35 Crucial Stats Every B2B Sales Professional Should Know

Let’s face it. The cloud has made it easier than ever for prospective buyers to evaluate, test, purchase and utilize software. But, what has been a win for buyers can sometimes be a loss for enterprise sales professionals. Multi-year contracts are now month-to-month, rip-and-replace is the new evaluation process and low barriers to entry have crowded the field with more competing players.

But fear not, all hope is not lost! Here are the stats every B2B sales professional needs to know in order to increase buyer retention, response rate and overall customer satisfaction.

Spending on cloud technology is set to greatly expand in the coming years:

1. 42% of IT decision makers are planning to increase spending on cloud computing in 2015, with the greatest growth in enterprises with over 1,000 employees (52%) (Computerworld) Tweet this Stat

2. Global SaaS software revenues are forecasted to reach $106B in 2016, increasing 21% over projected 2015 spending levels (Forrester) Tweet this Stat

3. 27.8% of the worldwide enterprise applications market will be SaaS-based, generating $50.8B in revenue up from $22.6B or 16.6% of the market in 2013 (IDC) Tweet this Stat

Increased spending and relative ease associated with purchasing cloud-based solutions means key decisions makers often-times aren’t involved in the buying experience until the very last stages:

4. Because there’s so much information available to buyers and SaaS is a lower risk investment, many decision-makers are delegating the buying process to other people (TOPO) Tweet this Stat

5. A new decision-maker enters the fray in the last 5 – 10% of the buying experience. Often times, this person needs to be engaged, educated and sold from scratch (TOPO) Tweet this Stat

Because purchasing is decentralized, buyers are more concerned than ever with getting a purchase wrong, which is why they’re waiting longer to initiate contact with the sales team, are harder to get in touch with and are doing more research on their own up front:

6. The average sales development rep makes 52 calls daily (The Bridge Group) Tweet this Stat

7. It takes 18 dials to connect with a single buyer (TOPO) Tweet this Stat

8. Call-back rates are below 1% (TOPO) Tweet this Stat

9. Less than 24% of sales emails are opened (TOPO) Tweet this Stat

10. Over two-thirds of buyers wait longer to initiate contact with vendors than they did two years ago because they are doing more research themselves (SAP) Tweet this Stat

11. More than 50% of buyers consult third-party sources before consulting a company’s salesforce (Avande) Tweet this Stat

12. These sources include third-party sites, feedback from a business partner, social channels and conversations with peers who already have experience with the product or service (Avande) Tweet this Stat

13. 52% of B2B buyers said that the biggest risk of getting a purchase wrong is wasting company money (SAP) Tweet this Stat

14. 23% said that losing internal credibility is their top concern (SAP) Tweet this Stat

When sales reps do get in touch, responding quickly is crucial to closing the deal:

15. Leads responded to within 5 minutes are 100X more likely to be contacted and 21X more likely to be qualified (LeadResponseManagement.org) Tweet this Stat

16. Waiting just 10 minutes to respond drops the likelihood of qualifying the lead 4X (LeadResponseManagement.org) Tweet this Stat

17. Yet less than 25% of companies who receive a web lead will respond by phone (InsideSales.com) Tweet this Stat

18. Only 27% of web-generated leads get contacted at all (InsideSales.com) Tweet this Stat

But, if you’re the first to get in touch with a potential buyer, your odds of winning their business increase dramatically:

19. Your sales team has a 56% greater chance to attain quota if you engage buyers before they contact a seller (SalesBenchmark Index) Tweet this Stat

20. The first viable vendor to reach a decision maker and set the buying vision has a 74% average close ratio (Forrester) Tweet this Stat

21. 50% of buyers choose the vendor that responds first (InsideSales.com) Tweet this Stat

22. 71% of buyers would typically initiate contact or accept a contact request with a new provider during the exploration or early evaluation streams of the buying cycle (Gartner) Tweet this Stat

23. 80% of prospects new to their position who are spending $1M+ on new initiatives do so in their first 90 days (Craig Elias) Tweet this Stat

Even better than being first, though, is a personal connection or direct referral:

24. B2B buyers are 5X more likely to engage when introduced (LinkedIn) Tweet this Stat

25. You are 4.2X more likely to get an appointment if you have a personal connection with a buyer (SalesBenchmark Index) Tweet this Stat

26. 73% of executives prefer to work with sales professionals referred by someone they know (IDC) Tweet this Stat

27. 84% of B2B decision makers start the buying process with a referral (SalesBenchmark Index) Tweet this Stat

28. Referral leads convert 30% better than leads generated from other marketing channels (R&G Technologies) Tweet this Stat

29. Referred customers have a 16% higher lifetime value (Journal of Marketing) Tweet this Stat

When you do close the deal, buyers are looking for more support and attention from their existing vendors:

30. In a survey by Gartner, nearly two-thirds of tech buyers said they would purchase more from existing providers if the value from their initial investment was clearly demonstrated (Gartner) Tweet this Stat

