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Social media has proven to be an extremely effective way for companies to communicate with their buyers. But, surprisingly, many sales executives still believe that time spent on social media is a waste of time. They worry that social media is a fad or that their sales team will be distracted from "actual selling."

This post is for the naysayers. Here are six stats that will give you reason to jump on social media, plus one bonus number to help guide your strategy.

1. 84% of C-level/vice president executives use social media to support purchase decisions (Source).

Aha! Another myth busted!

Many salespeople and marketers have seen the stat about CEOs: 68% of the Fortune 500 CEOs have no social media presence whatsoever. So, they assume that very few executives use social media.

But that's not the case. A lot of executives use social media, and they use it to help guide their purchase decisions.

2. 56% of buyers use LinkedIn when they are searching for potential suppliers (Source).

At different stages of their journeys, buyers use different networks. When buyers are looking for potential suppliers, the majority use LinkedIn.

In other words, your salespeople and marketers better be on LinkedIn. If they're not, you're missing a tremendous opportunity to inform buyers about your product.

LinkedIn-Identify-Suppliers

3. 86% of B2B IT buyers are currently using social media networks in their purchase decision process (Source).

The first statistic in this post wasn't a fluke. A completely different study found similar results.

IDG Connect focused on IT buyers, and they found that the vast majority of IT buyers use social media when they're trying to reach a decision. So, if you're selling any form of software or technology, you better invest in social media.

4. 61% of IT buyers are interested in reading expert technical blogs, while 52% of IT buyers are interested in business blogs (Source).

What do IT buyers want to read when they're making purchasing decisions?

They like webinars a lot. And beyond that, they want to read blogs. So, make sure that your social sales team is armed with the best content – content that speaks to both technical expertise, as well as general business best practices.

5. Buyers with larger budgets are more likely to use social media (Source).

Compared to running a television advertisement during the Super Bowl, social media can seem inconsequential to some. After all, it's free for people to join sites like LinkedIn and Twitter. How can you possibly get any good customers on a free site? Right?

Wrong. The people who use social media have bigger budgets than the people who don't use social media.

Buyer-Budgets

6. 54% of sales representatives have closed a deal as a result of social media (Source).

In theory, social selling sounds great. The stats above indicate that buyers with budgets are using sites like LinkedIn and Twitter to make decisions.

But, in reality, are salespeople able to connect with those buyers? That's the key question.

It turns out that, yes, salespeople can connect with buyers on social media. The majority of sales representatives can trace at least one deal back to social media. (Still not convinced? The Aberdeen Group has found that social salespeople outperform their peers.)

7. Humans have an 8-second attention span (Source).

I'm assuming that a salesperson has sent you a cold e-mail or a LinkedIn message recently. How many paragraphs did it have? 5-6 dense paragraphs? Did each the message try to tell you everything there is to know about the salesperson's product?

Be honest with me. Did you read that message? I'm guessing that you didn't read it, but if you did, chances are you didn't read the message carefully. It was too long.

Make sure you keep your messaging and content concise.

The takeaways…

The takeaways here are twofold:

  1. Chances are good your buyers are on social media. Take the time to survey your customers and find out which social networks your customers are using.
  2. Not only do your communications with buyers need to be concise, but they also have to add value. Your buyers want to learn about their industry and their profession.

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Posted by Mark Bajus

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