101 Social Selling Stats You Need to Know
Over the past few years, social selling has grown from being a crazy concept to an integral part of modern marketing.
Hubspot defines it as "when salespeople use social media to interact directly with their prospects", with a focus on providing value.
It’s a subject close to our hearts (we’ve done a post on the Top 5 Social Selling Tools, if you’re ready to get started).
Yet, is it right for you and your company? We’ve scoured the web to put together the definitive list of statistics to illustrate how important social selling has become and help direct your efforts so you can enjoy the most benefits. Pour yourself a drink, take a seat, and read on.
That’s right, Facebook is king, with over 1,871 million active users
(46% more than its closest competitor, WhatsApp).
The statistics show it’s still growing too. Although things aren’t looking as rosy for Twitter. They’re now below Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat and Instagram, and show no signs of making a comeback.
In case you needed further convincing, Hubspot has compiled a list of social selling statistics to inspire even the most cynical of sellers. This Includes the following gems:
- 98% of sales reps with more than 5,000 LinkedIn connections meet or surpass their quota, according to Sales Benchmark Index.
- 78% of salespeople using social media perform better than their peers.
- IBM increased their sales by 400% thanks to their inbound social selling programme.
- 77% of B2B purchasers said that they would not even speak to a salesperson until they had done their own research.
- 55% of all buyers do their research by using social networks.
- Over 70% of B2B purchase decision makers use social media to help them decide.
iAcquire’s post on online shopping behaviour suggests that:
They also cite research from Experian Simmons that more than half of all consumers are “informed consumers”, indicating they tend to gather information about products before purchasing online.
Linkedin has become the social network of choice for businesses, so they know a thing or two about social selling. Highlights from their SlideShare on "Achieving Social Selling Success" include:
- 81% of buyers are more likely to engage with a strong, professional brand.
- 90% of decision makers never answer a cold call, but 75% of B2B buyers use social media to make purchasing decisions.
- Sales reps who viewed the profiles of at least 10 people at each of their accounts were 69% more likely to exceed quota than those who viewed 4 or fewer.
In a case study, they found that engaged social sellers were far more productive and generated 38% more new opportunities than traditional sellers.
Their 2016 "State of Sales" report found 90% of top salespeople use social selling tools, compared with 71% of overall sales professionals.
In addition, 62% of employees at large companies agreed that social selling enables them to build stronger, more authentic relationships with customers and prospects.
In their SlideShare on establishing a professional brand, they found that:
of buyers are more likely to engage with a strong professional brand
of B2B buyers engage with sales professionals if they are known industry thought leaders.
Both of these are a key part of any successful social selling strategy.
Research conducted by IDC on behalf of Linkedin found that social networks play a vital role in the purchase process of the most senior B2B buyers.
84% of C-level and VP-level buyers use social media for purchasing.
Overall, 75% of B2B buyers consult social media when making purchasing decisions.
Also, senior-level buyers are more likely to use online professional networks for purchase support.
63% of C-level/VP-level buyers have used online professional networks for purchase support in the past 12 months compared with 56% for the entire sample, with B2B buyers who are active on social media represent a more senior and influential segment than those who do not use social media.
The research also found that buyers with greater influence are more likely to use social media:
SalesForce has a helpful infographic for beginners to social selling. This includes information from the Social Media and Sales Quota Survey, which concludes that 79% of salespeople who use social media as a selling tool outperform those who don’t.
In addition, they have some helpful statistics on specific social networks.
Even though Facebook may be the most popular social network, that doesn’t mean it’s the best option for your B2B sales.
BusinessWire offers a summary of the research of IDG Connect on the importance of social networks, specifically for B2B technology buyers.
- 86% of IT buyers now use social media to make technology decisions.
- 48% use Facebook for ‘general education’.
- 29% also refer to Facebook as they make ‘final decisions’.
- 16% use LinkedIn in the evaluation/implementation stage.
- 7% use Pinterest from research to final purchase.
- 5% use Slideshare across the buying cycle.
Forrester Research found that 74% of B2B buyers conduct more than half of their research online before making a purchase, and predict that 12% of all B2B sales in the US will take place online by 2020.
InsideView has put together a "Modern Guide to Social Selling", with statistics to back it up.
- Buyers are, at a minimum, 57% through the buying cycle before they want to engage with a sales rep.
- 90% of the top sales professionals report that they use social selling tools. (LinkedIn)
- Social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing. (Hubspot)
Sergey Gusarov has a handy SlideShare on the facts and stats for social selling. Highlights include:
- 2x the amount of leads/month for companies who use Twitter.
- 82% of prospects can be reached “socially” via online networks.
- 91% of B2B IT Buyers are now involved in social media at least as spectators.
- 75% claimed social media would likely have an influence on a future purchase.
SalesForLife has a wealth of information on social selling.
The results from their 2015 infographic include:
of B2B buyers used social media to research their purchase decision in 2014.
of buyers said they rely on peer recommendations before they make a purchase.
of buyers feel the vendor’s content had an impact on their final purchase decision.
of salespeople say that they closed a deal as a direct result of social media.
No wonder 45% of B2B marketers prefer marketing there, compared to the 20% that prefer Twitter.
Seriously, if you only remember one statistic from this post, make it this one.
The top three most effective content types for B2B are webinars (64%), videos (60%) and blogs (also 60%).
In another infographic, they revealed that:
- Nearly 82% of buyers viewed between five to eight pieces of content from a winning vendor.
- 72% of world class companies in 2015 found social media to be a highly effective tool to identify new business opportunities
- 63.4% of Social sellers reported an increase in company sales revenue, compared to 41.2% of non-social sellers.
- By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their interaction with the enterprise without interacting with a human.
