It’s hard to remember when social media wasn’t a mainstream sales and marketing tactic. Looking back, our earliest mentions of the term “social selling” on the Brainshark blog are from 2011.
“More and more people these days buy something based on a personal recommendation and not on typical advertising. Many companies realize this, and they are now encouraging their employees to promote their products and services using social media.” 11/2011
Five years later, we know most brands rely on the power of social media marketing, and social selling has become common practice in B2B sales professionals’ prospecting routines.
We can see the upward trend in the term’s search engine queries on Google since 2011:
But although most sales professionals know social selling is powerful, they oftentimes still lack training and knowledge for how to get started.
So just how important is social selling?
Here are 11 social selling stats to consider:
82% of prospects are active on social media. (Source: InsideView)
Salespeople should not assume their prospects – even those in niche markets – aren’t using social media for some professional purposes. 8 in 10 are.
There are 128 million LinkedIn users in the U.S. alone (Source: LinkedIn)
And if you think that number is staggering – consider that 70 percent of LinkedIn users are abroad.
90% of top salespeople use social selling tools, compared with 71% of sales professionals overall. (Source: LinkedIn)
This suggests people who are more likely to use social selling tools are often more likely to be successful. Here’s how they’re using these tools:
68.9% use social selling tools for lead development. 64.9% use them for account research, followed by call preparation by 60.3% (Source: CSO Insights)
Today’s successful sales forces know cold calling isn’t always the best route to develop new leads. In fact, the average sales rep makes 52 phone calls daily, and less than 1% of those calls are actually returned.
39% say the primary benefit of using social selling tools is “reduced account/ contact research time.” (Source: CSO Insights)
Because even when reps do make a phone connection, having done account research and call preparation on social media beforehand is one of the few ways you can prove you’ve done your homework.
72% of sales professionals feel that they are not proficient with social selling. (Source: Feedback Systems)
And that’s likely because…
69% of sales professionals are self-taught and have no active social selling training program in place. (Source: Feedback Systems)
Luckily, companies are aware that this needs to change.
30% of companies say their social selling training needs “a complete overhaul.” (Source: CSO Insights)
That new information comes from CSO Insights’ latest sales enablement optimization study.
Reps who exceed quota share 23% more content each month on social media. (Source: LinkedIn)
This ties into the need for better sales enablement. Reps need to have easy access to a variety of content assets, available across devices. When reps know they can access content whether they’re in the office, on a tablet at a trade show booth, or after work hours on their mobile device – they’ll be more likely to share it on their social channels. InsideView reports 82% of buyers’ view between five and eight pieces of content from a winning vendor.
50% of buyers avoid sales professionals with incomplete LinkedIn profiles (Source: LinkedIn)
So, what are you waiting for?
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