We’ve gathered the most surprising, horrifying, and enlightening sales statistics on cold calling, social selling, sales training, and much more.
Whether you are a sales rookie or an experienced veteran, these 14 sales stats will knock your socks off and perhaps inspire you to improve the way you sell.
92% of all customer interactions happen over the phone.
Takeaway: We’ve heard the chants: “cold calling is dying.” But that doesn’t mean that phone conversations are dying and this stat is proof. One of the best salespeople we ever knew was glued to his phone yet never made a single cold call. He would spend 2 to 3 hours every day making “check-up calls” – calling old professional friends to (1) maintain relationships and (2) learn about developments in their companies which opened up potential new opportunities where he could help. Next time you see a friend change their job title on LinkedIn or hear about an old client in the news, pick up the phone and make that check-up call.
55% of the people making their living in sales don’t have the right skills to be successful.
Takeaway: This stat is not so much about the lack of sales talent as it is about the inability of most sales organizations to provide sales reps with the specific tools and training they need to be successful. Do you have a defined sales process? How do you share best practices? Do your managers coach sales reps? These are just some of the many things that need to be addressed for this terrifying stat to improve.
Over one trillion dollars (that’s nine zeros) are spent annually on sales forces.
Takeaway: This is just another statistic that proves the emphasis businesses are making on their sales forces.
78% of salespeople using social media outsell their peers.
Takeaway: If done right, social selling really works.
In a typical firm with 100-500 employees, an average of 7 people are involved in most buying decisions.
Takeaway: It’s rare you’ll find yourself concerned with just one potential buyer in the sales process. Even in relatively simple transactions with smaller firms, you’ll likely come across multiple people playing different decision-making roles.
Salespeople who actively seek out and exploit referrals earn 4 to 5 times more than those who don’t.
Takeaway: Referral-based selling is a surefire recipe for success. A referred customer is already pre-sold on the credibility of the sales person, product and company which makes these types of opportunities the warmest sales leads.
91% of customers say they’d give referrals. Only 11% of salespeople ask for referrals.
Takeaway: If you are making this mistake, you are wasting precious opportunities. All you have to do is ask! What’s the worst that can happen? Don’t beat around the bush and “suggest” referrals and instead ask for them directly.
Only 13% of customers believe a sales person can understand their needs.
Takeaway: Too many people in sales still don’t get it. It’s not about you. It all starts and stops with the buyer. Good sales professionals are like a doctor diagnosing a patient’s illness. If you can’t uncover your customer’s problems and needs you don’t stand a chance at selling them a solution.
Email is almost 40 times better at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter.
Takeaway: Although this stat is really about email marketing vs. social media marketing, it’s a good reminder of the general importance and power of email. It is worthwhile to improve your ability to craft impactful emails with effective subject lines and calls to action.
Continuous training gives 50% higher net sales per employee.
Takeaway: The impact of sale training is hard to measure, so many sales leaders doubt its effectiveness. The truth is that investing in your people has a positive impact for your organization, even if that impact is not clearly seen in sales results immediately following a training program.
The average company spends $10K – $15K hiring an individual and only $2K a year in sales training.
Takeaway: Sales training is paramount for new salespeople. If you hire A players but don’t invest in their growth you will never have an A team.
Retaining current customers is 6 to 7 times less costly than acquiring new ones.
Takeaways: Pay attention to your existing customers. The fact that they are engaged with your brand gives you an advantage that you’d be mistaken not to capitalize on. This is all about account management, up-selling and cross-selling.
The average company loses between 10% and 30% of its customers each year.
Takeaway: Don’t ever stop prospecting. Even when your pipeline is full, you should still be prospecting. Pipeline activity does not equal sales, and you never know what the future holds.
After a presentation, 63% of attendees remember stories. Only 5% remember statistics.
Takeaway: Tell stories. Storytelling is one of the most powerful techniques salespeople have to communicate and motivate. Using stories to make a connection with a prospect can greatly increase your ability to close deals. How has your product or service helped other companies? How has it caused big changes for other organizations?