If you’re still on the fence about incorporating social media into your sales process, it’s likely time to get off that fence and take action. A new study just released found that sales professionals who actively practice social selling were SIX TIMES more likely to beat their quotas than salespeople with rudimentary or no social media skills.
Companies all over are grappling with the noise associated with social media and its applicability to specific business models. So, KiteDesk (a sales productivity platform provider) along with noted author and sales leader Jim Keenan, (A Sales Guy), went straight to the source and asked sales pros and their leadership if social is making an impact.
This three-month study (a follow-up to their 2012 study) surveyed more than 500 sales professionals that sell B2C, channel and B2B (small, mid, and enterprise accounts). The goal was to see if there was a correlation between social media skills and quota attainment.
The results were pretty surprising.
The most socially savvy sales pros are far more likely to beat their sales quotas.
“Social sales ninjas came out on top, no matter how we sliced the data,” says KiteDesk CEO Sean Burke.
74% of the sales professionals who beat their quota by 10% or more described themselves as “highly effective” or “better-than-most” social media users.
These sales high-achievers were SIX TIMES more likely to exceed their quota than were sales peers with rudimentary or no social media skills.
- Sales reps with little or no social media skills are substantially more likely to miss their sales quotes. In fact, the percentage of underperforms that lack social media skills increased by 50% between 2012 and 2014.
- The achievement gap between those high and those with rudimentary social media skills has widened since 2012. We take this as an indication that social media will become more important to sales success over time.
Further results of the study gave us even more solid evidence that dismissing social media as a “waste of time” can be hazardous to your health.
There is a strong — and growing — relationship between deals closed and social media use.
- In 2014, a full 64% of sales professionals reported that social media use was directly responsible for at least one closed deal. (This is a dramatic 15% increase from the 2012 report.)
Social selling is time well spent.
- High achieving sales pros aren’t just goofing around on social media. 70% of salespeople who exceeded their 2014 quota used social media over 10% of the time.
- In contrast, almost half of sales reps who reported low social media use missed their 2014 sales quota.
The top site used for social selling may surprise you.
- For the first time ever, Twitter has dethroned LinkedIn as the most important social selling channel for sales professionals.
LinkedIn has been the network where more formal business communication takes place, but there is a shift towards buyers and sellers engaging around less formal communications via Twitter and Facebook.
Social media is effective throughout the entire sales process.
- The majority of survey respondents say social media works well to build the pipeline, nurture leads, and achieve quota.
70% of sales pros who exceeded their sales quota used social media during at least 70% of their sales activities.
There’s room for improvement within the social and digital sales toolkit.
- The vast majority of respondents would like to have better tools and technologies for relationship intelligence, actionable sales intelligence, and improved CRM automation.
Corporate support for social media tools is growing but remains low.
- Only about a third of sales professionals received social media training in 2014 (compared to 25% in 2012) and only a fifth have access to and use internal social media sites.
Despite the lack of training in social selling strategies, the research clearly shows that social media use tends to dramatically increase sales potential.
Salespeople and their leadership must adapt to changes.
The most recent data shows that people have done their homework before they talk to a salesperson. This means the sales process must become more collaborative.
Salespeople’s approach should shift from concentrated knowledge of the product to focused attention and better understanding of how the product impacts their customer.
The first step in exceeding a customer’s expectations is to know those expectations.
Salespeople and their leadership need to stay current on their customers’ needs, concerns and questions. Their approach must be to help the customer make a good decision, and not to sell their product.
Salespeople’s online reputation, their “Personal Brand,” ignites social selling.
Salespeople must manage how they are showing up online. Customers don’t want to talk to strangers; they want to Google that salesperson and figure out whether they’re someone they want to work with.
Social media savvy sales pros position themselves for success.
The adage, “If we don’t take care of our customers, someone else will.” has never been truer. Social media savvy sales pros know that a competitor is a simple mouse-click away.