10 Shocking Social Selling Stats in B2B

For organizations looking for a significant social selling return on investment (ROI), their thinking needs to shift towards acquiring, retaining, and growing high-value accounts. As such, a strategy that requires partnership between marketing and sales (or other internal teams, depending on the lifecycle focus) will help you and your organization focus your combined energy. This targeted approach to finding, engaging, closing, and growing the accounts that really matter naturally aligns to C-suite priorities as well as your organization’s strategic goals.

Here are some social selling stats that underline current challenges related to these goals:

1. Active Social Media users represent 65% of internet users in Europe

European population is now 839 million, 637 million (76%) are active internet users, and social mobile users are 340 million (40%). The annual growth in Europe since January 2016 is 3% in internet users, 5% in active social media users and 11% in social mobile users.

Oh, and if you doubt the importance of mobile in social selling, here are some stats for you:

  • More than 50% of searches are on mobile
  • 91% of Facebook usage  (Daily Active users) is on mobile
  • 80% of  Facebook advertising revenue is on mobile
  • 90% of mobile media time is spent in apps

2. Buyers go through 67% of the buying process before engaging with a sales rep

If you’re engaging without having initiated your social selling efforts beforehand, you may be in a serious competitive disadvantage. Cold calling (< 4% meeting efficiency rate), (email campaigns efficiency < 2%) or creating good relationships (win rates < 8%) are no longer enough! By the way, 77% of B2B buyers said they did not talk with a salesperson until after they had performed independent research. Buyers also said that when engaging earlier in the vendor choice process, salespeople have a 72% chance of closing a deal, versus a 5% chance if engaging at the late stages of the sales cycle. That’s almost a 15x increase.

3. 78% of B2B buyers say webinars help them make buying decisions.

Webinars are the second most popular way that buyers use to educate themselves, research products and services and help them make buying decisions. The first is white papers.

4. More than 50% of B2B in the US will significantly increase their engagement with LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter in the next 12 months.

68% of B2B companies are still struggling with lead generation. Marketers and sales managers are now jointly looking at ways to provide new leads, while considering unusual, immediate value engagement methods.

Generally speaking, you provide real value through relevant and timely content on a 1-to-1 basis.

5. 65% of content in B2B organizations goes unused

Only 33% of companies say their marketing activities are integrated into their customer journey.

However, only 1% of organizations personalize all of their content, and 19% personalize most of their content. You need to shift to personalizing a majority of your content in 2018, or you will face an accelerated increase in communication opt-out from your customers and prospects. Personalizing content at a highly granular level can be daunting and expensive, so a suggestion is to start by putting AI to work in this area. By the way, getting in early may give you a definite advantage, as currently only 7% of companies estimate that AI will play a big role for them in 2018, and about 47% have no plans to integrate it this year.

6. Only 21.4% of organizations in 2017 had a formally aligned social selling strategy between marketing and sales (up from 20.7% in 2016)

Alignment is growing. Very, very slowly. Marketers and collaborating teams, such as sales and customer support, need to focus their resources efficiently and run programs that are specifically optimized for target accounts.

What’s the benefit? Higher conversion rates. Period.

Rather than having a low conversion rate from new names to qualified leads as you would with broad-based marketing strategies, you start with a pool of accounts that are already more likely to convert, fill the white space of contacts in those accounts that matter, and then give them personalized, focused attention. By deciding and agreeing on which accounts to target, you can profoundly impact the way you think about sales and marketing, and the types of programs you execute. Instead of casting a wide net, you’ll look for ways to target key individuals (e.g. decision makers) in specific organizations. By strategically targeting your efforts, you minimize the expenditure of resources on less important buyers or segments of the market—often significantly reducing waste.

So don’t be afraid to go from a cold (high volume) numbers approach to high quality, low volume trusted approach.

7. 75% of customers prefer personalized content offers

Targeted customers are more likely to engage with content that is specifically for them and is relevant to their business and stage in the buyer journey.

So where do you start? As a marketer doing the first step in aligning with sales, you may want to start by asking these 4 questions (and be ready to accept some criticism):

  • How satisfied are sales with the target account leads they currently get from marketing?
  • Is marketing generating leads in the right accounts? (think of criteria: High yield, Profitability, Product fit, Quick wins, Strategic importance, Territory …)
  • Does the sales team have enough accounts to meet their quota and drive closed business?
  • How are current marketing programs specifically helping the sales team penetrate their target accounts?

8. B2B marketers must create 11-17 interactions to enable a purchase

How much is enough and how do you measure this? SalesForce and Marketo have automated CRM capabilities to identify and measure interactions.

On the other hand, manage your expectations: a white paper or a webinar may not be enough to have an immediate inflow of requests or acceptance of your meeting requests. But be sure to follow-up on your leads who downloaded a white paper or attended a webinar (and in a personalized manner – capture what caught their attention, it’s usually consistent and a heads-up on their potential needs).

9. Companies that have aligned sales and marketing social strategies deliver 19% more revenue growth

In a recent survey, the main characteristics of Teams that collaborate well are (% of respondents):

  • leadership actively encourages collaboration (82%)
  • aligned to the same strategy and objectives (80%)
  • have a shared understanding of the customer journey (76%)
  • share market and customer information freely (74%)
  • effectively address Customer needs (71%)
  • have shared objectives, SLAs and KPIs (52%)
  • generate better customer insights and understanding (52%)
  • ensure clear accountability and workflow (47%)
  • adhere to a schedule of regular team meetings (45%)

10. 72,6% of salespeople using social selling as part of their sales process outperformed their sales peers and exceeded quota 23% more often

There is a caveat to achieve this: it must be coupled with great selling skills. Identifying these is not part of this topic, but here’s a link on the 11 common qualities of top salespeople you might want to check out.

The most successful and forward-thinking sales representatives and marketers will use social media as part of their sales process to connect with buyers, develop relationships, demonstrate their credibility and increase their odds of getting buyers to take notice.

However, social selling isn’t the magic bullet for your sales challenges. It is a set of tactics that combined with other sales strategies can help to improve the quality of your lead generation efforts and the size and quality of your opportunity pipeline. These tactics aren’t the only thing you’ll do to be successful in reaching your quota goals though, but engaging online is simply part of today’s selling playbook!

Exclusive article from Pedro Valido – Fujitsu (EMEIA L&D Department) to joaopintado.pt  

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