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50% of sales go the first salesperson to contact a prospect (source: InsidesSales.com).

Social Selling is the use of social media to interact directly with prospects, answer questions, and offer thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy. Social selling is not hard selling. In fact, it’s the opposite.

Cold Calling is the solicitation of business from potential customers who have had no prior contact with the salesperson conducting the call. 

You might say one is yesterday’s way of selling and the other is today’s.

  • Where is it going in the future?
  • Why has it changed?
  • Which way is most likely to get to the prospect first?

Here are 37 facts on the future of social selling vs. cold calling.

SOCIAL SELLING

  1. 98% of sales reps with 5000+ LinkedIn connections achieve quota (source: Sales Benchmark Index)
  2. 89% of customers begin their buying process with a search engine (source: Fleishman-Hillard)
  3. 80% of introductions generate a sale (source: DSWA)
  4. 75% of customers say they use social media as part of the buying process (source: IBM)
  5. 74% of B2B marketing companies use Twitter to distribute content (source: Content Marketing Institute)
  6. 72.6% of salespeople using social media outperformed their sales peers (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  7. 61% of US marketers use social media for lead generation (source: IBM)
  8. 55% of B2B buyers search for information on social media (source: MediaBistro)
  9. 54% who used social media tracked their social media usage back to at least one closed deal. (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  10. 50.1% of sales people who report using social media state that they spend less than 10% of their selling time using social media (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  11. 50% of identified sales leads are not ready to buy (source: Gleanster)
  12. 47% larger purchases result from nurtured leads than non-nurtured leads (source: The Annuitas Group)
  13. 42% Follow or Like a friend or brand; 79% are motivated to do this in order to learn more about the brand (source: Fleishman-Hillard)
  14. Over 40% of salespeople say they’ve closed between two and five deals as a result of social media. (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  15. Social media users were 23% more successful than their non-social media peers. (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  16. Today’s sales process takes 22% longer than 5 years ago (source: SiriusDecisions)
  17. You are almost 5X more likely to schedule a first meeting if you have a personal LinkedIn connection (source: Sales Benchmark Series)
  18. Marketers spend an average of 4-6 hours a week on social media (source: Social Media Examiner)
  19. 2X higher ROI from email marketing than cold calling, networking or trade shows (source: MarketingSherpa)
  20. B2B marketers who use Twitter generate 2X as many leads as those that do not (source: Inside View)

COLD CALLING

  1. 91% of the time, cold calling doesn’t work (source: Harvard Business Review)
  2. 91% of customer say they’d give referrals; only 11% of salespeople ask for referrals (source: Dale Carnegie)
  3. 90% of C-suite executive say they never respond to cold calls or email blasts (source: Harvard Business Review)
  4. 82% of B2B decision makers think sales reps are unprepared (source: SiriusDecisions)
  5. Customers don’t want to deal with salespeople until they are 70% down the path of the buying process (source: HubSpot)
  6. 61% of marketers send leads directly to sales, despite the fact that only 27% of those leads are qualified (source: SalesForcce.com)
  7. 60% more expensive per lead than other methods (source: HubSpot)
  8. 57% of the buying process is done before sales contact (source: Corporate Executive Board)
  9. 8 attempts to reach a prospect today with a cold call vs. 3.68 in 2007 (source: TeleNet and Ovation Sales Group)
  10. 8% of salespeople get 80% of sales (source: The Marketing Donut)
  11. 7 people in the average firm of 100-500 people are involved in a buying decision (source: Gartner)
  12. Only 5% of business lead phone calls lead to a sale (source: DSWA)
  13. Only 2% of cold calls result in an appointment (source: Leap Job)
  14. Only 2% of sales occur at a first meeting (source: The Marketing Donut)
  15. Only 2 attempts are made by the average salesperson do reach a prospect (source: Sirius Decisions)
  16. 1 out of 250 salespeople exceed their targets (source: Harvard Business Review)
  17. Less than 1% of cold calls lead to a sale (source: DSWA)

These facts say we spend more time on search engines and social networks seeking out, researching, and connecting with products we’re going to buy and the people who we want do to do business than we do on our phones. As a result, more of us believe we don’t need to speak to a salesperson until we are further along in the buying process.

When that time comes to speak to someone, the person who is most relevant and top of mind is more likely to be the contact that gets the business. It’s more likely that that person is going to be found through an association established on the internet and social media than it is through a cold call.

And that’s now. So the trend is only going to move more in that direction for the future.

Do these give you facts for the future on social selling vs. cold calling? Could your business use help doing social selling better?


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About Rob Petersen

Rob Petersen is an experienced advertising and marketing executive and President of BarnRaisers, a full service digital marketing agency that builds brands based on proven relationship principles and ROI. He is on the MBA Faculty of Rutgers CMD and is the author of two books on digital marketing.

16 replies to this post
  1. This article rings true to exactly how I feel about sales in 2015. I recently received a cold call as a “follow-up” from a marketing hub and I felt so angered by their approach. Most of the time I feel angry when I receive a phone call from a marketer because I don’t feel they have my personal interests at heart, they’re just trying to make money. Also, I find it an invasion of my privacy. Cold calling doesn’t work. However, helping someone complete their buying decision over the telephone may.

    “When that time comes to speak to someone, the person who is most relevant and top of mind is more likely to be the contact that gets the business.” – it’s more important to focus your efforts on an effective online presence through blogging, social media posting and engagement, video marketing, and advertising while also ensuring that your customers can easily contact you via telephone if they’re ready to make a purchase or have their questions answered. Let them contact you when they’re ready.

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