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22 January 2015

10 Sales Statistics you CANNOT afford to ignore {and what you should do about them}

Buckle up, Cowboys and Cowgirls. If you’re still selling like it’s 1979 or even 1999, you’re in for a rough ride.

There is a new Sheriff in town. Her name is “The Buyer” and she’s got bigger guns and is quicker on the draw, dropping sellers with old tired sales techniques faster than you can say “quota missed.”

How’d we get here? These circumstances didn’t exactly sneak up on us but things have changed pretty rapidly in the world of buying and selling over the past 5 -10 years – Thanks to the internet and social networking. Leverage has shifted from Seller’s controlling or driving the “sales process” through their information – to Buyers controlling their own “buying process” with access to nearly unlimited amount of information and insight via web, social, reviews and other buyer influences.

If you’re feeling like you need to step up your game as a Sales Professional, here are 10 Sales Statistics that will either – Blow your hair back, Curl your toes, or have you Fist bumping your ‘bro’ because you’re out in front of these game changing challenges.

Selling Truth Statistics

57% of the Buying Process is completed before contacting a Sales Rep {70% in more complex purchases}

Which means for you:

  • Marketing fulfills much of what was the early, “information” phase of the sales funnel now – offering education and information. Marketing and Sales MUST be aligned with each other and most importantly – aligned with the buyer.
  • Sales pros must connect with your prospective customers and be visible, insightful and helpful in their channels and networks.
  • Raise your communications game. Be memorable and extraordinary to overcome their status quo and gain their attention.

Buyer to Company Trust Level = 34%. Buyer to Buyer Trust Level = 92% {Jill Rowley}.

Before making a purchase, 59% of B2B buyers engage with peers who have experience with their challenges, 48% follow industry conversations on the topic and 37% ask for recommendations on social media.

Which means for you:

  • Seek to create Advocates instead of acquiring customers.
  • Become an industry and market influencer by offering valuable insight and resources.
  • Give your clients the right tools {messages, verbiage, channels and venues} to champion your business. The standard “customer satisfaction surveys” aren’t cutting it any more.

By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationships without talking to a human {Gartner Research}.

Which means for you:

  • Customer Experience is the new standard for customer service.
  • Strive to deliver customized solutions, collaborate with customers to build partnerships and aim for building “Advocates” instead of only loyalty.
  • Buyers will expect dynamic experiences from all their interactions – human, technology and processes.
  • Customers are comparing their experience with you not just to your competitors, but against ALL other buying experiences.
  • Deliver continuity in experiences throughout your organization via a cohesive and ubiquitous company culture.

Only 70 of the Fortune 500 companies from the 1950’s are still operating in existence {Kauffman Foundation}.

Which means for you:

  • Adapt, Evolve, or Be Replaced. Value is subjective, need is relevant and buyers/customers drive innovation and modern companies are agile and cater deliberately to what their customers and markets want.
  • Think “customer experience, collaboration and advocates” through the customer lens – from product development, sales journey and at every touch point.

74% of Buyers choose the company that was FIRST to add VALUE {Corporate Visions}.

Which means for you:

  • STOP SELLING and Help Customers BUY.
  • Provide resources and insight that can influence buying criteria and decision making before potential buyers even go looking for information.

94% of buyers couldn’t remember a single prospector or message they had received during the last two years {Huthwaite}.

Which means for you:

  • Be memorable, relevant and DIFFERENT to earn buyers’ time and attention. They are perfectly fine ignoring you.
  • Share stories in context with buyers focused on their problems and how you solve them, not your features.

Currently, it takes an average of 8 Cold Call attempts to reach a prospect. In 2007 it was 3.68 {Telnet and Ovation Sales Group}.

Which means for you:

  • Buyers have more access to information and resources to create their decision making criteria – WITHOUT your input. They’re also much busier and more distracted than ever. You MUST do something different, be valuable, visible and persistent to gain a buyer’s attention.
  • Vary your methods – Email, Phone, LinkedIn, Networking events, forums, blog post, and even old fashioned snail mail.

Which means for you:

  • Never stop prospecting.
  • Strive to create raving fans.
  • Ask for referrals.

82% of the World’s Online population can be reached through Social Networks.

Which means for you:

  • Be social – that means engage, communicate and participate.
  • Have an opinion, share your point of view, advocate for your clients and be a resource for them online, in their social channels and forums.

At least 44% of buying executives leverage LinkedIn in their search for vendors {IDC}.

Researched vendors LinkedIn profiles: 48.6%
Searched for potential vendors on LinkedIn: 46%
Found vendors through common LinkedIn connections: 44.1%

Which means for you:

  • Get.On.LinkedIn.
  • Complete your profile – optimize it for customers, NOT recruiters.
  • Start connecting with personalized invites.
  • Find influencers and relevant forums and engage in conversations offering your unique insight and resources.
  • Curate, create, and comment. This is NOT an option!

So, how much of this is new to you? How much of it is not new to you, but you’ve been hoping it wouldn’t affect you or your business?

Everyone is a modern consumer. Are you a Modern Seller or a relic to be replaced?

Until next time, keep kickin’ butt!

-sks