You’ve probably all heard about how important social selling is, but that doesn’t mean it’s been adopted (or at least whole-heartedly) just yet. Many organisations still need to convince leadership, sales managers and sales consultants that it’s not a passing trend. Others are on the fence (or feel like it’s a barbed wire fence full of difficulties).
Whatever your position, these social selling stats are worth the read. Yes, social selling is worth the hype, but there’s a world of difference between the social leader and the social spammers of this world - and there’s some key differences in how they approach things.
From Outbound To Inbound, From Sales Pitch To Social
The change from an outbound approach of cold calls to an inbound approach has been underway for some time. We’re now firmly in an era where inbound tactics are critical to success - where establishing trust and social influence matter more than ever.
- 90% of C-level executives say they never respond to cold calls. Source: InsideView Survey, via HBR: Tweet Me, Friend Me, Make Me Buy
- A study by Leap Job found that only 2% of cold calls result in an appointment.
- A 2012 study by Research by Baylor University found that salespeople only generated one appointment or referral for every 209 calls.
- 75% of B2B Buyers said they are spending more time researching purchases in 2019 - up from 72% in 2018. Source: Demand Gen 2019 B2B Buyers Survey Report
- 75% of B2B buyers use social media to help them make purchasing decisions. At the C-level or Vice President level it’s more influential, with 84% using online professional networks when buying. Source: International Data Corporation (IDC): Social Buying Meets Social Selling: How Trusted Networks Improve the Purchase Experience
- An overwhelming 87% of B2B buyers said that would have a favourable impression of someone introduced through their professional network. Source: LinkedIn: Build Relationships.
- Content is becoming more influential as a key differentiator for B2B buyers. 65% rate informational content that was easy to consume important and 63% rate higher quality content as important. Source: Demand Gen 2019 B2B Buyers Survey Report
- 92% of B2B buyers are willing to engage with a sales professional who has established themselves as an industry thought leader. Source: LinkedIn: Establish Your Professional Brand slideshare
- Influencers are having more influence: 95% of B2B buyers prefer credible content from industry influencers — up from 65% in 2018. Source: Demand Gen 2019 Content Preferences Report
- The most trusted source (46%). for researching B2B buying decisions is “Peers or Colleagues” Source: Demand Gen 2019 Content Preferences Report
Social Leaders Blaze Ahead In Sales Performance
There is a vast difference in the performance of sales professionals that excel on social media and those that are hitting average benchmarks, as these stats show.
- Only 1.4% of of sales professionals are top social sellers, with a LinkedIn Social Selling Index score of 70+. Source: LinkedIn, Cross the Chasm: How to Capitalise on the Social Selling Trend
- 79% of sales rep at 'Best-in-Class' social selling companies achieved sales quota, compared with 43% at 'Industry Average' companies and just 15% at 'Laggard' ones. Source: Aberdeen Group, Social Selling: Leveraging the Power of User Generated Content to Optimize Sales Results.
- 78% of social sellers outsell peers who don’t use social media. Source: LinkedIn, The Social Selling Index SSI
- 54% of those surveyed by A Sales Guy Consulting in The Impact of Social Media on Sales Quota and Corporate Revenue could track a closed deal back to social media.
- 'Best-in-Class' social selling companies saw a 16.7% year-on-year revenue increase, compared with just 4.1% for 'Industry Average' companies and a decrease of 8.7% for 'Laggards'. Source: Aberdeen Group, Social Selling: Leveraging the Power of User Generated Content to Optimize Sales Results
- Social selling leaders with a LinkedIn Social Selling Index score of 70+ create 45% more opportunities than peers with a lower SSI score. Source: LinkedIn, The Social Selling Index SSI
- Out of fourteen industries analyzed, all showed that LinkedIn Sales Navigator influenced more than half of their revenue. Source: LinkedIn, Investigating the Truth About Social Selling by Industry
- Social selling leaders are 51% more likely to reach quota. Source: LinkedIn, The Social Selling Index SSI
Increasing Use Of Social Media For Sales
Social media usage for salespeople is rising and the reasons don’t just stop at lead generation - saving time on research and connecting with existing customers are also key benefits.
- In 2018, 60% of salespeople spent more time connecting virtually with prospects than they did in 2015. Source: Salesforce: State of Sales, 3rd edition
- The top 3 primary benefits of using social selling tools cited by B2B professional were reducing the amount of time spent researching accounts and contacts (39%), increasing the number of leads (33%) and creating a deeper relationship with clients. Source: Survey by CSO Insights and Seismic
What Buyers Want (And What Really Works)
There seems to be a difference between what buyers say they want to see and what drives most engagement on LinkedIn and Twitter. It may be because video is a relatively new concept (and some haven’t grasped how to do it correctly.) With video on the rise, however, this is certainly an area that every social seller should test to see what drives most engagement for them.
- 59% of C-level executives would rather watch a video than read text if it was on the same topic. Source: Forbes, Video in the C-Suite
- LinkedIn claim that video campaigns have an amazing 50% view rate. Source: LinkedIn, Ready to get started with video ads on LinkedIn? Here are 9 things you need to know.
- On LinkedIn Publishing, posts between 1900 and 2000 words perform the best and gain the greatest number of post views, likes, comments and shares. Source: OKDork, 10 LinkedIn Publishing Tips: We Analyzed 3000 LinkedIn Blog Posts
- The best character length for LinkedIn posts by engagement rate contain 145 characters, have a positive sentiment and contains a link, 0 hashtags and 0 emojis. Source: CoSchedule, How To Write The Best Social Media Posts [Backed By 6,399,322 Messages + 11 Studies] - Aug 2017
- The best performing Tweets on Twitter are image posts with 103 characters and a positive sentiment, that contain 2 hashtags and 1 emoji. Source: CoSchedule, How To Write The Best Social Media Posts [Backed By 6,399,322 Messages + 11 Studies] - Aug 2017
Tools, Training & Tips For Improvement
Being active on social media isn’t enough. Organisations that invest in the right social selling tools and training, make content readily available and searchable, and steer clear of overt sales messages perform much better.
- Nearly 75% of employees hadn't received any training on how to engage professionally on social networks, whilst 57% felt that additional training would be beneficial. (Hinge Marketing & Social Media Today study)
- 65% of sales teams say that they can’t find content to send to prospects - the most commonly cited problem by sales teams. Source: Kapost, A Marketer’s Guide to Sales Enablement [eBook])
- 96% of buyers said B2B vendors could improve the quality of the content by curbing the sales messages. Source: Demand Gen 2019 Content Preferences Report
- 60% of Best-in-Class social selling companies use tools to react rapidly to trigger events, compared with just 31% at Average companies and 9% at Laggards. Source: Aberdeen Group, Social Selling: Leveraging the Power of User Generated Content to Optimize Sales Results.
- 70% of Best-in-Class social selling companies educate sales staff on the use of external tools, compared with just 50% at Average companies and 30% at Laggards. Source: Aberdeen Group, Social Selling: Leveraging the Power of User Generated Content to Optimize Sales Results.
As the stats show, the right training and tools are essential to social selling success. Avoid common mistakes and get off to the right start with our Social Selling eBook.