'Tis the most wonderful time of the year!

It's budget season. Around the world, sales leaders are looking at spreadsheets, scratching their heads, and wondering how their team will make their numbers.

In the era of the self-directed buyer, hitting revenue goals is no easy task.

According to SiriusDecisions, enterprise sales reps will need to source roughly 90% of their own leads. (Enterprise accounts are defined as companies with over 1,000 employees.)

Mid-market sales reps will have to source between 75% and 85% of their own leads. (Mid-market is defined as companies with 101 to 1,000 employees.)

SMB reps will have to find between 55% and 70% of their own leads.

So, where are those sales-sourced leads going to come from?

The Struggle to Engage Buyers Today

To state the obvious: For salespeople to hit their numbers, they need to have conversations with buyers. They need to spark engagement. But buyers are becoming increasingly difficult to reach.

As sales leaders know, buyers don't answer phone calls. An academic study found that it takes 330 calls to set one appointment. So, if setting an appointment is the goal of your outbound phone calls, your tactics are effective only 0.3% of the time. Ouch.

To add insult to injury, not only are people ignoring your sales calls; they're deleting your sales emails. The average email open rate hovers around 20%, meaning that 80% of your emails are deleted or land in someone's spam folder.

Think about the implications of that statistic. If only 20% of your emails are being opened, how many of your emails are actually getting responses? I assure you that it's less than 20%.

Social Selling: Your Best Option for Engaging Buyers in the Digital Age

To recap, buyers are ignoring your salespeople's phone calls, and they're deleting emails. Where does that leave you?

You have two options.

Option 1: Play the numbers game. Make thousands of phone calls and send thousands of emails. Keep doing that until you secure enough appointments.

Option 2: Change your approach, and go where your buyers are.

Hint: They're on social media. Did you know that…

That's why social selling is table stakes at this point.

But…

Here's the catch. Don't think that your inside sales team can transfer traditional inside sales tactics to social media. Social selling requires a different mentality.

Here's a summary of how a traditional inside sales approach differs from a social selling approach to inside sales.

As with traditional inside sales methods, the ultimate goal of social selling is to build pipeline and grow revenue. With social selling, however, your approach is different. Social selling requires a thoughtful outreach plan, a strong content strategy, and a desire to educate.

Ready to Learn More about Social Selling?

Maybe you agree that social selling is a must-have for inside sales teams. Maybe you're still skeptical. Regardless, here are three resources that can help you out:

Posted by Mark Bajus

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