31. But, less than half of these buyers (44%) felt that only a quarter of their existing providers were helping them maximize value consistently (Gartner) Tweet this Stat

32. After purchasing a product or service for their company, 42% of buyers reviewed a company on a third-party website (Avande) Tweet this Stat

33. 32% of buyers posted a review on social media channels such as Facebook or LinkedIn and 19% posted comments about the company on Twitter (Avande) Tweet this Stat

34. More than 80% of companies have changed at least one business process in the past three years to better interact with customers (Avande) Tweet this Stat

35. These changes include increased investment in customer sales and support technology, increase in the number of employees interacting with customers and increased in the sales process (Avande) Tweet this Stat

Photo by: Alejandro Escamilla

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Sales Strategist

  • johncousineau

    CeCe: thx for this. Great composite of available stats, thoughtfully assembled.

    The stats story, at a glance, seems to be:
    1/ businesses are transforming how they do business [hello cloud, SaaS]
    2/ it’s a huge opportunity for sales organizations, and for many it’s not going smoothly
    [as sales performance against quota continues to degrade [CSO Insights stats]],
    3/ there’s a ‘tragedy of the commons’ in play between buyers and sellers. The sum effect is ugly:
    – buyers are delegating buying decisions, yet fearing poor choices as an outcome
    – buyers are reluctant to involve sellers early [God forbid they should do so … the experience is so painful].
    – buyers need help, struggle to find it, and don’t expect to get it from most Reps
    – results from sales execution practices are so poor that getting results takes a ton of selling time and effort.
    – one of the reasons: buyers are increasingly elusive [they’re happy to avoid painful experiences]
    – as a result, sellers are *really* busy. Which makes it hard for them to be timely and helpful to buyers.
    4/ there are effective practices out there [eg: 74% close rates if you’re 1st to the decision maker]
    5/ they’re not easy to spot [cause-effect connections between sales practices and results remain opaque]
    6/ which means what works isn’t being discovered nor practiced as often as needed to improve results

    Houston, we have a sales performance problem. At a time when buyers need sellers’ help.

    On this broad issue, IMO, there’s tons for everyone involved to learn. Re: effective selling practices.
    And which, when learned, will solve the problem. Way moreso than most might imagine.

    Trust this adds some value. – John

  • Franklin

    John,

    Some great points!… and I totally agree with you!: this transformation actually represents a huge opportunity for sales, although many in sales I talk to seem to be in deep denial about it, or they don’t seem able to recognize it yet.

    The problem with this otherwise excellent article is that it only paints half the picture.

    1. Every conceivable product or service today — B2B, enterprise, you name it — is for sale online. Sales people need to adjust their sales techniques to accommodate a buyer who is far less interested in being “sold to” and far more empowered to make their own decisions. (i.e., “two-thirds of buyers doing their own research before making contact with a vendor” — this tells me buyer habits have changed, a lot!.)

    2. A majority — at least 50 percent — of B2B sales today are fulfilled by the customer themselves without assistance by a sales rep. This number is probably much higher for SaaS and cloud based offerings. And the share of sales going online vs. manual through sales reps is growing rapidly… By now, the trend should be obvious: buyers prefer streamlined delivery and the ease of use that online purchasing platforms provide, and sellers are more than happy to move their products and services to online, all-digital fulfillment.

    Studies show that buyers have become condititioned by their B2C user experiences and now expect and demand the same user experience as B2B buyers and enterprise sales.

    3. In terms of “helping the buyer” sales professionals know that not every sale is going to warrant the same level of time, resources and money. Each sales opportunity is assessed based on the potential size, implact and level of complexity invovled to help that buyer along. A small business sale is not the same as a large complex sale. Sales executives are typically well paid and their time is valuable, both for the buyer and for themselves and their employer.

    To me, what these trends point to is how the sales rep today is liberated from the tyranny of quotas and pipeline forecasting and blanket sales approaches involving huge numbers of boots on the ground. Let’s face it, quotas are typically arbitrary numbers based on historcial trends which are often unrealistic. Studies now say something like 87 percent of sales reps aren’t at quota today. This means quotas are typically unattainable anyway.

    In truth, the sales profession has long been plagued by inefficiency and inaccuracy where vast amounts of efforts produce nothing. The good news is that technology is changing all this faster than ever.

    Sales organizations are becoming much more technologically guided and are going to get leaner (i.e., fewer sales people needed to achieve higher rates of sales growth and volume) – and more precise. Predictive analytics and better software are starting to give sales people much greater insights into the potential for buyers. Sales professionals no longer need to “hunt and peck” their way to more sales. they can focus on data and measurements that indicate who the best prospective buyers are.

    Identifying the best buyer and spending time with more of those who are ready to buy or show the highest likelihood to buy, or the best potential to be loyal… it’s never been so easy, thanks to the technloogy.