“60% of the time, it works every time” – Brain Fantana
That is one of my favorite statistical quotes. That said, it was the British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli who is famously credited with the phrase: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics” but the expression has been around almost as long as the word statistics. What is it about numerical data that sparks such distrust in people? Statistics are just a numerical summary of evidence that has been collected. They give people the starting point to delve directly into that evidence and see if the arguments hold together. When misused, statistics are less Disraeli’s “damned lies” and more another leader’s “I did not have sexual relations with that woman”.
For a fun exercise I assembled what looks to be the 10 most astounding, frightening, and informative sales stats on all things “SALES”. We looked at everything from cold calling, online selling, sales training, social selling, person sales and much more. The results made us sales guys giggle a bit, cringe a lot and maybe even cry a smidge.
It doesn’t matter if you are a lifelong sales veteran or first day rookie struggling through a script, our 15 discoveries on sales stats will blow your mind! We really hope the info here inspires you to improve the way you and your teams sell. We all know the act of selling is a real talent, skill and art. The world needs more great sales Picasso’s but the greats have to evolve and grow. We have to be willing to practice and harness our craft.
1. 92% of all customer interactions happen over the phone.
Upshot: I keep seeing and hearing the old chant “cold calling is dead.” But that doesn’t mean that the phone and phone sales are dead. The reality of the moment is that one of the best ways to get someone’s attention is the phone. People are so bombarded with emails, texts, tweets, retargeted ads, etc. that their phone doesn’t even ring anymore. That said, when it comes to sales the phones are still the place to be.
2. 40-50% of sales go to the company that responds fastest or first.
Upshot: Responsiveness is a key skill in sales. However, keep in mind that speed alone is not good enough. You have to be quick while providing a QUALITY response! Can’t show up to the convo empty handed. The customer expectations today are extreme when it comes to response time so sales team best be at their ultimate state of readiness ALL THE TIME.
3. Wednesday and Thursday are the best two days of the week to prospect.
Upshot: Let’s be clear every day should be a prospecting day. Don’t let this stat stop you from prospecting on Monday, Tuesday, Friday, or even the weekend. Most of this has to due with the obvious. Monday and Tuesday people are slammed. Friday…. LOL! You all know why.
4. Nearly 13% of all US jobs are full time sales positions.
Upshot: First the scary thing here is the demand vs the supply of great sales people. Because of changes in communication and how people are growing up sales people are going extinct. Today, salespeople are more important than ever and the sales profession is nothing like the negative stereotype of the past. Sales reps need to be smart, communicative, empathetic, knowledgeable, nimble, and continuously developing the right skills. The takeaway for job seekers? You better learn to sell and learn to love selling!
5. Email is still almost 40 times better at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter.
Upshot: Although this stat is really about email marketing vs. social media marketing, it’s a good reminder of the general importance and power of email. It is worthwhile to improve your ability to craft impactful emails with effective subject lines and calls to action. Social selling will not be behind for long though. The next big jump will even things up.
6. Salespeople who actively seek out referrals earn 5-10 times more than those who don’t.
Upshot: Referral-based selling is a surefire recipe for success. A referred customer already has a level of confidence in the sales person and company based on the story of the referrer. The interaction starts totally different, takes less time and typically yields a higher revenue. Here is the scary part. Only 11% of sales people ask for referrals. HUGE Opportunity here for anyone in sales to differentiate yourself from the pack.
7. 55% of the people making their living as a sales expert don’t have the right skills to be successful.
Upshot: Well this helps explain a ton! This stat is not so much about the lack of sales talent as it is about the inability of most sales organizations to provide sales reps with the specific tools and training they need to be successful. A lot of companies still go with the sink or swim method of training. Success requires a defined sales process, shared best practices, and leaders who actually coach sales reps.
8. The average time to competency for a new sales person, post training, is greater than 10 months.
Upshot: Weak or disjointed onboarding practices are an expensive problem for many sales organizations. The highest success rates have been seen with some type of blended approach to sales that involves a mentorship. New sales people learn by experience, interaction, collaboration and repetition. Repetition creates retention.
9. Retaining current customers is 6 to 7 times less costly than acquiring new ones.
Upshots: Pay attention to your existing customers. The fact that they are engaged with your brand gives you an advantage that you’d be mistaken not to capitalize on. This is all about account management, up-selling and cross-selling.
10. After a sales presentation, 65% of attendees remember stories. Only 5% remember statistics.
Upshot: This one made me laugh because I’ve have seen so many sales presentation lathered in stats. Stats are extremely important, but the story told with them is what people remember. You have to connect the dots. Otherwise it’s just numbers. On the flip side, stories with no real foundation in fact or data can become too squishy for executives or educated buyers.
The need for Sales isn’t going anywhere, but it can be the biggest source of pleasure or the biggest source of pain for any company. If sales or building a sales team isn’t part of your DNA, or PDNA, then you may want to consider outsourcing sales to a company that has an expertise in it. It can eliminate costs, stress and long timelines to success.