- Where B2B organisations have their sales and marketing closely aligned, they achieved a 24% faster revenue growth and a 27% faster profit growth.
Additionally, they’ve just released their social selling 2017 trends report, with key findings that include:
- Sales teams who embrace social experience report 18% more pipeline (volume) and 28% velocity increase.
- The majority of social sellers with long-term training in place (78%) hit their revenue goals in the past 12 months versus those with without formalised training (38%).
- Salespeople leveraging social selling experience 31% higher ROI than those who stick to traditional tactics.
Have you ever found it a little weird when you’re browsing funny cat videos and when suddenly a sales message pops out of nowhere?
Hubspot addressed the concerns that social selling is creepy in their infographic:
- On LinkedIn, 65% of people wouldn’t find it creepy if a salesperson sent them a message and they had common connections.
- But 56% would find it creepy if a salesperson messaged them and referenced a recent change or event at the company.
- 64% classify it as creepy when a Salesperson requested to connect using a generic message.
- The numbers skyrocket for Facebook, with 81% finding unsolicited sales messages creepy, and 78% turned off by friends requests. Yuck!
Still planning on using Facebook as part of your strategy?
A study by Socialbakers found that:
A massive 135% increase as compared to photos.
In a report published on eMarketer, CSO Insights and Seismic researched what benefits B2B professionals perceived as a result of social selling tools and found that 39% of respondents stated reduced research time for contacts as a key benefit.
A whopping 68.9% used social selling tools for lead development, and 64.9% for account research.
In a survey of 140 firms, The Sales Management Association found that while around 80% of respondents believed the sales force would be more productive with a greater social media presence, two-thirds didn’t have a social media strategy for their sales organisation in place.
35% of the respondents strongly disagreed that they had received sufficient training from their organisation on how to use social media, compared to a mere 5% who strongly agreed they had.
Want to know how much that warm referral you get from social selling is worth? According to Demand Gen in their SlideShare on 7 Ways Sales Professionals Drive Revenue with Social Selling, a warm referral increases the odds of a sales success 2x-4x.
Social selling can get you that sale quicker too: Eloqua found their sales cycle time decreased on average by 20 days.
Hubspot backed up the importance of referrals with an infographic from PostBeyond.com.
65% of new business comes directly from referrals, and the benefits don’t stop there.
Those referred customers go on to spend an average of 13% more than regular customers.
How much of a difference would that make to your turnover?
According to Hubspot’s State of Inbound 2017, 29% of respondents rated social selling as one of their company’s top priorities for 2017. This came only after closing more deals (not so surprisingly) and improving the efficiency of the sales funnel.
Some are still finding it a challenge though. The same report found that 19% found incorporating social media into the sales process harder today compared to 2 to 3 years ago.
Looking forward, the top channel companies plan to incorporate is YouTube, with nearly half (48%) looking to add the video sharing network into their marketing efforts over the next 12 months.
Mapp’s Consumer Views of Email Marketing 2016 reveals that 58.6% of people engage with the brands they follow on social media 1 to 3 times a day. Additionally a whopping 91.3% of people follow brands on Facebook.
64.9% of people follow brands so they can get the best deals, but over half (54.5%) follow on social simply because they love the brand; This was actually the top rated reason for 18-34 year olds.
Wondering if people are sharing what you’re putting down? 44% were somewhat or very likely to share marketing/advertising messages on their social networks. That’s up more than double, from 19% in 2015.
In Ascend2’s Marketing Technology Trends report, 40% of marketers found marketing technology most effective for social & relationship marketing. That puts it second, only behind email marketing.
In their 2017 Digital Marketing Plans Survey, social media was ranked as the third most effective channel for a digital marketing plan to include. The only channels rated more effective were websites and email.
However, the same study showed 40% of marketers found social media the most difficult channels to execute, equal pegging with website.
LinkedIn’s report on Social Selling by Industry showed 14 industries who have more than half of their revenue influenced by social selling. The top performers were Computer and Network Security (67% revenue), Computer Software (also 67%) and Marketing and Advertising (66%).
In their latest study from October 2017, Ascend2’s Marketing Technology ROI report revealed that 35% of marketers have found technology driven social and relationships most likely to increase ROI, putting them on the same level as advertising/promotion.
The content that you share on social can have a big impact. Demand Gen Report reveal that more than half (51%) of B2B buyers rely on content now to research their buying decisions. 47% of buyers viewed three to five pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep and 73% of respondents viewed a case study during their research.
According to the report people are looking for shorter, interactive content, with an emphasis on education rather than selling. A massive 96% of respondents want content with more input from industry thought leaders.
Still need convincing that social selling is worth the investment? SalesforLife report that social sellers gain 57% higher ROI from social selling vs 23% using traditional (cold calling, call lists, etc.).
Whew, that was a lot of statistics! If you’ve skipped to the bottom and are looking for the key takeaways, here they are:
- Social selling can’t be ignored. More and more customers are researching companies using social networks before they make a decision, and if you’re not engaged you’re missing out.
- This is backed up by the fact that sales teams that include social selling consistently enjoy more success than those who don’t.
- However, there still seems to be a big lack of training being carried out, even where businesses recognise the value of social selling.
- Facebook may be the most popular social network in the world, but as things stand, LinkedIn stands out as being particularly effective for B2B sales.
Statistics can be helpful, but only if you act on them. I highly recommend you take the time to define your social selling strategy, then make sure you have the proper training and tools in place to implement it.
If you haven’t already, remember to check out our post on what Top 5 Social Selling Tools our panel of industry experts recommend. In addition, Reply’s features make it a valuable part of your social selling campaign.
You have all the information you need: It’s time to get out there and get social!
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