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Whether you know it or not, your sales team has a lot of power at their fingertips. By using LinkedIn and Twitter, sales reps can grab the attention of their customers. They can communicate directly with them. They can personalize their interactions. And ultimately, they can use social networks to improve their productivity and generate revenue.

Still not convinced? Here are nine stats that you need to know about social selling.

1. It would take 6,264 cold calls to close 4 deals. (HubSpot)

Is cold calling the most efficient way of generating sales opportunities? Certainly not. So, why do sales and marketing teams keep buying lists and hiring more sales reps to make more cold calls? There's a better way…

2. 84% of C-level/vice president executives use social media to support purchase decisions. (IDC)

"But my buyers aren't on social!" That's one objection that many sales reps raise. Truth be told, sellers won't know if their buyers are on social until they look. The stats suggest that there are plenty of executives who use LinkedIn and Twitter to inform their buying decisions. So, it's worth a try, isn't it?

3. Top social sellers have 45% more opportunities per quarter than social selling laggards. (LinkedIn)

Wining and dining customers is sexy. Compared to an evening at a trendy restaurant, engaging buyers on LinkedIn and Twitter doesn't sound as sexy, but social selling does pay off. Every quarter, the best social sellers always have more deals in their pipeline.

4. Social sellers realize 66% greater quota attainment than those using traditional selling techniques. (Sales Benchmark Index)

Of course, pipeline is only part of the battle for salespeople. The real question is this: Does a social seller's pipeline turn into revenue? Ladies and gentlemen, it does. Social sellers are far more likely to hit their numbers than those who are cold calling. Investing in a social selling program does pay off!

5. The single most powerful behavior separating top sales performers from core performers is using social media as a critical channel to engage customers and generate leads. (CEB)

Here's a chart summarizing what the Corporate Executive Board found:

6. IBM used social selling to boost sales by 400%, and they did it in one quarter. (IBM)

Some sales leaders worry about "burdening" salespeople with another task. They fear that social selling will distract sales reps, and it will take too long to implement a strategy.

If it takes you months or years to implement a social selling strategy, you're doing it wrong. Perhaps you need to rethink your training, as well as your vendor selection. In one quarter, IBM saw a 400% increase in sales.

7. Buyers with larger budgets are more likely to use social media. Typically, their budgets are 84% bigger. (IDC)

Social sellers outperform traditional sales reps because they are able to engage buyers earlier in the buyer's journey. Furthermore, sales reps on social are more likely to encounter buyers with bigger budgets. Anyone sales rep who has BANTed someone knows that that's important.

8. Reps who exceed quota share 23% more content each month. (LinkedIn)

In the IBM case study (see number six), content played a key role. IBM sales representatives shared a mixture of internal (company-created) and external (third-party) content.

Content is the grease in the social machine. It's how people interact. It's how sellers establish expertise. It's how account executives come across as more helpful and less salesy. It's how sales reps don't scare away buyers.

Social selling doesn't work if you're pitching your product. Use educational content instead.

9. 89% of buyers turn away if the sales professional doesn’t have insights or knowledge about their business. (LinkedIn)

The ABCs of sales (always be closing) have changed. The best sellers spend time understanding their buyers. And once they understand their buyers, they offer insights to their buyers. That's the formula for sales success – whether it is on social or elsewhere.

Are You Ready?

Now is the perfect time to start planning your social selling program. These stats show why social selling works, how it works, and what buyers are looking for on social networks.

If you're ready to get started, grab a copy of our social selling workbook, and start planning your strategy!

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Posted by Mark Bajus

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