Whether you’re trying to sell via e-mail, calls, or social media, there tends to be an awful lot of guesswork involved. Trying to get someone’s attention, especially in a “cold calling” situation, is a tall order with a relatively low success rate.
But believe it or not, there are a few tricks to it that can dramatically improve your success rate. We’re going to break down some sales statistics for you, and explain how you can use them to become a more successful seller.
Before we break things down, here’s an infographic to give you a high-level overview:
1. Most e-mails are opened at the end of the work day
According to Mailchimp, the majority of e-mails are opened between 2 and 5pm. That means if you send your sales e-mails out first thing in the morning, they’re getting buried under potentially dozens of other things before your target even gets to it. By then, they may just skip it.
2. Tuesday e-mails have the highest open rate
You’re probably going to be sending out e-mails just about every day of the week, so this may not be hugely important. But an Experian study on e-mail marketing shows that there’s something about Tuesday that gets people opening their e-mails. Maybe they’re making up for being so sluggish on Monday. You can use this information to double up your e-mail marketing on Tuesday, or perhaps to send the extra-important stuff that day.
3. 35% of people decide whether or not to open an e-mail based solely on the subject line
This is actually good news for you if you’re trying to “cold call” for sales via e-mail. While some people may delete e-mails from anyone they don’t know, some can be enticed by a subject line that interests them. That makes this next point very important:
4. E-mails with long titles are e-mails that stay unopened
Of course you want to put as much info out front as possible, and so you might think the best way to go is to load up your subject line with details. Actually, the opposite is true. The open rate on e-mails drops by over 60% when the subject line is longer than 3 words. Keep it short and concise, and also…
5. Having the right keywords in your subject line is crucial
It can feel like desperate click-bait, but the reality is, words like “Alert,” “New,” and “Free Delivery” really do improve the clickthrough rate for B2B customers. Meanwhile, words like “report” and “learn” tend to turn people off.
6. 57% of e-mail recipients will mark a message as spam, even if they know the sender
It’s cold, but true. E-mail is easy to ignore, and “spam” is just e-mail shorthand for “not interested in this right now.” Even if it’s a buyer you do a lot of business with, even if it’s personalized, they won’t hesitate to throw it in the spam bin if it doesn’t resonate with their needs right now. Even still, it’s important to get your message in front of prospective buyers, because…
7. Only 2% of cold calls result in an appointment
This may sound like a bleak figure, but what it means is it’s important to warm up your leads before calling. Send an e-mail, a tweet, something to put you on their radar before you show up on their phone. If they have an idea of who you are and what you want, they’re less likely to avoid your call. Which is good, because…
8. The average sales rep spends 25 hours a month leaving voicemail
Given an average of about 70 voicemails left a day, and 60 seconds to do it (roughly 30 seconds to listen to a greeting, and 30 seconds to leave the message), that’s roughly 25 hours a month, or 15% of a sales rep’s total time. You should consider whether leaving voicemails is necessarily the best use of time, considering…
9. Most of your voicemails go unreturned
According to RingLead, 80% of calls go to voicemail, and 90% of first-time voicemails go unanswered. There are ways to maximize voicemail returns, but one of the ways to make your voicemails more efficient is simply to shorten them. The Sales Hunter says the optimal voicemail length is between 8 and 14 seconds.
10. The best hours to make calls or leave voicemails are at the beginning and end of the workday…
The best rate of return on voicemails comes between 6:45 and 8:00 am, and between 4:30 and 6:30 pm. Think of it this way. People are likely to check their e-mails at the beginning and the end of the workday. If your message is at the top of the pile at either of those times, you’re in good shape.
11. …but not Monday morning or Friday evening
The beginning and end of the workweek are not the most productive times on the schedule. Early Monday, people have too much to catch up with, and late Friday, they have too much else they want to get to. The last thing anyone wants to deal with at these times is a sales call. Respect that, and slide those in to other parts of other days.
12. The average sale requires 5 follow-up calls
So let’s say you actually have someone’s attention. You’ve met with them, you’ve given them your best pitch, and they seem mildly interested. You follow up with them and don’t really get much further. This is where about 44% of salespeople give up and move on. Don’t be one of those people, because about 80% of successful sales came after 5 or more follow-up calls.
13. 86% of how you communicate on the phone isn’t about what you say
Only 14% of your phone communication has to do with the words you use. The remaining 86% is how you say it. With no way to communicate through gestures, smiles, or other non-verbal means, the tone of your voice has everything to do with what you’re getting across to people.
14. Sales reps who use social selling are 79% more likely to hit their sales goals than those who don’t
This is according to a study that was done back in 2012, and social media has only continued to grow since then. E-mails and calls are still the most tried-and-true method, but if you’re not including social as one of the tools in your arsenal, you’re doing it wrong. In particular,
15. 96% of sales firms use LinkedIn an average of 6 hours a week
It doesn’t just have to be a way to contact people – sales reps can use LinkedIn to search for leads and research a company for a better insight to their needs.
16. 77% of B2B buyers don’t talk to salespeople without doing independent research first
This makes social selling an absolute must. Maintaining a social presence doesn’t just pay dividends in terms of direct contact – in many cases, it’s about putting information out there to be found independently. In many cases, their first impression of your business isn’t from your first call.
17. B2B Marketers have better luck using Twitter on weekdays
An Argyle study of Facebook and Twitter engagement showed that B2B Twitter users saw 7% better engagement on weekdays, while B2C has higher engagement on the weekend. Know who you’re trying to reach before you decide when and how.
18. Over 10% of sellers can trace 5 or more sales back to social media
They may not have been fully, start-to-finish social selling jobs, but social worked its way into these closed sales. Maybe the buyer became a warm lead through social marketing. Maybe the seller used LinkedIn to research the company and make a better pitch. Whatever the circumstance, today’s most successful sellers are using social media in a variety of ways.
19. 80% of organizations in 2012 said their sales teams would be more productive with stronger social media
Most companies now have people or entire teams on board to handle social media. In other words, it’s unlikely to fall to individual sales reps. However, it’s important to know how you can leverage the social media presence you do have. If your organization is making a strong push to improve its social media presence or running a special sort of promotion through it, be aware of that. It’s possible your buyers may be familiar with the campaign without even making the connection to you.
20. 84% of B2B buyers start their decision with a referral
It’s simple. One of the best ways to convince someone that your organization does quality work is an independent vote of confidence from a trusted friend or adviser. This is a total team effort, as it requires great customer service well after the sale is finalized, but it also highlights the importance of social selling, and maintaining an image of quality even while not actively engaged with a potential buyer.