  In-Target score Current Interest score
⭐⭐⭐ Your ideal lead profile Strong interest, 70-100% chance of a project
⭐⭐ A good lead profile Moderate interest, 30-70% chance of a project
Not a priority Low interest, 0-30% chance of a project
0 Absolutely not a match No interest for now
- We don’t have enough information to know We don’t have enough information to know

So, we compared Hot Leads (the leads coming from request forms, and the leads having both a 3-star in-target score AND a 3-star interest score) vs. Other Leads. And here is our finding:


Yes, the Hot Leads represent only 12% of all leads and hold the most business potential with 55% of Opportunities. Whereas the 88% Other Leads contribute to 45% of Opportunities.

This is why you must focus your Lead Qualification on Hot Leads, aka the 3-star leads first. Then, allocate your resources to your Lead Screening because it is one of the most critical steps to harvest the ROI of your Other Leads.


What parameters influence your lead conversion?

It is simple, every process in your lead conversion will impact your performance and ROI:

  • If you are using a bad or no lead scoring: you won’t identify the hot leads that hold the most business potential. You will focus and drain your resources on the wrong leads, wasting their time, energy and motivation.

  • If you are not doing Lead Screening: you will miss 45% of your business opportunities. Don’t neglect these leads!

  • If your Lead Qualification takes more than 48 hours: you won’t succeed to contact the leads, you will lose many business opportunities and you will appear as a non-reliable, hard to contact and difficult supplier to work with.

  • If your Sales Follow-up takes more than 48 hours: you will face the same consequence as the previous point.

Read our Lead Qualification 101 to get all the best practices you need to maximize your lead conversion.


How can you improve your lead conversion?

Most of our clients struggle to setup an effective lead conversion organization and build the right processes on their own. This is by far the #1 question that they are asking after receiving their first leads from us.

A few of them even argue that “My SpecialChem leads are total cr*$#!” without realizing that the real problem is not the lead quality, but their ineffective or inexistant lead conversion process. In most cases, they manage lead like if they were all inquiries from clients.

So if you want to maximize your lead ROI, here are my 2 recommended routes to success.


1. If you want an immediate and successful lead conversion

I recommend you add a Lead Qualification Pack to your Lead Generation program. With a Lead Qualification Pack, our Lead Managers will take care to screen your leads, qualify them with phone interviews, then dispatch the detected opportunities — meaning in-target leads with a serious project matching your chemical ingredients or materials. You can contact us to schedule a short call about our Lead Qualification Pack.


2. If you want to improve your own lead conversion processes

Take a look at our Lead qualification 101 for chemical suppliers. You will find plenty of best practices to improve your lead conversion. You can also contact us to schedule a session to share our best practices with you.


Are you wasting your leads? Do you want to improve your conversion?
We can qualify your leads generated on SpecialChem, or even train your sales and marketing teams to the lead qualification best practices, so that you won't miss any business opportunity in your leads.